Tag: Harper Lee

Ralph Ellison – Invisible Man | Review

Title: Invisible Man

Author: Ralph Ellison

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 478

Rating: 3/5

Okay, first thing’s first – don’t get this confused with the H. G. Wells novel, as apparently some people do. There was no chance of that here because I’ve already read the Wells novel and I’ve also already come across Ralph Ellison, and so I’d been looking forward to getting to this one.

Unfortunately, I just didn’t really engage with it. It’s not as though there’s anything wrong with it, although it’s perhaps a tad overwritten here and there and it’s definitely way longer than it really needed to be. It gets its point across, but it gets its point across pretty early and then just keeps on reinforcing it.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate this book for what it is, and it was definitely an important milestone in modern literature, especially in America. It does a great job of portraying the African American experience and shining a light on it from a different angle. It’s just that it isn’t particularly accessible, especially to a modern reader. Or maybe that’s just because I’m a white British dude.

I suppose I was just hoping for something like To Kill a Mockingbird, and while this does cover a lot of similar societal issues, this leans too heavily on the message and doesn’t leave the reader any room to arrive at their own interpretation. It’s sort of clunkily done, and it doesn’t have the engaging core story line that Harper Lee had.

And here we arrive at my biggest problem with this book, and that’s that I just don’t have anything else to say about it. This poses a challenge, because each of my reviews has the same word count as the book has pages, and so I’m going to have to bulk this one out a bit. Sorry about that – but on the plus side, we only have 150 words to go.

I think what it all comes down to is that I had high expectations for this one and then it just didn’t quite deliver. It’s one of those contemporary modern classics that I’ve heard a lot about, and I’d been feeling bad because I hadn’t got to it. Then I picked it up and felt glad that I’d left it as long as I did.

So it’s not that it isn’t worth reading, it’s just that it’s definitely not for everyone and it also feels like a product of its time. If you can get over that then I’m sure that you’re in for a lovely old time, but it just wasn’t for me. It failed to grab my attention from the outset, and even if it had managed to redeem itself, I would have got bored again anyway. So maybe skip this one unless you have to study it.

Learn more about Invisible Man.

Ray Bradbury – Something Wicked This Way Comes | Review

Title: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Author: Ray Bradbury

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 278

Rating: 4/5



I picked this up as part of a buddy read with Graham Quigley on BookTube, but I’ve got to be honest, I pretty much whizzed through it in 24 hours or so. Graham said that there was something about the writing style that reminded him of Harper Lee, but it put me more in mind of The Night Circus if it had been written by Shirley Jackson.

What’s interesting here is that it was the writing itself that really stood out to me. It was beautifully done, and some of the sentences alone make it worth picking up. At the same time, though, the characters felt pretty fleshed out and the plot was fantastic, if a little weird and occasionally hard to follow.

I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy this before I picked it up, partly because I’ve enjoyed Bradbury’s work in the past and partly because the front cover is blurbed by Stephen King. This is one of those novels that I think every serious writer should read, and horror writers in particular will find plenty here that gives them food for thought.

So all in all, this is one of those classics that lives up to its hype, and I can see why it would be especially formative for writers of genre fiction. I also think it has a kind of widespread appeal that not all classics have, so I’d recommend just picking it up whenever you get a chance. I promise you won’t regret it.



Click here to buy Something Wicked This Way Comes.