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text 2017-07-25 01:32
Reading progress update: I've read 493 out of 1020 pages.
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete tales and poems - Edgar Allan Poe

The Pit and the Pendulum

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

A man in the clutches of the Spanish Inquisition in locked in a cell with a pit in the center of it and after avoiding falling in, he is drugged and strapped to a bed as a razor slowly descends towards him.  Barely escaping the razor, the man wonders what will be next when he hears the French entering Toledo to bring him freedom.  This is a fantastic piece of writing by Poe that had me glued to each page while reading.

 

The Mystery of Marie Roget

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

 

A “ripped from the headlines” Auguste Dupin deduction mystery is unfortunately not as engaging as the first Dupin story.  This story is mostly Dupin using his deduction to undermine all the theories that newspapers were putting out about the young ladies death, while it was good writing but sometimes in a detective story—yes even before the word was created—you want to see the main characters move.

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text 2017-07-24 00:57
Reading progress update: I've read 442 out of 1020 pages.
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete tales and poems - Edgar Allan Poe

A Descent into the Maelstrom

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

 

A hiker and his guide climb to the top of Norwegian mountain to see the Moskoe-strom then the guide relates his escape from the whirlpool that killed his two brothers.  Overall this is good story that meanders here and there pulling down the rating.

 

The Colloquy of Monos and Una

My rating: 1 out of 5 stars

 

A dialogue between a married couple in the afterlife.  This is the second dialogue of this kind that Poe has written, but the first was why better even though this one is more romantic.

 

Never Bet the Devil Your Head

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

 

This is a “straightforward” moral tale that is also a little humorous even though the set up was obvious from the beginning.  Could have been better if there wasn’t a introduction about the author not writing tales with a moral.

 

Eleonora

My rating: 0.5/5

 

Another first cousins growing up and marrying story with the young woman dying young, it was pretty obvious were this story was going from the beginning so this was quickly read.

 

Three Sundays in a Week

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

This was a humorous little story in which a great-uncle can’t just willing do something even though he’s inclined to do so.  Unable to get his consent to their marriage until there were “three Sundays in a week”; the two don’t know what to do until two sailor friends arrive back in the country after traveling around the world in opposite directions.

 

The Oval Portrait

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

 

A young nobleman and his valet break into a cottage after he is injured during a hunt, the cottage has many portraits along with a little guide book for them.  He comes across an oval portrait that feels like it’s alive and then reads the description, which gives credence to his unease that it’s alive.

 

The Masque of the Red Death

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

 

While this is a well written story, whether you’ve been spoiled or not before reading it, there is only one obvious outcome and frankly that takes away from the stories overall impact.

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text 2017-07-21 22:46
Reading progress update: I've read 398 out of 1020 pages.
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete tales and poems - Edgar Allan Poe

The Man of the Crowd

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

While watching the crowds walk along London’s busiest street, the observer sees an old man that attracts his attention then follows him through the night and far into the next day before finally stopping.  A nice piece that in the long run means nothing, but at least it was too the point of just following someone.

 

The Island of the Fay

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

An enthusiast describes the wonder of nature and then while enjoying a glade that has a view of an islet, he imagines seeing one of the last of the fay paddle on a boat around it.  Another nice little piece with great descriptions that is almost completely different from anything Poe had written before.

 

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

The first Auguste Dupin detective story even before the word detective was created.  Written as a study of deduction by an anonymous narrator who’s Dupin’s friend, he describes how Dupin deciphered his train of thought to the narrator’s amazement.  A few days later, the Paris papers are filled with the ghastly details of a double murder in which none of the witness differ in their accounts.  After a friend of Dupin’s is arrested, he uses his connections to study the crime scene and using his deductive skill figures out what happened and getting his friend released.  So far this is THE best story so far the complete collection and the only reason it wasn’t a perfect five was the introductory essay which while giving background to the narrator’s thought process, just wastes the reader’s time.

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text 2017-07-21 00:39
Reading progress update: I've read 356 out of 1020 pages.
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete tales and poems - Edgar Allan Poe

William Wilson

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

 

A man recounts his life-long rivalry with person with the same name as him, the titular William Wilson, through various schools and across Europe until one day he confronts him, only to realize as he’s dying that it was always him.  A 19th-century story on schizophrenia, which was obvious after William introduced the other William but was still very well written nonetheless.

 

The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

 

Charmion asks Eiros how he died, Eiros describes a comet impact that killed everyone on Earth because the chemical makeup of the air was changed.  Interesting afterlife story version of an apocalypse, science is completely wrong but given when it was written pretty well.

 

Some Account of Stonehenge, the Giant’s Dance

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

 

A short article speculating on Stonehenge.

 

Why the Little Frenchman Wears His Hand in a Sling

My rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars

 

Written like the worst type of stereotypical Irishman, I could slowly read but decided I didn’t want to know about the Frenchman.

 

Instinct vs Reason—A Black Cat

My rating: 1 out of 5 stars

 

I have no idea what the purpose of the piece was really.

 

The Business Man

My rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

 

A man describes his various business ventures that are basically illegal or corrupt and is proud of it.

 

The Philosophy of Furniture

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

 

An interesting article on different cultures’ interior décor that then goes off the rails in the last quarter.

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text 2017-07-18 20:41
Reading progress update: I've read 313 out of 1020 pages.
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete tales and poems - Edgar Allan Poe

How to Write A Blackwood Article

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

 

Signora Psyche Zenobia meets Mr. Blackwood to learn how to write his type of entertaining articles and afterwards goes and follows his advice to write an article.  While the first part of the story was funny and entertaining, the second half just wasn’t because Psyche was too literal in following Blackwood’s advice.

 

The Devil in the Belfry

My rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

 

This story is about a Dutch small town, with a really long name, with a big clock that is always on time.  Then one day stranger walks into the clock tower, assaults the bell-ringer, and then suddenly beginning banging the bell whenever he wants and how many times he wants.  Great descriptions at the beginning, but when the plot happens at the end it was pretty obvious what the stranger was going to do.

 

The Man That Was Used Up

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

 

A man meets a famous general, but doesn’t know the details about the general’s campaign against the Bugaboo and Kickapoo Indians.  The man goes around town to all his friends and acquaintances to learn about the general, but the conversations always turn away from the opening.  Finally the man goes to the general’s residence and finds the man is literally “used up. “

 

The Fall of the House of Usher

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

Unfortunately the ending was ruined by the individual that had written the collection’s introduction and even though I was looking for foreshadowing, this was a nicely paced and suspenseful story.  The climax of the story will stick in your mind and might have (and will in the future) inspired numerous scenes in stories, plays, and movies since.

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