My Brilliant Career by Franklin Miles

Despite finishing this book a week ago, I’m still not entirely convinced how I feel about it. I know for sure that this style of book is not really my cup of tea. It’s too dull for me. But I didn’t hate or dislike the book, I did dislike the main character, but that’s another thing all together. What this book did remind me of was Pride and Prejudice, which I was not a fan of (was it the studying it for English, or the book itself, or my age, who knows). This definitely had similarities with PP, but the ending was altogether different.

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Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

This is the second time that I have read these two stories. The first time was a number of years ago, and if I remember correctly I read them on my Nintendo DS after buying a 100 classic books ‘game’, which was not at all game like, but just shows what a child I was. Though I think I ended up reading 4 of those books, which says perhaps more about me? Anyway, this time, I once again read them electronically. Which is actually quite rare for me, I don’t have a dedicated e-reader, nor any tablet. So I was reading them on my phone, which is something I am not inclined to do that often. The brevity of these two stories (and their free-ness in ebook) are what made me read them like this. I do have to say though it is so convenient to just pull out your phone and keep reading, as opposed to needing to carry about your book. But I don’t think I’d find a dedicated e-reader that more convenient compared to a book, cause you still need to have that with you. I’ve spoken about ebooks previously, so I’ll leave this there, and move on to the actual books.

Original illustration (1865) by John Tenniel
Original illustration (1865) by John Tenniel

Both of these books have spawned a lot of movies (23 of them in fact), and they have been extremely influential works for the fantasy genre. The thing is that for modern audiences, I don’t think there’s much enjoyment from the stories themselves. Due to how exposed we have been to the stories already, reading them doesn’t really add a whole lot. We just have to deal with the differences in writing, which are more a detriment than anything. The real interest is to see what the original source material was, and how the movies differ.

They really are very nonsensical stories, and their endings are so abrupt. The various poems and songs littered throughout the stories were interesting, but sometimes became a bit too much. And the number of references that modern readers no longer get is quite high.

Overall, I will not be reading these again. They became more of a chore to get through than an enjoyment.

 

A Clockwork Orange

This is an odd book, but a good one at that, or should I skazat ‘Horrorshow’. It is a truly violent book, with some tough scenes to read, including a gang rape. But it isn’t idolising the violence, it is using it to make us question our ideals and what freewill really means.

Warning, a slightly disturbing gif below from the movie. 

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The Picture of Dorian Gray – How Scandalous!

dorian_gray___1_by_fya_shellk-d2piidz (1)
Dorian Gray – 1 by ashellkova

This story is one of those stories where the background information is almost just as fascinating as the actual material, if not more so. And without it, it really would be diminished. 

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Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

This one has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time, along with a number of other classics, and I just needed something a bit shorter to read before launching into an Obernewtyn Chronicles re-read in preparation for The Red Queen. And it proved to be a really good choice. I was quite impressed with it. I’m always apprehensive reading a ‘classic’ as some of them can be really dry and a pain to read. But I found myself liking the writing style here, and was enjoying reading it.

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Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

This was a classic I bought a while ago from a recommendation from a few people. I knew nothing at all going into this, beyond it being dark satire. So reading this was an interesting experience. And it wasn’t what I expected at all.

“So it goes” is the mantra for this novel. Learned from the Tralfamadorians who see in 4 dimensions, so death isn’t a thing, you are never dead because in other moments you are alive. Yep, there are aliens in this, semi-biographical, meta-story about World War 2 and Benny Pilgrim.

Dresden after Allied Bombing taken by Abraham Pisarek Deutsche Fotothek‎ [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
Dresden after Allied Bombing taken by Abraham Pisarek
Deutsche Fotothek‎ [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

It’s a tale I thought I knew, and yet I didn’t know it at all. There’s no ‘It’s alive!’, the monster isn’t Frankenstein (just daemon, the ‘inventor’ is Frankenstein), there’s no lightning strike or metal rods in the head, no ‘mad scientist’ and the monster isn’t dumb and slow, quite the opposite, so in fact it’s not quite what I expected at all. And I was pleasantly surprised by what I found, because unlike some other classics I have read, it was an easy read. Now I’m not sure if there was just some choice editing in my edition to try to clear things up, or whether it was just the writing style, but I’m inclined to think the latter. Which is really great, and I definitely think that it makes Frankenstein reasonably accessible, especially if you get a copy with footnotes (that’s something I think is a must for reading a classic, as there’s often words/terms/references to things which make no sense anymore – though that does make it interesting to see how the meaning of words has changed over the years).

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