[Novel] The House of the Spirits (Isabel Allende)

The House of the Spirits

Book

A poignant record of four generations of a very memorable family in post-colonial Chile.

Positive:
Negative:
Profound, interesting, likable characters
A few parts of the story might feel a bit slow
Interesting story inspired by historical facts
Relatively engrossing plot with a couple of cool twists here and there
Enlightening on Chilean culture and history

 

[Novel] The Old Wives’ Tale (Arnold Bennett)

the old wives' tale

book

A novel that narrates the entire lives of two very different sisters in late 19th century England and France.

Positive:
Negative:
Sarcastic, thoroughly evocative prose that’s just a joy to read
Not the most original concept in the world
Interesting, likable, profound characters
Relatively engaging plot
Enlightening on late 19th century England and France
Thought-provoking on life

[Novel] Rite of Passage (Alexei Panshin)

rite of passage

book

The novel starts interesting by introducing a world of people living in spaceships and only descending to planets for a rite of passage to prove their survival skills, but the rest of the plot turns out to be a pretty generic coming of age story with more or a fantasy vibe than science-fiction.

Positive:
Negative:
Interesting sci-fi setting
Predictable and dull plot
Likable, relatively profound characters
The story is nothing special
Thought-provoking about how deeply cultural differences can separate societies

[Novel] The Sheltering Sky (Paul Bowles)

the sheltering sky

book

A novel about a couple that bit a bit more than it could chew by figuring money was all they needed to survive in the alien culture of Morocco.

Positive:
Negative:
Exotic setting
Predictable narrative
Interesting, profound characters
Never gets particularly exciting
A relatively engaging plot
Enlightening on Morocco culture in early 20th century
Thought-provoking on cultural disconnect

[Novel] Angle of Repose (Wallace Stegner)

angle of repose

book

A fascinating account of the frontier-era USA that’s inspired by real people and even weaves some of their actual authentic letters into the plot.

Positive:
Negative:
Interesting, profound characters
The story isn’t particularly exciting
A relatively interesting plot inspired by real historical facts
Enlightening on the frontier-era USA