Sunday, October 16, 2011


If I could just stop sneezing long enough to write this... My fall allergies have been so horrible this year! Last year was the first time I've ever had fall allergies, and it was awful, but this year seems even worse. They are taking all the fun out of autumn!
Anyway, I finished Dracula, by Bram Stoker, about a week ago, but I have been too busy (or lazy) to blog. Regardless, it was a wonderful book! I really enjoyed it. I knew I would like it in one sense because it is a Victorian Gothic romance. But I wasn't sure about the whole horror genre. I'm not gullible, and I don't scare that easily, but I feel that my common sense prevents me from watching horror movies and reading horror stories for a reason. Dracula is definitely a scary story. It involves a man (or thing) who is the essence of pure evil, thriving on the destruction of others, who corrupts what is pure and ruins beauty and innocence and causes others to become like him. That he can take the shape of an animal or travel as a mist, and the fact that he comes when the victim is sleeping, makes him seem all the more impossible to stop. But he can be stopped. The heros of the story band together and work as a team to stop Dracula and essentially redeem the souls that he has stolen. There is mystery, action, romance, heartbreak, and redemption, all mixed together in as well-written a work of Victoriana as can be asked for. I really liked how Stoker used the technique of telling the whole story in journal entries, telegrams, and newspaper articles. His vivid descriptions of the wild lands around Transylvania were especially interesting, and his imagination throughout the whole story was impressive. We take "Dracula" for granted as a stock Halloween character now, but when the book was first published, I'm sure it caused a sensation. And for those, like me, who thought it would just be a scary story about a guy I already pretty much knew everything about, read it. You'll be surprised by what you find!

 P.S. I turned on the TV last night and guess what I saw? Bela Lugosi in his famous role.

 Next Book: Conan by Robert Howard. Fantasty, like horror, is not my favorite genre, but I'm willing to take a chance on a classic. Anyway, the Frank Frazetta illustration on the cover piqued my interest. I'll let you know how it is.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Book is Always Better Than the Movie

The last book that we read in my book club was The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton, which I loved.  I was surprised that I'd never read it before, and enjoyed everything about it: the rich language, descriptions of the opulent Edwardian society-girl lifestyle, the tragedy of unrequited love... By the end of the book I was crying harder than I've cried over any book I've ever read, I think.  I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good book to read.  However, I feel the opposite way about the movie!  The movie, starring Gillian Anderson, is just horrible.  The scenes are gorgeous, the costumes perfect, and Anderson is very good at playing the Lily Bart with a furrowed brow, especially at the end when she is so haunted and melancholy.  But the rest of the acting is just horrible--slow and stilted.  The actor who plays the love of Lily's life comes off as preachy and sissified, with a high-pitched voice.  Some major characters are combined into one person, events are similarly topsy-turvy, and the end is just all wrong!  I can't tell you why, because it would give it all away, but the moment of redemption for Lily in the book is completely gone from the movie, which casts a completely different light on the whole tragic end, but for the worse.  I didn't like it at all.  So, read the book but skip the movie!

Next up for book club is The Help, which I've already read, so I've decided to do something different, starting now.  I'm going to read every book of my husband's.  Not all in one month, of course.  He has a lot!  No, I'm going to start now and read them all in however much time it takes, even the science textbooks.  I might save "Mein Kampf" for last, though, in hopes that I'll never get through them all in my lifetime!  C has a wide and varied taste in books, everything from politics to sea-stories to poetry to classic literature to Mad magazine compilations.  Where to begin?  I thought I'd start with Dracula, this being October and all.  I've never read it before!  Best of all, C's copy is annotated, so it's full of illustrations and tangents, which I love.  I'll review it here when I'm done.