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Old 10-27-2011, 02:37 PM   #71
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Last month I read Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders and arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Moll Flanders (1722) was lots of fun. It's almost a proto-feminist novel: the tale of a tough, determined and resourceful woman in a male-dominated world.Along the way there is robbery, cheating, transportation to Virginia, incest, bigamy and so on. What's fascinating is how money and fortune are the dominant themes. Every person is sizing up everyone else based on their annual income. This is done in a completely unapologetic and straightforward way.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (!902) didn't ring my bell too loudly. I didn't find the mystery particularly mysterious, nor the atmosphere particularly creepy, nor Holmes particularly brilliant. Maybe I'm over-familiar with the story from film adaptations. I did find the casual imperialist attitudes and class-consciousness unintentionally amusing.

Just started Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Boccaccio's The Decameron.
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:11 PM   #72
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Nearly purchased 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Asked for it for Christmas.

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On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination—a thousand page tour de force.

Following his massively successful novel Under the Dome, King sweeps readers back in time to another moment—a real life moment—when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history.

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.

Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.
A tribute to a simpler era and a devastating exercise in escalating suspense, 11/22/63 is Stephen King at his epic best.
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:50 AM   #73
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Nearly purchased 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Asked for it for Christmas.
I misread that as "Asked for It for Christmas"

I think Steven King is a very underrated author. He has an immediacy and urgency to his writing that keeps you going through his door-stop blockbusters.

Recently finished Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. It's great. A timeless meditation on the resourcefulness of man. No wonder Karl Marx chose to use it as an example to illustrate economic theory.

I was surprised at what a religious book it is - Robinson is forced to reflect upon his life at great length and concludes that, but for Providence, he would have been much worse off.

There is an absolutely weird bit towards the end - when Crusoe is back in France, his party gets attacked by a mega-pack of 300 wolves. I don't remember that being in the TV series. Bonkers.

Currently reading Sheridan LeFanu's In a Glass Darkly, which contains one of the first lesbian vampire stories, Carmilla
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Old 11-27-2011, 09:39 AM   #74
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I was surprised at what a religious book it is - Robinson is forced to reflect upon his life at great length and concludes that, but for Providence, he would have been much worse off.
I was unaware of that. Religion is not a subject that is often addressed in our public schools, even when it is a prevalent part of the discussion topic. I took a few advanced English literature courses but remember little about the book other than him being stranded.

Just wanted to mention that this is free at Gutenberg:

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe - Project Gutenberg
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:30 PM   #75
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I've now finished Sheridan Le Fanu's In A Glass Darkly, a collection of five loosely-linked gothic tales. Le Fanu was a big influence on Bram Stoker (Dracula).

The stand out short story is the vampire tale Carmilla. The lesbian subtext is clear, but anyone looking for a bit of raunch would do well to look elsewhere - it's all very subtle and implied.

I'm taking a tour round 18th -early 20th gothic, so it was necessary reading to round out my knowledge and experience of the genre/period. However, I'm beginning to think that gothic is not an area that has aged gracefully. In an era where we're exposed tothe likes of Saw and Wolf Creek, subtly understated stuff has lost a little of its former punch.

However, onwards and upwards: my gothic kick has still to get through The Castle of Otranto, Dracula, Frankenstein, and Le Fanu's Uncle Silas (all of which I've already bought). In the meantime, I might have a break with Rob Roy or something similar.
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:35 PM   #76
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I enjoyed Dracula and Frankenstein but have not read Uncle Silas. Not familiar with Castle of Otranto.
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:36 PM   #77
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did someone say Lesbian Vampires

Carl.
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Old 12-03-2011, 02:37 PM   #78
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Just finished Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

Tom Ripley is a fascinating creation: complex, amoral, repressed, and treading a tightrope between sanity and psychosis.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:35 PM   #79
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Just finished Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

Tom Ripley is a fascinating creation: complex, amoral, repressed, and treading a tightrope between sanity and psychosis.
Think I am going to have to pick this up.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:24 PM   #80
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Mainly been reading Paramedic textbooks, but did manage to squeeze in Unbroken, by Lauren Hillenbrand. Incredible story brought to life by an excellent writer.
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