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MYFCOnline.com Message Boards » Books and Novels »
Book of the Month

First | [1]
Book of the Month
Cafe_Chat on Jul 27, 2017 23:34:40


Posts » 54


Currently reading The Count of Monte Cristo right now. The- Introduction and Notes by Luc Sante, and Consulting Editorial Director, George Stade edition. At the moment, I'm on chapter LIV. Titled The Trial. When I'm finished I would like to finalize my thoughts on this version.

I love this version for the notes and overview so far. Recommend it if any readers out there want to pick up a copy of Monte Cristo for the first time. When I started the book in the middle of the month I was addicted. What about you? Have you read it yet? What did you think about it or are you considering picking it up?

This is a place to share what you're reading or recently have finished reading. You can comment your thoughts and reviews here.

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Re: Book of the Month
Nona on Jul 28, 2017 06:47:00


Posts » 916


The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite book of all time. I read it about three years ago, and I'm still obsessed. I read a different version the first time, though, so I'll have to try the version you have when I go to re-read it.

I've found that most books from the same era bore me, or I simply can't get through them; but The Count of Monte Cristo had me reading late into the night.

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"Peace is our gift to each other" - Elie Wiesel
"Wait and Hope" - Alexander Dumas
"The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself" - Thales
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Re: Book of the Month
NeelaRaboulski on Jul 29, 2017 08:17:28


Posts » 245


???Wait, versions? Isn't there just one book?
I haven't read the book but I have seen the movie and even though I know the ending is totally different than the book, it still made me interested in reading the story.

I'm currently reading the tenth anniversary edition of Vampire Academy. Bonus stories! I just finished the spinoff series Bloodlines. It was good but not as good as the VA series.

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Re: Book of the Month
Cafe_Chat on Aug 08, 2017 12:03:07


Posts » 54


Hi, Nona. I know how you feel, this is my second version of the book and both have been beautifully expansive and immersive. This book will never get old and the Count, himself, will always drift enigmatically through the pages.

Greetings, Libby_VanHelsing. Most of these classics have different versions because their original print is in another language. That means that they might differ in translation. There are abridged and unabridged versions. In abridged editions, they shorten the length of the book while trying not to lose the main structure of the original plot. Sometimes, it's difficult to translate things like phrasing, from an exclusive language that might not make sense in English. It also makes for the elimination of what might be considered repetition. Unabridged editions are complete versions of the original book/literature.

The one I just read was 618 pages, not counting the notes and end-notes. I read a 900-page version before but in both, the main plot is still the same!

Which Monte Cristo movie did you see? I saw three of them but I only liked two. The one made in 1934 and the one from 2002.

I'll need to read Vampire Academy, Libby! I love vampire themed books.

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Re: Book of the Month
Cafe_Chat on Aug 09, 2017 08:52:28


Posts » 54


Warning, there are spoilers ahead!


The Count of Monte Cristo. Introduction and Notes by Luc Sante and Consulting Editorial Director, George Stade edition. Final thoughts, notes, and ramble.

This edition is lovely and refreshing. It has removed several pieces of repetition from an earlier version I had read. Although, in this edition, two chapters were removed that described more of the Count of Monte Cristo's characteristics. I personally felt they were important to have. In this publication, the Count is viewed as a phantom of revenge. Despite his calm and collected nature. Behind the scenes, he displays a small fraction of bitterness and coldness toward his rivals. While remaining neutral in the presence of other characters.

In the other edition I have read, the Count was expressed in a way where readers could identify with him and his situation. He was at times conflicted with his plot of revenge, his morals and reflects on the innocent nature of his former self, Edmond Dantès. These missing chapters were packed with emotion and gave more substance to the character. While I liked the poetic and almost extrasensory nature of the Count in this book. As it focuses more on his enemies and their emotional distress. The Count, orchestrating their torment as a friendly gentleman who happens to marvel as he goes. I also liked the idea of the Count shutting himself in his study, mulling over his motives. Recalling the young man he used to be and the young man his late, beloved father had always seen him as. That version would make a wonderful marriage with this George Stade edition.

It's not to say that the George Stade edition was void of emotional consequence. Most of my favorite chapters involved beautiful translations of it. Wave after wave. Haydee, conveying her tragic life still hits me in the gut. Valentine and her poisoner has significant weight. My favorite chapter was Chapter XIX, The Treasure Cave. Dantès is alone on the island of Monte Cristo, he thinks back on his escape and journey. His close associates had betrayed him, he had denounced God as his only friend. Yet, on the sandy loam, with the stars twinkling in the sky. The island glowed like a divine message to him. It was breathtaking to read. With every step Dantès took, the island came alive for him. The fluorescent creatures scattered in his path. Casting a faint light on the dew, accumulating the ground and foliage. The nocturnal life around him amazed him and he grew more confident that the majestic island was a miracle. His transition lasted until dawn, and the Count emerged. Heart pounding read!

This edition also lacks the development of the romantic relationship the Count has with Haydee. She tends to love him outspokenly, while he takes her in more as a daughter figure. Toward the closing, he gives himself the opportunity to love again. Declaring his chance at a romantic life with her. It's spontaneous and concluding over a few pages but manages to work with the amount of reaction and sentiment. Slightly climactic and dramatic. The apologetic Count relays to her how she was his only beacon in his duty of loneliness. Despite there being small pieces of conversation between the two characters throughout this book. Whatever time they did secure for themselves, they were treated with closeness and tenderness. It tied together in the end but only just marginally from other versions.

I greatly recommend this edition of The Count of Monte Cristo. It holds up when compared to a lot of other versions.

The notes by Luc Sante offer plenty for the times and style this classic title took place in. The historical precision and political conditions are a good example.

Like so:

Chapter V, The Deputy Procureur Du Roi.
under the usurper's reign, old officers who had deserted their posts to join Conde's army,


The note:

The Prince of Conde led an unsuccessful royalist uprising against Napoléon.


The cover design of this specific book is by Dulton & Sherman and the cover art, Portrait of Belvèze-Foulon, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.

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Re: Book of the Month
Cafe_Chat on Aug 09, 2017 09:28:43


Posts » 54


Book(s) of September


I'm going to be busy for the rest of August but I did pick up Schindler's List again, for a random read. It's been a long time. Not sure if I'm going to do a review but we'll see.

My September picks are Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Unabridged from the Collector's Library that had established in September. Only fitting!

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Re: Book of the Month
NeelaRaboulski on Aug 21, 2017 16:42:32


Posts » 245


Yeah I saw the one from 2003 with a young Henry Cavill. They did great casting him with Jim Caviezel.

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Re: Book of the Month
Charlotte on Aug 21, 2017 23:38:18


Posts » 174


I got this book for free a while ago and finally read it!
It's called Diving Makes the Water Deep and it is really good. <3
It's written by a poet who visited my undergrad about his life dealing with terminal cancer and it was so touching. <3
The cover art is cool too, has a little bird man on it.

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Re: Book of the Month
NeelaRaboulski on Aug 24, 2017 14:23:22


Posts » 245


Two book series I've recently enjoyed is the Vampire Academy series and a independent series called Seeds: It's a spin on the myth of Persephone and Hades.

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Romitri is life.


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Re: Book of the Month
Cafe_Chat on Sep 08, 2017 13:48:23


Posts » 54


@ Libby_VanHelsing: Yes! It was so good and I hardly recognized Henry Cavill. They did make a great casting pair. I'm actually looking into the Vampire Academy series right now. I don't read romance that much but if I do start it would definitely be of the supernatural/paranormal realm. Guilty pleasure!

Is Seeds a volume series by M.M. Kin? I looove Greek mythology.

@ Charlotte: Hi, Charlotte! I looked it up just now and it does sound fascinating. Raw material in that kind of genre is always a beautiful experience. Thank you for sharing, I'm absolutely going to give it a read! Zach Savich sounds like such an impressive author. Nice to read that he teaches in the BFA Program for Creative Writing. Poetry is a wonderfully vast form of literature, I've so much respect for. That cover art is incredible! <3

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Re: Book of the Month
NeelaRaboulski on Sep 10, 2017 02:02:27


Posts » 245


Yes! It is. I really enjoyed the series. Vampire Academy isn't just a romance series, there's also girl power and the friendship between Lissa and Rose. I just tend to focus on the romance between Rose and Dimitri. I really enjoyed the series because it wasn't like the vampire series that are out there. Mead did a lot research for it. There's also a Bloodlines series which is a spinoff but I don't think it is as good.

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Romitri is life.


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Re: Book of the Month
Cafe_Chat on Dec 12, 2017 04:13:10


Posts » 54


@ Libby_VanHelsing: I actually just ordered these and can't wait to dig in. Urban fantasy and girl power are truly my thing. <3

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Re: Book of the Month
Cafe_Chat on Dec 12, 2017 04:30:49


Posts » 54


Quick rundown on my September picks!
Also: SPOILERS!


I have always found Wuthering Heights to be an interesting novel. Emily Bronte's only novel, written between October 1845 and June 1846.

Wuthering Heights was published in 1847 under the pseudonym "Ellis Bell"; Brontë died the following year, aged 30.


Publisher: Thomas Newby
Note: Before the success of her sister Charlotte's novel, Jane Eyre.

Contemporary reviews for the novel were deeply polarized; it was considered controversial because its depiction of mental and physical cruelty was unusually stark, and it challenged strict Victorian ideals of the day regarding religious hypocrisy, morality, social classes and gender inequality.


Personally, I have always been captivated by this story’s complex and bitter-sweet portrayal of emotion. Intrinsic to the theme, despondency most primarily. The striking beauty of pessimistic motifs colliding with adoration and raw sensibility. Various expressive passions that I greatly appreciated in Emily Bronte and in this work. There aren’t really any heroes or heroines but flawed characters that have sincerity to their assessments and ethics. Regardless of the distinctive objections between them.

An example would be that of Heathcliff. An archetype of the tortured, wistful romantic. Heathcliff is presented in a way to attract sympathy. Described as a "dark-skinned gypsy in aspect” and mistreated for his nomadic origin. His upbringing was one of resentment, and he was seen as an interloper under the roof of his new home. Later, he is a servant boy who works the fields. Which creates Heathcliff's lifelong anger and bitterness. His entire childhood was unfortunate and one cannot dismiss his need for retaliation so easily. He becomes the hero and villain, both are intertwined as necessary and misguided. When Heathcliff liberates himself from the wrong against him. He unavoidably destroys both himself and those around him in the process.

I love Emily Bronte’s seemingly underlying approach to the elaborate form of human nature. That those molded into a malicious individual still have the right to dispute their injustices. The discussion chooses Heathcliff to pivot his life of punishment at the hands of others and openly express his inability to forgive. As a reader, I found myself captivated by the idea that not every fictional character plagued by conflict can find a moral happiness that resolves everything in the end. In the end, Heathcliff wasn’t any less of a bitter person but he was the most human. He understood hurt far beyond any of the other characters. While other characters absolved themselves in disingenuous tones and were often used to guilt characters, like Heathcliff, into fault and disappointment. So Heathcliff’s unpleasantness grew. Staying true to both his nature and legitimate sentiment.

Catherine Earnshaw herself seemed unsure of who she was and what she wanted out of life. Frankly, she was a brat and hated situations where she couldn’t get her way. Although, carrying a similar theme of authentic natures, this sometimes made her appear bold. Someone who was wild, lived for the moment and never bothered wasting her time on the distraught she caused for others. Believing that people were too caught up on events. Rather than living them out to value the moment as it was. She was also a woman ahead of her time, and the story does well to immerse the reader into considering these times and integrity. Catherine’s choices are her freedom to do so but how they affect others compromises her character too. Another beautifully layered affirmation of emotional complexity. Eventually, Catherine Earnshaw’s flaw was surrendering to culture and status. Rather than becoming her own person. Therefore, this challenged her identity and had fateful consequences for other characters around her. As a reader, one can come to understand in what ways influences bring about change. Most importantly, self-identification in the process of experience.

The novel ends in the year of 1803. The next generation has finally put an end to the cycle of revenge and loathing from the parties involved.

This part of the novel introduces self-thought as a distinctive characteristic. New characters break away from traditional teachings and upbringing to redeem their names as idiosyncratic personalities. When the plot destroys the idea of the conventional interpretation of love with the element of humanized flaw. It also regains the idea of hope without dishonoring previous characters and their settled natures. Characters like Heathcliff don’t have a change of heart for plot requirement or a livelier conclusion. They are left unchanged, as they were.

I think Emily Bronte gave significant attention to detail. The moorland farmhouse, Wuthering Heights. Was as comfortable and as frightfully striking as its inhabitants. Reading this in Autumn was such a pleasant feeling. With the Moorland, an endless field of colorful flowers and refreshing winds in the Spring. During Winter, a wonderland of ice and a landscape as pure as the chill. The long trek to the Heights manor was welcoming to the warmth of fire and the smell of spices and brew from the kitchen. Despite the cold and uninviting residency. Mr. Lockwood plots himself down for a rest in front of the old hearth and the illuminating glow is solely the only means of kindness from within. There is a sudden flood of engrossment where shelter from the elements is a primary need. Moments, such as this, can pull the reader right in.


Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights stands the test of time and I recommend a read of this novel during Autumn or Winter for the “cozy effect” in all good fun and spirits!

There is so much more I can say about this book but that will no doubt leave this an incoherent mess. If you’re interested in the genre of Tragedy and the exploration of cognition in fictional characters or purely the journey of tragic romance. Give this one a try!

Another venture to take in this novel is how “women's fantasy" was criticized in the era of its publication. Bronte did not shy away from certain characters physical acts of cruelty and abuse. Substantially, toward women and the mistreatment of people of color. For many years these themes were called unrealistic and a ploy for women's views on romance. Today, some continue to disregard the cultural and social times of the content and the inability to assimilate Emily Bronte's antipathy for what was considered acceptable in her time. Labeling relevant awareness as leitmotifs in women’s literature. In early reviews, critics were baffled and confused by her characters having savagery and selfish tendencies. As well as articulating women’s struggles. Some called it “immoral” and “blasphemous”.

And-


Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Complete and Unabridged from the Collector’s Library.

A little information about this book:

In September 2003, The Collector's Library series was published. By October 2005, fully fifty-nine volumes had been printed. Each unabridged volume is book size octodecimo, or 4 x 6-1/2 inches. Printed in hardback, on high-quality paper, bound in real cloth and contains a dust jacket. The edge of the pages is gilded in a gold leaf.

Cover illustration by Sir John Gilbert, hand colored by Barbara Frith.
Introduction by Robert Mighall.

What I truly like about Hamlet, the prince of Denmark, is the circumstances and conditions of dreadful things happening to good people. Hamlet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare, set in Denmark. The play dramatizes the revenge Prince Hamlet is to wreak upon his uncle, Claudius. Instructed by the ghost of Hamlet's father, King Hamlet. Claudius had murdered his own brother and seized the throne, marrying his deceased brother's widow.

Here we have the speculation of validity, morality and consequences of action in the face of inequity and corruption. Hamlet himself, acting largely in self-conflict over justice, love and his namesake. Prince Hamlet is often disregarded as brash and irrational by a few other characters. This is ironic considering he's the only character in true mourning of his father. He is besmirched and is approximated as amoral. While others murder, commit adultery, spy and gossip over misinformation and false pretense.

To further address Hamlet’s integrity, when he thinks about suicide, his divergence is that of right and wrong. His newly and sudden dislike of “womankind” comes from his mother’s shameless act of marriage. He has authentic moments of depression due to his circumstances, that lead to extreme misanthropy. His father’s ghost haunts him to avenge him of a “murder most foul”. The taking of another life.

At times, Hamlet’s despair looks like insanity to others. A theme within the tragedy is the failure to recognize sympathy.

What I like most is how human of a character Hamlet actually is. He weighs the heavy consequences of his actions. Even as he is being wronged he struggles with rectitude. He meditates and prolongs the death of Claudius, in the doubt of his willingness to kill. A misconception Ophelia has later, guilts Hamlet into that of her heartbreak and when she dies by her own doing. He is heavy with grief.

Ophelia herself is a tragic character. Neglecting Hamlet’s suffering for that of her naivety in romance. When Ophelia, in turn, begins to lose what Hamlet has lost. She cannot seem to handle it. Although, Hamlet taunts her with her femininity. In that to him women are weak and self-absorbed. I couldn’t help but feel bad for both of them. Hamlet’s distrust of women freshly came from his views of his mother and Ophelia’s lack of understanding. She didn’t quite understand the adversity. As she had never had to confront it in these lengths before. Her lack of experience was made out to be a weakness. Hamlet also neglects to inform her of his plans and this only leaves her clueless and feeling distrusted. Their grief firmly stands in the way of communication.

Ophelia's death always leaves me welling up. She didn’t deserve it and like others in the tragedy, it didn’t matter if they did or not. It came all the same.

Gertrude's announcement of Ophelia's death has been praised as one of the most poetic death announcements in literature.


There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.


Some readers theorize that the meaning of this scene illustrates the hopelessness of suicidal people, unwilling to be saved. The release of Ophelia’s torment is peaceful in nature and reads as though Gertrude had seen the act without the effort in saving her. Believing that Gertrude thought it more merciful for her suffering to end.

Others believe that it was Gertrude's attempt to help Laertes accept his sister's death by making it sound as peaceful and painless as possible.

What do you think?


I believe that Gertrude let her die to spare her dignity and give her peace. When the dispute came that Ophelia was a suicide and thus disgraced by God, she stood forward and threw flowers into the grave. “Sweets to the sweet” she says. Adding that she wished Ophelia could have been Hamlet's wife. Having no ill thought about the manner of her passing, seemingly to understand the essence of it.

I would have to say that Horatio is my favorite character in the end. Horatio was present through all the unfortunate and dark sorrows of almost every character. He kept secrets. Not because he was appointed to but because he knew they involved others around him so deeply. This made him wholeheartedly trustworthy. He was considerate of not basing opinions on the inaccuracy and confusion of others. Horatio would remark on the grim happenings, showing a great concern for others. His loyalty and friendship to Hamlet is immeasurably satisfying, and the only voice of reason or reassurance toward him. As a reader, I found my need for Hamlet’s revenge become expressive through Horatio.

One of the reasons why I like Hamlet so much. Is because of the realistic exposition of how doing what’s righteous can become anything but. Hinging on good intent. That, even in rationalizing right and wrong, the ultimate blunder is in what else is destroyed in that achievement. Outside parties, that for whatever reason, get caught in the crossfire and responsibility to them lessens in the reach of a profound goal.

Hamlet also touches on emotional and psychological distress. Shakespeare has a phenomenal understanding of several mental affiliations. Such as a brief portrayal of neuroticism and depressive moods. I enjoy that these disorders and moods aren’t entirely negative. Since a character displaying them is regarded with forbearance and not punishment.

Hamlet’s soliloquy: “To be or not to be” is a significant contemplation of suicide. Through the poetic nature of it, it is presented as an insight. Nothing cliche about wanting to live or wanting to die. Hamlet is very conflicted throughout.

His most notable flaw is the human condition in crisis.

HORATIO
Now a noble heart is breaking. Good night, sweet prince. May hosts of angels sing you to sleep.


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Re: Book of the Month
Cafe_Chat on Dec 12, 2017 05:10:32


Posts » 54


Book of December


I am currently reading Stephen King’s It. A friend convinced me to give it a chance. I’m not much of a King fan but that kind of has less to do with him as a writer. I’ve read the Dark Tower series when I was younger and The Gunslinger was indeed a wonderful experience. I would have to read them again for a fresh opinion. It’s been so long! I’ve read Cell and thought it was a great piece of work.

Unfortunately, sometimes I feel like certain subject matter, such as rape and self-harm or abusive activity, is exploited for shock value. Don’t get me wrong! King has an experienced approach of conveying delicate issues and concerns. I cannot respect him more for being forthrightly about them. There are just these instances that stand out from the horror genre a little too bizarrely and unnecessary. One such example is within Stephen King’s It. I haven’t exactly gotten to that part yet but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

Right now I am on Chapter 7, The Dam in the Barrens. Page 290, the first page of the chapter. I’ve found several spelling errors and odd word placement this far in. Not too many but they are noticeable and I think they’re an enjoyable little charm. King has a website where you can report these issues. There's something about them lingering there that makes them weirdly humble though. Just imagine King sitting there on a string of thought, exercising his mind to the fullest. Probably rubbing the bridge of his nose in the late hour.

There is also a lot of repetition that can get a little tiresome. I've noticed it happening more when the characters go back to when they were children. The book is literally trying to convince you that these misfits are the most bullied losers around. When a child's personality is trying to come through, let us remember first and foremost, they are losers. Jeez!

Anyway, despite this kind of recurrence. What I respect about King is his proficiency in popping out extensive, gigantic books in the span of- whenever he wants.

Anyway, this book will probably take me into the new year.

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Re: Book of the Month
Cafe_Chat on Dec 12, 2017 05:23:02


Posts » 54


Just in case


I’ve also picked up Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Huge fan of Gaiman and have recently gotten around to the knowledge of this title. Very excited!

I don't know when I'll be around to post again but let me know what you're reading! Or what book you would like to talk about. New books, old books, upcoming books. Guilty pleasures, silly things, worst books ever, thoughts on characters.

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Re: Book of the Month
NeelaRaboulski on Dec 13, 2017 16:51:42


Posts » 245


Great! I hope you enjoy the Vampire Academy series! I'll have someone to talk about them to on here.

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Re: Book of the Month
Cafe_Chat on Jan 30, 2019 16:05:51


Posts » 54


Can't believe I forgot about this thread. My mind has been on a lot of things offline. Sometimes, it makes me feel like my memory is going!

Need to catch up on all the things I've been reading recently but I guess I'll start with Stephen King's IT.


The novel itself was pretty entertaining in some areas. In other areas, I personally feel it suffered a lot of repetition. Not to say that the book is overwhelmingly tedious but it does make a shift in dialog or setting more gratifying.

I get that the book is heavily metaphoric but the suggestion alluded at the start of it implies that fantastical magic is a real concept to the creative mind. There's no embarrassment in creating or believing in monsters and mermaids as an adult for inspirational aspects. Which often betrays the book in some ways. Why are certain things an analogy for factual life experiences, instead of being the product of their intended horror imaginativeness? Toward the very end, this collision of both worlds feels a bit unsatisfying and disjointed. On one hand, the creature IT is a representation of something that extinguishes the innocence of childhood. The accelerative force that propels you into adulthood and how horrible plights can follow you until you learn to face them. On the other hand, IT is a creature from another time and dimension that is too Science Fiction and too artistically conceived to be anything but.

This concept goes back and forth until the book ends with a duel personality of life and mythos. The conclusion feels like a struggle of both. If you're a regular to King's work than you're most likely familiar with the mythology and that's the best way to read IT. Otherwise, the book will have you questioning what it was meant to be. A horror story with a fictional entity in a fictional plane? A venture into adulthood looking back on adolescence? The slightly muddy thought-provoking combination of both?



SPOILERS AHEAD!







If you manage to ignore the giant Turtle, accidentally creating the universe and the booming voice that created him too and the concept of IT. Created from the fabric of reality that was the end and beginning of time. Somewhere, you get a glimpse of adults trying to remember what it was like to ride a bike or climb a tree.

The closing chapters of the book lose what started out as a wonderful idea. Almost entirely. The bond these children ended up forming becomes a cheap review of adult-like perception. An example would be the completely unnecessary way Beverly Marsh was handled. As a child she gave strange boners and lusting ideas to the males that surrounded her. As an adult, she marries someone that psychically abuses her daily. Her character develops into a sexual trap she can't seem to escape from. If it wasn't enough that Bev's shirt buttons pop open during convenient times with the boys. Somehow, her father's advances never gave her the slightest hint of intent. Howbeit, still a child and only moments later from an uncomfortable altercation with her father about her virginity. Beverly decides to have intercourse with all her fellow friends of the Losers Club. Not only was it pointless to the story and seemingly out of nowhere but the scene is devised in great detail. I found myself not wanting to imagine a group of children with "ample asses" going at it in the dark or in any context for that matter! All the complex innocence built up over trust and values that were skin deep between the characters faded in this moment. A few of the characters even protested at first, leaving a trail of awkward narratives. However, all of the solid respect between the characters flew out of the window when she begged them to make love to her. You could literally skip the entire thing and actually preserve the dignity of every character in the Club. Yikes!

Not everything was a bad exemplification of young adults exploring sexual urge and sex in general. There were some healthier bits of Beverly catching a glimpse of the boys naked and having internal questions about their bodies. These bits were grounded in growth and salubrious in their circumstances.

Another issue I have is with the bullies. A small synopsis and little evolution to their characters. Henry Bowers, the ringleader of the bullies is a rotten, psychopathic person because the story says so in tidbits. There's so much to work with. Henry's father beats him and drinks and belittles him. Rarely does it ever investigate his feelings or his transformation into doing bad. In fact, the malevolent behavior of Butch Bowers and Alvin Marsh is lazily handled as being under the influence of IT. Henry Bowers suffers the same treatment. Instead of cutting half of the recurrences in the novel and developing Henry and his gang. Everything becomes the sole result of IT. No loose ends.


END OF SPOILERS!





Don't get me wrong. The detestation might appear stacked but this is a lengthy novel and there's a lot to love about it as well.

The moments King did happen to authentically resonate and reflect on childhood. Made the story humble and nostalgic without being too cliché. Some enlightened and metaphysical approaches to the past, no matter how subtle, remains a part of us. The last page sends the reader off with a wishful thought. That our company, whether we forget them or not, helped us through our personal growth. It was okay to look back when you found the time. Looking back was part of moving forward and fully attending yourself forward made sure you weren't stuck in the past. Even the closest of bonds can be forgotten about because it meant that somewhere you found a fulfilment that simply didn't need them anymore.

And well, the final pages were too swell of a subjective point, that I completely forgot about all the weirdness and jumpy bits. I could get by on that.

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Re: Book of the Month
Cafe_Chat on Feb 21, 2019 17:53:33


Posts » 54


Two books by Thomas Harris!

Red Dragon


Thomas Harris is one of my favorite authors of suspense novels. Much like method actors, Thomas does a lot of research into the world of crime. I once read a written documentation of his process in creating the iconic character, Hannibal Lecter. During his work he would go for walks around his property in the late hour. Look into the windows of his cabin and imagine a man inside. One of intricate design, pacing in the living room and it gave him a chill. Harris often said that in the development of his work, he would mimic crime scenes and situations with characters in his workspace. There were times he visualized Lecter so intensely within a scene. That he conceptualized Lecter lifting his eyes toward him. As if conscious to his creator. In that, he felt that he truly created a monster.

This bit of information was absolutely exciting and I dove into Red Dragon with the same consideration. I can never seem to put this book down with how well the details immersed me into the plot. Jack Crawford and Will Graham are two characters I have rarely come to respect in literature. There are likeable characters and characters you can admire and once in a while, there are characters amplified by realism. Reasonable traits and emotions that are less programmed and more turbulent to the senses.

The attentiveness in Red Dragon has a wonderful balance between characters and their elaboration. Each character shares strengths, weaknesses and layers of dissimilarity without inundating one another. For example, Francis Dolarhyde, the antagonist of Red Dragon. Yields as much of a dreadful presence as Lecter, without reducing the dominance of him. Crawford has a remarkable ability to govern authority without it overwhelming others. Just a few qualities that place the characters in a thoughtful spotlight.

The climacteric finale serves the reader in both a gratifying and musing way. The sequence of events happen in such a fashion, you can easily connect yourself to the storyline with its heart pounding framework. Everything aligns and ties in perfectly and you can appreciate the characters for getting you there. Thomas had a brilliant focus on breathing life into this novel. Pretty ironic for a piece of work that centers around death and misfortune.

The most unique accomplishment of the novel has definitely got to be the relationship between the reader and Dr. Lecter. There's no valid mention of Lecter intentionally engaging in a fourth wall concept. Yet, expressed in cognitive aspects. Lecter uses his captivity as a symbol of discussion for his audience. It is unclear whether this is a witty soliloquy Lecter has for readers or Dr. Chilton and his staff at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Nevertheless, Lecter's insight often extends and calls the attention of readers through sophisticated and striking behavior. Graham, seemingly disappearing from short perspective points in the dialog between himself and Lecter. Creating the perfect illusion of Lecter interacting with bibliophiles of all kind!




The Silence of the Lambs


Highly recommend this book!

Personally, there aren't too many female protagonists in literature that inspire any sort of notable importance or credibility like Clarice Starling. Clarice Starling is an infrequent type of heroine. It's easy to connect with her as a rookie within the unforgiving environment of a passionate career. In this case, the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

What makes Starling her own person is how she is unfolded for the reader. She is talked down to a number of times for being unable to afford a more sophisticated demeanor. Wearing her imitation perfume, "cheap shoes" and half-priced coats. Starling balances the gravity of her career goals and the silent struggle to shed what was expected of her and her small town West Virginia accent. Starling isn't a peremptory know-all and her gender doesn't exclude her from the crudity she needs to deal with. She is keen and brilliant but shy and awkward due to her lack of hands on experience. She has a remarkable capacity for courage.


[[ SPOILERS AHEAD!! ]]





She expresses herself at night through muffled tears, feeling out of her league. Very few characters have enough faith in her aptitude to show her any substantial support. Which is why her conversations with Dr. Lecter are so very satisfying. She's a bit uncultured but that has little to do with her personally. Her background and apprenticeship being irrelevant to the natural intuition and comprehension she possesses. An appreciation for her is adequately voiced through a man in complete opposition of her. I found it ironically humorous and slightly just!


A great and delicate subject this book touches on is pure undaunted pluck. Jame Gumb, also known as Buffalo Bill, is the main antagonist and his mental affliction is an interesting one. Lecter mentions that Gumb was not born with such a condition but developed an illness by years of abuse. Gumb thinks he is a transgender but this is subtly hinted as a type of dissociative identity disorder. There are other disorders that shape Gumb's character and I found that reading into them was pretty stressing. Mostly because none of them are official and the story does make the point that he was just a very, very disturbed man. Interestingly enough, without putting a spotlight on Lecter, Gumb as a character illustrates the divergence between himself and Lecter as serial killers.

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This sequel to the series is addictive. Every page trails into a connective moment. A sudden and unpredictable shock with a cleverness that makes sense. I'm not entirely sure what Harris' method was in inventing Dr. Lecter or what makes him an intriguing entity. At first, Lecter is confined to an institution. Much like the pages of the book. In a way, his self-liberation has broken him free of the novel itself. Dr. Hannibal Lecter has been in a variety of works which include movies, television, spinoffs, comics and modern homages and Easter Eggs. If you're a fan definitely go back to the start!

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Re: Book of the Month
Cafe_Chat on Feb 21, 2019 17:59:46


Posts » 54


Should be noted!

A few chapters into the third book: Hannibal. I found myself wanting to give the series a break. I don't think I've ever read the series back-to-back before. Suddenly after The Silence of the Lambs, Clarice Starling doesn't seem to be the same character anymore. She feels too much like one of the generic circles she was already established as not being part of. Maybe some distance from the material is good to eliminate such a hasty feeling in transition.

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Re: Book of the Month
Cafe_Chat on Feb 21, 2019 18:39:01


Posts » 54


Here we are, with Stephen King's The Outsider. My colleagues mentioned this book a few times when we briefly talked about Castle Rock. It's a nice 576 pages, hardcover, considering how relatively new it was in stores when I got it (June 17th). The Outsider is a horror novel published on May 22, 2018, by Scribner.


An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.


The first half of the book is intriguing. Things unfold in a very methodical manner. Which often reminded me of some classic noir crime novels. Detective Anderson has a good head on his shoulders and a sense of logic to the crime in question. He's a reliable character, seasoned and balances the parts of him that are flaws into something rather relatable. The investigation of the case is captivating and somewhat addicting. Chapter after chapter.

Unfortunately, the latter half of the book undoes all of that. Logic, gone. The book suggests you should believe that the supernatural is quite possible. The case turns into a strange fable. Which I wouldn't have minded as much if the evidence didn't become dubious in bizarre ways. The first half of the book is, at this point, forgettable. Things like, explaining away DNA evidence and fingerprints because if you open your third-eye or whatever. Monsters. There's a bit of banality about it here and there. The "they're not gonna believe this!" kind, with a lot of: use your imagination, will ya? thrown in your face in all kinds of goofy ways. Detective Anderson is the skeptic to the whole thing (sentiment shared!). The problem is that it feels formulated and already planned to level out how other characters accept this kooky new information so quickly. Later, Detective Anderson is given the backseat for a bit. While someone with experience in these matters take the reins. Which would have been a great perspective switch. If the book didn't try to convince you of the credibility of this new character when they are of such underwhelming support. I believe, and that makes me a plausible asset!




SPOILERS AHEAD!





The only good thing about the last half of the book I thoroughly liked, despite her overture presentation, is the character Holly Gibney. Loved her personality, quirks, and development. She delivered the last pages of the book for me. Noting that Gibney was a character in the Finders Keepers crime novel from the Bill Hodges trilogy. It makes sense that her character has had time to establish off the pages. Maybe her experiences with the paranormal would make better sense if having first read the Bill Hodges trilogy? Without that knowledge, her hunches are almost psychic and in the framework of the latter half of the book, are impractical altogether.

However, the last words spoken by Detective Anderson kind of left me disappointed in his character. With an intimate confession apart from those you actually have history with in your life. How does a stranger measure up to what's waiting at home and what you've spent half the book admiring?! It was observed as an out-of-character moment and there went the last bit of Anderson. The Anderson you meet at the beginning. Detective extraordinaire > logical skeptic > backdrop > not so Anderson anymore. Bummer.

END OF SPOILERS!


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