One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude

4.1 306
by Gabriel García Márquez, Gregory Rabassa

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One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize–winning career.

The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. It is a rich and

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One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize–winning career.

The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

Love and lust, war and revolution, riches and poverty, youth and senility -- the variety of life, the endlessness of death, the search for peace and truth -- these universal themes dominate the novel. Whether he is describing an affair of passion or the voracity of capitalism and the corruption of government, Gabriel García Márquez always writes with the simplicity, ease, and purity that are the mark of a master.

Alternately reverential and comical, One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves the political, personal, and spiritual to bring a new consciousness to storytelling. Translated into dozens of languages, this stunning work is no less than an accounting of the history of the human race.

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Editorial Reviews

Paul West
The fecund, savage, have the sense of living, along with the Buendias (and the rest), in them, through them and in spite of them, and all their loves, madnesses and wars, their alliances, compromises, dreams and deaths...the characters rear up large and rippling with life against the green texture of nature itself.
Robert Kiely
It is not easy to describe the techniques and themes of the book without making it sound absurdly complicated, labored and almost impossible to read. In fact, it is none of these things. Though concocted of quirks, ancient mysteries, family secrets and peculiar contradictions, it makes sense and gives pleasure in dozens of immediate ways.
Books of the Century, The New York Times review March, 1970
William Kennedy
“The first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.”
Washington Post Book World
“More lucidity, wit, wisdom, and poetry than is expected from 100 years of novelists, let alone one man.”

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Oprah's Book Club Series
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5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.30(d)
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One Hundred Years of Solitude

By Garcia Marquez, Gabriel


ISBN: 0060750766

Chapter One

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point. Every year during the month of March a family of ragged gypsies would set up their tents near the village, and with a great uproar of pipes and kettledrums they would display new inventions. First they brought the magnet. A heavy gypsy with an untamed beard and sparrow hands, who introduced himself as Melquíades, put on a bold public demonstration of what he himself called the eighth wonder of the learned alchemists of Macedonia. He went from house to house dragging two metal ingots and everybody was amazed to see pots, pans, tongs, and braziers tumble down from their places and beams creak from the desperation of nails and screws trying to emerge, and even objects that had been lost for a long time appeared from where they had been searched for most and went dragging along in turbulent confusion behind Melquíades' magical irons. "Things have a life of their own," the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent. "It's simply a matter of waking up their souls." José Arcadio Buendía, whose unbridled imagination always went beyond the genius of nature and even beyond miracles and magic, thought that it would be possible to make use of that useless invention to extract gold from the bowels of the earth. Melquíades, who was an honest man, warned him: "It won't work for that." But José Arcadio Buendía at that time did not believe in the honesty of gypsies, so he traded his mule and a pair of goats for the two magnetized ingots. Úrsula Iguarán, his wife, who relied on those animals to increase their poor domestic holdings, was unable to dissuade him. "Very soon we'll have gold enough and more to pave the floors of the house," her husband replied. For several months he worked hard to demonstrate the truth of his idea. He explored every inch of the region, even the riverbed, dragging the two iron ingots along and reciting Melquíades' incantation aloud. The only thing he succeeded in doing was to unearth a suit of fifteenth-century armor which had all of its pieces soldered together with rust and inside of which there was the hollow resonance of an enormous stone-filled gourd. When José Arcadio Buendía and the four men of his expedition managed to take the armor apart, they found inside a calcified skeleton with a copper locket containing a woman's hair around its neck.

In March the gypsies returned. This time they brought a telescope and a magnifying glass the size of a drum, which they exhibited as the latest discovery of the Jews of Amsterdam. They placed a gypsy woman at one end of the village and set up the telescope at the entrance to the tent. For the price of five reales, people could look into the telescope and see the gypsy woman an arm's length away. "Science has eliminated distance," Melquíades proclaimed. "In a short time, man will be able to see what is happening in any place in the world without leaving his own house." A burning noonday sun brought out a startling demonstration with the gigantic magnifying glass: they put a pile of dry hay in the middle of the street and set it on fire by concentrating the sun's rays. José Arcadio Buendía, who had still not been consoled for the failure of his magnets, conceived the idea of using that invention as a weapon of war. Again Melquíades tried to dissuade him, but he finally accepted the two magnetized ingots and three colonial coins in exchange for the magnifying glass. Úrsula wept in consternation. That money was from a chest of gold coins that her father had put together over an entire life of privation and that she had buried underneath her bed in hopes of a proper occasion to make use of it. José Arcadio Buendía made no attempt to console her, completely absorbed in his tactical experiments with the abnegation of a scientist and even at the risk of his own life. In an attempt to show the effects of the glass on enemy troops, he exposed himself to the concentration of the sun's rays and suffered burns which turned into sores that took a long time to heal. Over the protests of his wife, who was alarmed at such a dangerous invention, at one point he was ready to set the house on fire. He would spend hours on end in his room, calculating the strategic possibilities of his novel weapon until he succeeded in putting together a manual of startling instructional clarity and an irresistible power of conviction. He sent it to the government, accompanied by numerous descriptions of his experiments and several pages of explanatory sketches, by a messenger who crossed the mountains, got lost in measureless swamps, forded stormy rivers, and was on the point of perishing under the lash of despair, plague, and wild beasts until he found a route that joined the one used by the mules that carried the mail. In spite of the fact that a trip to the capital was little less than impossible at that time, José Arcadio Buendía promised to undertake it as soon as the government ordered him to so that he could put on some practical demonstrations of his invention for the military authorities and could train them himself in the complicated art of solar war. For several years he waited for an answer. Finally, tired of waiting, he bemoaned to Melquíades the failure of his project ...


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What People are saying about this

William Kennedy
“The first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.”
Naomi Lindstrom
Magical realism may never have been so unmistakably exemplified as in One Hundred Years.

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One Hundred Years of Solitude 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 306 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One Hundred Years of Solitude is the most interesting novel I have read in a long time. I was immediately drawn into the character development in the novel. Marquez tells the story in a way that makes the reader relate to characters that are strongly flawed. The family depicted is surprisingly realistic although their lives are at times abnormally crazed. The magical, and at times tragic, events that occur through the story do not hinder the heart of the characters. The refreshing use of mystical realism is appropriately placed throughout the sometimes dark writing. While I was reading the novel, I couldn¿t help but smile at the witty details that were strategically used throughout. Although this book may be seen as dense and even random at times, the pure heart of the story shines through. When I first found the book, I was not sure if I would enjoy it, because it is a change from the usual novels I read. Once I completed the story, I was pleased that I chose to read this important piece of literature. After reading this novel, I feel that my views on society have changed. I would definitely recommend this book, because it is a worthy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First and foremost, the prose in which this book is written is some of the most beautiful phrasing I have ever read. It reads extremely fast, but you have to be careful not to miss something. One paragraph can be three pages long, but one line in that paragraph can be something so powerful that it just tugs at your heart, so while it reads fast, also give it time to sink in.

I've read reviews on here about how others have thought the characters were bizarre, or the events were explicit or unbelievable. It's magical realism, folks. This is part of the story, part of the heritage of the author and their nature of literature, and it's the biggest part of the story that brings the impossible to life. It's imagination, it's devotion, strength, love, lust, pain, jealousy and strife. I think that when most authors set out to write a book, they hope to capture just one of those feelings. Marquez captures them all, and he does it in such a way that no one else ever has before.

I'm not going to give any details of the book. The pages speak for themselves. I only read these reviews after I read the book, just out of curiosity. I highly recommend not reading the book's description or anything that could potentially ruin the story. Just turn to page one, begin to read, and feel the power of this author's magic. It's truly overpowering.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although I haven't finished the novel yet (I'm half way through), I can understand the good and bad reviews. The author does have an interesting way of telling the story. My only complaint is some of the twisted behavior of many of the characters I guess that's a part of the 'life changing' part of reading the novel.I liked the beginning and it does show the progression of civilization. It also examines government and the revolution in Latin America (yet it's still fictional). I just wish that the characters weren't so twisted. I would recommend this novel to more mature readers (also, if you notice, older/more mature readers liked this book you need maturity to read through the semi-explicit scenes). I'm guessing that the plot is the changes that occur in civilization through time and what those changes does to the people involved.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have the patience, the time, the ability to think and breathe and wonder, then One Hundred Years of Solitude will change your life, and nothing else will be comparable. This novel speaks volumes on what it means to be human, in all facets of life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is by far one of the best books I have ever read. The misterious plot, the complex characters, and the amazingly well-written and thoughtout plot brings about one of the best works of literature of all times. The book's theme also forces the reader to critically evaluate the society we live in today. Clearly, people who say this book is a waste of time do not understand its signinficance and importance. Definetly NOT an easy read, but well worth it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For the life of me, I would have never thought that I would like a book such as this. I am not going to go into what the book is about as you can read that information from many of the other reviews. This book was required reading for a class as I was getting my B.A. degree. I moaned and cursed the day I ever took that class as most of the books on the list of required reading were titles which I would have never read if I didn't have too. Well, I suppose that is what higher education is all about. Not only did I like the books on the list, but several of them are now in my personal library. One Hundred Years of Solitude is, without a doubt, one of the best pieces of literature that I have ever had the pleasure to read. If you decide to read this book, keep an open mind as it is not the run of the mill story. Once you have read it, you may want to make it a part of your library as I have. Have fun and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my books but it had been more than ten years when I first read it. My husband's book club picked it for next months book and after talking to him about the book I descided i should re-read it. I was even better the second time! Hint to new readers: don't over-think characters you can get to wrapped up in the family tree and spend your whole trying to figure out who is who. Just go with the flow of the story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being an English Major and amateur poet, my profound journey through Marquez's language was astonishing. The tips of my nerves shivered with each exciting tale of how a family and town soaked in years of myth and realism. My love for words and the perculiarities of nature became satiated through Marquez's poetic prose. A great read, recommended for anyone prepared to journey through the life of the village of Macondo. I especially recommend this book if you want let yourself be lifted from the real world and into the world of possibility.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some people are bored and confused to their wit's end by this book. Actually, I am generous enough to even assume they have one. Just kidding. Now before I extol the merits of this book in a more sophiscated and mature manner I will say that this book is TRULY one weighty elephant of a read, not for your average bimbo. This book is TOUGH and THICK, and if you do not try to or take the time to penetrate through the literal meanings of the book you will no doubt end up writing a disappointed review. Anyway, I picked up this book out of curiosity because of its Nobel acclaim, and I was blown away. Reading it was like listening to a storyteller magically cooking up an animated tale and slowly drawing you in. The colorful town of Macondo is the world as it has been and will be, shaped by the clashes of human nature and individual realities set against the backdrop of the rise, evolution, and fall of civilizations. Extravagant spirits, unquenchable strength, family ties, passionate love affairs, political wars, struggle to survive, quest for knowledge, insanity, amnesia, nolstagia - all these elements blend and overlap each other within the storylines. Saying that this book is immensely profound would be a sad understatement. The author incorporates a labryinthe of repetition, symbology, overlaps, and magical realism, not so he can make the book overly complicated, but so that he can communicate a point about the inevitable patterns of us homo sapiens. Take the challenge to read this and make your own interpretation no matter much of a drag you find it at first. Heck, I put off reading this for a few weeks after going through the first few chapters because I thought my brain would be fried eggs if I read anymore. But reading this was darn worth it, more than I can express in words. So crack that book open and go for it. I dare you to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since I can remember my father has told me that One Hundred Years of Solitude was a must read. Finally, I picked up his old copy and I found it almost impossible to put it down. I just finished reading it and I was not disappointed. I took a course in Hispanic Literature and I was introduced to Marquez there but definetly not as much as I should've been. He's one of my favorites now. His 'realismo magico' is unlike anything I've ever encountered and he has a way of going back in forth in his story while it keeps flowing. I pass the recommendation on and I'm on my way to buy Love in the Time of Cholera.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Absolutely essential reading for everybody seeking to understand the character of the human race. You simply cannot die unless you read it. My life is a little bit fuller having read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read this book twice, once for a high school senior year final project and the next time was for personal enjoyment. This book never grows old and it's magical settings, the way it portrays Latin American reality in those times, and just the way the book was written makes you want to read it over and over and discover new things each new time. It could possibly be one of the greatest books ever!! Gabriel García Márquez is a brilliant writter and I would highly recommend this book to anyone out there. To anyone out there: you shouldn't even think twice about reading this excellent novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
100 Years of Solitude Book Review Jake Vanderglas One hundred years of Solitude one of the most interesting books I have been required to read in school behind Lord of the Flies. I would rate it second or third on the list, although it has a few spots in it that can be a bit difficult to get through just because of the challenging diction, or the lack of excitement, and just the plain boringness in some large chunks of the book, for the most part it is a fairly interesting book. The book follows the Buendia family members, through five generations, without spoiling too much for you the family experiences its ups and downs like most families do but on a much more drastic scale. It starts out with its original family that includes Jose Arcadio Buendia, Ursla Iguaran, and their children Aureliano, Jose, and Amaranta. It also follows the story and history of the fake town Macondo, and some of its inhabitants, which were originally this family and their friends; you experience the village and family change through its history as more and more people start coming to it, bringing new technology, violence, businesses, and people to the once small and isolated village. The problems I have with the novel is that it takes a while for the books plot to start picking up, and for the book to get interesting, so if you focus on the plot too much at the beginning the book will most likely not make any sense and seem like a series of random events, as the book will jump back and forward in time without much of a warning. Although it doesn’t seem like it at first the book has huge elements of Magical realism in it, which differs from the opening chapters that make it seem like a realistic drama of a fictional town. The most confusing thing(s) about the book are the fact that all characters name in the family vary between the options Jose, Aureliano, Arcadio, Amaranta, Ursula, or Remedios. Keep in mind while these might seem like a decent bit of names these names are divided between 30 family members 21 of which happen to be named Aureliano. Although this does have significance to the plot and theme of the book it still is a huge part of why people don’t like the book and why the book can be confusing. If this isn’t confusing enough the author doesn’t give much information and personality to the characters after the original generation so you can be confused of what or who the author is writing about and what event is happening to who. Another confusing thing can be the jumps in time both backwards and forward that occur throughout the book, in one moment the book will be focused on what’s happening where you are in the book and the next moment you will be thirty years in the future or past without much of a warning only to jump back to where you originally were. The prime example of this is the opening sentence of the book where Aureliano is facing the firing squad, which in terms of the plot timeline doesn’t occur until the middle of the book. The thing I liked most about the book was the plot twist without going into much detail about it actually makes what was for the most part a pretty confusing and random book that got pretty repetitive make a ton of sense. Also it helps you realize exactly what the author Gabriel Garcia Marquez wanted you to realize about the theme and moral of the story.I would recommend this book to any experienced reader that has the time and patience to read it, as it does get pretty complicated towards the middle of the book, and this book isn’t made for the purpose of entertainment however so it will get boring and sad at some points just to help the author convey his message, overall it was an interesting and challenging read.
pao99 More than 1 year ago
Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s most popular novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, is a dramatic adventure through the lives of the Buendia family. Written with unfamiliar family circumstances, the book immediately captures interests through its magical realism and Latin American voice. Each page becomes more and more interesting as the six generation family’s story unveils it’s unique, yet bizarre ideals, through a period of one hundred years. Beginning with Jose Arcadio Buendia and Ursula Iguaran and ending with an interesting twist, a boy born with a pigtail due to a warned curse of incest, the novel vividly explains the experiences of the Buendia family in a way that is not commonly found in modern classics. Throughout the novel, a common technique found is the use of magical realism. Whether it is seen in the items brought by the gypsies to sell, the constant swarming of yellow butterflies, the slaying of a sea dragon, the sight of ghosts, or the surprising turn of milk to worms, the novel captivates its audience with its unusual events, that when analyzed, manifest deeper meanings. The magical realism also helps the reader stay interested because of its bizarre applications to the idea of real and unreal life occurrences.  The book is like nothing you have ever read before. What is normally seen as unethical and immoral, is expressed through a calming tone to show the family’s acceptance of what is believed to be correct in their traditions. The biggest example of this is the repetitive practice of incest found in the Buendia family. Marquez’s risk when writing about the common taboo, only seems to intrigue the reader because of its unfamiliarity. This, like the deaths of some characters, is so uncomfortable, it keeps the audience reading because, to put it plainly, it is different.  The family’s enchanting expeditions reflect the novel in an exciting sense. The Nobel Prize winning author seems to easily dazzle his readers with the page turner of a novel, set in a time and setting so different for the reader, it is captivating. As a result of the unusual events found within the book, the piece is easily one of the most compelling written works of all time. If there were to be a down side to the novel, it would be the confusion caused by the similarities found within the character’s names, that without, would not make the book what it is. Overall though, it is a great read that everyone should enjoy at some point in their life. Through it’s magical and odd affairs, the book is one you should not miss. 
JordanNelson87 More than 1 year ago
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is a riveting tale following the story of the of the Buendia family over six generation and one hundred years in the small village of Macondo. Founded by the figure head of the Buendia family, the town of Macondo and the Buendia family are closely tied through out the story. Garcia Marquez ingeniously uses the Buendia house as a metaphor for the town, with the family's problems being projected onto the town on a larger scale. When the house turns old and forgotten, so does the town. When the industrial revolution hits the town, it is again illustrated by the improvements made to the house. The troubles of the family are often foreshadowing of the disaster about to strike Macondo, evident in the dictatorial rule of one of the Buendia woman, which is swiftly followed by an overtaking of the town by the capitalist Americans and instillation of Martial Law. Throughout the history of the town, members of the Buendia are charged with building, leading, and maintaining the town that is always on a course of disaster and destruction. The Buendia family drastically affect the course of the town time and time again, leading the town into a new revolutionary age, and then maintaining the history that no one ever seems to believe. From the first arrival of the Gypsies, Macondo gradually transforms from a quiet town at the edge of the earth to a bustling city full of technology and wealth. The new innovations introduced into Marcondo are critical in the development of Macondo, and endorse and allow more and more problems to occur. The arrival of this technology is swiftly followed by devastation and sorrow. People start dying, and the Buendia family experiences their own share of suffering. This book is full of magical realism, from children born with pig tales, to five year monsoons, which helps to contribute to the theme of perceived reality. The characters are both riveting to follow and real enough to relate to. Motivated by love, curiosity, and passion, each character has its own unique experiences and all follow different paths to the same place. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is an instant classic, and should be read by all.
mattymoose More than 1 year ago
I don't understand why this book is deemed so important.... I guess I don't get it...It's confusing, I don't get how this book is so great...I've read many great books....this one I'm perplexed by.....tell me what I'm missing'''''
KatrinaO More than 1 year ago
This reminded me of And the Mountains Echoed. Various stories told through the course of time, this somewhat depicts a rich history we often don't get.
Nakkiah_Stampfli More than 1 year ago
This was the final book I was required to read my sophomore year of high school and it was phenomenal. It is one of the most interesting, intriguing, and thought provoking books I think I've ever read. It may not be the best was to teach readers about Colombian history, but it certainly is an interesting way. The book does assume that the reader does have quite a bit of real-event knowledge, which can make it difficult for younger audiences. Another reason why this book is amazing is because of how much we can compare it to the Bible, which is a book everyone is familiar with. The writing style of Marquez is just breathtaking and the words he uses just make every aspect of the novel flow together perfectly. Death, Love, Family, Memory and the Past, and the Supernatural is what this book is about and I've never seen those themes woven together in one book as greatly as they are in this book. I think this is one book that every member of society should be required to read, next to the book of Genesis... And I'm not even Christian! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was awestruck by this book. I can't get it out of my psyche. This is a marvelous work of art. Kudos to Marquez for another masterpiece!
Andresvu More than 1 year ago
Amazing Book... it's detail, it's magic realism, it's everything is just one amazing book. A must read for any person with a pretension to an education.
Ericalovestoread More than 1 year ago
This book depicts the rise and fall of the Buendia family. Marquez said he tries to write the way his grandmother told him stories as a child, as if she truly believed the far-fetched stories she told. Marquez makes everything about this family totally believable except for that you know much of it is impossible. I will agree with some of the other reviewers that its a good this theres a family tree in the front because the names do get a little repetative. That is really the only drawback. I'd really recommend this book to anyone who has the patience to keep up with the characters because it does get a little confusing, but is WELL worth it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book easily is either the best or the second best that i have ever read. for those looking for substance, for an easy read with gentle plotline and unique characters, this isn't the book for you. most of the characters have 'nearly' the same name, the story all takes place over the period of hundreds of years, and to top it all off, Marquez decides to take the linear aspect of time and throw it out the window. An enjoyable read. A highly enjoyable read. Just don't try too hard.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had heard that this novel was amazing, and I was highly recommended to read it. I did, and words have never been so painful to me in my life. I hated it. It was so long and boring, and I did not feel that I gained anything from reading it. I really just wanted to poke my eyes out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Garcia Marquez One Hundred Years of Solitude is by far the greatest book you could ever read. The novel says volumes about what it means to be human. Garcia uses the Buendia family to explore fundamental themes related to how we as human beings perceive our reality. In the end one of the most important lessons you can get from this novel is that in life if you don't learn from your mistakes you are bound to repaet them. Read this book, it will stay with you forever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is neither boring nor disappointing. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a Noble Prize-winning author for a reason. Those who call themselves literature lovers and despise One Hundred Years of Solitude are over-estamating themselves. I was here, a 14-year-old boy reading the reviews of a book which, I consider to be the greatest piece ever to be written, and find nonsensical, crudely written commentaries. To all those who have read it it and abhor it: please, I beg of you to read it again. When I read it I was truly delighted. Garcia Marquez shows us a flowing sea of characters,with solitude as a common denominator. With this he takes us a masterfully depicted world as new characters emerge, describing their singular characteristics. I seriously cannot even begin to imagine how anyone could have thought this book terrible. As a fellow reader and literature enthusiast, I plead with everyone to think before you write any kind of worthless 'appreciation' of any novel. I do not want anyone to think that I am saying I am omnipotently correct in what I state but do not ever set your fingers down on a computer keyboard to write an evaluation like 'I found the book entirely difficult to get through because the charaters all had the same names' or 'the book had not plot.' That is, I am sorry if I offend any of you, worthless, despicable verbal garbage. If you did not like the book, I am not trying to say you are wrong, I would just like you to expand on that and not say first-grade level things. I am even annoyed at the comments the said, 'Great,' or 'Marvelous,' without telling me anything else. I was not planning to even write a comment, but my level of ire was so grand, I was about to explode.