Mary Shelley – Frankenstein

Hi all!

As my summer holiday has finally begun, I have a lot more time to catch up on my reading. To get me motivated, I’ve entered a monthly challenge at www.goodread.com and have a couple of really interesting picks for July. So I think it’s going to be a fun month reading-wise :)

I think I made a good choice to try and read the classics for now, because I found out a few months ago that these are the books that really speak to me. I just love their style and the era they portray. And sometimes I wish I had lived then instead of the world of today which sometimes can be quite disappointing. But enough whining for now and lets look at the book :)

I’m pretty sure most people are acquainted with the story of Frankenstein, which is an interesting one from the point of view of the plot and also the idea behind the book.

The book presents the story of Victor Frankenstein, an ambitious young man who, by the study and practice of natural sciences, attempts to create life. He is successful, but the cost of his success proves to be too high. The creature he had given life to realizes his own deformity and monstrous aspect, and, to his utter despair, finds that he shall remain always alone.

To put an end to his solitude, he tries to persuade his creator to make him a companion, by threatening to make Victor as miserable as he is. Victor declines his request and is forced to face the consequences.

The story is a rather touching one, and has many parts that made me think.

An interesting episode is when the beast first encounters the world around him and he is always astound by its beauty. He seems innocent and ambitious to learn about the world, almost like a child would be. His feelings are of wonder, joy and maybe even love, when encounters the little family. But as he realizes that no one would befriend him, due to his hideousness, his feelings soon turn to a more darker shade.

This part seemed interesting because it gave me an insight into what can make man miserable and change a pure heart into one thirsty for blood. And solitude and a life of an outcast could render a heart suitable for dark deeds.

But the idea of the book focuses more on the responsibilities of the creator towards his creation. This is a conflicting issue for the main character, as he is indeed marked by the desolate fate of his own work, but still can not bare himself to create another alike. And I think his fears aren’t without ground despite the promises of the beast. His struggles are definitely an interesting psychological portrayal and it all leads back to the idea that man mustn’t act as a god, because he does not have it in his power to create a being as perfect as himself or to grant happiness for his creations.

I think this book is a really good one, with interesting thoughts behind it, and deserves to be read. If you would like to read it online, you can find it here: Frankenstein.

That’s all for now, and next time I’ll be talking about another Paulo Coelho book, “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read :)

Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray

Hi all!

I finished reading this book rather late last night, but I couldn’t bare to put it down. Yeah, I know how that sounds, but actually, I think I have found my favorite book of all time :D

I wanted to get my hands on the book ever since I saw the movie (which I loved btw :D) and learned that it is based on a book. But, of course, as it always happens when you see the movie first and read the book later, you are influenced by the movie and have certain expectations. But the book didn’t fail me. Actually, it turned out to be one of the most fascinating things I have ever read. And I want to make something clear, because at a point Dorian points out in the book, that if you are fascinated by something, that doesn’t necessarily mean you also like it. But I liked it. Well, loved it, actually :D

The book presents the story of Dorian Gray, a young man whose exquisite beauty charms everyone who sees him. A painter, Basil Hallward, is stricken by his angel-like face and wonderful soul, and they become close friends. But when Basil finishes his masterpiece, a full sized painting of this dear friend, Dorian finally sees for his own the effect of his beauty and in a moment of despair, brought on by the words of Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian wishes that he would remain always as young and beautiful as he is now and that instead, the painting would grow old. Little does he know that his prayer has been answered.

Dorian and Lord Henry soon become good friends, and the young man is highly influenced by his companion’s views and theories about the world and he seems to discover himself in them. He changes, slowly but surely, form a pure young boy into a man with a bad reputation. But his beauty never leaves him. And all the harm he does to his soul has not a mark on him. But is has on the painting, as it gradually morphs into something hideous and evil.

Dorian is frightened at first, because he does not understand what is happening. But as he destroys his soul more and more, he feels a kind of joy to look at the portrait growing uglier and him being forever beautiful. But his conscience catches up with him as he commits his cruelest deed and fails to do a good one. He realizes that he is tired of the life he’s lead and the terrors the portrait beholds. The only question now is, how can he get out of the deal?

As I said, this is one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read. It is a marvelous psychological study, because, as I see it, it somehow comes down to man’s search for happiness. Dorian sees happiness, influenced by the words of Lord Henry, in beauty and the fulfillment of the senses. He searches always for new experiences, so he can experience life.

Lord Henry’s views, on the other hand, have a sort of philosophical demeanor in a way. And what he claims is not all that bad, at least in my opinion. Some of his theories stirred something in me also and I feel that now I may understand myself a little better. And I love it when a book does this. Actually, quite a few books have made me really think of various topics and I loved them for that, but this is the first book that ever made me think about myself. It made me see life in another way, something I didn’t really see before.

Another thing I loved about the book is its time setting. Actually, I love all British classics that take place in that era, because they have a certain air that I truly love, and it always makes me think that I’ve been born in the wrong time :D

So anyway, I would recommend this book to anyone, especially to those who like the classics :) If you would like to read it online, you can find it here: The Picture of Dorian Gray. You can even download it from there if you’d like.

So that’s all for now and next time I’ll be presenting George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. (I miss this book already :D)

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read :)

Edgar Allan Poe Shortstories Part XIV

Hi all!

I’m back with the last part of the Poe shortstories series and there are only 3 of them left. As it turns out, Poe also has a novel entitled “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket” and it is the only know finished novel by him. But since this series is about his shortstories, I’m going to leave that for another time.

So here are the three remaining stories, and as usual, the titles are links to where you can read them online.

Shadow–A Parable

This story is a rather short one and not much happens, but I guess the emphasis isn’t really on the actions.

The story presents a group of people, who try to lock themselves away from the raging “Pestilence”. Then, one night, they have an unexpected visitor who fills them with terror, by his appearance and voice.

Von Kempelen And His Discovery

This story is again a shorter one, and presents, as the title says, the discovery of Von Kempelen.

The narrator presents his acquaintance with the main character, and claims that although they had more conversations, he never suspected him to have scientific aspirations. After this introduction, he presents an “anecdote” about Von Kempelen, and this anecdote is the story itself. The main idea is that Von Kempelen is arrested for counterfeiting, but it soon turns out that the case is something very different and much more interesting :)

Morning On the Wissahiccon

This story is a pretty short one and it starts out as a description of the valley of Wissahiccon, which is a small brook in America. The scenery presented is beautiful, and it is put in contrast with the populated parts of England for example.

The narrator tells about the time he visited the brook and saw an elk, but as he went closer, his visions of untouched and unspoiled nature became immediately shattered.

So it seems I’m finally done with the series and I have to say that I’ve learned a lot while reading these stories. Not only did I get more familiar with the person of Poe, the way he thinks, the things he knows (which is amazing :D), but I also had the chance to get to think about various topics I never before considered contemplating on. And I think that is a definite plus if a writer, or anyone in fact, can make you really think :)

So I guess this is all for now and I’ll be back shortly with something different for a change: Stephen King’s “The Eyes of the Dragon” :D

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read :)

Edgar Allan Poe Shortstories Part X

Hi all!

It seems spring is finally coming and I personally can’t wait for the sunshine! :D It’s actually pretty amazing to see how a clear sky or a patch of green grass can change someone’s mood :) And personally, I could really use some brightness about now :P

Anyway, speaking about gloomy atmosphere, I’ll be presenting 5 stories again (thankfully not all gloomy :P ), and just like before, the titles are links to where you can read them online :)

The Oblong Box

This is a quite interesting story about a boat trip turned disastrous. But that’s not all :)

The narrator speaks of an artist friend, Cornelius Wyatt on the ship, who claimed to have married a seemingly perfect girl, but as he meets her, she doesn’t seem anything like what he heard of. Besides that, Wyatt has in his room an oblong box, which the narrator believes to contain a painting, but, as it turns out, not all things are as they seem :)

Metzengerstein

This story is a really interesting one, and for some reason it was familiar, but I’m almost sure I never read it before.

It’s about two rival families, the Metzengerstein and the Berlifitzing, who owe their rivalry not only to their differences in wealth and stature, but also to a prophecy, claiming one’s victory over the other. The story gets more interesting when the stable of the Berlifitzing family catches on fire and a wild demeaned horse is caught by the servants of the Baron Frederick Von Metzengerstein. Frederick is fascinated by the horse and spends a lot of time with it. After a while, he starts to change in behavior, but this is only noticed by one of his servants. But as the Baron’s own house catches on fire one night, a really strange thing happens, that makes you wonder about the true character of the demonic horse.

The Literary Life of Thingum Bob, Esq.

This story is again a funny one, but in a satirical and critical way. The narrator of the story is Mr. Thingum Bob himself,  and he presents his road to success, starting from the moment he wanted to become “great” by being an editor and poet.

This is a satire of article writing and criticism, because in the story, the pieces of literature we might consider valuable (such as Dante’s “Inferno”) is claimed to be nothing more than a “rant”. And of course, ironically, a “poem” (if we can even call it that) by the narrator is a great sensation which marks his first steps in becoming well known.

This is definitely an interesting story, and I think worth reading :)

How To Write A Blackwood Article

This story is a pretty funny one, and has as protagonist a very vain Signora Psyche Zenobia. In her endeavors to write a great article, she meets with Mr. Blackwood, who tells her about the substances of brilliant articles. The points he makes are funny, and the whole just seems to be a mockery of writers who present so called sensations.

A Predicament

This story is a sequel to “How To Write A Blackwood Article”, and it is the actual article of Signora Psyche Zenobia.

As Mr. Blackwood suggested in the other story, this lady presents a most terrifying experience of her life. She uses the agreed style and quotes, which make the story hilarious, because she often emphasizes things that are not at all important, and the quotes are awfully misspelled, as she wrote them down before as she understood them.

It’s a really funny story and I would recommend it, because it certainly made me laugh a couple of times :D

Well, I guess that’s all for now. Stay tuned for Part XI of the series :)

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read :)

Edgar Allan Poe Shortstories Part IX

Hi all!

February is almost over and I’m still not done with Poe’s stories :D It seems there are more than I expected. But I guess it’s not a problem, because most of them are really interesting, many in more ways, and some really make me think :)

Even so, I want to finish them soon, hopefully, because I have planned many interesting books for the future and I can’t wait to read them :)

Anyway, this time I’ll be presenting 5 works again, and as before, the titles are links to where you can read them online :)

The Mystery of Marie Roget

This story is a longer one, but I really enjoyed it. It is subtitled “A sequel to The Murders in the Rue Morgue“, and as expected from this, we meet some of the characters from that story.

This story presents the mysterious case of the assassination of a girl named Marie Roget, and since the Parisian police cannot seem to find the murderer, the Prefect calls upon the services of M. Dupin. M. Dupin with his notorious powers of observation and analysis, reflects upon the  case and the many questions concerning it.

I found this a really good mystery story and I would definitely recommend it :)

The Assignation

This is another interesting little story with a twist at the end, which you don’t really expect :)

The story starts by presenting the narrator in Venice, who witnesses a heroic act done by a very known figure: he saves the child of Marchesa Aphrodite di Mentoni. The narrator overhears the words murmured by the Marchesa, and is intrigued by their meaning. The next morning, the narrator is invited to the home of the man, where he finds out more about the man and his relationship with the Marchesa.

A Tale of the Ragged Mountains

This story is also an interesting one, with a quite mysterious plot.

The main character is a Mr.  Augustus Bedloe, who, due to an illness, has a very peculiar appearance. We find out that he has been treated by his doctor with hypnosis, a fact that made me wonder at the end about what really happens in the story.

A weird experience of Bedloe is presented, something seemingly impossible, and something that might also have an  unexpected outcome :)

Morella

This story reminded me of “Ligeia”, especially the first part, but I guess, in essence it was different.

In this story the  narrator marries a woman who he is not in love with, but shared another kind of bond. But as time passed, he became frightened of her, and when she grew ill, he wished she would die soon. When she did die, she gave birth to a daughter, whom the narrator names, for causes beyond his knowledge, Morella, after her mother. As she grows, she resembles her mother more and more, and this strikes the narrator with terror.

This story was an interesting one, with a twist at the end and what I loved about it was that it had that eerie atmosphere that some of Poe’s stories have.

“Thou Art the Man”

This story is a kind of mystery-story I guess, because it involves the murder of a very wealty man, Mr. Barnabas  Shuttleworthy.

One day, he heads for town, but a few hours later not only does his horse appear without him, but the animal is shot and dies shortly. The search for Shuttleworthy is led by a good friend of his, Charley Goodfellow, and soon enough the murderer is found. But is he really the one who committed the deed? And where is the body? Maybe a wine-party can answer these questions :)

Well, this is about it for now, but I’ll be back shortly with Part X of the series :)

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read :)

Edgar Allan Poe Shortstories Part VI

Hi all!

This is Part 6 of the Poe stories and this time, I’ll be presenting 5 works again. I thought about this being the last part in the series for now, finishing it later and reading something else. It’s not that I don’t like the short-stories, because I do. It’s just that it seems reading short-stories online is more tiresome than novels. But I guess, I won’t do that after all, because I have a tendency to not finish what I started, so I’m kinda in self-motivation mode right now :)

Anyway, here are the stories, and you can read them online by clicking the title :)

The Pit and the Pendulum

This story is a very interesting one, as it presents the sufferings of the narrator in the torture chamber of the Inquisition. As I read the story, many images of scenes I read in books popped into my head, and even the song “The Poet and the Pendulum” from Nightwish. I guess this really added to the effect, but in all it was a great story.

Poe did a good job in portraying the terrors the man faces, and it is really fascinating from a psychological point of view. I’m sure many people have wondered, what they would do in situations like these. How would they react, how would they face the danger. This story really makes you wonder, and it’s actually pretty fascinating when you try to picture something you don’t really want to experience.

The pit in the story is said to contain something so terrible that the man cries out: “any death but that of the pit!”. This made me think of the end of the book 1984 By George Orwell. And I guess that was the point, that’s why the narrator didn’t tell us what was in the pit. Because everyone has their own version of Hell.

The Premature Burial

This story has as theme the fact that in many cases throughout history, people have been buried alive, because they had some sort of disease, making their doctors believe they were indeed dead.

The narrator of the story suffers of such an illness, and is in constant terror that he will be buried alive, because of his seemingly dead state. He, therefore makes arrangements, so that he could easily escape his tomb and be immediately noticed, if this shall occur.

But as he finds himself in a narrow, coffin-like place, with the smell of wet earth in his nose, he fears the worst. The realization of what is, in fact, going on has a changing effect on him.

This story contains a lesson for all of us, because we are the ones who decide how and in what circumstances do we wish to live.

The Purloined Letter

This is another detective story, in which me meet M. Dupin again as he, yet again, solves a case the Parisian police could not.

This time the case involves a letter stolen from a woman of high rank, and the thief, Minister D, is known. But the problem is that the letter, even though the police knows it is with the minister, can not seem to be found.

M. Dupin, with his amazing talent at observation, inspects the premises of the minister’s home and makes an interesting discovery, thus solving the odd, yet so simple case :D

This was an interesting story and it was nice to see recurring characters, especially if it’s M. Dupin, who I quite like :)

Silence – A Fable

This is an interesting and beautiful story. Well, not a story exactly, because it doesn’t really have a plot.

It is actually the monologue of a demon, visiting the narrator. The demon speaks of a hauntingly beautiful place, ruled by desolation. The demon watches the figure of a man, sitting on a rock, and apparently contemplating on something.

The surroundings are beautifully described, and the atmosphere of the story is fascinating. The style itself is also very interesting, with the repetitions.

Some Words With a Mummy

This is another interesting story, because it is, again, different. This is actually the first story of Poe that I read, in which he shares his thoughts about the society and age he lives in.

The story presents the narrator, with a few companions, who are given permission to inspect a mummy. Upon applying electricity, they encounter a shocking result: the mummy is in fact alive!

This, of course, causes great amazement, and the gentlemen begin to question the many thousand years old mummy about the time he lived and the advancements in many fields of that age. With the answers of the mummy we actually hear Poe’s own vision of his age, and it’s not a pleased one.

In the last paragraph he actually states his views, not minding to slumber himself for a couple of hundred years. I guess, I wouldn’t either :D

Well, it seems that’s all for now and I’ll be back shortly with Part VII :)

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read :D

Edgar Allan Poe Shortstories Part V

Hi all :)

I’m back with Part 5 and this time I’m going to present 5 works. I guess I’m actually not that fast in reading them, but truth be told, I was a bit busy this couple of days. But I think that the other part of the problem is that I’m reading them online and not from an actual book. And personally, I prefer books. But sadly, the books I’m planning to read in the near future are all on my computer. But that’s enough whining for today, so let’s take a look at the stories :P Like before, the titles are links to where you can read them online :)

The Masque of the Red Death

When I saw the title, I knew I’ve read this before. I think it was in highschool and I distinctly remember loving it :D It’s really creepy and bizarre, but when something creepy and bizarre is excellently written, it becomes great. Well, for me at least :P

The story is about Prince Prospero, who gathers a thousand people from his court and they seclude themselves in a castle, trying to get away from the “red death”.

The prince organizes a masquerade ball and the guests and rooms are beautifully described in their uniqueness, as well as the atmosphere with the ghastly sound of the ebony clock. But at midnight a new guest arrives who stirs disapproval and indignation. And as the prince and the guests try to get a hold of him, they soon realize that their guest is not someone they can easily deal with.

Mesmeric Revelation

This story reminded me of “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” (click to read it online), because both present a conversation with a hypnotized man on his deathbed.

But this one’s a bit different, because the theme is not the fact that he is speaking to Mr. Vankirk in this state, but rather what they are talking about.

This story is again a great example of Poe’s intellect, because he not only touches philosophical questions, but also scientific ones. He and his patient talk about the mind of God and creation, about life and death and about pain and happiness. This point of view is a very interesting one and there were aspects that I could actually imagine being true. I would definitely recommend reading it, especially for those of you who like this kind of stuff :)

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

This story is again a different one in theme, because it’s a detective story. And a pretty good one, actually :)

It presents a gruesome murder (I can’t even describe how disturbing it is… ) of two women, mother and daughter, and the police find no clues thus labeling the murder unsolvable. The narrator and his friend, a M. Dupin, are drawn to the case and decide to investigate themselves.

M. Dupin, as presented, has a great intellect and an analytical mind, able to almost read someones mind only by observing. This ability helps them unravel the mystery behind the murder, which has shocking and unexpected results.

I would definitely recommend this story, even though it’s a bit long, because the deductions of M. Dupin are just amazing and the story itself is really interesting :)

Never Bet the Devil Your Head

As the subtitle says, this story is “A tale with a moral”. It’s actually pretty funny and pretty tragic at the same time, especially when presenting the narrator’s friend, Toby Dammit.

In the first part of the story, the narrator talks about stories without morals and how he will tell us a story with one. He presents the background and habits of his friend, emphasizing that he likes to bet by saying “I’ll bet the Devil my head!”. The narrator tries to make him stop this habit, but fails every time.

But as the two of them go for a walk, heading over a covered bridge, a new figure emerges from out of nowhere and things start to get weird. The last paragraph has again a tragicomic impression, and it’s weird, because it makes you laugh at first, but then you think about it and feel bad for laughing. At least I did :P

The Oval Portrait

This is a really short story, but a very sad one. The plot itself may not be entirely credible, but I think the true meaning is beyond it.

The story presents the narrator in a room with many portraits and he passes the time by observing them and reading about their history from a book.

He discovers a painting of a girl, which he had not noticed before, and which has a great effect on him. He reads the story of the portrait from the book and finds out that the girl in the painting married the painter, thus having as enemy for the heart of the painter nothing more that Art itself.

The painter wants to paint the portrait of his beautiful wife and for weeks he does nothing else. But his actions, every stroke of his brush, seems to take away bit by bit the life from the beautiful girl.

I think the story is definitely worth reading, because it presents beautifully how two forms of love collide. And it’s really short :P

So, I guess this is all for now and soon I’ll be back with Part VI :)

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read :)

Edgar Allan Poe Shortstories Part IV

Hi all :)

I’m back with Part 4 of the Poe series, again with 4 short-stories. As I said before, sometimes I found Poe’s language and use of expressions a bit difficult to follow, because English is not my native language, but as I read more and more of his stories, it doesn’t seem all that difficult anymore :) I am definitely enlarging my vocabulary, which is always a good thing :)

Anyway, enough about me, lets get to those stories :P As usual, the titles are links to where you can read them online :)

The Island of the Fay

This is a really beautiful story that I really loved. I love Poe, but I think this is the first time that he actually inspired me. I like to write, but I sometimes (actually, almost every time :P ) get sidetracked and don’t finish what I started to write. In these cases I need a little push or something that makes me want to write and finish what I started. And this story really made me feel like I want to finish one of my stories.

In this story (which actually is more of a contemplation than a story with a plot) the narrator talks about music, about God and the universe as he perceives it. In the second part, he describes an island, with the western half flourishing and beautiful, and the eastern half, having a more dark and melancholic image.

He contemplates upon the idea of life and death, as he follows the path of a fay circling the island. The setting sun adds to the atmosphere, and the whole seems really beautiful and sad at the same time.

Ligeia

This is another horror-ish story and I liked it, but still, not my favorite. I’m saying horror-ish, because it’s not so much scary, as in a bit disturbing and weird.

The story is about the beloved wife of the narrator, Ligeia, who is greatly admired and cherished. Her beauty is described in great detail, as well as her other admirable traits.

She soon falls ill and passes away, which leaves the narrator heartbroken. But, after some time, he does remarry, although his new wife, Lady Rowena doesn’t bring him as much joy as Ligeia did.

Weird things start to happen around them, accentuating more as Lady Rowena falls ill with no hope of her survival. And, as expected, there’s an interesting twist at the end :)

The Man of the Crowd

This is an interesting story, but not because of the plot. It presents the narrator, sitting in a coffee house and watching the crowd of people who pass by.

And the interesting thing is actually the way he really sees people. First, he looks for categories of people, identifying them by specific traits. Then he watches the faces, that quickly move by. And that’s when an old man catches his attention.

He starts to follow the old man, trying to figure him out. This goes on for more than a day, until he finally understands it. And it isn’t some intriguing secret that makes the old man so special. And if you think about it, he’s not all that different :)

Manuscript Found in a Bottle

This story is again an interesting one because of its theme. And maybe it’s just me, but when I saw the title, I was expecting a certain plot, but it wasn’t what I expected. And I kinda like this in a story/book when it’s not what it seems :)

The story presents the narrator at sea on a sailing ship. They, then, get into a storm and almost all of the people on board die. But the ship travels on and they soon encounter another ship. And that ship isn’t an ordinary one.

Somehow the narrator gets on board of the other ship and tells us about the crew. And the crew isn’t ordinary either.

By the end, we find out that we are actually reading the manuscript of the narrator, which could only mean one thing. And I won’t tell you what :P I think it’s an interesting story, so read it and find out :)

So, I guess that’s all for now and I’ll be back soon with Part V :D

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read :)

Edgar Allan Poe Shortstories Part III

Hi all :)

I as mentioned a couple of times, I really like Poe :P But as I read more of his stories, I seem to like him more and more, because as it turns out, he doesn’t have a great talent only to write horror stories and such. In fact, he touches a larger variety of themes, and it’s really nice to see when someone has this wide range of knowledge. So this is another good point in the ever growing list of “why I like Poe” :)

Anyway, this time I’ll be talking about 4 works again, and as before, you can read them by clicking on the title :) So here they are:

The Fall of the House of Usher

I have heard of this story from a friend, who said it was really interesting and really Poe-ish :) And she was right :) This is again a great example of Poe’s talent in describing scenes.

The story is about a childhood friend of the narrator, whom the narrator visits because of a letter. The house and its surroundings speak of desolation and of a certain melancholic decay. And, as expected, the image of the inhabitants of the house, a Mr. Roderick Usher and his sister, Madeline, mirror their surroundings. Roderick is as thin as a skeleton, not to mention his mental illness, and Madeline is soon found dead.

The story gets really creepy by the end and only in the last paragraph do we find the meaning of the title. But of course, we can view the title in more figurative ways also :)

This story reminded me of a little movie that I once saw, called “Vincent”. Actually the movie contains more references to Poe and it’s really very interesting. So if you want to see it, you can find it here (it’s only a few minutes long): Vincent.

The Gold Bug

I really loved this story, because it is really different from anything I’ve read of Poe so far. And it seems he never ceases to amaze me :)

In this story, we go on a treasure hunt with the narrator, his friend, William Legrand and Legrand’s servant, Jupiter. But of course, we don’t realize that it is in fact a treasure hunt at the beginning. What we do see is Legrand, acting very strange on finding an interesting bug and drawing a picture of it on a piece of paper.

Later we find out that it is no ordinary paper, but a parchment once belonging to Captain Kidd, containing an encrypted message. So the hunt begins and the hunters eventually stumble upon something unexpected and intriguing.

I liked this story for more reasons, the main one probably being my nerdy love for cryptography :P But it is also very well written, and despite being quite longer than the ones I’ve read so far, it keeps the reader interested in what’s going to happen next :)

Hop-Frog

This is another interesting and slightly different story about a court jester who takes revenge upon the king and his counselors for their malice.

At the beginning of the story we learn the sad fate of the jester Hop-Frog, who is a dwarf and a cripple, and his friend, Trippetta. Because of his appearance, Hop-Frog is frequently laughed at by the joke-loving king and his court. But Hop-Frog endures this somehow, wanting revenge only after the king humiliates Trippetta.

He disguises his grim plans of revenge as a practical joke the king and his eight counselors could play on the guests of the coming masquerade ball. And the unsuspecting king and his men fall right into his trap.

This story is interesting, but not really my favorite, but it’s worth reading as it touches themes like cruelty to the more unfortunate and the revenge of the oppressed.

The Imp of the Perverse

This story is again a bit different, as it ventures into analyzing human nature in one of its interesting features. This is, namely, the fact that many times we do things we shouldn’t, just because we aren’t supposed to.

In the first part of the story, the narrator contemplates upon this fact, and in the second part, we find out more about the narrator himself.

He has committed murder, thus inheriting a fortune. He lived happily for a while, knowing he won’t be caught, but at the end he is betrayed by this inexplicable feature of his nature.

I found it an interesting story because I really like reading stories/books on psychology or that touch the subject. So if you do to, then this story’s for you :)

Well, I guess that’s all for now. Stay tuned for Part IV of the series :)

And until then, have a nice day and a nice read :)

Edgar Allan Poe Shortstories Part II

Hi all :)

I’m back with part 2 of my Poe series and it seems this is going faster than I expected :D But that’s okay, because it means I’ll have time for all of the short-stories this month :) Any if I want to complete the challenge of reading 70 books this year then there’s no time to lose, so let’s get to it :D

I’ll be presenting 4 works as before and you can read them online by clicking the title :)

The Cask of Amontillado

In this story the narrator vows revenge, because a man named Fortunato insulted him. He devises a plan and using Fortunato’s ego against him, takes him down to his cellar to see if a cask of wine is indeed Amontillado.

Fortunato is really gullible and doesn’t want to give up on the trip, not even for the sake of his own health. And in the depths of the cellar, with no one to help him, the narrator takes his revenge on the unsuspecting and drunk Fortunato.

I didn’t find the story all that interesting, but it was okay nonetheless. But I think the way the narrator avenged himself was a bit twisted considering it was only an insult that caused it. But hey, since it’s a Poe story I guess the weird thing would be if it was logical :D

A Descent Into The Maelström

This story is again a bit different in theme, as it presents man against nature in a horrific battle. A fisherman from Norway tells the narrator about the most amazing and terrible experience of his life.

The story is about the fisherman and his two brothers who have to face a hurricane that drives them to the depths of the Maelström, a terrifying vortex swallowing everything in it’s path.

I liked the way the story was told, because I felt present, as if I were just witnessing all of it. And the story itself was actually kind of fascinating :)

Eleonora

This story is a really beautiful one, both in style and in content. I love the way Poe describes nature, because it always creates an atmosphere of grandeur or otherworldly beauty. And this story is the perfect example of that. Not to mention how he speaks of Eleonora, his cousin, who he loves.

The whole story has a melancholic atmosphere that makes it even more beautiful and it kind of reminds me of how we love, or at least should love, those things that are ephemeral.

The sweetness of it all gets you by the heart :) And as most of Poe’s stories, this one has an interesting ending which is open to contemplation.

The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

This is another quite disturbing story, for more reasons. First of all, it is about keeping a dead man alive, so to speak, and talking with him. And second of all, the story contains really grotesque images. But it is interesting nonetheless :D

As I said before, the story is about the narrator who tries something quite peculiar: he hypnotizes one of his friends on the verge of dying, thus keeping him “alive”. But he is not actually alive, but is able to answer the questions of the narrator.

What I liked about this story is that it had a really interesting concept and also, it leaves room for discussion when they talk about awakening M. Valdemar from his trance. I find this an interesting thing to talk about, because it touches philosophy and ethics, with concern to death, the existence and role of the soul in this world and the next, the link between body and soul, and not to mention the right of someone to decide weather a man should live or die. I think that until now, this was the story that made me think and wonder the most :)

So that’s pretty much it for now and I’ll be back soon with Part III :)

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read! :)

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