Classic Couple

A Classic Couple: The Woman in White and Gone Girl

What could a classic novel that was initially serialized in the nineteenth century and a recent bestseller that became a successful movie on the big screen possibly have in common? A lot, actually. Though Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl were published over a century apart, they are nevertheless linked in numerous ways.

Genre || The first similarity is probably the most obvious one; however, I think it’s still worth mentioning because it shows the great influence that The Woman in White has had on literature over time. These thrilling, suspenseful mystery novels have been popular with audiences for centuries, especially with their sensationalism and emphasis on domestic scandals.

Narration || Both of these books have multiple narrators, many of which are unreliable. Though most of the narrators of The Woman in White go out of their way to establish their credibility at the beginning of their accounts, we cannot rule out the fact that they may still be biased in their storytelling. As we read Gone Girl we learn to be on guard when Amy is narrating (her charming diary isn’t quite what it seems). Speaking of Amy’s diary, both of these novels incorporate written records as forms of narration. Not only does this add intrigue to the story and depth to the characters, but it also makes for a more interesting reading experience as different writing styles and voices are used for each narrator.

Duality || I love when books focus on dualities because the possibilities are endless. I don’t want to give away any important details of either book; however, I will say that both authors play with the idea of dual personalities, personas, identities, morals, and meanings. We see the struggle between the perceived and the actual; in other words, what others believe in contrast to what we truly are in actuality. Watching these duos unfold is always fascinating!

Explanations || Plots of mystery novels—especially great ones—can quickly become complicated and difficult to follow. Fortunately, both of these books clearly explain to the reader what has happened and how all of the details are interconnected in a cleverly crafted web. By the end of the novel you know exactly what occurred and why, which I always appreciate. Being left hanging at the end of a standalone can be incredibly frustrating!

Considering parallels like these between books can breathe new life into what we read. Though I didn’t love Gone Girl when I first read it, finding elements that it shares with The Woman in White has allowed me to appreciate it a bit more.

What do you think of this classic couple? What other books would you pair with The Woman in WhiteWhat are your thoughts on either or both of these books? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: “Unclickable” Characters

www.nutfreenerd.com-2

Some characters just aren’t meant to be your favorite fictional people. You know the characters I’m referring to- the ones that eh, you could do without. For some reason (or many reasons) you and them don’t see eye to eye. We’ve all experienced this, and it’s not a huge issue if they’re side characters. But it IS a problem when you crack open that new book you’ve been dying to read and… you and the main character just don’t click. 

This has happened to me a few times in the past, and it’s unbelievably frustrating. Books and even whole series that I otherwise would have loved have been sort of ruined by main characters that simply irked me in one way or another. In this week’s Top Ten Tuesday list, hosted by the lovely blog The Broke and the Bookish, I’ll be sharing with you the Top Ten “Unclickable” Characters. In other words, these are the characters with whom I just didn’t “click”. If you want to check out my reviews of these books, feel free to click the bold titles- they’re links!

the summer i turned pretty cover1. Belly from The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

In this book Belly is around fifteen years old, but HOLY COW is she petty! Her personality really annoyed me because she seemed very immature for a girl her age. Having been a fifteen-year-old girl once, I think it’s safe to say that most of the time they try to act more mature, not like a twelve-year-old.

Ony Everything by Kieran Scott2. Eros from Only Everything by Kieran Scott

My feeling of dislike for this character may come from the writing style of the author, but I’m including her in this list nonetheless. Here’s the thing, people: TEENAGE GIRLS DON’T ALWAYS TALK IN “HIP” SLANG OR WITH SASS AND/OR SARCASM. If Eros was a real person, she would possibly be one of the most annoying people ever.

gone girl cover3. Nick and Amy from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I didn’t like Amy for obvious reasons *cough* psychopath *cough* but I wasn’t completely supportive of Nick, either. I don’t want to spoil anything huge, but he did some pretty bad things himself that I think a lot of people blindly overlook. It’s definitely a two-way street!

please ignore vera dietz4. Vera Dietz from Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

There wasn’t anything really specific about Vera that I disliked, it was just that she was sort of… bland. I understand that she was sad and grieving and all that, but as a consequence of her blue mood she was rather difficult to relate to and like. Poor Vera and I, we just didn’t click!

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway5. Jake Barnes from The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

If you read my review of this book, then you probably already know that I have a rather rocky relationship with Hemingway’s novels. This is the second one I’ve read, and I just can’t seem to connect with the characters. Maybe that’s the point, with them being of the Lost Generation and all. Still, it would be nice to feel as though I could empathize with Jake and root for him. Instead, I found myself wondering why he doesn’t just get over Brett and move on. So… yeah. I’ll certainly keep trying, but Hemingway and I don’t really mix.

miss peregrine's home for peculiar children cover6. Emma from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Although I really enjoyed this book, I could have gone without Emma (the love interest). For some reason I felt like she was trying to be an awesome Hermione-ish character, but it just fell flat. Also, I couldn’t help feeling like there was a mission to be done and she was distracting the main character from it with her emotions. I don’t know… maybe I’m missing something? Or being too harsh? I did like her more in the second one, so at least it’s moving in the right direction!

love letters to the dead cover7. Laurel from Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Laurel was okay and I enjoyed this book when I first read it, but looking back I feel as though she was a sort of girl version of Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. She was quite depressing, but least in Stephen Chbosky’s novel there are awesome side characters that make it all worth it. When reading Laurel’s letters I simply felt… sad. I guess that was the point of the book, but some positivity would be nice!

me and earl and the dying girl cover8. Greg from Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

I didn’t really care for this book, and the primary reason was because of the main character, Greg. His sense of humor never really did anything for me, and I just thought he was sort of lazy and odd and awful for not wanting to spend time with a dying girl because it would be “awkward”. SHE’S DYING. GO HANG OUT WITH HER.

being henry david cover9. Hank from Being Henry David by Cal Armistead

The concept of this story is that Hank wakes up with no recollection of who he is- which is precisely why I felt barely any connection at all with this main character. And then he goes and decides to walk right into a random high school- yup, that’s a good idea! GO FIND THE POLICE.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins10. Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I know, I know- it’s Katniss!! Everyone loves her, right? WRONG. I did enjoy this series (for the most part) but Katniss and I never really saw eye to eye. She’s BA and all that, but I completely disagreed with her taste in guys. Here was Gale, a nice guy from her District willing to help her hunt and stuff, but OH NO she had to go after Peeta, who she didn’t even really like at first. It just put a sour taste in my mouth. TEAM GALE FOREVER.

What do you think of the books on my list? What characters have you not “clicked” with in the past? Let me know in the comments section below!

Happy September everyone!!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books

Book Review: GONE GIRL (with spoilers!)

gone girl cover

~~~ This review contains spoilers! Click here to read my spoiler-free review! ~~~

Author: Gillian Flynn

Number of Pages: 395

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Release Date: May 24, 2012

“On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?”

– Goodreads.com

I have mixed feelings about this book, mostly due to all the hype that surrounds it with the new movie and its sudden rise to popularity. I began this book expecting an extremely fast-paced, dark thriller that I wouldn’t possibly be able to put down, but in actuality the story did not fulfill those expectations in my mind. I liked the novel as a whole, but it just seemed like an average, well-crafted mystery to me. 

My favorite aspect of this story is definitely the dual perspective. With each chapter I felt my loyalties to either Nick or Amy shifting, especially in the beginning. I never really liked either of them all that much, and perhaps that led to me not being able to connect with the characters. Nick rubbed me the wrong way (he cheated on his wife- nothing excuses that!) and Amy was much too artificial, not to mention completely insane. The only character I sympathized with was Margo, Nick’s sister, because she was thrown into the chaos of this mystery simply because she was related to Nick. Despite the fact that they were very unlikable, there’s no denying that Nick and Amy had depth, personality, and experienced significant change (for better and worse) throughout the course of this novel.

One thing that surprises me is how many people side with Nick. I understand that he is a victim in this situation- I mean his wife is framing him for her own murder!- but he was not an innocent man to begin with. Let’s not forget that he cheated on Amy for an entire year and she had to live with that knowledge. I’m absolutely not saying that what Amy did was in any way warranted, but I think it’s safe to say that she has the right to be furious with nick. On the flip side, it was also not right of her to basically pretend to have an entirely different personality- “cool girl”- for the whole beginning of their relationship and marriage. The more I think about it the more I really, really dislike these two characters!!

Now, onto the plot itself. Because of all the hype surrounding this novel I was expecting a huge, astonishing twist. I pretty much was certain from the very beginning that Nick was not the killer, because that would be way too obvious and not impressive enough to justify the immense amount of hype. When I found out that Amy had designed the entire scheme I was surely surprised, but not blown away like I hoped I would be. That’s my biggest complaint about this book, I think: nothing shocked me. Several twists surprised me (pregnant Amy, murderer Amy, not pregnant Amy, then pregnant Amy again) but nothing blew my mind.

Overall, this was a good mystery novel, but it didn’t wow me like I thought it would. I enjoyed the interesting themes it explored (the dynamics of marriage, how truth can be twisted and masked, the questions of what to do as a reader when there are unreliable narrators, the manipulation of the media, how the media impacts the justice system, etc.) as well as the unique and thought-provoking dual perspectives. It was suspenseful at times but slow at others, and I thought that the writing was good but nothing spectacular. Gone Girl was an enjoyable, entertaining read, but it wasn’t the mind-blowing thriller I had hoped for. 

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) 3 out of 5 smileys.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Definitely! Despite my complaints, I did really have a great time reading this novel. If the hype monster hadn’t gobbled it up, I think it would have made a better impression on me personally.

What did you think of this novel? How about the movie? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books

Book Review: GONE GIRL (without spoilers!)

gone girl cover

Author: Gillian Flynn

Number of Pages: 395

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Release Date: May 24, 2012

“On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?”

– Goodreads.com

I have mixed feelings about this book, mostly due to all the hype that surrounds it with the new movie and its sudden rise to popularity. I began this book expecting an extremely fast-paced, dark thriller that I wouldn’t possibly be able to put down, but in actuality the story did not fulfill those expectations in my mind. I liked the novel as a whole, but it just seemed like an average, well-crafted mystery to me. 

My favorite aspect of this story is definitely the dual perspective. With each chapter I felt my loyalties to either Nick or Amy shifting, especially in the beginning. I never really liked either of them all that much, and perhaps that led to me not being able to connect with the characters. Nick rubbed me the wrong way and Amy was much too artificial. The only character I sympathized with was Margo, Nick’s sister, because she was thrown into the chaos of this mystery simply because she was related to Nick. Despite the fact that they were very unlikable, there’s no denying that Nick and Amy had depth, personality, and experienced significant change (for better and worse) throughout the course of this novel.

Now, onto the plot itself. Because of all the hype surrounding this novel I was expecting a huge, astonishing twist. Don’t get me wrong, there are several twists, but none of them made my jaw drop or caused me to gasp out loud in astonishment. That’s my biggest complaint about this book, I think: nothing shocked me. I was really hoping that I wouldn’t be able to correctly predict anything about the ending, but unfortunately that didn’t end up happening. The ending itself kind of fell flat to me in general, actually. It was good, but it wasn’t the showstopper I was looking for. Maybe my expectations were too high going into this novel, but who can blame me? The amount of hype was incredible!

Overall, this was a good mystery novel, but it didn’t wow me like I thought it would. I enjoyed the interesting themes it explored (the dynamics of marriage, how truth can be twisted and masked, the manipulation of the media, how the media impacts the justice system, etc.) as well as the unique and thought-provoking dual perspectives. It was suspenseful at times but slow at others, and I thought that the writing was good but nothing spectacular. Gone Girl was an enjoyable, entertaining read, but it wasn’t the mind-blowing thriller I had hoped for. 

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) 3 out of 5 smileys.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Definitely! Despite my complaints, I did really have a great time reading this novel. If the hype monster hadn’t gobbled it up, I think it would have made a better impression on me personally.

What did you think of this novel? How about the movie? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesdays: January 14th

WWW WednesdaysWWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading that asks three questions:

What are you currently reading???

wuthering heights coverI’m still reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I’m about half way through it and I really like it so far. Everything is so dramatic and the characters are all so crazy- it’s like reading a soap opera!

great expectations coverI just started Great Expectations by Charles Dickens with my AP English class the other day, and I’m really excited about it. I’ve been wanting to read this one ever since I read A Tale of Two Cities over the summer for my assigned reading, and I’m really happy that my teacher chose to read it as a class.

I’m also still reading Harry Potter y la cámara secreta by J.K. Rowling (the Spanish translation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets).

What did you recently finish reading???

gone girl coverI FINALLY finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn!!! It’s taken me forever to read this book, mostly because I started off listening to the audio book version. The audio book I was listening to is about 19 hours long, and I got about 2/3 of the way through it and just couldn’t take it anymore. My library’s copy came in at a convenient time, and I just couldn’t resist snatching it up and reading the rest of it. I never expected this book to go in the directions it went, and I really enjoyed the twists and turns that it had. A review will be up soon!

What do you think you’ll read next???

catcher in the rye coverI’m looking forward to doing some rereading of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger in the near future with one of my friends. I read it in my freshman year English class but I don’t think I got a lot out of it. I’m really interested to see how I like it the second time around.

What are your answers to these questions? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesdays: January 7th

WWW WednesdaysWWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading that asks three questions:

What are you currently reading???

wuthering heights coverRight now I’m reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. This is my first novel by any of the Bronte sisters, and the idea of this one in particular has intrigued me for quite some time. So far I’m really enjoying it!

gone girl coverI’m also still reading Harry Potter y la cámara secreta by J.K. Rowling, (which is the Spanish translation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and listening to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

What did you recently finish reading???

life after life coverThis past weekend was the tail end of my winter break from school, and fortunately I was able to get a good amount of reading done! I finished the last part of Life After Life by Kate Atkinson that I had left after New Year’s Day. It’s definitely one of those books that lingers in your mind even after you finish reading it. I feel like I’m constantly thinking about the story and trying to figure out exactly what happened at the end. It was an open-ended conclusion with a lot of different possibilities, and I keep going in circles trying to piece together what happened. I don’t think I’ll ever figure it out for sure (and I don’t think the author completely intended us to) but I’m enjoying mulling it over nonetheless. It was a fantastic read, especially for fans of WWII stories or historical fiction in general.

the five people you meet in heaven coverI also was able to finish The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom, which I really enjoyed as well. It’s under two hundred pages and took no time to read at all, but it was still a very powerful and meaningful story.

What do you think you’ll read next???

Hopefully I’ll be able to read another book from my physical unread TBR pile before I get too tempted to check out all the lovely library books!

What are your answers to these questions? Let me know in the comments section below!

Happy New Year!!

HOLLY

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesdays: December 17th

WWW WednesdaysWWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading that asks three questions:

What are you currently reading???

At the moment I am nearly half way through 1776 by David McCullough, and so far I’m really enjoying it. This time in American history never ceases to fascinate me, and McCullough does a great job at telling the story of what transpired.

With my AP English class I am reading the play Antigone by Sophocles, which is in the same “series” as Oedipus Rex. Normally plays aren’t really my thing, but these I’m actually really liking these ones!

And I’m still reading Harry Potter y la cámara secreta by J.K. Rowling, (which is the Spanish translation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and listening to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

What did you recently finish reading???

This past week I read Oedipus Rex by Sophocles with my AP English class, as well as one of the best books I have read all year: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Oh. My. Goodness. This book was SO amazing! It was chilling and thought-provoking and incredibly well written. I can’t wait to write a review!

What do you think you’ll read next???

No idea! I plan to finish all of the books I’m currently reading before moving on to any others, so I might just stick with these for a while.

What are your answers to these questions? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesdays: December 10th

WWW WednesdaysWWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading that asks three questions:

What are you currently reading???

Right now I am about two-thirds of the way done with The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Oh my goodness, this book is FANTASTIC. If you’re a fan of George Orwell’s 1984 or stories like that, then I definitely recommend giving this one a try!

Over the weekend I started listening to an audiobook that I’m really excited about. Drum roll, please!

I’m finally reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn!

And I’m still reading Harry Potter y la cámara secreta by J.K. Rowling, which is the Spanish translation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 

What did you recently finish reading???

This past week I managed to finish two books! The first was Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, which was short and sweet and just a really fun read.

I also finished listening to the audiobook of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. While there were a few things I didn’t like about it, overall I did enjoy it.

What do you think you’ll read next???

Probably the short story collection called Let It Snow by various YA authors. I read it last year and really want to read it again before Christmas.

What are your answers to these questions? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesday: books on my winter tbr

top ten tuesday

Hi everyone! It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the awesome blog The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is an interesting one: Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR. Whenever I make To Be Read lists I always have the best intentions in mind, but very rarely do I end up actually reading all of the books I say I’m going to. So this list is a very loose, non-binding compilation of books that I would like to read in the near future! In no particular order:

  1. Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter
  2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  3. Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
  4. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  5. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
  6. Only Everything by Kieran Scott
  7. The Silent History by Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby, and Kevin Moffet
  8. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stief Larsson
  9. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
  10. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What books are on your winter TBR? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY