Monday, September 26, 2011

25. The Adventures of Roderick Random

The Adventures of Roderick Random
Tobias Smollett
1748

I had a really weird experience getting this book.  I ordered it off Amazon and the book that was delivered started on chapter 47.  It doesn't say anywhere that it was a two volume set but whatever.  I ended up having to read the first half electronically (yuck!).  So just be warned if you want to buy this.  I have no idea why you would want to though.

This book is described as being quixotic so I was super excited.  The main character, Roderick, is completely unlikable.  I have read good books with anti-heroes but I think you were supposed to like him.  The author didn't seem able to make up his mind on that front.  The adventures that he partook in were just as frivolous as Don Quixote's but not funny at all.  I just kind of felt like I was reading pointless, boring trash.

Roderick was a major womanizer and yet you were supposed to be utterly enthusiastic about his love story.  Smollett also snuck in some random stories like Cervantes did but they were a lot less entertaining.  This whole book was a hit and a miss.  It was also a waste of my time.  The next one is supposed to be great though...

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

This is partly based on Smollett's own experiences as a naval surgeon.

Amazon can no longer be trusted.

No videos, aren't you used to it?

Monday, September 5, 2011

24. Clarissa

Clarissa
Samuel Richardson
1748

Yeah, I just read the longest real novel in the English language, what of it?

So the version I read was a nine volume set averaging on 390 pages a volume.  I felt like I had always been reading that book and would be for the rest of my life.  That is what I hate about really long novels.  I probably won't remember much of the story in twenty years, but I will remember the length.  It becomes an endurance test and then you never read it again.  Also, you get sick of it rather easily.  And I am proving my point right now by only talking about the enormity of it!

This book is like a really long version of Pamela but better.  While Pamela ends happily and the creepier parts are sugar-coated, Clarissa is much darker and tragic.  Clarissa Harlowe is, of course, beautiful, smart, and loving.  She is an object to pretty much everyone.  No one (besides her best friend) seems to care about her feelings or happiness.  All they care about is her looks and fortune.  Clarissa is not okay with this, and dreams of living a single life, which makes her very modern for her time.  Unlike Pamela, her family doesn't care at all about her and continually tries to make her marry Solmes.  She then is tricked into moving in with supervillian Lovelace to escape from marital doom.  Lovelace is like Mr. B 2.0.  He is smarter, darker, and meaner.  He reminded me of the Terminator.  He just couldn't be stopped.  Hint for what happens: unlike in Pamela, fainting doesn't save Clarissa.

This book is absolutely exhausting.  So is it worth it?  I would say, yes.  You should probably space it out and read something else during it if you are going to attempt this.  It is a great feeling to say you finished the longest book EVER!

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

The third edition of this book had over a million words.

There was a 1991 television adaptation of BBC.  I have had enough of these stories for a lifetime though.

I really enjoyed the character Anna Howe.  She was kind of like Elizabeth Bennet.  She was really witty and always said what she was thinking.

Very excited to see all my new followers:).