Monday, March 10, 2014

March's Mini Book Reviews Part 1

I really enjoyed writing the smaller reviews a couple weeks ago.  Therefore, I have decided to continue this series, which I stole from Vivatramp (check her out, she's awesome!).  So, here are mini reviews of the books I have read so far in March!

On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche
163 pages
     This was the first book I read for school this month.  This is actually my second time reading this book for philosophy class and I have to say, it gets better with repetition.  I find Nietzsche's writing style very difficult to understand as he buries his opinions below layers of sarcasm and contrary opinions.  However, with this reading, I think I managed to unpack the words enough to have a decent understanding of Nietzsche's philosophy.  In On the Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche attempts to discover the origin of human morality.  It grows into a discussion of the differences between master and slave morality which you can think of as predator and prey morality.  Nietzsche, after claiming that humans have grown out of the master morality and accepted the morality of the slaves, advocates for a new system of morals outlining all of the faults and advantages of the other two moralities.  I found the essay to provide and interesting perspective on the world, however, I would only recommend it if you are willing to analyze some difficult writing.

Rotters by Daniel Kraus
448 pages
     Rotters is a coming of age story mixed with horror and suspense.  It follows the life of Joey Crouch who moves in with his father, whom he has never met, after the accidental death of his mom. Joey quickly becomes the subject of torment at his new high school, it doesn't help that his father, Harnett, lives in a three room shack devoid of furniture, a shower, or food. Oh, and he's a grave-robber!  This is the setting for the crazy adventure which is Rotters.
     I cannot put into words how much I loved this novel.  Everything was foreshadowed brilliantly.  I knew certain aspects of the story had to happen thanks to the foreshadowing, but the way the events actually unfolded was unique and surprising.  On top of that, the character development was superb.  I'm not fantastic at picturing characters in my head but Rotters was so vivid and intriguing that I literally had a movie running through my mind.  The best part was that while reading, my image of Joey grew and changed along with the character.  I never thought a book about grave-robbers could be so moving and memorable.  If you have a strong stomach, as there are graphic descriptions of corpses, rotting bodies, and way to many rats, I would highly suggest picking up this novel!

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl
81 pages
     During my reading of Rotters, I needed a second novel to calm my over-active imagination before bed, so I picked up this childhood favorite.  If you don't know the story of this children's novel, three chicken farmers, annoyed at the consistent stealing of Mr Fox plot to kill Mr Fox and his family.  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Dahl's storytelling.  Mathilda and The Witches have always been some of my favorite novels and after being reintroduced to Dahl's world, I cannot wait to pick them up again!

Dr Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
56 pages
     While incredibly short, this play is so accessible and ageless that you would never guess that it was written at the same time as Shakespeare!  Dr Faustus follows the tragic figure of Faust, a German doctor so invested in the pursuit of knowledge and power that he willingly sells his soul to the Devil. This is a story I have seen retold multiple times in modern novels and it was interesting to read a more classic retelling.  There were quite a few of these now commonplace ideas, like the good angel vs the evil angel and the seven deadly sins, in Marlowe's novel and I enjoyed looking at these ideas from a different perspective.
     I had to read Dr Faustus for class this month, but I would suggest it to anyone who enjoys mythical retellings.  The language is easily acceptable to the modern reader despite being written in the late 1500s and I think this is the type of story everyone should read as it has become ingrained in our culture.

What have you read so far this month?

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