wilderthan: ((Books) And shoes)
[personal profile] wilderthan
Before I write my review, I like to poke around and read other reviews, on amazon and goodreads and by searching google. I like to see if anyone's picked up something I missed that's worth thinking about, or if people are being perfect idiots about it. I've read that this book is terribly boring and you'd be better off reading a cereal box, I've read that this book is not suitable for girls, and I've read that it isn't suitable for Americans because the spelling is "weird".

Note my gender.

And the interesting fact that I'm supposed to deal with American spelling, but the Americans can't deal with ours... Ah, hypocrisy.

Anyway! The Thirty-Nine Steps is, apparently, one of the first spy novels. It's not a genre I'm incredibly interested in, but usually when I come across a mystery novel or whatever, I can get engrossed in it. This one's a very quick read, my copy is only a little over a hundred pages long, though the writing is quite small and close, which was a liiiittle irritating. Couldn't actually read it in bed without my glasses on!

That aside. It's quite a fun little story: tightly plotted, with several daring escapes and breathless moments. Suspension of disbelief is necessary, but not too necessary. The main character isn't the most likeable man in the world -- rich, bored, quite skilled at deceit, quick-tempered, a little whiny... But he isn't that bad, either. At least, I didn't particularly want him to get caught and killed. The writing was readable, too, quite immediate despite the past tense, and I didn't notice any particularly clunky parts.

It didn't bowl me over, not to the extent that I'd say "it was amazing" (five stars), but yeah, I "really liked it" (four stars).

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-05 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lil-1337.livejournal.com
The fact that it is not suitable for girls or Americans makes me want to read it. I really like mystery suspense so that is a plus. The whole comment about the spelling really annoys me. I read books from all over the world (some in translation) as do most of the people I know. Frankly, there is a bigger issue with something being confused by slang or differences in meaning than "weird spelling".

While I have known some ugly Americans, even been related to a few, sweeping generalizations like the one quoted above make me twitch. It is grossly unfair to those of us who really make an effort to see the world beyond the end of our noses and our shores. /whiny rant. *slinks off*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-05 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wilderthan.livejournal.com
Yep! I would too, if I were you. It really gets to me how silly people are sometimes... And given that it was written before WWII (during WWI, I think) means that slang and differences in meaning are likely between even the book's English and modern English...

I have lots of American friends who can see beyond America, which is a comfort...

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-05 07:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lil-1337.livejournal.com
That would make it tough with dealing with the changes in language. English in all its variations tends to be a really rapidly changing language.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-05 07:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wilderthan.livejournal.com
I didn't have much trouble, but then, I'm a lit student and used to reading older stuff.

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