I finished 7 books in October, 5 for Bingo and 2 Netgalley selections. I made Blackout on Bingo, yay!
I enjoyed the Halloween Bingo very much. That's sayng something because I don't usually do challenges. I can't deal with the stress of my own obsessive nature and I'm not the world's fastest reader.
However, this one was of special interest since I've been in a Horror book phase and I love Halloween! Would I do it again? Quite probably next year. Will I do other Bingos or challenges? Mmmm.... maybe. Certainly not right away.
I enjoyed choosing the books to fill the squares, but the one downside is I'm a random reader and I felt constricted by my own commitment to read all the books I chose. I also felt a little guilty about neglecting Netgalley books.
On the up side, I read 6 Classics, most of which I've wanted to read for ages:
The Ghost Pirates by William Hope Hodgson
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
Dracula by Bram Stoker
I learned that not all books with young protagonists suck:
Bloodfire by Helen Harper
Demoniac Dance by Jaq D. Hawkins
Willa Wicked by A.M. Hudson
The bottom one was a bit young for me, but I really enjoyed the other two. I also learned that I really don't like Cozy Mystery but I can enjoy a Mystery like Thorneyhold by Mary Stewart.
I read a couple of 'fun' books:
Goblin Tales by Jim Hines
It Was A Dark and Stormy Night by Snoopy
and enjoyed some lesser known author Horror:
Hell Bound by Andrew P. Weston
Letters to the Damned by Austin Crawley
Rise Headless and Ride by Richard Gleaves
A few of the reads didn't strike me enough to mention and I might have DNF'd them if they weren't for the challenge, but it gave me some discipline to go ahead and get through them.
Over all it was great fun and I thank the organizers once again for making it so fun! I even won a prize. :D
by Victor Hugo
This Classic was originally written in French and I've found that the translation does make a difference. I have a paperback copy from Penguin, translated by John Sturrock and my first impression was that the writing was very poetic, but I got the free Kindle version from Gutenberg with a different translator because it's easier for me to read on Kindle and in this one, the first chapters felt overly wordy and dragged a little.
I persisted though. I've seen various film versions of this story and didn't recognise most of the names I was reading until we finally meet Quasimodo in chapter five, followed by Esmerelda, though Gringoire who falls foul of the Paris underworld does make an appearance in the old 1939 black and white Charles Laughton version. From Quasimodo's introduction the story digressed into the history of Notre Dame Cathedral.
This one takes a little patience because there are many digressions. Life in fifteenth century Paris under Louis the XI, individual character histories and other commentaries on the times all come together to form a very thorough picture of the circumstances surrounding the familiar story line, but they do break continuity.
The extent to which Quasimodo's story intertwines with Esmerelda's was never fully expressed in the movies. I found the connections very interesting indeed! And Frollo was given a bit of undeserved bad press, especially by Disney. Movies require a villain and a priest immersed in austerity isn't a sympathetic character, but his reasons for adopting Quasimodo were based in charity, not obligation.
Quasimodo's back story is revealed in reverse, first showing us his experience with the Feast of Fools, then later revealing how he came to be ward of Frollo, and after that his origins and how he came into Frollo's path. Then later we move forward.
While the book would never get commercial publication in today's publishing market due to the extent of the digressions, the story is well told as a whole and the Classic enthusiast is likely to enjoy the fullness of the description and depiction of the time and place and how it shapes the events of the plot. I'm glad to have read it now and will look on film repeats with a more detailed knowledge of the whole of the story.
A worthwhile Classic, for those who have the patience to assimilate a fair bit of history between story events.
Victor! Già nel titolo c'è tutta la tua grandezza: quella pluralità che rende epica l'opera, perché l'epica non dev’essere confinata alla guerra; il lavoro può essere epico, e tu lo spieghi con forza, poesia, spessore e intensità tali da togliere il respiro.
Dall’isola di Guernesey, tua terra d’esilio, ispirazione e libertà hai glorificato il lavoro. Il lavoro degli uomini, del mare, del vento. Il lavoro incessante delle forze naturali, instancabile, perpetuo, spesso violento.
Gilliat resiste a ogni sofferenza con volontà granitica. “La volontà inebria. Ci si può inebriare della propria anima. E quel genere di ubriachezza si chiama eroismo”. L’eroe Gilliat ha la forza di domare la natura, l’uomo Gilliat cede alle ferite dell’anima che affida al moto del mare. Mare, grembo della vita. Mare, madre accogliente che culla e dona pace. Talvota eterna.
Ti ho figurato scrivere, come tuo uso, in piedi, al leggio collocato di fronte alla finestra affacciata sull’oceano che nei giorni limpidi mostra, laggiù, all’orizzonte, la costa francese.
Grazie, Victor. Grazie!