Having read one novel by JCO, I decided to try out one of her short story compilations. As expected, I once again enjoyed her writing style. However,Having read one novel by JCO, I decided to try out one of her short story compilations. As expected, I once again enjoyed her writing style. However, I was also reminded that especially with horror stories, it may be easy for me to feel let down, for I expected generally more shocking conclusions. Some recurring themes included the role of the internet/media, Jewish-related references, twins, and revenge. While “The Corn Maiden” was arguably my favorite of the bunch, it disappointed in that its ending was not all THAT shocking to me. The timely subject of war and death found in “Helping Hands” made it another disturbingly memorable story. While I was reminded of my love of the anticipation inherent to creepy reads, I felt that most endings were either amped-up or others so open-ended that it bordered on frustrating. Overall, the stories are of the psychologically disturbing kind as opposed to the ‘gory scary’—largely derived from cruelty to one another (and which to many may be even scarier than the gory stuff). Prolific as she is, there are definitely other titles of hers on my to-read list. ...more
I’ve finally gotten around to reading one of the most popular vampire stories aside from "Dracula." Since this book was published in the ‘70s, it's aI’ve finally gotten around to reading one of the most popular vampire stories aside from "Dracula." Since this book was published in the ‘70s, it's a vampire classic that was likely a source of inspiration for many of today’s popular series involving vampires.
I’d seen the movie and needless to say the book was much more detailed and fulfilling in a variety of ways. Louis’s introspection makes it easy to sympathize with his rather sensitive vampire nature. While Lestat was just as unlikeable as I recalled, I was intrigued by Louis’s and Claudia’s complex relationship, which is simplified in the movie (probably for a variety of reasons?!). I also thought it an interesting twist to have the vampires as neither closer nor further from knowledge on concepts such as God, damnation and even hell. In short, vampires who might not be that different from human beings—my, oh my, what would Bram Stoker have to say about this?! =D
Easy to read and highly entertaining. Looking forward to reading the others! ...more
Although I’ve been meaning to read my copy of I, Lucifer, I just had to dive into The Last Werewolf first (because werewolves take priority over LucifAlthough I’ve been meaning to read my copy of I, Lucifer, I just had to dive into The Last Werewolf first (because werewolves take priority over Lucifer, duh). I really enjoyed it, and for different reasons it reminded me a lot of the “Underworld” movies… all of which I love. That’s not to say the book is identical or unoriginal; perhaps it’s the similar ‘dark and doomed’ vibe present in vampire and werewolf lore that bring to mind the comparisons.
In my opinion, the book was a lot more sexual than it was violent, which might’ve been something I’d expect more from a vampire story than a werewolf’s. The story has its share of gore but sex was definitely the main activity of choice. It also had its human and more emotional moments. In terms of language, Jake’s voice—which entails advanced vocabulary choices as well as occasional British slang—might take some getting used to.
Now. For my grand ranting moment. Get ready… Go!
I definitely could’ve done without the “Jesus effin…Christ” slurs, which are not only disrespectful but likely out of context. I’m not pretending to know the intent behind this word choice, but I’ve often felt that these types of slurs are either a result of habit (which is wrong and should be changed) and/or also a lame attempt to heighten the ‘coolness’ factor. Give me a break. There are times when profanity serves its purpose and this is not the way to do it. If other figures of other religions were used in such a way, they would likely incite comments and strong feelings depending on individuals’ relation to the entity in question, as they well should. So why even go there? But what’s more—if insulting religious figures is not reason enough for it to be left alone—Jake constantly refers to “god being dead.” So why oh WHY use a figure which is obviously representative of God?! He shouldn’t be on your mind, he should be far far away… from your life, from your thoughts, and from your damn speech. I drive the point further by adding that this is even more pointless for those who happen to believe that mentioning something is a way of keeping it around (and I happen to be one of these people =)). Clearly, a major no-no in my book on several counts.
Now that that’s clarified…
I could be wrong, but I sensed a possible hint at a sequel. Minus some figures of speech, I hope. =)
Edit: Apparently there IS a sequel, and it's called Talulla Rising. Will check out in due time....more
I had vaguely heard about Elizabeth Bathory and after some brief searching, decided to start with this book. I know now that this is basically the watI had vaguely heard about Elizabeth Bathory and after some brief searching, decided to start with this book. I know now that this is basically the watered down, more human portrait of the countess herself. This might work well for those less keen on gory details, but honestly I didn’t even think that a tame account on such a notorious character would even exist (or that it would be the one I’d stumble upon first, LOL).
The main thing that comes across is Elizabeth’s state of denial; constantly finding fault in everyone else, except of course in herself. Since the things I’d briefly read were pretty much outrageous, this novel did leave me feeling wanting more in terms of detailed crime scenes. I’ll be checking out other books to acquire more detailed accounts of her psychotic ways.
However I did enjoy reading about the cultural and historical background of Elizabeth’s 16th-17th century Hungary. The descriptions of lavish attire and celebrations were impressive reminders of the countess’ wealth and status in her society—even if things started going downhill following her husband’s death. Starting the story off from childhood was also helpful in shedding light on what may have triggered Bathory's crimes (especially if it is indeed true that such behavior can often be traced to early childhood trauma).
I was not as spooked as I thought I’d be. But then on second thought, since the novel did at times succeed in making me sympathize with her for a few moments, then perhaps this novel is just as frightening and twisted in its own way. ...more
This is one of the few books I read after watching the movie (the inverse is usually the case). I absolutely LOVE the movie and therefore knew the booThis is one of the few books I read after watching the movie (the inverse is usually the case). I absolutely LOVE the movie and therefore knew the book would be just as amazing. As expected, there are some differences between the two.
The movie does not go into as much detail as to why Grenouille commits his crimes. Due to his innocent demeanor, you almost feel like he is merely repeating the unfortunate events of his first encounter with “his” loveliest scent. That may impact the way a viewer relates to Grenouille, perhaps merely labeling him as “dumb” and thus lessening the guilty factor. In contrast, the novel offers the psychological background for Grenouille’s doings, which means he is not as likeable as he might be in the movie. Ironically enough, it may be the very details of his thought process that also make us sympathize somewhat, although in a different way than accomplished through the movie. Some parts of the book are also skipped in the film. Reading the novel did further convince me that the movie is really well made and that they effectively complement each other. However I say this realizing that the movie offers a more visually pleasing Grenouille than the novel does (and perhaps there are many reasons for that).
Also, as dark—and smelly!—as the subject matter might be, I have to say that the story is imbued with a kind of laugh-out-loud humor. I was laughing quite a bit, most notably during the passage highlighting Baldini’s views of the time period. Absolutely hilarious!! I found the story to be unique, well-crafted and highly effective in depicting scent as a powerful tool of control. Five stars for the storyline, that scandalous scene at the end and for one of the most original endings EVER!! ...more
My first Joyce Carol Oates read. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but given the synopsis I had some ideas. However, for some reason I envisionedMy first Joyce Carol Oates read. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but given the synopsis I had some ideas. However, for some reason I envisioned it might be a watered-down version of stalag fiction, which it is not (and the only reason I even discovered the existence of stalag fiction in the first place was through a documentary sponsored a few years ago by the Jewish Film Festival). I suspect the ‘hyped up’ description had something to do with it, as well as my lack of knowledge of Oates’ writing (I don’t know to what extreme she might take the gory and/or sexual passages?).
Overall, what readers can expect to find:
-anti-Semitism -occasional profanity -sexual situations -abusive relationships (both verbal and physical) -gothic elements -Jewish/Christian symbolism and references -surprise ending
I was rather disappointed with the tattooed girl’s tattoos: I expected them to have more imagery/meaning behind them than what was provided. Although she is one of the main characters, in many ways I still feel that we don’t get to know the tattooed girl that well, which may very well be the point. No, it’s not that I have a penchant for that girl; perhaps I just react equally to abuse regardless to whom it’s administered and/or if they themselves happen to have dissenting views from my own. Without giving anything away, one merely has to reflect on the ending to realize the irony of the whole situation and of who exactly is deserving of certain labels. Intense indeed.
I have to admit I love J.C.O's writing style and there are many other titles I’ll be reading eventually. But as I did with this novel, I’ll be reading them very quickly, so as not to prolong the ever-present gloominess....more