I read "Aimez-Vous Brahms" several years ago and that introduced me to Sagan and piqued my interest regarding her other writings. Perhaps it was becauI read "Aimez-Vous Brahms" several years ago and that introduced me to Sagan and piqued my interest regarding her other writings. Perhaps it was because she wrote it a different time, long before the likes of Mr. Grey existed, Sagan's stories tend to be very sweet, romantic love affairs, and quite tame for today's standards. Girl is a student who falls for her boyfriend's Uncle, who -- alas -- is married. Girl is also friends with Uncle's wife, which makes for a strange love triangle but that does not stop girl from continuing the affair. It's almost the same story as "Aimez-Vous Brahms" except this time girl is younger (whereas in the former, the girl was older than her college-age beau).
The story is classically Sagan, who writes with a distinctly French "je ne sais quoi" that one could almost hear french music just reading it. She writes delicately; her characters are nonchalant, introspective but practical. Even at the height of their passion, her characters refuse to be sentimental. They understand how this world works and accepts it almost too willingly. They put the world back in order at the expense of their happiness. Consequently, her stories often end in a somber note. Sagan understands loneliness, heartaches and sadness like no other writer. In her hands, even the barest, dull and melancholic of plots can become exquisitely romantic. ...more
I adore Matheson so this review is obviously biased. (hence, the 5 stars). I think the stories included in his other book (Nightmare at 20,000 Feet) aI adore Matheson so this review is obviously biased. (hence, the 5 stars). I think the stories included in his other book (Nightmare at 20,000 Feet) are more well written and are considered his "classics", which is rightly so because those are truly his best works.
That is not to say that the stories included in this volume are not good. That would depend on how you like your "horror" actually. Matheson is one of my quintessential horror writers; his quick prose style is ideal for turning mundane into something else. It's classic twilight zone: short, direct, intially ordinary then a sudden twist. Horror how he writes it is not necessary horrific, rather is more of a jolt, a sudden realization that drastically shifts the character (or the reader's) perspective.
My favorites: "Button, Button" (or "The Box" as they had retitled the movie based on the short story) is the standout story. A true review of the piece would probably end up being longer than the actual story, so I'll spare you the spoilers and just read it for yourself.
"The Creeping Terror" -- I didn't like it when I first read it but it does grow on you with each rereading. I found it quite funny actually. The image of the farmer's wife in a halter top in the kitchen has been burned into my memory thanks to that.
"Shock Wave" -- The premise is pretty outdated and you can guess the ending coming from a mile away, but I like the way he wrote it. I could feel the struggle between the organ player and the organ -- or was it with himself? In a master's hand, dust can still become gold. ...more
Another vampire book If you're looking for Twilight, move on. Vampires is an anthology of the classic vampire tales wherein Vampires are Vampires -- thAnother vampire book If you're looking for Twilight, move on. Vampires is an anthology of the classic vampire tales wherein Vampires are Vampires -- think ghoulish shadows in the dark, fangs tainted with fresh blood; The Undead. None of those glitters in sun stuff, thank you very much Still I have to thank Twilight for thise resurgence in vampire stories. I actually bought my copy for the sole purpose of owning a hardbound copy of Sheridan LeFanu's "Carmilla". Hence, all the other stories is just bonus for me.
Since they are "Classics", most of the stories are actually pre-Dracula or are Dracula's contemporary. The writing style is definitely old and most plots are predictable.
My favorite so far (besides Carmilla) has been EF Benson's "The Room in Tower". It is the most "modern" story in the bunch, although it still suffers from being predictable and anticlimatic at the end. Nevertheless, the recurring imagery of Mrs Stone's party ending in that room in the tower read like frightening version of Groundhog Day. The repeated party scene. The toast, the invitation to go to the room in the tower. Everytime he stands at the threshold of the room, I hold my breath expecting something. Unfortunately, the ending does not satisfy, so...
I don't understand books in series. The commitment requirements, the funds. It's one thing to watch it on free TV, its another when one has to start cI don't understand books in series. The commitment requirements, the funds. It's one thing to watch it on free TV, its another when one has to start collecting them. Even as a kid I was never one who collected those Sweet Valley books like everyone else.
One exception in my collection is Harry Potter. But the rules are meant to be broken for classics
Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Blood series, however, is not one of them. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading her books immensely. In Blue Bloods, she introduces us to the world of Vampires as members of New York City's most elite family. But they can't just be vampires (or this would be Twilight), de la Cruz's vampires are fallen angels, Michael, Gabriel, Setieil and the like, thrown from heaven after the wall and toiling their time on Earth as they wait for a chance to return to heaven. As they struggle to reform their ways, they are pitted against the "Sliver Bloods" another group of vampires who feed on their own, with no wish to return to heaven.
After reading "The Club Dumas" and all its devil connection, I do feel saturated by all these angels/devils stories that I am not quite sure where Dumas ends and de la Cruz start. But overall, it made for a rich reading. I love the little connections to history: the Ranoake tribe, the historic settings of Venice, the glamour of old New York. While her characters itself are passable, the fast paced historic story line does drive the series forward, making these series a wonderful guilty pleasure.
Like I said, I read this primarily because I enjoyed Roman Polanski's "The Ninth Gate". But the movie only toucheA love letter to reading the classics
Like I said, I read this primarily because I enjoyed Roman Polanski's "The Ninth Gate". But the movie only touches on a few plot points found in the book, and removes a bulk of the story -- I.e. : the entire Dumas plot line -- reducing it to a more devil-worshiping detective mystery than a historical-romp-through-the-classics-do-you-believe-in-the-devil story it really is.
I'll polish this review when I have more time but reading "The Club Dumas" surprisingly paralleled reading Dan Brown's "The DaVinci code". Both books delved a lot into history and into our notions of God or Devil; both left me wanting to know more about other historical readings of Jesus and the devil. And both ends up with the protagonist finding some sort of connection with Jesus or the devil. But while Dan Brown reads like a paperback mystery, "The Club Dumas" feels richer, more thought out, and it reeled me in with its intriguing world of rare books. In an age where nearly everything can be found in the internet, and nothing is hidden anymore, mysteries are welcome reprieve. So, where else can one find the best mysteries other than in books? Paper books, that is. Old books that hold more than what their musty old spines tell.
Even at this early in the millennium the thought of real books, bound and written in paper, has started to sound old fashioned -- and, gasp -- archaic that paper books are beginning to elevate into an art status. Less for practically, more for art. Like paintings where once cameras came, or Polaroid films when digital cameras arrived. And that thought reverberates, especially to a book lover like myself. There is no mystery in an Ebook. We don't touch a machine and wonder who bound it, who cut the pages, who has touched this pages before us, and perhaps did they poison it, a la Arabian Nights, and so on. All we get are a bunch of letters in a faux sepia screen.
The Club Dumas is a nostalgic ode to reading, to getting lost in the pages of a good book, to opening new chapters and living different lives other than ourselves. To discovering more than what is just written on pages To biting the apple and knowing...more
This is my introduction to Lovecraft. As a lover of horror stories, I am not sure how Lovecraft has stayed out of my radar for so long. But that's watThis is my introduction to Lovecraft. As a lover of horror stories, I am not sure how Lovecraft has stayed out of my radar for so long. But that's water under the bridge. One story and I am a disciple
"The Shunned House" is a typical haunted house story. An old house, quite specific in its location, where strange deaths happen, and a family plagued by the haunting. The narrator and his uncle eventually decide to investigate the haunting with dire consequences.
Fairly run-of-the-mill, but this is Lovecraft. I love his kind of macabre, the weirdness, the unorthodox endings. Reading his work gives one a sense of taking this journey alone. Nobody can help you. Nobody can save you except yourself. It is like opening the door between reality and the unnatural, and once the threshold is crossed, one can never go back again. It reminds me a lot of an old horror movie that freaked me out as a child "Phantasm" where you feel like at the edge of the world and nobody can help you.
This is perhaps the most expensive book I've bought -- a testament to how powerful the Internet can be. After searching for a copy for years,Overrated
This is perhaps the most expensive book I've bought -- a testament to how powerful the Internet can be. After searching for a copy for years, I bought the first complete copy I could find. Never mind that it cost way too much (a whopping 4 grand). I wanted it. Badly.
Excited, I ran home to read it. The start was a little weak, but most stories start out wobbly. After that price, I wanted to like it so bad.
But I couldn't
Maybe it was because I was not as familiar with the DC-verse (as compared to Marvel). The hodge pudge of characters without any emotional stake to the reader muddled the story and didn't really make sense.
Maybe it was because I just read watchmen
Maybe it was because it really didn't have a story
The only saving grace in this book are the illustrations.
I had been eyeing this book since Niffenegger became a household name among hipsters for her breakthrough novel. First thing that caught my attentionI had been eyeing this book since Niffenegger became a household name among hipsters for her breakthrough novel. First thing that caught my attention were the weird drawings. Interesting, but the steep price turned me off
Maybe some other time
Several years and half of "The Time Traveller's wife later, I stumble upon this book again, this time on the sale bin. The gods must be smiling, methinks
I do not understand Audrey Niffenegger, which is code for I don't understand her work. The potential is there but she looses me with her unsympathetic characters who live in their own worlds. Magical realism without the realism. I was hoping this "picture book" would somehow enlighten me. Instead I'm trust into an isolated house by the sea where 3 sisters live.
Ophile, Clothilde, Bettine.
Like her other works, the characters are wrapped in their own worlds, creating their own problems and ultimately their own demise. Its a little hard to care for people who are self destructive, although the aquatint illustrations help prod me to finish the book.
The heart of this book are the aquatints. Daek, melodramatic. Niffengger was on the righy path in pairing down the words, but without much of a story the book is pretty mich what it is.
**spoiler alert** I actually listened to the audio version first but enjoyed it so much that I decided to read the story.
"The Spider" chronicles the**spoiler alert** I actually listened to the audio version first but enjoyed it so much that I decided to read the story.
"The Spider" chronicles the last days of a medical student living in a haunted room. From the beginning, we are already privy as to how the story will end. The room is notorious for killing its occupants as its last 3 tenants were found hanging on the a bar in the window. Despite that, the protagonist accepts the cheap room, horror and all.
There is one point in the story that I can point out as being truly horrific. When the student ultimately realizes that Clarimonde isn't following him, but rather HE is following Clarimonde, that he has been reduced to a puppet. It is the spider weaving her web, wheeling him into her world where only death awaits him. Will you walk into my parlor? said the spider to the fly
Considering that this was written in 1915, I do not expect much surprises in terms of story line. Instead, it's more an atmospheric horror. Ewers' journal style writing hypnotizes the reader to the ending in the same way that Clarimonde entrances the writer to his death. There is little psychological-wise to ponder about as the hero is the victim, a mere pawn to Clarimonde's whim. And like the protagonist, the reader is rendered helpless in watching the tragedy unfold. ...more
"Buy it," my brother said when he saw me studying the blurb of the book. I stared at the the familiar picture of mice on the cover,**spoiler alert**
"Buy it," my brother said when he saw me studying the blurb of the book. I stared at the the familiar picture of mice on the cover, then at the steep price at the back. Php 2000 was pretty pricey for a book...
But I had been searching for this book a good 5 years. I've even scoured bookstores in the states for a copy to no avail. And now, the gods of Fully Booked have finally heard my prayers. I'll be damn if I let this opportunity pass.
So I bought it. Allegedly as a birthday present for my brother, hehehe
I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting from the book. The subject itself is far from the typical comic book stories. Maus follows Vladek and Anja, 2 holocaust survivors from when they first meet, through the holocaust, to old age. And this is told though the work of Artie, their cartoonist son. At first I thought this would be something like Inglorious Basterds, a sort of satire of world war II. After all, the nazis were portrayed as cats and the Jews were mice and all that.
I was wrong. Even though it is technically a cartoon, Maus is also a a biography of 2 ordinary Jews trying to survive the most harrowing times of our history. And like most works of art that emerge from the holocaust, it asks a lot of questions. Unlike other books I've read, though, Artie's questions, though universal, are rooted in very personal losses.
Anja's suicide particularly stuck with me. It literally haunted me long after I had finished the book. Her last days ran like a loop in my head for days when she asks her son, "do you still love me, Artie? Do you still love me, Artie?" One would think that after surviving the holocaust, suicide would the farthest thing from your mind. I mean, why go through all that only to take your own life?
But it soon becomes apparent that just because one survives, does not mean they "live". When one exists in such fear, day after day, going through the motions of life when death has become an intimate companion that it becomes hard to tell one from the other. When everyone else is dying, why am I still alive? When good people die, why do i still survive? If there is a god, why does he let us die?
I doubt if anything can truly capture how harrowing life was during WWiI, but reading Maus does give one a sense of this misshapen, unfathomable dark cloud that shrouds even the luckiest of survivors. There is no harrah, harrah moment here. No "take that, Hitler". Long after the nazis are dead, the psychological effects remained burned like the tattooed numbers on the survivors skin. That is the power of this book -- that I, a Filipino catholic, am haunted by events that had happened seventy years ago. Very few books can make such an impact. Even rarer for comic book
Needless to say, my brother never got his birthday present...more
Taste is one of those short stories in my library that had flown under the radar and I've managed to avoid for years. And if that for the unusual weekTaste is one of those short stories in my library that had flown under the radar and I've managed to avoid for years. And if that for the unusual weekends off i get every now and then, I would have missed this altogether.
Which would be unfortunate consdering I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Taste isn't exactly a great story-- not in that thought provoking, what-the-hell happened, i-cant-stop-thinking about it tale, but it's a good solid tale, a quite adult story of suspense helmed by the master of Children's books himself Roald Dahl. The story's pretty straightforward. Rich man has a dinner party, invites several guests including a prominent gourmet and indulges him on a bet. Actually, it was less indulgent and more prod, and things become a little medieval from that point. Dahl puts you at the edge of your seat the entire time, almost as if you are one of the unnamed guest. The air is so heated you almost expect something to combust.
First a confession: this is the first Roald Dahl book I've finished. Around 15 years too late but better late than never, right?
The book is a quick reFirst a confession: this is the first Roald Dahl book I've finished. Around 15 years too late but better late than never, right?
The book is a quick read. I saw the movie years before I read this and didn't particularly love it. But then my cousin gave me this book, which I decided to read on the plane ride back home (for lack of any in-flight magazines). Matilda the book, in contrast to the movie, is sweet, silly and very entertaining. Dahl has a wonderful sense of humor and it shows. I think the biggest revelation for me is Miss Honey. In the movie I remember her as this sweet, boring young teacher. She's a much stronger character in the book and one falls for her as one does for Matilda. They're really suited for each other
Actually, I've only read the ebook version of Matheson's short story "Button, Button". It was reminiscent of WW Jacob's The Monkey's Paw with a dark tActually, I've only read the ebook version of Matheson's short story "Button, Button". It was reminiscent of WW Jacob's The Monkey's Paw with a dark twist in the end. I have seen both the Twilight Zone version and the Cameron Diaz movie, both of which weren't faithful to Matheson's original concept (although the Twilight Zone version seemed closer even though it differed in the ending). Personally, I think I prefer the Monkey's Paw, but Button, Button is still a nice, good read, especially since it's short enough to read while sitting in the waiting room. ...more