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Search tags: 1001-Books-You-Must-Read-Before-You-Die
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text 2018-10-16 14:40
Reading progress update: I've read 272 out of 654 pages.
The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radcliffe

 

You know, the thing I find most horrific about this tale is the lack of personal control any of the women have over their own lives.  They are always in danger of having some older man take over their property or decree whom they must marry.

 

I am so glad I live in the 21st century in a democratic society.

 

 

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text 2018-10-12 15:37
Reading progress update: I've read 160 out of 654 pages.
The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radcliffe

 

It has taken a long time, but Emily is now finally an orphan.  Enter the Evil Aunt who is determined to run her life, that is until the Aunt remarries and the new husband decides to run everyone's life.  He breaks off Emily's engagement and is now preparing to drag the whole household back to Italy.

 

Let the Gothic goings on begin!

 

 

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review 2018-09-24 21:50
The Invisible Man / H.G. Wells
The Invisible Man - H.G. Wells

This masterpiece of science fiction is the fascinating story of Griffin, a scientist who creates a serum to render himself invisible, and his descent into madness that follows.

 

I read this book to fill the Classic Horror square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

I remember owning the Classics Illustrated comic book of this title as a child and being rather fascinated by the idea of an invisible person. I remember being captivated by Griffin’s fake nose! If I’m remembering correctly, though, I don’t think the violence in the comic was equal to Wells’ original work. It was probably watered down a little to be suitable for a juvenile audience (although nowadays I’m not sure that would be necessary).

I spent a great deal of last year on the cataloguing of a very large collection of books by and about Herbert George Wells and I was interested to read another of his fictional works. I’ll work through more of them as I can. He was an interesting person and a prolific writer.

This is definitely horror-lite. The most horrifying part is actually the behaviour of Griffin, the invisible man of the title. His lack of empathy for his fellow human beings (and the cat that he tests his invisibility device on) is scarier than his actual achievement. During the reading I kept wondering, was he mentally ill and became fixated on this idea or was he fixated on the idea before he became mentally ill? Someone with more empathy could have charted a far different course—co-operating with his fellow beings, rather than trying to terrorize them.

Reminiscent of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, another tale of a scientist making dubious moral choices.

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review 2018-09-15 06:04
David Copperfield (Audiobook) (DNF @ 48)
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

Whelp, that's 0-2 for me and Charles Dickens. I was going to try to power through this - I had 8 more days on the audiobook loan from my library - but every time I thought about listening to this for another 8 days, it was like those dolly zoom shots. I just can't. This is so boring! The first quarter or so was decent, and I thought it was going to go somewhere, like maybe Davie wasn't all that he seemed or something. And I thought for sure something was up with Steerforth, but nope! Davie finds refuge with his aunt and the story grinds to a halt and never recovers. It's just chapter after chapter after chapter of Davie meeting a friend and talking to them, Davie meeting another friend and talking to them, Davie corresponding with friends and then meeting them again and talking to them. Talk, talk, talk, blah, blah, blah. So, I'm done y'all. I'm going to spend the next 8 days doing something that's actually interesting. Like watching paint dry. Or watching grass grow. Or listening to Ben Stein read the dictionary.

 

2 stars because the writing here was a vast improvement over the self-indulgent A Tale of Two Cities. But this turned out to be a different kind of self-indulgence, just dressed up in pretty prose. Simon Vance does a great job with the narration, but even he can't make these characters interesting.

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review 2018-08-21 03:54
The Three Musketeers (d'Artagnan Romance Series #1) (Audiobook)
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

This was fun! I've been slowly but surely trying to get around to all the old classics I avoided when I was a kid. I saw a couple of the Musketeer movies, neither of them very good, and I recently saw a few episodes of the Musketeer show on Hulu, but I never read the book, and after the enjoyable but somewhat rambling The Count of Monte Cristo, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book.

 

It's still enjoyable and still somewhat rambling, lol. The book lost some momentum after the race for the diamond studs and doesn't really recover, pace-wise, until the introduction of Milady, who gives whole new meaning to the word diabolical. This was often silly, and often fast-paced. I can see how this was originally published as a serial, and I can just imagine the people reading this in real time impatiently waiting for the next installment. The three Musketeers are great friends and have varied backgrounds and personalities, and they adopt d'Artagnan into their group despite some awkward and hostile beginnings. I adored their friendships and how they looked out for each other - which is why it felt so disjointed that d'Artagnan then had to wait to be told to go look for his friends who may or may not have given up their lives to he could go fetch the queen's diamond studs. Like, bro, WTF? 

 

Simon Vance knocked this out of the park and his impression especially of Porthos was a hoot and a half. I think my love for Porthos is about 110% due to Vance's reading of his lines. So over the top. So adorably obtuse. Planchet was pretty adorable too. Though as great as Vance was, these are the most British-sounding French dudes ever. :D I guess French narrators just refuse to read this in English? After a lifetime of hearing British accents for French characters, it didn't bother me at all, just added to the fun. 

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