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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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text 2017-07-18 01:03
Reading progress update: I've read 271 out of 1020 pages.
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete tales and poems - Edgar Allan Poe

Berenice

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

 

Okay, a man with some sort of blackout disorder has an episode around the time of his cousin-wife’s death while focusing on her teeth.  A little time later, the man learns that her grave had been disturbed then finds a shovel in his room and a container with her teeth.  Um, I might have overrated this.

 

Morella

My rating: 1 out of 5 stars

 

Short story of a man whose wife is named Morella, who gives birth to a daughter that he is afraid to name Morella because when he does she dies as well.  I’m starting to understand why there is a stereotype for Poe’s writing.

 

King Pest

My rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

 

This could have been something interesting especially with the Pest Royal Family descriptions (thus why it’s higher rated than Morella), but then it fizzles.

 

Mystification

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

 

College practical joker Baron Von Jung sets up a duel enthusiast into a confrontation then defuses it by referencing a duel manual that appeases the enthusiast.  Only it turns out Von Jung gave the man the book, which is actually a joke about two baboons having a duel when reading every 2nd or 3rd word.  Nice funny twist to the story that makes it better overall than what it was trending.

 

Ligeia

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

 

A man’s first wife, Ligeia, is a smart woman who helped him in his research but early in the story dies.  The man remarries but his second wife has health issues until just before she dies he notices something putting drops in her medication.  After her death, he is the only one at her all night wake but over the course of the night it almost seems like she’s still alive, but then suddenly the body of his second wife rises looking different before she says she’s “Ligeia!”.  A bit meandering, but rather good nonetheless.

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text 2017-07-16 23:10
Reading progress update: I've read 229 out of 1020 pages.
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete tales and poems - Edgar Allan Poe

The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

An obviously fake news story written as a journal, but one that is entertaining even with the bad science.  The titular character claims to have flown a balloon to the moon, but it crashes there leading to the question of how he got his account back to his native Rotterdam…but still really entertaining.

 

Lionizing

My rating: 1 out of 5 stars

 

Funny morality tale? Or something close? No idea.

 

Shadow—A Parable

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

 

A funeral party by a bunch of friends for a fellow who died of a plague gets visited by the Shadow of Death.  Very short and sweet.

 

Silence—A Fable

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

 

A demon details how he challenged a man with various things to make him run and in the end it was complete silence that scared him.  An interesting little tale, but nothing really special.

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