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#30 Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

16 Mar
Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

Goodreads rating: 3.89/5 (87K+ ratings)
My rating: 6.5/10
First Published: 1958
Genre: Classic; Short Story

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a short story about a writer and his neighbour, Holly Golightly, who calls the man ‘Fred’ after her older brother. This name is all we know him as during the novella. Set in the early 1940’s in Manhattan’s Upper East side, Holly is a country girl turned New York socialite, who spends time with rich men who shower her in gifts. Throughout the book she slowly opens herself up to ‘Fred’ (who is eager to get to know her and be part of her life), revealing tidbits of her life story & personality along the way, however never really opening up.

I enjoyed this book – it was light-hearted, short, and easy to read. You never really get to understand Holly or what she’s all about, despite learning things about her past and personal life as the book progresses. She’s not easy to like – but I found her endearing, if not very flaky. ‘Fred’ is just a reliable, caring, shy guy who wants to know Holly and help Holly, but she never lets him in.

I recommend this book purely because it’s a classic and Holly Golightly is one of America’s best known cultural icons.

Notable quotes

Like many people with a bold fondness for volunteering personal information, anything that suggested a direct question, a pinning-down, put her on guard 

“We sort of just took up by the river one day, we don’t belong to each other: he’s an independent and, so am I” – Holly Golightly about her cat

“Well, I might be rotten to the core, Maude, but: testify against a friend I will not” – Holly Golightly

Her bedroom was consistent with her parlor: it perpetuated the same camping-out atmosphere; crates and suitcases, everything packed and ready to go 

-H-

If you’ve read this, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts or reading your reviews so please share any links!

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#25 A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

4 Dec
A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

Goodreads rating: 3.73/5 (438K+ ratings)

My rating: 5/10

First published: April – November 1859

Genre: Historical Fiction, Classics

The end was good!

I could almost leave the review at that. It took me FOREVER (as in 4 months) to read. Which for me is a very long time. I don’t think it’s taken me that long to read a book ever in my life. This was a) my first of the Classics that i’ve ever read, and b) my first Dickens novel.

Set in London and Paris, before and during the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities revolves mainly around a Doctor, Dr Manette, his daughter Lucie, her husband Charles Darnay, and barrister Sydney Carton. It literally is a tale of two cities involving these protagonists. The opening line is a very famous one, i’m sure you’ve heard it (even I had!)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…

I found it really difficult to read for the first 3 quarters. I found out later that this is probably because the 45 chapters of A Tale of Two Cities were originally published in 31 weekly instalments. Which makes sense as the whole story – up until the last third – feels really disjointed. I couldn’t remember who was who, and it wasn’t until quite a way into the book that you found out how people are connected. I think I’ll need to re-read it one day now that I know the ending, which will probably make the rest of the book more enjoyable.

From what I’ve heard as I’ve been moaning to various friends, family members, and colleagues about how long it was taking me to read this book, this was not the best Dickens to start with. Many people have told me that Great Expectations is a better Dickens story – and I currently have that sitting on my shelf to read in about 10 books time!

Even though I gave this a 5/10 I would still recommend the story. The ending is absolutely perfect, and I’d recommend you read it solely for that reason.

Notable quotes

She was the golden thread that united him to a Past beyond his misery, and to a Present beyond his misery: and the sound of her voice, the light of her face, the touch of her hand, had a strong beneficial influence with him almost always. – Doctor Manette

The time was to come, when that wine too would be spilled on the street-stones, and when the stain of it would be red upon many there.

I am desperate. I don’t care an English Twopence for myself. I know that the longer I keep you here, the greater hope there is for my Ladybird.  – Miss Pross

Far and wide lay a ruined country, yielding nothing but desolation. Every green leaf, every blade of grass and blade of grain, was as shrivelled and poor as the miserable people.

Death is Nature’s remedy for all things, and why not Legislation’s? Accordingly, the forger was put to Death; the utterer of a bad note was put to Death; the unlawful opener of a letter was put to Death; the purloiner of forty shillings and sixpence was put to Death; the holder of a horse at Tellson’s door, who made off with it, was put to Death.

-H-

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