Egads and finally finished. Not that I disliked Melmoth. It just took forever for me to catch something that got my attention to keep me hooked. I'm gEgads and finally finished. Not that I disliked Melmoth. It just took forever for me to catch something that got my attention to keep me hooked. I'm going to go with the idea of early 19th century writing. I could easily see, later on, where Poe and Wilde were influenced by Maturin. Poe in particular with the images: the dark cramped places, the long twisting ways of escape, so on and so forth. Wilde, surely, wit the manipulation Melmoth works into his bargains with the various characters through the novel. And those, I always found particularly interesting. I don't know if I thought I would like this or not as I've forgotten why I picked it up. If it was some Goth lit jag (possible) or something to do with supernatural things (also possible). But it definitely fit both categories and, I'm pretty sure, is going to have a bit of influence on what I'm writing now....more
Absolutely brilliant. Initially I was drawn because of Zipes and Tatar. I haven't read Bernheimer's sister/companion book, though it's on the vast lisAbsolutely brilliant. Initially I was drawn because of Zipes and Tatar. I haven't read Bernheimer's sister/companion book, though it's on the vast list. Each essay was marvelously interesting. I'm not going to bother going through one by one and pointing out why or why not, it would take far too long. But, overall, I think the theme that comes through is that fairytales catch children on a deep level and there they remain to do what the stories (and most stories in my opinion) are meant to do. To sooth, to give hope, to share a lesson, to provide an outlet, to give us magic back and that fantastic moment of seeing a thing purely, without really asking why. An easy read. And while it might get slated to as something as a "gender study" as all the essays are by men, I'm not sure that is. I think it's just the princes and the shepherds and the lost boys telling the other side....more
For anyone that wishes to see how well stark language works, Haruf does a rather marveouls job in his novel. There's not too much. There's not too litFor anyone that wishes to see how well stark language works, Haruf does a rather marveouls job in his novel. There's not too much. There's not too little. A few characters I found lacking, their actions and reasons stretched and I would've liked to have a deeper understanding of why this happened, but the rest to come together, I think, like the title of his book. In some ways I was brought to mind of Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird and Bradbury's Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Not particularly because of the stories (though all four books center in small rural towns with children as the main narrators or the strong narrators as in Dandelion Wine) but the way each author builds the life in these places. I found some aspects to be cliche, but the cliche ended up working well in the end and I was able to overlook it. Definitely better than I imagined it would be....more
Overall, I really liked the collection of short stories compiled for this. A few I had read in other places, but that didn't distract from everythingOverall, I really liked the collection of short stories compiled for this. A few I had read in other places, but that didn't distract from everything as a whole. What I really liked that the origin of the story or the version used for the retelling was included. I always find it vastly interesting simply because so many tales can overlap in where they came from. Others I simply never heard of because I haven't read a great deal of Eastern stories or whatever the case may be.
My favorite of all of them was the first story based on the idea of Baba Yaga and dealing with John Audobon. I'm not sure why I liked this best of all, but I did.
A couple stories I couldn't get through. The one based on Jack and the Beanstalk happened to be the main culprit. I think I understood what the author was going for and I did like it at first. But the style bogged me down. Perhaps I'll try to read it again another time.
Over all, a good collection of reworked and influenced stories....more
I wasn't sure what to expect from The Children of Men, though I liked the film a great deal. The book, though, shares only a little with it. I wasn'tI wasn't sure what to expect from The Children of Men, though I liked the film a great deal. The book, though, shares only a little with it. I wasn't disappointed by what I found.
James presents an interesting question to consider. What would the world be like without children? If suddenly we found ourselves childless not by choice but by nature. We're so secure in our idea that there will be another generation to take care, fix, help, whatever else the previous one, but would we become despondent and uninterested in life if we knew no one would follow us? That eventually the youngest generation would die out? It's not really a question I've ever really considered. I've had no reason to. I might worry that my generation's done a great deal of harm or have concerns about my parents' generation, but I've never thought of a slow extinction of the human race.
I suppose I can see why some wouldn't like the novel. Theo isn't a particularly likable narrator. He's aloof and has distanced himself from the remaining people about him to a massive degree. He claims to desire solitude and perhaps for a while he does. Self-centered and arrogant, his diary entries aren't the most compassionate things I've ever read. However, I think James does a marvelous job of letting him not censor himself. I'd imagine that his fictional narrations aren't very different from some real ones. A diary, after all, isn't a thing meant to be read by other people. Or one would hope.
And his nature didn't change overly much from first person accounts to third. She didn't show him in a better light. Really, she didn't show anyone in a particularly favorable light. There are some moments where things are soft, with Julian often, but it's still a harsh world they're facing. Perhaps not harsh, but doomed. Even in such a state people were still people. Self-serving, power-hungry, manipulating. After all, why would our end change how we behave?
It's definitely an interesting read when compared to other dystopian literature out there....more
I have adored Edward Gorey for years, since childhood no doubt when I first saw his work animated for the opening to PBS's Mystery! I couldn't say whaI have adored Edward Gorey for years, since childhood no doubt when I first saw his work animated for the opening to PBS's Mystery! I couldn't say what the connection was then and I'm not always sure what the draw is now save for my own love of things Victorian, Edwardian and Gorey's pen and ink crosshatched images. Still, it's difficult to find fault with such marvelous little stories like The Gastlycrumb Tinies or the Doubtful Guest and others. Not to mention Dracula which I remember having a poster of for the longest time and now is sadly misplaced somewhere.
The "by Edward Gorey" here for Ascending Peculiarity is a little misleading as the book itself is a collection of interviews and articles about Gorey. It does, as things go when one spans decades, get a little redundant, rather the introduction shares parts of various articles which for some reason confused me when I actually got to the article or interview and wondered: Didn't I read this already? It wasn't overly bothersome, but it might have had more to do with my state of mind than anything else. (Or lack of state as the case may be.)
What it comes down to, for me at least, is a really wonderful look at one of my favorite writer/illustrators. His humor and remarks about various things (oh so much ballet, but that explained a good deal considering how so many of his figures are posed, but still a thing I know nearly nothing about) isn't hindered at all. It was so very easy to imagine sitting across from this man with his sneakers, heavy rings, and the odd fur coat and simply chatting. He comments about his work, while seeming reluctant, were insightful and some of the things I remember thinking before knowing more about him struck me as amusing. Mostly in regard to Gorey being British because I thought that for the longest time whether thanks to his drawings or his language, I'm not particularly sure. It might have been thanks to PBS for all I know now.
Definitely a worthwhile and fun read for anyone that enjoys him. Certainly worth the trouble of finding an out of print, I believe (maybe it's simply my edition), book....more
I don't remember enough of this book to give it a rating as the last time I read it was probably in 1989 or there abouts. I never, though, forgot theI don't remember enough of this book to give it a rating as the last time I read it was probably in 1989 or there abouts. I never, though, forgot the title or that it I enjoyed it a great deal because it was like reading a female Robin Hood, who was probably my favorite folk hero at the time and still remains one. I remember checking it out from my junior high library more than a few times, but I never owned it. ...more