Friday, February 22, 2008

The Picture of Dorian Gray

I finished the third book of those that have been recommended to me maybe two weeks ago. The first two were German, so I'll need a bit with the reviews (not that they'd be too interesting as both books are only available in German).

Upon seeing his own striking portrait Dorian Gray is bewitched and offers his soul if only the painting will age while he remains eternally youthful. Believing himself incorruptible, Dorian indulges in a life of pleasure and excess. But what has become of his portrait?

It was the first time for me to read this novel even though it is a classic and I'm a comparative lit major *blush* I read many other classics, but for some reason I never got around to read this one because from hearing about the story line (both of the book and the various movie versions) I didn't think it would be a book I'd be interested in reading. For some reason, I wasn't interested in the "young good-looking man trades his soul for eternal youth" plot. I guess I was simply too young at that time and my negative sentiments stayed with me until now.

This time, though, I was fascinated by the idea of trading one's soul for never-ending youth. I can't imagine every thinking about it, but the idea is one that must have crossed a few people's minds already. If one had the money like Dorian and nothing one did would show in our face, no sorrow, no pain, nothing - would it be worth it? Would it be worth losing one's soul?

Personally, I doubt it, as I feel the "learning-effect" of bad actions would get lost - and even more important, isn't it something we earn, the wrinkles and scars. They tell our story, the story of our life. They become part of us as we grow older, as we live.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Shinshi Doumei Cross

I finally managed to be up-to-date with the first manga series for the series challenge:

Shinshi Doumei Cross - The Gentlemen's Alliance by Arina Tanemura

Arina Tanemura has a few really wonderful series out, but this is the first one I am now up-to-date as it is my favorite so far.
The main character is Haine Otomiya, a student at the "Royal Academy", a very expensive private academy, where classes are set up in three categories, depending on the students' family's wealth. The higher the category they belong to, the more privileges they enjoy, but only one student is in the gold category, the highest one - Togu Shizumasa. He is the student council president and school leader, called "The Emperor". It happens to be he, whom Haine is enamored with, but since she belongs to the bronze category only, she has to work hard to earn money. That way, he stays far away for her, even though she tries to get closer to him.

I have now read the first 7 volumes and I can only hope it won't take too long for the next one to be translated and published. Whenever I read one of the volumes out already, I fell right back into the story of Haine and Shizumasa-sama (-sama is the way highky respected people in Japan are addressed) and all the other characters. It is a lovely story and I hope it'll continue for a while.

My ratings for the first 7 volumes were A- for all of them.