Monday, 6 May 2019

Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment
Author: Fyodor Dostoevsky
ISBN: 978-0486454115

Hi Everyone,

I started to hear snippets here and there about this book and I had to look and see if it was worth reading.  It is not very often that one hears of a classic title being tossed about, hence I looked deeper.  I am always particularly fond of reading books that are on curriculum lists and as this one was on the AmblesideOnline year 11 list I decided it was about time I opened a copy.

For me, this book was extremely unique.  I am used to reading mystery books where I am turning the pages to find out who did the crime.  Not so in Crime and Punishment.  You know who did the crime.  He is at the forefront of every scene and conversation.  You are left wondering if they will ever understand him or figure him out.  I sat reading and reading, turning page after page awaiting his capture. In the mean time I started to see more than a criminal.

This is where I found the book interesting.  I watch the News at night and I am ready to believe anything the media says.  I am ready to cast judgement by what the media claims.  But, I know nothing of the criminal or the full stories.  Hear me when I say I do not condone any crime!  The thing is that this author got me thinking of what is behind a crime and the punishment they place upon themselves both before and after such an event.

Before Raskolnikov commited his crime I had started to feel sorry for him.  He seemed like a normal sort of fellow that had hang ups from the past, cared for family and had loved and lost.  He was educated but unfortunate events had left him unable to finish.  Unfortunate circumstances had him living in a room the size of a cupboard and starving.  I could feel his hunger and thought of the anxiety I was reading and continual flashing of events that ran through his mind, I blamed on hunger and circumstance. I became so interested in how a person could become so twisted when I felt he had once been a young man looking to make something of his life.  Can life really twist a person so much that they would commit such a crime and believe they are justified in doing so?  And how could he continue to think he was justified right through the book?  There were times when I thought he was analysing on grounds of moral principle but he managed to make a moral stand for the crime, not against in his messed up little mind.  This made me look to the 'Spark Notes' and further to seek what I might have been missing.  I found myself looking to the events in Russia around the time of the writing of the novel.  I had to look at what nihilism entailed as it was apparently at large in Russia during the era of the books publication.  I searched nutrition and anxiety and depression and grief and... so much.  How can an author bring up so many questions?  I don't think any book has made me look into so many other things like 'Crime and Punishment' has.

What about the other characters because there were quite a few and they all had their own stories too.  Well, as for Porfiry, he drove me nuts!  He was just as mad as Raskolnikov only in other ways.  Sonja was kind but I was left wondering what life held for her beyond the pages and why she followed Raskolnikov when in reality she hardly knew him.  Raskolnikov's mother I thought was just as mad as her son but there may have been more to that also but I was so busy questioning Raskolnikov and Porfiry. And I need to admit I found the characters names so hard that I refuse to ever attempt to pronounce in public any of them (okay I can maybe do a couple).  The author Dostoevsky managed to show me so many different character traits and personalities that I was left questioning many things.  I may have re-read this in the future and see what I notice next time around because in another place in time I think I would look at different events and different characters that may be quietly nesting in the background.

Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with Porfiry, a suspicious detective, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption. As the ensuing investigation and trial reveal the true identity of the murderer, Dostoyevsky's dark masterpiece evokes a world where the lines between innocence and corruption, good and evil, blur and everyone's faith in humanity is tested.

Available from: Book Depository 

Happy reading

Thursday, 11 April 2019

A Separate Peace

A Separate Peace
Author: John Knowles
ISBN: 978-1-47113-910-9

Hi Everyone

It's been a few months since I posted a review.  It's not that I wasn't reading, it was just that I wasn't writing about them.  I took a break from writing so I could read some of the books that I really wanted to analyse with a different depth.  While doing so I got a whole new appreciation for the written word.  It is quite bizarre really because I spent so many years studying books and text for my studies/qualifications, but to do so for personal reasons is a whole different story.  I highly recommend you put your book down every now and then and think.  Really think about your taking in. 

Anyway, to 'A Separate Peace' and what I thought of this piece of literature.

This is another one of those books that I picked up a couple of years ago, read a few pages, and went on to another book that needed reading there and then. I could say maybe I was too busy to read it back then, but in reality I don't think I was ready for it. Not quite in the right zone to appreciate it.  I'm kind of pleased I waited until now to read it, and really read it, getting myself into the plot with the characters as though I there watching from the background.

I got to know both boys and understood each one and their unique prospectives.  There were times in my life where I had such friends and maybe I still do if I choose to analyse each of my friends.  I think we all have such friends and could relate to these two boys.  What made Gene shake the tree?  Was it as cynical as one could envision? Or was he acting on a rapid thought without realising the action was taking place or the consequence?  How would he know such extreme consequence would evolve?  These questions ran through my mind as I read.  I have children and some of the stupid non-thought out reactions they have had throughout their short life time is laughable. Hence, I don't believe Gene saw what was about to evolve.  I really don't. 

Then there is the young man that went to war.  He didn't see what was coming either.

What about the boys at the end, that set Gene up so the truth would come out.  Did they think of any consequences?  Did they see what could evolve?

How often do we adults think deeply before reacting.  And how often do the consequences bite back.

Maybe this isn't a story only for young people to read.

Then there were the lies.

Every boy was keeping a lie.  Living a lie of some sort.  Yes, most of these came out in the end as life progressed around them.  But who knew who was talking and living truth and who wasn't.  We all have faith that we can trust our friends.  We have to trust them or what is the point of the friendship.  When that trust is gone the friendship dismantles.  Some are repairable but sometimes going back is too hard.  But sometimes maybe it's harder to live the truth when you really believe the lie?  How do you judge the reasons behind others truth/lies?  How do we even know sometimes?

This book opened up so many questions like these.  

Have you read this book and come out with questions?  

Do you think Gene expected the outcome of his actions?

Leave me a comment of your thoughts, or answers.... I'd like to know what you found in the pages of this novel.


Set in a boys' boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II.  A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence.

Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual.  Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete.  What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

Happy reading

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

This present darkness

This Present Darkness
Author: Frank E. Peretti
ISBN: 9781581345285 

Hi Everyone,

I have had this book for absolutely years! 

And, I have finally read it 😀

I know you all have books that sit, and sit, and sit a little more waiting to be read.  Yep, that's me too.

To be honest with you all I first got this book when I was around 18 years old.  I then moved house a several times, got married and had children.  Along the way I lost the book but never get off my mind all the excitement of my friends when they read it.  Well about eighteen months ago (okay maybe even 2 years ago) I came across it in our local book store and grabbed a copy.  I took it home and started reading it but once again life took over and I also had authors approach me to read their books, so I put this one down again.

While looking at my TBR books and deciding which one to take on holiday, it jumped out at me and screamed "Read me!".  So, I took it with me.

I found the first chapter a little hard to grab, but it didn't take long for me to relax into my holiday mode and dive head first into the rest of the story.  

My goodness!  What a gripping read. 

I quickly flicked through every page and was disappointed when there were no pages left to turn.  I want read the next book in the series but have my concerns that I may be much like this one.  Has anyone out there read the rest of this series?  If so flick me a comment and recommend or not I'd love know what you recommend.

Anyway, I'm off now to pick up the next book in my TBR pile.  For the next while I will be only reading the books I have so wanted to read rather than the saying 'yes' to new authors.  I have found that over the last six months I have had so many requests that I haven't been reading the books I have purchased.... and they are looking at me with a certain expectancy 😂

So happy reading to you all.  I hope you have a good TBR list for 2019.


Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a prayerful, hardworking pastor begin to investigate mysterious events, they suddenly find themselves caught up in a hideous New Age plot to enslave the townspeople, and eventually the entire human race. The physical world meets the spiritual realm as the battle rages between forces of good and evil.

This Present Darkness is a gripping story that brings keen insight into spiritual warfare and the necessity of prayer. Since its original publication more than 2.7 million copies have been sold. The companion volume, Piercing the Darkness, continues the story of the battle between spiritual forces.

For more details and reviews head to Goodreads

Happy reading