Micro reviews of some of my summer reading

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The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Well, that was one of the longest 250 pages novels I have ever read. And yet it all started so promising. An interesting premise, an atmospheric setting and then, just when I thought that the stage was set and the story would begin in earnest, Hawthorne instead choose to continue setting the scenes. Everything was described for pages upon pages, every plot twist foreshadowed to the point where I was bored by it before it even happened. Perhaps it would have been more rewarding to a closer reading but as I am not a very close reader at the best of times and even less so when I’m deeply bored (of fiction that is, I’m happy to dissect non-fiction when needed). I would have given it up halfway if I had not included it on my Classics club reading list.

Silas Marner by George Eliot

I read Middlemarch by George Eliot last summer and was deeply impressed, so naturally I had high expectations on Silas Marner. Especially as it features one of my favourite tropes, that of the grumpy old man, in this case the miserly weaver Silas Marner,  who opens up when he comes to care for a child (Goodnight Mr Tom is my favourite version of that trope). Perhaps my expectations were too high, at least I couldn’t help being slightly disappointed. Not that it wasn’t good, it was, but while the plot in Middlemarch seemed to flow naturally with only the slightest nudges from the author needed to put everyone were they should be, the plot in Silas Marner felt heavier and more contrived. As if the characters actions were done to ensure their just end, rather than stemming naturally from their characters. Of course it was still good,  with excellent writing, but I expected more.

Both Silas Marner and The House of the Seven Gables are on my Classics club reading list. Both are available for free from Project Gutenberg.

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “Micro reviews of some of my summer reading

  1. Hi,
    Nice meeting you. Lately new people are coming to visit my blog and I am finding keen readers to follow, which I love.

    I couldn’t agree with you more on The House of Seven Gables. Though I don’t regret having read it, its limitations put it as a good classic but not espectacular. I enjoyed the alambricated style and the Gothic feel, but I am afraid it’s like Silas to Middlemarch. Having only read Middlemarch I am not that interested in reading Silas after your review.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Silvia, I’m glad you came to visit!

      I rather like the House of the Seven Gables in the beginning, when I though that he was just setting the scene, it was just so frustrating that the plot never really picked up from there.

      I fear I may be a bit too hard on Silas Marner, it is very good with lots to recommend it such as beautiful writing and great characters. It is just a bit too sentimental and not on the level of Middlemarch, but on the other hand very few novels are. I probably would have liked it fine if I didn’t know that Eliot had written it…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol. I got you. I am still interested, but I know it’s on that secondary classics level.
        The funny thing is that the Victorian writers I have read, that have long books and shorter ones, usually shine more in the long ones, specially if they wrote them in installments. Maybe that gives them time and length to get a more complete work.

        Liked by 1 person

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