I have previously expressed my dislike for book publishers to re-release a book using the actors on the cover once it becomes a movie. I still feel that way in general but in this situation, I will admit the actresses on the cover is what caught my attention. Who can pass up a book with Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore on the cover?! And at the same time, same 2nd hand store, I bought the paperback book and the movie. I just had a feeling it was going to be worth it. I was right. Michael Cunningham did an amazing job of weaving together the lives of 3 different women living in three different times using Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway as the common thread. It was an enthralling journey. Even if you have not read Mrs. Dalloway, you will not miss out. It might even inspire you to go get a copy. (That's actually exactly how it happened with me.) There is so much more I would say but I am resisting... for your sake. No spoilers. You'll thank me later. Treat yourself to this beautiful, honest piece of literature. And then rent the movie. Very well done...but yes, the book is better.
Ummm... wow. This is a very typical Victorian story. Published as a novella in 1894, the press reacted badly, calling it "...degenerate and horrific...". It would be difficult for the modern reader unfamiliar with Victorian culture to understand how controversial this story really was. The characters often say "...you can't imagine the horror... the deeds..." Well, actually, we can. We get inundated with images 24 hours a day of horrific deeds. Things once thought of as "shocking and terrible" barely garner a second glance now. It's an interesting study, if nothing else, on the evolution (and degradation) of society, technology and morality.
This is exactly how I like to learn about history!! I have to admit, most of what I know about the French Revolution came from Marie Antoinette movies and Les Miserables. Michelle Moran's incredibly sculpted novel Madame Tussaud is the PERFECT vehicle for anyone who is only sort of interested in history but really likes a good story. Wonderfully visual! I absolutely adored this book! I wasn't reading it for the historical accuracy (it might be spot-on for all I know) but it seemed to ring through honestly and I was completely enthralled.
I'm not passing judgment. That's the actual title of this book. Classics Mutilated edited by Jeff Conner. It's a collection of short stories, a "Genre-Blending Monster Mash up." I loved it! Well, I loved 11/13 of it. There were only two stories I didn't finish. One was a spoof on Twilight. Although I appreciated the remake concept of Loki (yes, as in Thor's bad bro Loki) being the much more substantial main character replacing Bella, I just couldn't stomach anything related to Twilight. (Sorry, I know I just insulted half of you out there.) The other short story I couldn't finish was one I thought I would actually enjoy but I just couldn't get into it. It created a reality that connected Edgar Allen Poe and Jim Morrison of The Doors. I love Poe and thought I was a decent fan of Morrison but obviously not as dedicated a fan as need be to understand the story. LOTS of references to Morrison songs, philosophy, stage performances... I'm just not cool enough (or high enough) to get it. But other than that, I really really enjoyed the book. Lots of fun!!!
Hmmm... What to say about this one. Either the author, Katherine Howe, is a Wiccan herself or she did enough research to realistically portray a character who has some 'witchery' in her lineage. I guess she portrays it 'realistically'. I'm not Wiccan so I really wouldn't know. I have a good friend who is and I've mentioned this book to her. I'm interested to see what she thinks if she reads it. The reason I'm harping so much on the Wiccan element is because it's such a big deal in the book. Not Wiccan exactly but its origins via the 'Salem Witch Trials'. That's what actually made me get this book to begin with. I've always been fascinated with that topic (duh, who isn't?!). I appreciated how Katherine Howe weaved together a real life for the historical women and I can appreciate the journey the main character traveled. But for some reason, I just didn't care for the book. I wasn't 'missing it' once I finished it. (Does that make sense? When I've really enjoyed a book, I miss it when I'm done. I miss the characters, their lives, their journey...) With Deliverance Dane, somewhere along the line it fell short of really hooking me. When I finished it, I just closed the book. Maybe its because I'm not Wiccan. But if that's the case, I'm not a vampire but I still loved Dracula. (You thought I was going to say Twilight, didn't you!) :-P It's a fine book. It's just not what I thought it was going to be. I guess that's my issue, not the author's.
I had seen the 1940 movie many (many!) times and absolutely adored it. I wasn't sure how the book was going to compare. Movies are usually a disappointment. And like The Woman in Black, I had the movie playing in my mind all the while I was reading. It did not distract a bit! Even knowing the 'dark secret' all along, knowing how it was going to end, nothing distracted from the joy of the book. (As a matter of fact during one chapter, because I had seen the movie first I knew what was about to happen and I couldn't bare to read it so I skipped ahead a couple of pages.) Daphne Du Maurier had such a talent for writing so many different emotions. Even though the narrator is never named, you know her through and through! The scenes and dramas she plays out in her head are so believable and honest; I was entertained and tortured all at the same time. (Do I admit that I do the same thing in my head?!) As for the ending... I like the novel much better but the movie ending is still true to the story, just a little more extended for a Hollywood happy ending.
Bessy Buckley kicks arse!!! Set in 1863, the story introduces Bessy, a young Irish immigrant from Glasgow (absolutely NOT a Highlander!) making her way down a country road, looking for a new life... or food, which ever she finds first. In The Observations, Jane Harris has written a fantastic story, rich in detail. The kind that takes you a few days to withdraw from when you finish the book. You just won't want to leave. A captivating tale full of twists, lies, mysteries, and even a ghost!
I just can't seem to get away from the Victorian era! Currently doing research on Lizzie Borden for my upcoming Naughty Women Lovely Tea presentation. But during my 'spare time' I keep hacking away at the stack of books on my night stand. The top three are all Victorian era stories. Here are two. After I finish the third one, the next book up is set in the 1920s... I think. I'll let you know... Not sure my brain can imagine wardrobes without corsets.
Written as if it were an autobiography, this cleverly created novel was an absolute adventure! Phillip Margulies has spun a rich, detailed world as beautiful as it is cruel. Loosely based on a real-life 19th century madam. I would be honored to have tea with Arabella Godwin-Moody/Harriet Knowles/Belle Cora. (Wow! One heck of a place card!)
Where Phillips Margulies took the seed of a real life person (Belle Cora) and grew it into a fantastic fictional story, Steven Levingston had all the cold hard facts of a real life drama and fleshed it out with some imaginative details and completely believable narrative. Truth really is stranger than life! In 1889, young and petite Gabrielle Bompard hardly looked the part of a cold-blooded murderess but the evidence was hard to dispute. Her defense angle? She claimed she was innocent because she was hypnotized to do it!
Read any good books lately?
I read more than just classic novels. This is where I post about recent books I have read. Have you read the same book? Got a different opinion? Let me know! I'd love to hear about it.