Chuck takes after his mom (me) and is a total little bookworm (Barry, on the other hand, prefers sports – particularly fetch and laser pointer). Chuckie likes to keep up with the things that I’m reading for class, and has a lot of opinions on the literature he consumes, so he decided to put together a book review post.
(Beware of spoilers)
As You Like It by William Shakespeare | ★★★✩✩
Chuck is pretty ambivalent towards Shakespeare – he neither loves nor hates him. As You Like It is Chuck’s favorite Shakespeare play (although, to be fair, he’s only read a hand full in his lifetime). Chuck loves this play because he is a sucker for a good romance and heartwarming scenes. Rosalind and Celia are, in Chuckie’s opinion, one of the cutest friendships in literature, and he definitely ships Rosalind and Orlando as a couple. He also enjoyed the humor of the play – he couldn’t help but laugh every time Rosalind was in disguise and Orlando didn’t recognize her. Chuckie gives this play three stars for it’s entertainment value and wholesome scenes, but only three stars because he has a hard time connecting to literature that is almost 400 years old.
Sula by Toni Morrison | ★★★★★
Whenever Chuckie thinks of Toni Morrison, he turns into that heart-eyes emoji because he LOVES her. Chuckie and I read Sula for my African-American Literature course a year ago, and Chuckie could not put that book down! He found Sula to be a gorgeous portrayal of friendship, community, family, love…just life in general. There were no heroes of the book, only stunningly real characters that Chuckie couldn’t help but feel sympathetic towards. When Nel’s husband cheated on her with Sula…man did Chuck feel the absolute pain radiating out of those book pages, and he had to put that book down for a while to process that heartbreaking scene. Chuckie thinks that Sula and all of Toni Morrison’s books are must-reads for all humans and cats, so that’s why he gives Sula a full five stars.
Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman | ★★★✬✩
Chuck is a fan of horror and obscure stories, which is why he chose to read Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman. However, he has mixed feelings about it. He actually absolutely loves the short stories in the book. He finds they have fascinating topics, characters, settings. He loves that he can divulge them in bite-sized chunks right before he goes to bed.
But half of Smoke and Mirrors is narrative poetry, and for some reason, Chuckie isn’t a fan of it. Chuck actually really likes poetry, but he’s not a fan of the poetry in Smoke and Mirrors, but that might just be because he prefers his obscure fiction to be in prose instead of verse. Maybe that’s just a taste thing, but either way, Chuck gives this book three and a half stars.
“Chevrefoil” and “Lanval” by Marie de France ★★✬✩✩
Chuckie is partial to minority writers, including women, but he just could not really love “Chevrefoil” and “Lanval.” He believes that it might be because old British literature is just not his thing, so that might be a subjective dislike of it. He’s heard that Marie de France was one of the best women writers of early British literature, and he’s sure that’s true. To be fair, he wouldn’t rate any other of de France’s contemporary writers any higher than he has rated her poems. Although Chuck is a sucker for love stories, he could not really feel any emotions towards the characters in these two poems, so he gives her poems two and a half stars.
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon ★★★✩✩
Chuckie is only halfway through Gravity’s Rainbow, but he just had to talk about it right now (if you’ve ever read it, then you get why). Although Chuck doesn’t understand what’s going on half of the time in the book, he does recognize that it might be one of the most impressive books that he’s ever read.
It’s been a hard decision for Chuck to decide how much easy readability should influence the overall genius of a book. Is Gravity’s Rainbow genius even though it’s going to take multiple read-throughs to understand what is going on, if he ever does? Should good literature be more accessible? Regardless, after the first few episodes, Chuckie was able to find his groove and has gone on a roller-coaster of emotions throughout this book: pity, disgust, anger, confusion, fascination, shock, awe. And when Ludwig lost his pet lemming Ursula…the tears actually flower.
So, although Chuckie understands this book is a literary feat that must have taken a lot of research and intelligence to write, and even though he generally enjoys some of the episodes and some of the characters, he only rates it three stars due to its confusing episodes.
Do you agree or disagree with Chuckie’s reviews? Comment to let us know, and keep an eye out for his next review post!