Pride And Prejudice

When I started reading this book I was a little skeptic whether I would like it or not. My view of classic books has been somewhat tainted ever since I was young, where in school we were made to read these books which we then discussed in class. I always loved reading, so you would think I wouldn't have had a problem with this, but I did. The fact that I didn't have a choice in reading them and had a limited amount of time to do so interfered with me enjoying the book I was reading. I have lately been hearing a lot about Pride And Prejudice and other books by Jane Austen, and since I never picked up this one before I thought I would give it a try, but of course not without any skepticism. I was very surprised when just a few pages in the book I was enjoying it and as I continued to read I was even more caught up in the story. Set in the 19th century, it was common then that a woman like Mrs. Bennett would be distressed that none of her five daughters were married yet, and it seems that the whole purpose of her life is to see each of them settled with a nice man that has an agreeable income. When Mr. Bingley comes into the picture and shows his interest in Jane, the eldest of the sisters, she is quite convinced that they will get married soon and this will open up new opportunities for her other daughters. However this was not to be and all of a sudden Mr. Bingley and his party move away without any word. During this time, Elizabeth, the second eldest of the sisters has her views on the situation which are quite surprising for a woman at that time. Elizabeth is a feminist and is determined not to compromise her happiness by marrying the first man that requests her hand and is not afraid to reject a proposal if she doesn't see it fit for her. The book is aptly named as pride and prejudice causes ill judgment of each other, where Mr. Darcy is perceived by everyone to be a proud man that only speaks to people of his own kind, and the prejudice between the characters hinders their true feelings and actions from being understood. Austen has intelligently constructed each character and situation that it makes you feel like you're part of it all. After reading this book I can understand better why it is called a classic, and it has definitely set the path for me to read other books by Jane Austen as well as other classic books with an open mind.

Flowers For Algernon

At the beginning of the book, Charlie Gordon is in his thirties and has an IQ of 68. In an effort to become smarter he starts attending the Beekman College Center for Retarded Adults, where his will to learn is noticed and he becomes a candidate for an experimental surgery to increase his intelligence. This procedure has only been performed on mice before, and has been highly successful on a specific mouse called Algernon. The story is made up of Charlie's progress reports which his doctors ask him to start keeping before the surgery and throughout his experience. From his reports you can see how Charlie progresses and his intellect grows, while he starts remembering about his childhood and how he came to where he is today. This transition is hard for Charlie as he begins to understand how the people he thought were his friends were only making fun of him and taking advantage of the fact that he was mentally challenged. When Algernon's abilities start to decline, Charlie is distressed and he realizes that he only has a limited amount of time to find out why this is happening. Charlie's journey of self-discovery is both sad and moving and it made me feel for Charlie as near the end the inevitable occurred. This is definitely one of the best books I have read in a while and it's no wonder that Daniel Keyes was the recipient of the Nebula Award given by the Science Fiction Writers of America for the best novel of the year.