Better than the movie, this isn't ruined by having seen it. Rather it provides a more complete, deeper story. In addition, it contains various section...moreBetter than the movie, this isn't ruined by having seen it. Rather it provides a more complete, deeper story. In addition, it contains various sections that the movie doesn't even have, such as the actor (Johnny? I forget his name tbh).(less)
I really need a 2.5 stars option, though I would end up using it on three-fourths of everything. As a generic, I can neither recommend nor disavow thi...moreI really need a 2.5 stars option, though I would end up using it on three-fourths of everything. As a generic, I can neither recommend nor disavow this book.
Okay so the beloved Arabian Nights, tales from a thousand and one nights. I should start with what this is NOT. This is not a linear story about a princess telling stories to a king. This is not a childrens' read involving genies, magic, and cyclopi (I refuse to spell this any other way, no matter the red line beneath it). This IS a collection of stories (one suspects passed down in the oral tradition) dating back from ancient times.
Taken on their own, many of the stories are quite fascinating. Unfortunately, as a straight through read, I quickly became bored. The stories are, with some notable exceptions, more or less the same.
"There's a beautiful girl whose eyes were like moonbeams, her lips were the color of coral, and as fresh, and she astounded with amazing astoundness all who beheld her. But she had no interest in being married, and her father the king, though he doted on her, could not accept this and so he locked her up. But on the other side of the world, there's a handsome gent whose eyes burned like saucers of the sun, his lips were sweeter than the nectar that camels walked thousands of miles to obtain and carry back, and his hair floated like all the Towers of Babylon. He, also, had no interest in being married, truly he said to HIS father the other king, "I have no interest in being married," and though his father was wroth and consulted his Wazir extensively, no plan was made. Then deus-ex-machina style, there are two omnipotent Djinnis (read: Genies) that somehow decide to compare the two and yadda yadda yadda. They get married." But, says the meta-princess, who is meta-telling the meta-king these stories so she doesn't get mega-decapitated, this story is not more fascinating than the other girl and guy who get screwed over, but fall in love anyway, and so on.
Congrats, you have had the Arabian Nights experience!
In short, this book, quaint translation included (you have no idea how many times you'll read phrases similar to: he joyed with exceeding joyness), is something that you'd have to keep by your bedside for several years. Reading one story a week, lest you get tired of it. Unfortunately it's not good enough to keep by your bedside for several years, so where does that leave it? 2.5 stars, baby.
Get from library. Read a few so you can be edumacated. Write a witty review. Have ten times more fun watching Aladdin.
Oh and I found this particular footnote the best part of what I read: "Four wives are allowed by Moslem law and for this reason. If you marry one wife she holds herself your equal, answers you and "gives herself airs"; two are always quarreling and making a hell of the house; three are "no company" and two of them always combine against the nicest to make her hours bitter. Four are company; they can quarrel and "make it up" amongst themselves, and the husband enjoys comparative peace."(less)
Another reviewer said it best when they described Faulkner's writing as brown. I prefer "muddy."
What happens when you combine every beautiful color? Y...moreAnother reviewer said it best when they described Faulkner's writing as brown. I prefer "muddy."
What happens when you combine every beautiful color? You get brown.
The problem with Light in August is that the writing is boring. Faulkner goes on these lengthy descriptions of random stuff that have little relation to the plot. Taken seperately these may have worked out and been entertaining but combined as they were, I simply found them pointless and distracting.
As I was reading this, I came to a point where I realized that in the past 40 pages, the plot had not progressed at all. I then shut the book and immediately returned it to the library. Via catapult.(less)
The Count of Monte Cristo is probably my favorite classic. I love it so much that I intend to write my third book as a sort of dystopian steampunk ver...moreThe Count of Monte Cristo is probably my favorite classic. I love it so much that I intend to write my third book as a sort of dystopian steampunk version of Count of Monte Cristo. But before I tell you why I enjoy this book so, I want to paint a picture of The Count of Monte Cristo as it was released:
Imagine that there are only 3 or 4 television series on TV. With such a limited range of shows, practically everyone would be able to keep up to date on them. When you went to get your coffee on the day a new episode was released, the barista might say to you, "Have you seen the latest episode of X? Did so-and-so die?!" But then she'll shake her head. "Oh don't tell me!" This sense of shared emotion, vision - like being in a movie theater or in a concert except spread over a whole city, over days and weeks. Count of Monte Cristo was a serialized novel, and it was basically like that. Transport yourself back and imagine: passing by a Parisian cafe, you might hear people debating over the morality of so-and-so action of Edmond. You might return home from working as a clerk, your hand tired from writing non-stop, and discover your girlfriend weeping over the injustice of Edmond's imprisonment. It's easy to look at the story in isolation now, but you should remember that when it was released, it gripped the city of Paris! It united the people in a drama the likes of which few had ever encountered before.
Indeed, the Count of Monte Cristo remains a drama of a quality that even we, the fictionally replete, rarely encounter today.
As I've been studying (read: dissecting) this story in preparation for writing my third book, I can tell you every detail and nuance about it. At first glance, and as many other reviewers will tell you, it appears to be the ultimate revenge story. Edmond is as the height of happiness: he's about to be made captain and to marry his beloved Catalan, when he is unfairly and unjustly thrown into a terrible prison where he spends the next decade and a half. When he escapes, heir to a fantastic fortune, he takes out his revenge.
But in fact Edmond goes to great lengths to avoid petty vengeance. Each of his three nemeses - Fernand the fisherman, de Villefort the prosecutor, and Danglars the banker - has committed separate sins for which Edmond punishes them. In fact, it is because Edmond meticulously uncovers these sins that The Count of Monte Cristo is considered by some to be the first 'detective book.' (I disagree - I believe Poe is the originator). So really he's not taking out revenge so much as acting as an 'agent of Providence.' Edmond believes he is the hand of God, and carrying out God's punishment. His changing understanding of what this means is one of the more dynamic elements of the novel.
What is particularly excellent about The Count of Monte Cristo is that the villains aren't caricatures. They act as you might expect real people to act. Fernard's betrayal is a result of obsession and love madness. Gerard de Villefort is, largely, a just man and shows a deep respect for his father, even though he doesn't have to, and for his family, even though they are flawed. Danglars is probably the most villainous of them all, but even his greed is certainly human sized.
Though a melodrama, The Count of Monte Cristo plays out like a realistic fantasy. We wish to place ourselves in Edmond's shoes. We suffer daily and usually our suffering has very little meaning. By inheriting a vast fortune and a deep education, Edmond gets the chance to transform himself and to give meaning to his suffering. He becomes almost superhuman, one of the very first superheroes (his and Batman's stories are practically identical) - but he is, in the end, fallible.
Because of how publishing has changed, and because our attention spans have shortened, I'm not sure we will ever see an equal to The Count of Monte Cristo. A shame, but then we can always return to The Count.
*I read the unabridged version, which is considered by most readers to be a really good idea. I don't know that it's truly necessary. I actually read the first ~80 pages of the abridged version and it is, in some ways, superior. Certainly it is written in a modern (succinct) style.(less)
I found this surprisingly good considering my dislike of all things "classic."
I suppose I just appreciate girls being described as "elfin." Though I r...moreI found this surprisingly good considering my dislike of all things "classic."
I suppose I just appreciate girls being described as "elfin." Though I read this years ago, I've never forgotten that. And as one of my poetry teachers used to say, if you come away with a single interesting phrase or a single interesting image, then you are a richer person.
If I tally up the interesting phrases and images I've taken from books, why then call me Donald Duck! He's the rich one right? From Duck Tales...? Maybe not.(less)