BOOK REVIEW: The Picture Of Dorian Gray – by Oscar Wilde

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Title: The Picture Of Dorian Gray
Author: Oscar Wilde

Genre: Classics, Fiction, Fantasy
First published: June 20th 1890
Publisher: Random House
Finished reading: December 15th 2016
Pages: 254
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“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”

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I have been neglecting my classics way too much this year, so I decided to try and make up for it in this last month of 2016. The Picture Of Dorian Gray has been one of those classics that has been on my radar for a while now, especially since so many fellow bloggers seem to have enjoyed this classic. Now I’ve finally read this novel by Oscar Wilde, I can understand why. Reading classics can normally tend to present quite a challenge, but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to read The Picture Of Dorian Gray even though it has been written back in the 19th century. The first part is probably the strongest of the story, as the pace slowed down considerably in the middle with the appearance of a lot of long ‘pointless’ lists where Dorian went on and on about random things. Thankfully the pace picked up again later on and the final part is almost as good as the beginning. In general I had a great time reading this classics and it is without doubt a fast-paced and well written story that can entertain us even today. Recommended!

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When Dorian Gray sees the finished portrait Basil Hallward has painted of him, he has such a fear of growing old and unattractive he decides to sell his soul in exchange for eternal youth and beauty. Dorian seems to have switched places with the portrait; he doesn’t seem to age a day, while the portrait is affected by all he does is life… And it is something that might destroy him in the end.

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I’ve had mixed experiences with reading classics in the past, but The Picture Of Dorian Gray has turned out to be one of those exceptions. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this story, and how fast-paced and how easy it was to relate to the story. There is quite a strong message behind the beautiful prose and intriguing plot, and it is without doubt one that can be connected to the 21st century as well. If you are looking for an interesting classic that mostly reads like a train, The Picture Of Dorian Gray is an excellent choice.

WWW Wednesdays #116 – December 21st

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I was in the mood for a psychological thriller and couldn’t resist the temptation of my Netgalley copy of The Gift by Louise Jensen any longer. I’ve seen a lot of raving reviews around, and they are totally right when it comes to this story. Such an original and refreshing plot! It’s well written and fast-paced as well; definitely worth it. I have also started From Sand And Ash by Amy Harmon, which is turning to be another well written story with beautiful prose. I’m having a feeling I will be able to finish both soon! I’ve also made some progress with my second audiobook ever and a classic: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I’m about 5 hours into the story now and I’m liking it better than I thought I would. It’s going to be the second classic in a row I actually enjoy reading in a while!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished is The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about this classic, and I can definitely agree with those who enjoy this classic now that I’ve read it. The first part is probably the strongest of the story, as the pace slowed down considerably in the middle and there were a lot of long ‘pointless’ lists where Dorian went on and on about random things. The final part is again better and all in all it is still a pretty fast-paced story for a classic as well. Recommended!
* I second book I was able to finish was Down The Rabbit Hole by Julia Crane. My copy was a granted Netgalley wish and I was really looking forward to it, but unfortunately I can’t say it lived up to expectations. I was so happy when it turned out to be an Alice In Wonderland retelling, but my initial excitement turned into disappointment. It started out promising enough and Alice is an interesting character, but there are a lot of innecessary and annoying romance scenes (including annoying tropes like insta-love and love triangle) included that didn’t add anything to the plot. The Lacie chapters are weak and the last part of the book was a little too ‘weird’ to my taste. All in all not what I was expecting at all.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I’m a bit behind with my Netgalley ARCs, so I have three titles up next. Witness by Caroline Mitchell and Missing by Monty Marsden will work perfectly to feed my thriller addiction… And Point Of No Return by Martha Gellhorn was actually published yesterday and I need to read it ASAP. It sounds like such an interesting story! My next TBR jar pick is still Little Women by Louise May Alcott, which I’m hoping to read before Christmas but probably won’t be having time for.

WWW Wednesdays #115 – December 14th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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  • I’ve actually just decided I will be DNFing Tipping Point by Tomas Byrne. It was taking me way longer than expected to finish it because of the slow pace and the fact that I feel this story simply isn’t for me. I’m having a hard time to stay focused on the story, and I’ve decided to no longer force myself to continue. I’ve also started my second audiobook ever and a classic: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I’m about 3 hours into the story right now and I still have 10 hours left… I’m liking it better than I thought I would so far and I’m going to keep my fingers crossed I will be able to finish it before the end of this year. I’m also still only a few pages into The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, but I’m hoping to change that today or tomorrow.
  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished is Kill The Next One by Federico Axat, which was a very interesting psychological thriller with a lot of plot twists. The memory loss is an interesting twist that makes the story a lot more original, but I do have to admit I found things to be a bit too weird at some points. It took me a little while to fully understand what was going on, and that took away a little of the reading pleasure. It’s still an interesting read though.
* I then picked up Catacomb by Madeleine Roux, mostly because that way I would be able to finish my fifth and final series this year. It turned out to be another fast-paced and entertaining horror read and a great ending to this series. The photos are a nice twist as always, although they are yet again not as strong as in the first book. I don’t think I will read the novellas, but the three books of this trilogy I can definitely recommend.
* The last book I was able to finish is Walk Into Silence by Susan McBride. It’s without doubt a fast-paced and well written psychological thriller and a new series that will be on my radar for sure. The main character and detective is a bit of a cliche, but the case they are investigating is interesting enough and there are a lot of plot twists involved.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I’m trying to read more books published before 2000 to finish a pending challenge, so I might read Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown next. I also need to read both Netgalley ARCs Down The Rabbit Hole by Julia Crane and From Sand And Ash by Amy Harmon soon…. And my newest TBR jar pick is still Little Women by Louise May Alcott., which I will probably pick up closer to Christmas.

WWW Wednesdays #114 – December 7th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m close to finishing Kill The Next One by Federico Axat. The story started out strong, but became a little weird later on… Fingers crossed the last part will make up for it. I’m also a few pages into The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and I’m looking forward to continue this classic later today. Finally, I’m about to start my very first Reading Alley ARC: Tipping Point by Tomas Byrne.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first decided to switch genres a bit and pick up a contemporary romance read. I wasn’t too sure about 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, but I remember I liked her short Christmas story last year and the travel theme sounded great. YA contemporary romance fans will without doubt love this book, but I have to admit it fell a little flat for me. Sure, the travel bits are quite interesting, but the whole plot just isn’t believable. I mean, why did her parents let her travel to Europe like that in the first place? And the things happening to her weren’t all totally believable either. It is fast-paced though and can be entertaining if you forget about the credibility details.
* I picked up Another Day Gone by Eliza Graham afterwards, and I have to admit I had high hopes for this book. Historical fiction, set during various generations, interesting blurb… It had all the right signs, but unfortunately I had a hard time enjoying this story. I couldn’t get a proper feel for the story OR characters and it was all kind of confusing. It took a long while for it to become clear what the story exactly was about, and those plot twists and suspense around the past were actually annoying instead of entertaining. It seems like a well-researched story and it has a lot of potential, but I couldn’t warm up to the actual story. Most people seem to love it though, so this might just be another case of unpopular opinion review.
* I then finally picked up another classic: The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. I was vaguely familiar with the story, but this is the first time I’ve actually read this classic. It took a while to get into the story, but the second half of the story was without doubt very entertaining. I don’t think it’s my favorite classic, but I definitely enjoyed it a lot better than his other story Treasure Island.
* Afterwards, I FINALLY picked up my copy of This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab. People kept telling me I should just read this one and that I would love it, and they were totally right. ADSOM is still my absolute Schwab favorite, but this one came a close second! Brilliant, just brilliant. The prose is just excellent and I love LOVE the worldbuilding. Like in Shades Of Magic, the worldbuilding isn’t all that complicated, but this simplicity just WORKS. The idea of Verity with its three types of monsters is intriguing, and I loved the main characters August and Kate. Both the dynamics between the characters and their development is very well done and I can’t wait to read the sequel next year. V.E. Schwab has definitely proven to be worthy to be in my TOP 10 of all time favorite authors!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I’m trying to read more books published before 2000 for a challenge, so I might read Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown next. I also need to read both Netgalley ARCs Walk Into Silence by Susan McBride and From Sand And Ash by Amy Harmon soon…. And my newest TBR jar pick is still Little Women by Louise May Alcott., which I will probably pick up closer to Christmas.