Have you ever read a book and thought "This reads a lot like someone's fantasy"? I have. In fact, it happens a lot with bad genre books - the more genHave you ever read a book and thought "This reads a lot like someone's fantasy"? I have. In fact, it happens a lot with bad genre books - the more genre specific they are, the more they tend to read like what someone would randomly think about while on the toilet.
Usually this is a bad thing, but with Jules Verne, it is not. In fact, it's the one great thing about him: most of his novels have the contagious energy of a 12-year-old's bathroom ramblings. You can almost listen to him thinking in the background: "I bet I could build a submersible ship. It would totally work. You could get in and out using a floodgate mechanism, and you could make it sink deeper by letting more water into the water deposits. And you could get most of what you needed from sea animals and plants. I could live there for months at a time and no one would ever see me again! That would show'em. But there's still the illumination issue - oh wait, I could install a really big lamp on the bow!!" (dear old Jules was informed enough to sound like a prophet to us modern readers, but of course he couldn't have come up with the sonar. It's sort of endearing actually - picture a long black steel cigar with a big lamp at the front. Awwww.).
Then there are all the other parts. Like when he goes on and on about dozens of fish species and their descriptions, sometimes for pages at a time (there's actually a character whose main function is to blurt out the entire taxonomic classification of each. and. every. one. of. them.). Those aren't that much fun.
Don't get me wrong, Verne still holds a dear place in my bookish heart. But this was really, really painful to get through....more
Hablo del honor de las familias, la pureza de las razas, el lustre de los nombres... Yo he llegado a creer esta noche... y te lo digo con toda franqueHablo del honor de las familias, la pureza de las razas, el lustre de los nombres... Yo he llegado a creer esta noche... y te lo digo con toda franqueza... que si del honor pudiéramos hacer cosa material, sería muy bueno para abonar las tierras.
I'm sorry, American friends, but you don't have this. And if you did, it wouldn't sound half as good in English.
Old Count of Albrit, master of Jerusa and Polán, returns to his homeland impoverished and alone. His house is now owned by his former servants, and the local personalities whom he once helped don't respect him anymore. All he has left are his old-fashioned ideas on pride and honor, and his two grand-daughters. Except he has good reason to believe one of them isn't his legitimate descendant, but the result of his daughter-in-law's affair with another man. In returning home, he aims to find out which one of the girls is the true Albrit, heiress to his name and his honor. But as the days go by, he realizes how very little he has left, and begins to question, which is more important after all - honor, or love?
I loved the movie when I first saw it - it's very interesting that I couldn't recall which one of the girls was the legitimate one, so unimportant it ended up being in the end....more
I think the main reason I didn't get fully invested into this book is that I'm in love. It's probably unfair, but there it is. I'm deeply in love forI think the main reason I didn't get fully invested into this book is that I'm in love. It's probably unfair, but there it is. I'm deeply in love for the first time in my life and the person I love loves me back - which is lovely and all, but doesn't help me feel any sympathy for the main character's predicament.
How childish and narrow minded it reads when put into words. I know, I know, there's the social pressure and there are other considerations and reality asserts itself. That's the point of the story, actually - the book wouldn't be worth much if Kemal had decided to ditch his long-term girlfriend and run to his lover's arms instead.
But I'm in love. And though I'm trying really hard not to be judgmental here, I have to admit I don't want to pick this book up more than strictly necessary. It's time to move on and spend some time with characters I actually like....more
It starts out with Mr. Ellerbee, a kind-hearted man who, after getting shot at his own liquorThis is Dante's The Divine Comedy on acid. Lots of acid.
It starts out with Mr. Ellerbee, a kind-hearted man who, after getting shot at his own liquor shop, gets sent to hell for thinking that Heaven looks like a theme park. Part II follows Ladlehaus, one of Mr. Ellerbee's assailants, as he gets relocated to a Purgatory of sorts for putting God in the uncomfortable position of making a mistake. Finally, part III features Quiz, a groundskeeper who is randomly killed by God because he wouldn't let him concentrate. It all comes together in a rather bizarre Last Judgement scene.
It's funny how down to earth (tee hee hee) everyone is, though. God is a bit of a loser, Jesus whines, Mary feels her privacy has been violated, and Joseph wonders when he'll be allowed to shag her already.
Dark and absurd and priceless stuff. It's also amazingly well written, in case anyone cares....more
This is probably a 2.5 star book, but it gets a third star because, I have to admit, I'm curious as to how the romantic storyline will work out, so I'This is probably a 2.5 star book, but it gets a third star because, I have to admit, I'm curious as to how the romantic storyline will work out, so I'll probably be reading the sequels. I know, I'm a sissy. Awww. I've always loved one-liners as well, and this book is chock-full of them, so I guess that's a redeeming quality. For me, I mean. It totally is for the book....more
This book has multiple issues, but King is still the best when it comes to characterization. It's a shame, because that means the issues with this behThis book has multiple issues, but King is still the best when it comes to characterization. It's a shame, because that means the issues with this behemoth only become apparent when you've already read 800 pages - and you're way past the point of no return....more
Gah, I hate rating anthologies. How are you supposed to do that? Do you just begin at the top and start substracting half a star for every lame storyGah, I hate rating anthologies. How are you supposed to do that? Do you just begin at the top and start substracting half a star for every lame story you find? It seems unfair. So I'm giving this 5 stars because I absolutely love the idea and because there were a more than a few stories in it that were great, either in concept or execution.
It was interesting that the ones I liked the most weren't always the ones inspired in tales I already knew (incidentally, how did I not know about Catskin? Its retelling is one of the best stories in the book, if only because it's the one that best brings back that dreamlike, suspended feeling of reading classic fairy tales).
Most of the The Wild Swans spinoffs were awesome, but not all of the Bluebeard references were. And I was only meh about both the Snow Queen and The Little Match Girl references, which sucked, seeing as those are probably my favoritest storiestest ever.
I didn't really care though, because half the fun of reading this book comes from working at reaching those conclusions. Tracing back the stories to their sources, pondering where exactly the twist is, carefully sampling the tone and whining at the result? That's what reading metafiction is all about.
Seriously though, there are far more great stories here than I dared to hope. And it also brought back a few tales I didn't even know I remembered, which was a nice bonus. Great fun....more