logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Classic-literature
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-10-29 06:29
Dracula: The Original Flavor
Dracula - Bram Stoker

The last time I read Dracula, I was probably 16 or 17, and what I remembered most fondly was that it was eminently readable. Most 19th-century literature has all kinds of tortured text that makes high school students balk, but this one breezed by. In the ensuing years, I grew up, had kids, wrote a vampire novel of my own, and now it's time to ask, "does it hold up?"

 

Yeah. Pretty much.

 

Dracula is an essential part of horror literature, sure, but in our times of four-color cinema it is hard not to also acknowledge him as one of the first supervillains. The Count has been portrayed literally hundreds of times in adaptations of this work, and it is fascinating to see the original details that don't always make the cut.

 

The Count begins the story with no servants, since he must feed nearly every night, and word has gotten around Transylvania not to go near his castle. His imprisonment of Jonathan Harker is well-thought-out, as he forces Harker to sign letters saying all is well and sends them at later dates to keep up the fiction that Harker will return home. Dracula's sailing trip on the Demeter is less well-planned. The suspense there is all well and good, but feeding on the skeleton crew makes it surprising that he ever made it to England in the first place.

 

When Dr. Van Helsing is brought in from the Netherlands, he is not yet the hardened vampire hunter portrayed in many adaptations. He is unsure of his diagnosis of Lucy's problems, and neglects to tell her family not to remove the garlic flowers that are "part of her cure." He also makes a rather critical mistake some fellow readers have identified as a plot hole -- when he knows a vampire is in the neighborhood and has already struck Lucy, he and the boys leave Mina alone at night. I think there are a few spots where his Dutch accent comes and goes, but it may be because journals from other points of view don't record his accent and we only get the full effect in chapters that are supposed to be his journal.

 

Mina Murray is not exactly a modern heroine who doesn't need rescuing, but she's not a cipher of a character, either. Could she have been more? Certainly, but she's not bad as is. Her revulsion at being bitten and spiritual horror at the Eucharist burning her makes for a powerful scene. The disgust leads her to take charge and propose the hypnotism sessions that are instrumental to the plot in the second half of the book. I had never made the connection before this reread, but Harry Potter's Occlumency sessions may owe a debt to Mina and Dracula.

 

And unlike modern supervillains who rely on action-movie climaxes, Dracula is straight-up sensible. When he knows he's got a few hunters after him, he knows he's helpless during the day. So he flees London to go home and try again in another century because he's got time on his side. He's at least as much prey as he is predator, which is kind of a refreshing change.

 

The book is not without its cheese, of course. In the final few pages, one of the protagonists dies heroically, and then two characters name their baby after him. Today, that's the tropiest trope that ever did trope (see Star Wars expanded universe, Potter, the works), but now it's got me curious to see if that was Stoker's invention or whether it was common practice as far back as the penny dreadfuls. There's also bits of social commentary through cynical working-class cemetery custodians and Mina waxing poetic about "the wonderful power of money," which I find hilarious. (Apparently even before Batman and Zorro, authors knew you can't hunt a supervillain without some cash in the bank.)

 

All told, Dracula is quite an enjoyable read, some 120 years after its first print run. I wouldn't go so far as to call it immortal, but it sure isn't dead yet.

Source: www.amazon.com/Dracula-Bram-Stoker/dp/1503261387/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1540794068&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=dracula&psc=1
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-10-22 19:24
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Turn of the Screw - Henry James

 

Holy Wall of Text Batman! This short novella took so long to read because I had to put down my NOOK and give my eyes a break. There is a story there buried deep in the paragraph-length run on sentences, but damn if I could follow along well enough to describe it to you. I just didn't care about any of the characters by the end of the story - just too much hysterical females. The kids were appropriately creepy but the ghosts were a let down - they didn't do much other than stand still and stare. 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-06-10 15:42
The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum

The same as the movie and yet, so different too.
If I was to describe the story and act like there was no movie to be seen, I would tell you about this dark and whimsical fantasy. Where witches rule the lands and creatures of many kinds are in abundance.
I wish I had not seen the film. As epic as it was, it's actually ruined the real story for me a little bit.  The movie was so magical and family oriented . The book is not. It has a darker element than the film adaption. I like that though but don't think everyone will. Especially if you've already seen the film first. Things happen in the book that don't happen in the movie, or the things that do happen are out of sequence to the film.
Still, I like dark and I liked the book.

 

Source: www.fredasvoice.com/2018/06/the-wonderful-wizard-of-oz-by-frank-l.html
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-04-08 15:43
Notes From The Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Notes From Underground - Fyodor Dostoyevsky,George Guidall

Interesting and humorous.
This guy sits alone and decides to write down all his vents and vexations against every one and every thing under the sun. I actually laughed at his ramblings, and nodded in agreement as I found it ironic to be happening still today. I even became baffled at one point by what exactly his problem was. Still I was pretty enthralled. For being written in the 1860's, I was amazed at how drawn into the writing I was. 
It may not be the most magical read I have ever read, but it was so far from what I usually read. Still, I am glad to have read it.

 

 

Source: www.fredasvoice.com/2018/04/notes-from-underground-by-fyodor.html
Like Reblog Comment
review 2018-02-04 19:42
Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web - E.B. White,Garth Williams,Rosemary Wells

I can not say enough good things about this story. I read this book as a child, and have re-read it as an adult. The message still holds true! The text is so rich and filled with sensory details. I would love to do an entire novel study on this book. I would start by reading the chapters aloud to students. This would be a wonderful time to reflect on the language and have them turn and talk to discuss specific phrases. I would use this book in science lessons and study spiders! I would ask students to draw and label the parts of a spider. I would also extend this theme into writing. I would give the students several prompts while covering this text, such as: Would you like to have a pet pig? How did Charlotte save Wilbur's life? Choose an adjective that describes you; draw it in a web and write a paragraph explaining why you chose it. A fun way to end this unit would be to act out the story, or to watch the movie!

 

Guided Reading - R

Lexile - 680L

DRA - 40 

AR - 4.4

 

 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?