Book Review: A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Hello readers! I’m Alice from Alice Reads Classics, welcome back to my blog. Today’s post is going to be a book review of A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. This was a classic that I read after purchasing a free Kindle copy and while on a long bus trip, I really wanted something to keep me occupied during the travels.

Set in France, the main character Doctor Manette is released from prison and travels back to England to see his daughter. At the same time, two men called Charles and Sydney both men of class love the same girl called Lucie Manette. Dividing time between London and Paris, the setting is during the Reign of Terror, a time of much bloodshed and violence. Described as a ‘drama with personal tragedy’, it promised to be both beautiful and heartbreaking.

There is a strong trigger warning here for violence. Therefore, if you plan to read this book before bedtime, then be aware that it might be a little unsettling…

My favourite part of the novel was the last few chapters. They were full of thrills, action and a little bit of violence thrown in. It really helped to keep me on the edge of my seat (or in this case, bus seat!) and passed the time. Due to the length of the novel, there were times I felt bored and moments of info-dumping didn’t lighten my mood. The dialogue however I loved, giving me some character connection that I was hoping for.

I did give A Tale Of Two Cities three stars. I am undecided if I do want to pick this book up again in the future. For now, I’m happy that I gave the writing a chance!

Have you read A Tale Of Two Cities? Did you like the French setting? I’d love to know!

Alice x

Book Review: Beowulf by Anonymous

Hello readers! It’s Alice here from Alice Reads Classics. Today’s post is going to be a book review for the poem Beowulf written by anonymous. Now, when I heard firstly about the author’s identity being unknown, I had visions of me walking around an old warehouse with a detective outfit on and searching through boxes and shelves for clues. Yeah, I have read too much Nancy Drew XD

Beowulf was written sometime in the 800-1000AD and is described as an ‘epic poem’ by researchers. For this work to survive for hundreds of years, even after fire damage is incredible within itself. Set in Scandinavia, it uses verse to describe various battles and the upbringing of the Geatish hero. It involves a lot of warfare, dragons and kings fighting to the death.

I read the free Kindle edition off of Amazon Kindle. Which I was soon to learn was not the best decision to make. Although I loved the history behind the poem, I struggled immensely with the use of repetition. I wished that more varied language was used to add power and emotion to the verses. The pacing also was tricky to follow. There were moments where I enjoyed how fast it was moving, but others that physically made me have to go back and re-read parts in case I missed something important.

In the end, I rated Beowulf two stars and have no current plans to re-read it anytime soon.

Have you read Beowulf? What were your thoughts on this ‘epic poem’?

Alice x

I’m Related To A Famous Classics Writer?!?!

October 15th 2017- I’ve been debating for a while now about whether or not to write and post this up on my classics blog, not really sure what other people’s reactions are going to be like but you know what, I live by the motto YOLO (You Only Live Once) so here is the post that the title pretty much grabs your attention.

But yeah, the title itself is true, very very true. I am a relation to a Scottish classics writer who went on to influence one of the biggest names in literature. I am talking about the Scottish writer Tobias Smollett.

I am descended from one of Tobias Smollett’s siblings so that makes me a great niece but I don’t know how many greats, probably over 30 XD 

Anyway, some facts about Tobias that I think you guys should know. He was born in 1721 in Scotland and was a surgeon in the Navy. He married a Jamaican heiress called Anne and together had a daughter Elizabeth who sadly died aged 15. His books include: The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, Travels Through France and Italy and what I personally believe to be his best-known work: The Expedition of Humphry Clinker which was published the year he died (1771) He was 50 at time of death and is buried in Italy.

I was nine years old when I first found this out but only very recently have I actually wanted to know more about my ancestor. He did go to prison (naughty boy) and is also mentioned in a number of other classic novels of the 18th and 19th centuries including George Eliot’s Middlemarch, W.M Thackeray’s Vanity Fair and Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. 

Tobias wrote mainly satire which I have to confess is something I’ve never thought about trying to write but maybe sometime in the future? Who knows.

Charles Dickens in particular really loved Tobias’s books and said his writing really influenced his own books, most notably David Copperfield. 

A spooky thing I found out yesterday while I was talking to my boyfriend about Tobias was that his Humphry Clinker book is written in the form of letters and most of my stories I have started writing have been in letter form. Up until yesterday, I never knew that was how Tobias wrote, the similarities regarding the letters are there :O 

I’ve added going to see his resting place in Italy to my bucket list, I’m not sure Tobias would like my writing to be perfectly honest but I do think he would be encouraged to hear someone related to him also writing poetry and stories.

That’s all for this storytime post, most of Tobias’s books are available to purchase for free on Amazon Kindle. Have you read any books by him? I’d love to know!

Thanks so much for reading, to round off this blog post, I’ll leave a picture of his portrait so you can see what he looked like.

Alice.

 

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