October 2023 Books – Part 2

Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

This is apparently one of the funniest novels in English literature. I did not really find most of it funny but it was really amusing in parts. I have not read that much Dickens. Actually, I’ve only read Great Expectations before this and even though I feel like I’ve read A Christmas Carol, I haven’t actually read it. I keep forgetting that. I will read it for this holiday season. Back to Nicholas though, I did not find it that hard to read though there were a lot of tangents and side characters. I did like the principal characters but a lot of the women in the book are passive or two dimensional. It’s too bad because I think Kate had potential to do more but I think most Dickensian female characters are like this. I liked Nicholas too because of his loyalty to his family and Smike. Poor Smike. What a tragedy. This book is very melodramatic with a lot of villainous and horrible characters. All in all, I did find it engaging for the most part and Dickens is objectively a great writer how he weaves so much ridiculous drama and comedy for 800 pages.

3.75/5 stars. October 7-10, 2023.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Narrated by Kate Winslet. Read about this one from the Reading Glasses Slack. I wanted to listen to this before bed as it was one of my favourites as a kid. Winslet’s ability to change voices made it too intense especially since there was a lot of emotional child abuse. Her ability to become the awful Wormwoods was great. She did such a fantastic job. This was a good follow up to Nicholas Nickleby because it’s referenced twice. Maybe I subconsciously remembered it. I certainly did think about bad adults and headmasters. I usually do not like reading precocious children in books but Matilda is one of the exceptions. Most of the characters are so awful that you need a fantastical brilliant child like Matilda to teach them lessons. Very satisfying ending and reminded me why I loved it as a kid. I rewatched clips from the 1996 adaptation and it really is one of the best adaptations. Danny DeVito and the whole cast did such a great job.

4.5/5 stars. 1.1x. October 9-12, 2023.

Relaxation Revolution: The Science and Genetics of Mind Body Healing by Herbert Benson and William Proctor

This one has more details than The Relaxation Response so I liked it more. I am keeping ebook version to have as reference. Even though the info is repetitive at times, I’ve become a big believer in the relaxation response meditations.

4.5/5 stars. Sept 26-Oct 13, 2023

The Cartographer by Peter Twohig

A book club friend of mine who use to live in Melbourne lent this to me. This is a longer than average debut novel at 400 pages. It crossed a few genres as well. It is from the perspective of a middle grade kid who is known only to the reader as the Cartographer. The protagonist is having a rough time dealing with the grief and loss of his twin brother. It documents his adventures in his Richmond, Vic neighbourhood and all the violent and crazy things in the 1950s. It was slow because the writing is a bit too padded in parts, but once things got going, a lot happened. It’s an adventure story with a dash of thriller and some mystery. It’s a historical fiction and a coming of age story with elements of literary fiction. It’s ambitious and different. I wish more people knew about it because it was good.

3.75/5 stars. October 14-15, 2023.

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