I don't think I've ever felt more humbled while reading a book. Of course I had read some of these tales as a schoolboy, but really hadn't the educati...moreI don't think I've ever felt more humbled while reading a book. Of course I had read some of these tales as a schoolboy, but really hadn't the education to understand what I was reading. Chaucer's characters are so varied in style and spirit, yet with great ease manage to drop references from Solomon to Ovid, Catullus to Cato, Boethius to Dante and sometimes all within a single paragraph.
How can it be that some fellow from the Dark Ages could be better read than my modern self? How is it possible, without the printing press (not to mention Kindle, Google and the Internets), that Chaucer was able to recall a dozen different supporting quotations from writers and philosophers from through the ages in defense of nearly any argument his characters might make?
There are few writers that create simultaneously high-brow and low-brow humour and Chaucer masters this cause from cover to cover. To call this work a masterpiece is an understatement. It is the masterpiece of English literature. It is the one book that I would give 6 stars or more if only there were more to give.(less)
This book was quite unbelievable. Being the first vampire book, I expected that I knew everything about vampires that there was to know, having seen c...moreThis book was quite unbelievable. Being the first vampire book, I expected that I knew everything about vampires that there was to know, having seen countless vampire-based movies, TV shows, puppet shows... and a few real vampires in Paris. There were a few surprises in the book however. I was surprised to be surprised. There were aspects of the story that have not been copied... a million times. I was also surprised that the story actually inspired pangs of fear (I read the book in a dark quiet place). It was all so creepy. Stoker was a genius and I'm sure he scared the bejesus out of his late 19th century audience. It was and still is a brilliant work.(less)
Reading the classics is generally an enjoyable thing as much for it's story as exposing a historical context for all of the stories that follow and mi...moreReading the classics is generally an enjoyable thing as much for it's story as exposing a historical context for all of the stories that follow and mimic. I can't think of any of my favourite science fiction movies, books, or television series that don't owe a debt of homage to this very original work.
Frankenstein's monster was the original 'skin job' who has inspired Bladerunner's replicants, Battlestar Galactica's Cylons and Schwarzenegger's Terminator. The book was so much more delightfully clever than I expected, having seen so many poorly executed spoofs on the Frankenstein monster. I thought the monster was going to be an imbecile that was eventually destroyed by villagers with pitchforks. I can tell you without spoiling the fun, that villagers with pitchforks would have been no match for this monster.
If you haven't read this and you like science fiction, this is the very next book that should be on your list. (less)