So far on the lovely Kindle that I treated myself to in November, I have read:
- War of the Worlds
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
- Brave New World
War of the Worlds was good, particularly when you read it knowing that it was the first Martian invasion-type story written. It was also nice for me as a modern reader to read about an alien invasion set in a past version of Britain, as that gave it a very different feel to the stories you see now, although of course it was set in the present day when H. G. Wells wrote it. I did think that it ended extremely suddenly though, and so that was a bit disappointing.
Dracula was also good, and again it was interesting knowing that it was the origin of all the subsequent Dracula stories and much of the vampire lore that we’re now so familiar with. The main disappointment for me was Professor Van Helsing, who wasn’t at all as I had expected, but I suppose that’s because my image of him has been poisoned by later versions of the Van Helsing vampire-fighting character. I found his personality and his awkward use of English extremely annoying, as was the general sappiness of some of the other individuals in the book (I’m looking at you, Mina). And the same as with the War of the Worlds, I felt the story ended a little abruptly. I still enjoyed it overall and am glad that I read it.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was a recommendation from a friend, and is probably the novel I’ve most enjoyed so far from these four. I liked the short story style of each of the cases, and the fun you have in your mind trying to figure out the mystery yourself before Sherlock Holmes reveals all the details. All of these last three novels were set just before 1900 though, and so I was getting a bit fatigued by turn of the century England by the end of this one.
So to make a change I shot forward a few hundred years into the utopian dystopia of Brave New World. I have been wanting to read this for a while, and I really enjoyed it, particularly the first half. I was getting a little bit bored towards the end though, and as more and more of Huxley’s vision of the future was described I went off it a little bit. I realise it was written in the 1930s, but for me his world was so extreme and implausible that it failed for me as a warning against unbridled consumerism. It simply didn’t fit with my understanding of human nature and what people would and wouldn’t be prepared to give up, and so it drifted away from social commentary and became just a neat little fantasy that could never escape from the confines of the book. I’m again pleased that I read it though.
I’ll probably read 1984 next, but shock horror I shall be reading it on actual paper as Chris owns a copy of it and it’s not free on the Kindle.
My verdict on the Kindle in general though is that it is lovely to read on and works really well. And the added excited feeling of having a neat little gadget in my hand is a bonus that goes alongside the reading of books I’d probably never have bought in hard copy.