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Kindle update #2

14 March 2011 by superlative

Following on from my previous post about what I have read on my Kindle, I can now add to the list:

  • Jane Eyre
  • Wuthering Heights
  • Silas Marner

I have also read Nineteen Eighty-Four in paperback, and I’m quite impressed that I have read eight books in the last 4-5 months. That’s more than I normally read, and I’m really pleased that having my Kindle as a new toy has made me spend more time reading than I have done for ages. It has also made me read lots of titles that I would never have picked up normally, so it has been a really good purchse so far.

Nineteen Eighty-Four was a really good book (I’m going to include it in this post even though it wasn’t on Kindle, because I’m a rebel and I make my own rules). It wasn’t really what I was expecting, based on the very vague ideas I had of there being a Big Brother in it and something about a box of rats. I enjoyed it very much, and found it more engaging and believable than Brave New World. The only problem I had with it was that many of the ideas and names of things in it (like Big Brother and Room 101 in particular) have been so cheapened by their use in popular culture that they had less impact for me than they would have done when it was written.

I quite liked that the protagonist wasn’t a dynamic sort of hero, and in many ways Winston reminded me of Pereira in Pereira Declares by Antonio Tabucchi, an Italian book I read at university. I quite liked Julia, despite her being a bit intentionally vacuous, and I enjoyed the depth and complexity of the world created by George Orwell.

I went back to my Kindle after Nineteen Eighty-Four and read Jane Eyre, which has knocked Sherlock Holmes off the top of the list of books I’ve most enjoyed on the Kindle so far. Again I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I found it an exciting and compelling book, much more so than I had anticipated given its age. It is hard to dislike the character of Jane Eyre, with her relentless determination and almost self-destructive adherence to her moral values. I also liked the way it is written as an autobiography, and the feeling of the entire arc of Jane’s life that you get from it.

Wuthering Heights, in comparison, I found a bit disappointing. Cathy and Heathcliff get referenced frequently today as these tragic, tempestuous lovers, and so that was what I was expecting the book to be about. In reality I found their relationship to be a relatively minor part of it, even if most of the events are affected by it. I didn’t expect Cathy to pop her clogs so early on (in quite annoying circumstances – her cause of death is quite wussy and dissatisfying), and then basically the whole of the rest of the book boils down to Heathcliff being horrible to everybody, all the time, just because he’ s a horrible person. It was OK, but as I said, I was disappointed.

Yesterday I finished Silas Marner, by George Eliot. I’d never even heard of it (although I’ve heard of George Eliot, I’m not thick), but I read it on a recommendation from a friend. I was surprised how good it was, and how in quite a short book you can become so attached to an unsociable old weaver in a little English village.

Most of the books that I have read on my Kindle have been set in the 19th century, and that has given them quite a similar feel. That is due mostly to me reading books that are free, which tend to be classics, and while that’s fine I have an appetite for something a bit lighter and more modern next. So my intention when I get home is to purchase Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen, again on a recommendation from someone. It should be completely different to what I’ve read so far, and it has some excellent reviews. I shall let you know what I think.


  1. Helen says:

    Of these I’ve only read Jane Eyre but I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would. It was much easier to read for a start. Although I have to say it was rather like a 19th century Mills and Boon. Not a bad thing necessarily but again not what I was expecting from classic literature. I read it a while ago so can’t remember if I liked Jane. I know I didn’t really swoon over Rochester like I’m supposed to but then arrogant, stubborn blokes don’t really do anything for me. It does annoy me a bit that Jane ends up taking care of this grumpy old cripple whose problems are all of his own making though.

  2. superlative says:

    At no point did I find Mr Rochester a sympathetic character. She spends the whole novel going “he’s not conventionally attractive, he’s not conventionally attractive” and THEN he gets his face burnt off. And he wasn’t even especially nice! So I agree, I didn’t swoon over him either.

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