Saturday, October 30, 2010


I don't know about most people, but I really really like reading the classics. And by that, I mean like Dickens and such. Sadly, I've never really read much of them, but I've keep meaning to read the works of Wilkie Collins, after a really good book about him (fiction though).

For the past two days, I've been reading two "classic" books, Eight cousins, by Louisa May Alcott and Vanity Fair, by (wait for it).... William Makepeace Thackeray (that's a long name). And these two books couldn't be more different.

Eight cousins, by the author that gave us Little Women (though I hated the sequels cause I though Jo should be with Laurie), is a really sweet novel, which may be too slow for some people. Maybe most people. It's basically about a little orphan girl, who goes to live with her six aunts and seven boy cousins, under the care of her uncle, who's a doctor that plans to make her better (a one year experiment to increase her health). She's so nice that she almost becomes a Mary Sue. I say almost, because she's likeable enough to escape Mary-Sue-dom. She's a little bossy, which is the best part of her; and she's the princess/queen of her cousins. It's fun, (for me) and is those ideal childhood type of stories, like Enid Blyton and the chalet series of books (which was fine at first, but I hated once the original characters had kids, I think that if the kids are protagonist, and you're not writing an epic, you should let them stay kids).

If you're wondering, the amazon link is here: (same cover as mine)

Vanity Fair, on the other hand, couldn't be more differerent than Eight cousins, even though I think it's set in the same periodwriten in the same period of time. This is because historical novels are those set in a different (past) time, while contempory novels, were set in their time (and just happened to survive the hundred or so years). It has the same name as the magazine (which I've never read), but reminded me first of the town in Pilgrim's Progress (the one allegory I can take). And according to Wikipedia, that's where the book title comes from. The book's fun mainly because of the narrator. Although the characters are real and likeable enough, the novelty (for me), is the third person narrator that talks to the reader, which increases the reader's engagement with the book, the prologue alone is a good indication. And the book takes itself lightly, talking about its characters, dismissing some as unimportant, skipping around time periods (because there are two plots, it's neccessary). It's also a very very very long story (my edition being 800 pages), but which is fine because it sustains interest. Another really cute thing are the titles (stuff like The Subject Continued), which (to me), pokes fun at itself, and provides a nice summary (sometimes not) of the chapter.

And once again, the amazon link:

Apparently, because these novels were serialised, they have a U sort of structure, with cliffhangers (eight cousins admits to being serialised, but I have no idea about Vanity Fair); and I wouldn't mind having a magazine that has lots of installments of novels, kinda like the manga magazines (the same thing happens in Japan, serialisation first, and if its popular, book form). Such a fun way to read, although, if the story is too exciting, it's horrible to have to wait to find out what happen, even though it'll probably result in a whole lot of fanfiction. (:

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