I once heard JD Salinger’s writing described as “rich people complaining about being bored.” I think that description is remarkably apt for this book. Nine stories, every single one of which was of upper class being bored in a way that makes the reader bored. At one point, I stopped reading this to go burn through a more exciting book, and the only reason I could make myself return to it was because I was down to a single story (incidentally, the closest any story comes to being the “best” one of the group).
The writing was bland, the dialogue repetitive feeling without actually being repetitive, the characters empty and flat, and the stories went absolutely nowhere. I kept trying to assign meaning where there was none, and trying to imagine excitement where, again, there was none. I normally like Salinger, but this one? Only read it if you really feel the need to have read it. Otherwise, you won’t have missed anything particularly important. Or interesting, for that matter.
This isn’t one of Bradbury’s better books, but it’s still a pretty good (and quick) read. I especially like the almost short story format of it. Be warned, it is sad, but it’s also worryingly poignant. If you enjoy Bradbury, I think you’ll enjoy this.
Gulliver’s Travels was an absolutely fantastic read. I was expecting something dry and overwritten, but instead encountered a story that was funny, witty, and even moved at a decent pace. It’s no secret that Swift was a satirist, and every single race he encountered – from the diminutive Lilliputians to the talking horses ruled entirely by reason, to the horrifying feral relations to humans called Yahoos – was used as a mirror to attack and lampoon Europe, England, and humanity as a whole. I found myself laughing more than once as he would compare the habits of the peoples he encountered with those back home, and find himself defending his homeland without a clear argument as to why he could be right.
I highly recommend Gulliver’s Travels. If you let yourself get past the writing style of an early 18th century Englishman, you will be glad you picked this story up.
I’ll be honest, this was a decent read, but I was never overly impressed by it. I originally thought it might have been because of the sheer number of characters I didn’t know, but after reading 52 with that same deficiency but having no problem there, I suspect that was only a very minor thing. Really, the story just didn’t grab me. It was neat enough and worth the read, but frankly if I had never read it I wouldn’t feel at very much of a loss, ultimately.