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 :)

Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist

Hi all!

It’s been a while, yet again, since I’ve posted anything, but this is definitely going to change in the future. I’ve finished my exams and finally finished my thesis also (which I still have to sustain, but at least the hard part is over :) ), so in a few more days my summer vacation will also start :D

I have a lot of plans, including catching up on my reading, which I have neglected the past few months. Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” I think is a good start.

This was definitely perfect the book to read right now. With all the stress that was laid on me the past few weeks, I ended up feeling pretty lost, but I think the book got me back on track.

I’ve looked over some reviews of the book after I’ve finished reading it, and it lead me to believe that this is one of those books that you either love or hate. And I personally loved it.

The book presents the story of a young Spanish shepherd named Santiago. His life changing adventure begins when he realizes he had had the same dream twice and talks about it with an old man, who calls himself the king of Salem.

Inspired by the words of the king, Santiago decides to pursue his dream to find the treasure by the Egyptian pyramids. His road is full of turns, as he ends up many times in places he would never before imagine, but all contribute in him finding his path.

The book is a greatly philosophical one, and I think that is why I liked it so much. It covers the theme of destiny, of the importance of following ones dreams and the unity of the universe. The presented thoughts have a magical and mysterious intonation, as the role of each thing on Earth is explained, with the steps one has to take in order to become one with the world surrounding us.

The role of an alchemist is also described and it is quite different from the one we normally tend to think of. It is pretty awesome nonetheless and I don’t think I would mind being the apprentice of one :D

I loved this book because I really wanted it to be real. I want to believe that there is more to life than want I can see around me. Because sometimes it can be rather depressing, and I love books that restore my hope in the beauty of the world and make me want to live life to the fullest, and not just settle for the ordinary.

I think it is worth reading, but I guess it’s not everyone’s cup of tee. So if you do want to read it, here’s where you can find it online: The Alchemist

This is all for now, and next time (hopefully soon) I’ll be presenting Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”.

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

Alexandre Dumas – The Count of Monte Cristo

Hi all!

It has been a long time since I’ve been here and I can’t even imagine it myself that it took this long to finish “The Count of Monte Cristo”. It is indeed a long book, and I knew that when I started it, but I also knew it would be great. And it was. I have to admit, this was one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read. But definitely, this was the worst time to read it, and I guess that is one of the reasons why I finished it so late.

I have a lot on my plate nowadays, balancing work, exams and preparing for my Bachelor’s Degree certification, so all I needed was a good book to keep me focused :D

The weird part is that I don’t think I’ve fully understood that it’s over. I keep thinking about reading another chapter in my spare time, but then I remember, there’s no more chapters left. I guess I really got used to the characters, with all the time I’ve spent on them. And I miss them, because each one was a very interesting person, be it in vices and faults, or decency and good will. And the plot itself is very captivating and complex, with turns you don’t anticipate and many threads to present the lives of the many characters, that somehow are still woven together.

The book is actually the story of a young man named Edmond Dantes, who although very young, would soon become captain of a ship and also marry the love of his life, Mercedes. But this perfect future is soon destroyed, as Edmond is accused by Danglars, a fellow official on the ship, and Fernand, a man in love with Mercedes, to be a conspirator. Although innocent, Edmond is still imprisoned, as the king’s attorney tries to save the life of his father.

He stays in prison for fourteen years, during which he befriends the Abbe Faria, who becomes his teacher and father in their despair. When this beloved guardian dies of an unfortunate illness, Edmond finds that he was given once again a chance at freedom, and even wealth.

He returns to his home town, but the life that he left behind was nowhere to be found. The good people he remembered were all driven to misery, while the ones who plotted against him were successful and rich. And so, the plan to avenge himself stirs in the mind of Edmond, naming himself from then on the Count of Monte Cristo. He gradually enters the lives of his former “acquaintances” and by manipulating the threads of destiny, he tries to undo the wrong and bring ease to his years of pain, by punishing those that punished him with the undeserved sufferings at the Chateau d’If .

As I said, the story is a rather complex one, and also presents some very interesting ideas about destiny, about hope and about happiness. Each character is beautifully displayed, and we can almost see into the recesses of their hearts. Every pang of pain, every glitter of joy can be felt by the reader also. And I think one of the saddest episodes of the book was when the count revisited his dungeon and listened to his own story told by the guide. I’m not afraid to confess, it did indeed bring tears to my eyes. And I love when a book can achieve that, because that basically means that I bow before the author for being able to write this. And in case of this book, the bow isn’t only for that particular scene, but for the whole book. It is a masterpiece, no doubt about it.

I guess this is all I’m going to say about it for now, because I feel I could go on and on, but it’s not the time for that :D

Anyway, if you would like to read it online, you can find it here: The Count of Monte Cristo.

So, I guess that’s all for now. I’m not really sure when I’ll be back with the next book, probably not that soon, due to causes I’ve already listed. But when I do return, I’ll be reviewing Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”.

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

Edgar Allan Poe Shortstories Part I

Hi all :)

First of all, I now declare this month to be Poe-month, which means I will dedicate February (or at least what’s left of it :D ) to reading the works of Edgar Allan Poe.

He is one of my favorite poets/writers, because he has an interesting style and vision. I’ve read most of his poems, maybe even all, but I can’t be sure, and I’ll probably be presenting some of my favorites during this month. But for now, I will be talking a bit about 4 works, not much, because they’re quite short and I want to leave something for the reader too :D

So here they are (click on the title to read it online :) ):

The Angel of the Odd

This was the first short-story I read, because I remembered one of my friends talking about it, and she said it was really weird and didn’t make much sense. But it kinda did :D

The story is told in the first person, and presents the narrator reading about some strange accident in the paper and he doesn’t believe it. Because of this, he is visited by the Angel of the Odd, a very interesting fellow, with a German accent, and tries to persuade him to believe in these odd happenings. After the visit, unexpected things start to happen, which change the narrator’s mind.

I really enjoyed this short-story, for more reasons. It was funny at places, weird at others and it is unmistakably Poe :D

The Balloon Hoax

This story is rather different than the first one, both in style and content. It presents a fictitious balloon ride across the Atlantic ocean, something not even slightly possible at that time. But still, as the beginning part tells us, many people got excited over the false news. And I think with good reason.

The story presents details of the balloon and of the journey in great detail, making the story rather credulous. Journal entries are also included, written by two passengers of the vehicle. It is very realistic and really down-to-earth.

I have to admit, though, that I found it a bit boring, but I understand that there was a reason behind the style. But, I guess, it’s not for everyone :D

Berenice

This story is the perfect example of what I imagined Poe’s stories to be like. The style is interesting, but the writing maybe a bit hard to understand (maybe just for me, because English is not my native language :D ), but I love it nonetheless.

The whole story has a gloomy atmosphere, as it presents the difficult-to-explain mental illness of the narrator and the illness of the once beautiful and lively Berenice, the narrator’s cousin. It gets really creepy by the end, with an even creepier turn of events at the end as we understand what actually happened.

So if you like horror or horror-ish stories, this one’s for you :)

The Black Cat

This is another impressive horror story. It’s about an alcoholic man, who tortures and kills his once loved cat. The story is told from his point of view.

Supposedly because of his actions his house burns down and they have to move. He soon finds a replacement for his dead cat, one who is black like Pluto (his former cat) was, but has a white spot on his chest.

The narrator, to his surprise, does not get to love the cat, but rather starts to dread the animal. This leads to other cruelties on his part.

The story is pretty good and has an interesting turn at the end, and a really creepy one, I might add :)

So that’s about it for now, stay tuned for Part II of the series :)

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

Karl May – The Oil Prince

Hi all :)

I just finished reading “The Oil Prince” and I was pleasantly surprised again. Actually this was the first “western” book recommended by my Mom, but I chose to read “Winnetou” first, because it was on my list of to-read books and, frankly, I didn’t really like the title :D I know the second reason is stupid, and I really should know better, because this happened to me before, when reading “The Hunger Games”. I didn’t like that title either, but now, that is one of my favorite books of all time. But even so, it was a wise choice to read it second and you’ll see why in just a moment :)

The story contains three sub-plots woven together: the road of the German immigrants who want to settle in the West, the war between two tribes of the Apache Indians and a plan to scam a wealthy banker to buy a fake oil reserve.

During the story, we meet some old acquaintances from “Winnetou”: Sam Hawkins, Will Parker and Dick Stone, not to mention Old Shatterhand and Winnetou themselves. They, along with some other famous figures of the West, join the immigrants and the little group of the banker as they head for the prairie.

The story is interesting, with many twists and turns, as new and unexpected dangers emerge, not to mention the duty to save the banker from the hands of the oil prince.

I have to say that I think I liked this one better than “Winnetou” and I think the timing, along other things, had to do something with it :D I didn’t have to worry about exams, or work and I could relax and read when I wanted to :)

As I said before, I like to read about interesting habits, and this book gave another look into the lives and ways of the Indian tribes. It was interesting to see, how they perceive honor, war, victory and defeat, not to mention who they see as enemy.

Another thing I liked was the way the idea of murder was presented. When it was done by the bad guys, they did it without hesitation and even with pleasure, and when it came to the good guys, they always tried to remain clear of it, not killing anyone unless it was necessary. And I think this is a good way to make a point.

So anyway, I liked this book and I would recommend it to anyone. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it online, but if anyone knows where I can find it, please tell me so I can put a link for others :)

That’s all for now, and next time I’ll be doing something a little different. I’ve been meaning to read Poe’s short-stories for a while now, so I’ve decided to do a series on them, 3-4 at a time, or maybe more if they’re really short :D

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

Karl May – Winnetou

Hi all :)

As promised, I’m back with Karl May’s “Winnetou”, a book I did not choose to read at a good time :D

Actually, my mom recommended it, said it was good because all western adventures are good :D And despite my initial hesitation (I don’t usually like this kind of adventure), I enjoyed the book.

But as I said, the timing wasn’t the best one, because I had a lot on my shoulders with the exams at school and some difficulties at work, not to mention some personal problems, and so I often found myself not knowing what was going on in the book or not paying attention and had to start over again. But, I guess, in the end, I liked it.

The story follows the adventures of Old Shatterhand (told from his point of view), a name he had earned fairly quickly during his first visit to the wild west. He befriends Winnetou, the young chief of the Apache Indians and together, they encounter and withstand many dangers the west has to offer.

The plotline is rather complex, one adventure leading to the other, with many colorful characters and places. The book provides an opportunity to take a peek into the lives of a few indian tribes and I found this rather interesting, because although I’m not really into westerns, I enjoy reading about these kind of things.

What I really liked about the story was the freedom of the characters to just go and take their chance in the world. I know I would give a lot to have that kind of independence, but I can’t really see that happening in today’s world. And another thing I found fascinating was Winnetou’s link with nature. But I guess this all is no more today than a memory from the simpler times.

When I finished the book, I started to think about its message, and even though that at first glace it only appears to be just an adventure novel, I think it does make some good points. For instance, it talks about the gold rush and the way people just murdered and robbed each other to get their hands on more gold. And if you think about it, it sounds crazy. But that doesn’t change the fact that this is a fact. And I really liked how the characters realize in the end that they don’t want to kill anymore.

As for the closing death scene, I’m still trying to figure out what that means and why did it happen. My roommate says it doesn’t really have to have a reason or explanation, but I think it does. And I have an idea, but I’m not sure it’s what the writer intended.

Anyway, I have to say that it was a good book and I would recommend it to anyone who likes western adventures.

I didn’t find the book online, or at least not the version I read, but here you can find four writings of Karl May: The Online Books Page/Karl May.I took a look at them, and it seems the second two contain what I read, which made me think that maybe my version is a reedited version. But it doesn’t really matter.

So that’s all for now, next time I’ll be back with another book by Karl May: “The Oil Prince”. Until then, have a nice day and a nice read :)

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