BOOK REVIEW: The Little Prince – by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

brthelittleprince

Title: The Little Prince
Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Genre: Middle Grade, Classics, Fantasy
First published: 1943
Finished reading: May 27th 2016
Pages: 98
(Originally written in French: ‘Le Petit Prince’)
Rating 3qqq

“All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.

myrambles1reviewqqq

I think this is one of those cases where I should have either read this classic 15-20 years ago or have waited until I have kids of my own to read the story to… Because I didn’t enjoy The Little Prince as much as I thought I would. Sure, it’s an interesting enough middle grade story with illustrations and all, but I have to be honest and say I wasn’t exactly blown away by it. It is a quick read and I’m sure children will enjoy it, but I can’t say the story sticked with me. In fact, only a week after reading this story which was originally written in French, I’m having a hard time remembering specific details… Which isn’t exactly a good sign. I’m not saying The Little Prince is a bad read, but I do think this classic has to be read at the right time and wasn’t really ment for adults in the first place.

shortsummary1reviewqqq

A little boy decides to leave the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, even though it means he has to leave behind his precious flower. He travels from planet to planet and learns more about the strange behavior of adults through the persons that live on those planets. Afer a long journey he finally ends up on Earth and meets the writer of this story in the middle of nowhere… And the writer is so moved by this meeting later on, that he decides to write down the little boy’s story.

finalthoughtsreviewqqq

I have been trying to read more classics lately and The Little Prince was high on my list. I somehow never read this middle grade story when I was younger (as far as I can remember), and unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this read as much as an adult. It’s not that the story is badly written and the illustrations will work perfectly with children, but I just didn’t find this classic by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry memorable at all. It might be the most translated book in the French language, but it sure isn’t my favorite.

Advertisements

BOOK REVIEW: The Metamorphosis – by Franz Kafka

brthemetamorphosis

Title: The Metamorphosis
Author: Franz Kafka
Genre: Classics, Fantasy, Fiction
First published: 1915
Finished reading: April 26th 2015
Pages: 201
(Originally written in German: Die Verwandlung)
Rating 3

“Was he an animal, that music could move him so? He felt as if the way to the unknown nourishment he longed for were coming to light.”

myrambles1review

The other day I realized I completely forgot to read a book for the 2015 TBR pile challenge this month, so I decided to pick up my copy of The Metamorphosis. To be honest, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect when I started reading this classic. It definitely wasn’t a story about a man who turns into an enormous bug! I don’t say it was a bad story, but I wasn’t blown away by it either. This novel by Franz Kafka is without doubt a quick read and I understand he was trying to make a philosophical study of how people react to a situation that changes everything… Still, I wasn’t completely convinced by it and I definitely don’t understand why The Metamorphosis is supposed to be one of the ‘most influential works of twentieth-century fiction’. I agree that a man who turns into an insect overnight is something that you don’t read every day, but ‘highly influential’? I’m not so sure about that.

shortsummary1review

Gregor Samsa is a travelling saleman trying to provide for his parents and younger sister. Everything works out perfectly until he wakes up one day not feeling quite himself. It turns out he was transformed into a gigant bug in his sleep! He has difficulties controlling his new unfamiliar body and his family is becoming increasingly worried as he hasn’t left for work and doesn’t open the door… When Gregor finally manages to open the door, they are completely shocked and disgusted by the new Gregor. They lock him into his room and leave him in isolation, with only his sister coming in sparingly to give him some food. The family has to find a new way of supporting themselves, and Gregor is soon seen as a burden rather than a family member.

finalthoughtsreview

The Metamorphosis was not a bad novel and it even had some funny moments, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it either. The prose is good, but I couldn’t really connect to the characters and I wasn’t convinced by the way the story ended. This novel by Franz Kafka is short and entertaining, but I’m not sure I would call it an influential classic. Still, I’m glad I’ve finally read it; at least I know now what all the fuss is about.

BOOK REVIEW: Eating Animals – by Jonathan Safran Foer

breatinganimalsa

Title: Eating Animals
Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
Genre: Non Fiction, Philosophy, Health, Food
First published: 2009
Finished reading: December 4th 2014
Pages: 341
Rating 4,5

“Isn’t it strange how upset people get about a few dozen baseball players taking growth hormones, when we’re doing what were doing to our food animals and feeding them to our children?”

myrambles1review

This is not a book about vegetarianism like the title Eating Animals might suggest. Nor am I are vegetarian or will I ever be; I enjoy eating meat too much to give it up all together. But this non fiction book by Jonathan Safran Foer sure left me thinking about my choices when buying and eating meat. In Eating Animals, he tells us about his three year investigation of what is REALLY going on in the meat industry. Safran Foer decided to investigate after his son was born; he wanted to make sure he was making the right choices for his kid. And after what he found out, he became a vegetarian. Says enough about the results, right? Safran Foer mixes facts with parts of his memoir focused on food, and is able to show us perfectly why he decided to stop eating meat all together. I respect his decision and I will definitely be more careful when buying meat. Eating Animals is what you call a ‘heavy’ read with a strong message, but definitely worth reading! The investigation is focused on the US meat industry, but without doubt the results apply to other countries as well.

shortsummary1review

Safran Foer starts his story by explaining to us why he wanted to start his investigation in the first place. Food has always been important in his family. He already had some vegetarian experiences during college, but when his son was born he started to ask himself more and more why we do eat animals. We associate food with certain memories, and while he has some precious memories involving meat, he wanted to make sure including meat in the memories of his child would be the right thing.

The meat industry isn’t the same as a hundred years ago. Before, animals were raised and cared for at family farms, and in general had a relatively good life at those farms. But with the population and the meat demand increasing over the years, things changed. The so-called factory farms were born, and animals were treated more and more like mere objects. Torture, genetical manipulation, cruelty…The chickens, pigs, cows and other animals of today in general don’t have a happy life at all. Deprived of all basic humane living standards, those poor creatures in general suffer ever single day of their short life at factory farms. And the situation at slaughterhouses is not much better. Unnecessary cruelty during slaughter is a thing so common that even family farms that don’t want their animals to suffer have a hard time finding ‘proper’ slaughterhouses. Animals at factory farms are injected with hormones and are genetically manipulated so they grow faster while eating less. Hormones we later ingest when we eat their meat… And that is only the start of possible health risks and consequences of the current meat industry.

finalthoughtsreview

Eating Animals is without doubt an interesting read that really makes you think about where your food really comes from. It is not a light read and people with a weak stomach might not enjoy it. Otherwise it is definitely recommendable to both vegetarians and those who enjoy their meat like me, but want to know how to make better choices when buying and eating animal products.

BOOK REVIEW: The Alchemist – by Paulo Coelho

brthealchemista

Title: The Alchemist
Author: Paulo Coelho
Genre: Classics, Fantasy, Philosophy
First published: 1988
Finished reading: March 18th 2014
Pages: 197
(Originally written in Portuguese: O Alquimista)
Rating 3,5

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”

myrambles1review

I’ve been wanting to read the work of Paulo Coelho for while now, and I finally decided to read one of his most famous novels, The Alchemist. It was a shame I couldn’t find a version in Portuguese, but for now the English translation will have to do. I must be honest to say I didn’t know what the story was about before I started reading. (Which I call rather ignorant, but hey, I can’t be knowing every book can I?) So I was both surprised, awed and irritated by the deeper meaning of the story. It might be contradictory, but in a way the message of the story was a bit too religious for me. Still, the part of ‘following your dreams’ and ‘listening to your heart‘ I can really relate to. It is a relatively short novel and if you haven’t read it, I suggest you do… Who knows, it might inspire you!

shortsummary1review

The Alchemist is about a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago who had the same dream twice. Both a gypsy and a man who calls himself king confirm that his dream was a vision, and convince him that he should follow his dream. There is a treasure waiting for him somewhere, and to find it he should cross the sea to Africa. The supposedly king tells him he will find the treasure near the Pyramids in Egypt, and he should follow his heart and read the omens send to him in order to get to his destination. Various obstacles cross his way, but they only help him grow and learn more about himself. Even love cannot stop him from his goal, and he opens his eyes to the Soul of the World… Until he finally understands.

finalthoughtsreview

Although part of The Alchemist is too religious in a way, I do understand the overall message Paulo Coelho is trying to give. And while I may not agree with all of it, I still can relate to some parts like ‘following your dreams‘ and ‘listening to your heart’. I guess most people will be able to relate to some of the philosophical messages in The Alchemist, and it is without doubt and interesting read.