Friday, November 29, 2019

Review: Stoner

Author: John Williams
Started reading: November 8th 2019
Finished the book: November 24th 2019
Pages: 320
Genres: Fiction, Classics
Published: 1965
Source: Bought the book
Goodreads score: 4.30
My score:
William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at nineteen to study agriculture. A seminar on English literature changes his life, and he never returns to work on his father's farm. Stoner becomes a teacher. He marries the wrong woman. His life is quiet, and after his death his colleagues remember him rarely.

Yet with truthfulness, compassion and intense power, this novel uncovers a story of universal value.

Stoner tells of the conflicts, defeats and victories of the human race that pass unrecorded by history, and reclaims the significance of an individual life. A reading experience like no other, itself a paean to the power of literature, it is a novel to be savoured

My thoughts
Thanks to Arjen for tagging along on this buddyread. This book is a very special one in my opinion. It's not filled with adventure and huge romances and big plot twists, it's a story where life is the most important plot. It was a great book in a minimalistic way. Definitely worth reading if you're a fan of classics.

  • Characters: The characters were so well written and felt very much alive to me. This book could easily have been a memoir or based on true events. Edith is one of the most loathsome characters I've ever seen in a book. I was mad at her at various points in this book. This also proved to me that I was very much involved in the book and the characters lives.
  • Different: This book is so different from anything I usually read. This book reminded me that I should read out of my comfort zone more often. I enjoyed it a lot; to explore a genre that I don't read that often. It's also a genre that wouldn't be my first pick. In my living room I have a poster with a lot of classic books that are recommended, I should start working on that list.
  • Real life: Real life is not always a big theme in books, since a lot of books have happy endings or are fantasy books with totally different worlds or immortal characters. This book has one big main theme; real life and the sadness that comes with it. This book reminds you that not all books should have happy endings, and that eventually everyone has to deal with loss and sadness.
  • Happiness: The downside of a book about real life, is that sometimes that person's life lacks happiness. That was the case in this book. This book was not always that much fun to read, I just wanted a bit more lightness, a bit more happiness...
Definitely a much read in the classics-genre. A book about real life, with real characters and real emotions. I would've loved a bit more light and happiness, but sometimes ones life takes a different turn. The book overall was unique in a way that it's able to portray life as it is.

Other opinions on this book
"It's simply a novel about a guy who goes to college and becomes a teacher. But it's one of the most fascinating things that you've ever come across."
- Tom Hanks, Time Magazine

"John Williams's Stoner is something rarer than a great novel - it is a perfect novel, so well told and beautifully written, so deeply moving, that it takes your breath away."
- The New York Times Book Review

Memorable quotes from this book
"Sometimes, immersed in his books, there would come to him the awareness of all that he did not know, of all that he had not read; and the serenity for which he labored was shattered as he realized the little time he had in life to read so much, to learn what he had to know."

"He was forty-two years old, and he could see nothing before him that he wished to enjoy and little behind him that he cared to remember."

Thanks for reading!
I'd love to talk books; please let me know what you think about this book/review.


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~ Esther