Wednesday, 22 November 2017

My last 5 books: 19th century horror and some modern comics

1. Adulthood is a Myth, by Sarah Andersen and
2. Big Mushy Happy Lump. by Sarah Andersen. I love Sarah Andersen's comics whenever I see them online so I decided to buy both of her collections to date and I read through them fairly quickly. The first one was extremely relatable in all aspects. I do most of these things and I feel most of these things. And sometimes I'm not sure whether I should actually laugh at it or cry  :P I love them and I'll keep on buying her stuff ♥

3. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. Being fed the Hollywood version my entire life, this book was definitely not what I expected. Apart from the monster being created by a scientist the movie doesn't get many rights from the book. The most major thing is that the monster is actually eloquent and intelligent. He entered the lives of people with hope of finding family and warmth, but kept being shunned by them and eventually shunned himself from society. He gets in touch with his creator asking for a mate, but Frankenstein refuses and the monster goes on a killing spree; killing everyone Frankenstein loves in an attempt to force Frankenstein to make him a mate so he'll stop the killing. Eventually the monster takes it too far and ends up with a dead scientist. Resigned to being alone the monster leaves and travels to the Arctic, intent on living out his days in an area without people. There are no mentions in the book of any of the theatrics used in Hollywood; no shambling walk, no zombie sounds, no square head, no bolts to the neck - the monster is ugly af and well-over 2m tall, but he's not a freak except for the ugliness. Also, in the movies the monster is always raised through the roof during a stormy night to have the thunder boost life into the dead body - no mention of this anywhere in the book. Also, the classic line "It was on a dreary night in November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils" made me think of this song and thus I always had that song on my brain while reading.

4. In a Glass Darkly, by J. Sheridan Le Fanu. I bought this short story collection on a whim because I recognised the author's name, but I had no idea what it actually was. When I later put the pieces together and realised that his name was familiar because he's the author of Carmilla (one of few 19th century vampire tales older than Dracula which have survived to this day) I was very excited about reading this. But of course Carmilla was the last story in the book. The first three didn't excite me much while I read them, they were actually pretty boring imo. Then came The Room at the Dragon Volant, which seemed like quite the modern heist story. I despaired at the gullibility of the main character, but otherwise the entire story was good and there were a few twists and turns that I didn't expect. I really liked it. But then, ofc, came Carmilla and I was hooked. From a modern PoV the entire story was pretty straight-forward and obvious, but at the same time I was amazed by the clearly obvious lesbian undertones in a short story from the 1870s! Mid-Victorian times and this woman isn't even trying to hide her intentions, only the gullibility of her intended victim keeps her secret safe. I liked the story in general, but for a modern person who's read a fair amount of vampire tales this story offers no surprises other than the lesbian one.

5. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson. I've never actually read this story myself, only heard retellings of the story and seen Hollywood's version. So from what I knew I didn't expect Jekyll to actually enjoy the transformations. From all the retellings I've heard and seen Jekyll was always the victim, and he was always a young and proper man. In the original Jekyll is in his 50s and despairing his lost youth he enjoys the transformations into Hyde who's significantly younger and freer. But after Hyde murders someone Jekyll realises that he can't keep transforming into Hyde. He needs to get rid of him, but at the same time he has lost control of the transformations and in the end it's enough that he sneezes to transform. He starts having to take the serum to transform back into Jekyll, but he runs out of the serum and because the first batch was just a fluke, he can't seem to make a new batch - and so he's doomed to be Hyde, which brings him to take his own life.

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