13 Utterly Disappointing Facts About Books- Buzzfeed Article
All of this is extremely depressing, especially number 8. Two Barnes and Nobles and a Half-Priced Books closed down in my town, so I literally have to drive forty-five minutes or so if I want to browse for books.
Don’t you people understand? I’m like Tinkerbell- but instead of applause, I need books to live!
I’ll be honest- up until last week I would have firmly placed myself in the “I hate William Faulkner” camp. I read some of his short stories in high school, was completely unimpressed, and swore that I would only read anything else he had penned under extreme duress.
I think needing to read the book to properly study for the comprehensive test that I need to pass in order to graduate college qualifies as “extreme duress,” doncha think?
So I bought the book. I started to read. And I was immediately transfixed. Not because my perception of Faulkner as a writer had been magically changed after the first page (no, I still thought he sucked), but because I was confused. Why did the book start off with the perspective of Benjy, the mentally challenged youngest child of the Compson family? How are the readers supposed to piece together what is happening when the timeline shifts from present to future in almost every new paragraph? What, exactly, happened to Caddy, the girl who smells like trees and was adored (to the point of obsession) by two of her three brothers?
The best way to get me caught up in a book is to give me a puzzle or a mystery to work out. This one- with the unreliable narrators and changing timelines- really kept me involved. I wasn’t bored while reading. I was frustrated, and confused, and the notes that I wrote in the margins definitely showed that (Example: “Why are there two Quentins? Seriously, bro, why would you give two different characters of different genders the same name? Dammit Faulkner.”).
But I was never bored.
I actually ended up being completely enamored with the book, and especially Caddy, the girl who drives the whole damn plot and is basically the heart of the book but never gets a chance to speak for herself. We never see from her perspective- we only see images of her from everyone else’s. It’s a frustrating and brilliant move on Faulkner’s part that leaves us as confused and entranced with Caddy as her brothers are.
So yeah. I really loved this book. My prejudices were completely unwarranted.
My apologies to Mr. Faulkner.
I bought this book on a whim at Half-Priced Books about a year ago. I wasn’t expecting much from it, to be honest- I’ve never really thought any books that attempt to adapt a Shakespeare play lived up to the original texts. They all ended up being pale imitations, and I’ve constantly found myself unimpressed.
Juliet, however, is different, and I’m so glad that I gave it a chance.
One of the books main strengths is how beautifully realistic the characters are. Juliet’s protagonist is remarkably relatable: Julie is a young woman who hasn’t yet discovered what she wants to do with her life and always feels as if she’s in the shadow of her more glamorous twin sister, Janice. Julie is wry, thoughtful, and extremely realistic; throughout the book I felt like she was more of a close friend than an ink-and-paper creation. The relationship between the sisters is one of the best parts of the book, by the way- you’ll find yourself reluctantly loving Janice because you simply can’t help yourself, which, you’ll soon realize, is exactly how Julie feels about her sister.
I don’t want to reveal much about the plot in fear of spoilers, but here are the bare bones of it: after their great aunt, who had raised the girls their entire lives, passes away, Janice is unexpectedly inherits everything and Julie is seemingly cut out of the will. However, her aunt instead leaves her a plane ticket to Siena and a letter explaining that her mother had something mysterious hidden in her safety deposit box in Italy- something so potentially valuable that she may have been killed for it. So Julie finds herself in Siena trying to unravel the mystery of her family, the roots of which go back a lot farther than she would have ever expected… and which has something to do with the true story that inspired Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
This novel basically has everything: beautiful, witty dialogue, a family curse, a relatable heroine, and a love story that spans generations. It’s a must read for anyone who loves history, romance, and (of course) Shakespeare.
My Rating: A+