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The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka Edition:LibriVox audiobook (public domain).  This was read by David Barnes, who also recorded Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.  His reading style is easy to listen to (not too slow or too fast or anything), and I highly recommend it. 
My overall rating:  5 out of 5 stars.  This would probably be on my list of must-read's.

"One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug."
When I first considered reading The Metamorphosis, I had mixed feelings about it.  I had heard it was a classic, and I knew the basic plot.  But was it just going to be another one of those dark, melancholy, speculative books with little or no definite meaning?  It's a short book (the LibriVox recording is only about 2 1/2 hours long).  I decided to give it a try and listen to it in the car, on my way to and from school.

The opening sentence above is, I think, far more in…

You know you've been reading too much Moby-Dick when...

...you glance at a shopping list and, for a split second, read one of the headings as "Whale Fishery".  What it actually says is "Whole Foods".

Years ago, when I first tried to read this book (and stopped halfway), I thought it was the most boring classic I'd ever read, as well as one of the hardest books I'd ever read.  The plot is pretty simple--an insane captain sets out to get revenge on a whale.  The book, however, happens to be over 600 pages long.  It alternates between telling the story and talking about whales, with whole chapters that read like encyclopedia articles with author's commentary.

Surprisingly enough, though, this time I like it.

The writing style is very interesting.  It's first-person, but the narrator is able to tell the reader practically as much as third-person narration does.  Sometimes the narrator tells the story like any other author, with even comic relief.  Other times he goes on for chapters about whaling, and whales, …

Catriona

WARNING:  Contains Kidnapped spoilers!!!

Catriona
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Edition: Polygon, paperback
My overall rating:  4 out of 5 stars

The last chapter of Kidnapped was very nearly a complete, happy ending: Alan Breck was soon to escape to freedom in France, and David Balfour outwitted his selfish uncle and finally came into his inheritance.  David's story is far from finished, however; with the Appin Murder trial impending, he feels it his duty to speak on James Stewart's behalf, and it's not an easy mission, especially when he can't even be sure that the most powerful man who could help him--the Lord Advocate--is trustworthy.  David's own position, as a witness of the murder, is also precarious.  Still only a teenager and overwhelmed by all of this, he strives to work his way through a scheming world, become a gentleman, and win the love of beautiful grey-eyed Catriona Drummond.

My thoughts:  Stevenson considered this book to be one of his best, if not his best. …

Kidnapped

Kidnapped
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Edition:  Polygon, paperback.  HIGHLY recommended--very durable, elegant, and readable.  I think it will last much longer than most paperback books.
My overall rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Scotland, 1751. Sixteen-year-old David Balfour sets out to claim his inheritance from Ebenezer Balfour, a reclusive miser who lives in a dark mansion called "the House of Shaws". Through others' deceit and his own naivete, David gets kidnapped and soon finds himself landing in one misfortune after another, drawn away from his home in the familiar Lowlands country, and deeper into the Highlands, a place oppressed by English rule. He meets Alan Breck Stewart--a Highlander, rebel, and hunted man; and, after David himself unknowingly becomes an outlaw, David starts to view his country in a different light.  He also comes to understand that life is complex, and that you can't judge people by what they appear to be.

My thoughts: This is a brilli…