It must be Halloween, because I have been in the mood to read something Gothic. And Spooky. Finding something that is both, and is satisfying, is prov...more It must be Halloween, because I have been in the mood to read something Gothic. And Spooky. Finding something that is both, and is satisfying, is proving to be more difficult. After several fizzles, and one or two "it's okay" kind of books I decided to go with something I knew would work for me. Can't argue with a classic - Dracula. By Bram Stoker, of course.
For the record, I have read Dracula more times than I can count. I find it really fascinating. The story gets me every time. Of course, I have always been a Vampire fan and what better book to revisit than the Grandaddy of all Vampy books?
The plot is straight forward, the writing... not so much. A warning - this is a very over florid book to read. It's terribly Victorian in that not only was the writer being paid by the word... but also by the letter... and the punctuation marks (of which are legion in this book, good gods!). There are many unnecessarily long passages, whole chunks of monologues that are pages long, and other such atmospheric gobbledygook. Lots of cool, old fashiony lingo though ("polyglot" springs to mind)... but... long... winded... chunks... of book.... and lots of this :- and this; and yet more punctuation.
That said, this is one of my favourite books of all time. Why? The story, the familiarity, the suspense. I can't get enough. Reading it is like curling up with an old friend who I haven't gotten over yet. The characters pull me into their world, the situation calls to me. I thought maybe in my adulthood this book wouldn't appeal to me anymore. I'm not the angsty fourteen year old I was the first time I read it. I'm whingey, but whingey is a far cry from angsty. Yep.
If you're a fan of the modern Vampire novel and you haven't read this I just want to shake my head at you. If you can't handle the long chunks of "Whinge!!!" then pick up an abridged version. It will likely cut out enough of the drag to whet your appetite. However, I loathe abridged books. If my attention wanes that's one thing. If I start out half-assed from the get go, that's all on me.
Yeah, I know. I'm surprised I read this one too. This is what I call a palette cleanser book; not my usual affair, half the speed and totally off-bala...more Yeah, I know. I'm surprised I read this one too. This is what I call a palette cleanser book; not my usual affair, half the speed and totally off-balance. I've been Goldilocking my way through books for weeks and I figured out what was finally bothering me... I needed to wipe the slate.
There's only so long you can go reading Young Adult and Urban Fantasy. Evidently.
That said, I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. And I quite liked it... right up to the end. And then I grew annoyed. Shaffer died before the novel's completion and Barrows had to carry on in her Aunt's stead and it shows. The voice of the book changes right at the tail end and I found that distracting. I didn't end up loving it as a result.
The book is quite charming otherwise. It's set in 1946 just after World War II. It's told entirely in epistolary format, through letters back and forth between the main characters. Juliet is a novelist who is looking for a new idea for a book when a letter from Guernsey opens up her world. The inhabitants of the island formed a small literary club, ostensibly to fool the Nazi soldiers during the occupation. Juliet becomes fascinated, forsaken her life in London to learn all she can about Guernsey.
It's charming. It's brief. It makes sense why so many book groups read it. This is a book for people who love books.