The Masque of the Red Death

This tale of woe starts with a warning. A sickness stalked the land. It was called the Red Death. It was called so because one that had it soon shown the fact on their face with the red stains there. But there was a Prince who decided to take his court away from the horror of the illness in a coister. There they waited in merry dissapation to wait out the sickness. But will Death be content to wait outside?

THis is a well-known short story by Edgar Allen Poe. And I blame it for making me so scared of sickness! It has a wonderful, yet chilling way about it, and the descriptions are breathtaking to behold. I won’t lie. I love this story. And it is the one that made me fall in love with Poe in the first place. I don’t know why. It just is so.

I hope you injoy this audio version I found. It is not as good as the one for the Tell-Tale Heart, but still quite good.

 

 

And Happy 31 days of Halloween

 

 

 

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The Tell-Tale Heart

The Tell-Tale Heart is a short story that would probably be familiar to most of my readers. Mostly because they were most likely forced to read it sometime when they were in school. It is funny how books and stories we are forced to read somehow seem dull and off-putting to us. Even when they are in fact anything but. The Tell-Tale Heart is a good example of this.

It is the story of a criminal confessing to a crime he had committed somewhere in the past. We are never given much detail as to the when and where. But the narrator wants to make one fact quite clear. He is without a doubt not a madman. And the reason he had murdered was for a very logical, rational reason. Weither we agree to that assertion on the other hand….

I think this short story is masterfully written. The prose is very compact and to the point, without a single wasted word. The tone remains constant. The climax and resolution is thrilling. And the characterization is quite remarkable consitering the lenth of the tale.

It is hard to find someone able to match the tone in an audio book reading. They either make it too dramatic. Or the delivery is too deadpan. But I think I had found a reader that hit the perfect note.I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I have.

 

 

Happy 31 days of Halloween!

Ready Player One. A Book Review

 

 

“In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked up into the OASIS, a vast virtual world where most of humanity spends their days.

When the eccentric creator of the OASIS dies, he leaves behind a series of fiendish puzzles, based on his obsession with the pop culture of decades past. Whoever is first to solve them will inherit his fast fortune-and control of the OASIS itself.

Then Wade cracks the first clue. Suddenly he’s beset by rivals who’ll kill to take this prize. The race is on—and the only way to survive is to win.”

This is the premise of the book, Ready Player One, which was written by Ernest Cline. It is also, I think one of the best sci-fi novels that ever came out. It is especially wonderful if you are an eighties kid like me, steeped in wonderful pop culture references and subtle and not so subtle pokes at the nerds and geeks that love and obsess over them.

It is also a pretty great social commentary. It gives us a picture of what our world could look like, as we start to show many of the problems that the book shows such as severe famine, joblessness, poverty, crime and the troubles that come with gaming addiction. And all of it tied to a gripping adventure/mystery that will literally have you on the edge of your seat the whole way. I found myself deeply empathizing with the main character, Wade Watts, who was blessed/cursed with his mane because his desired father thought it made him sound like a superhero. Let’s face it, Wade was doomed from birth to be a geek/nerd.

His surroundings in what the book described ‘the stacks’ only made that obsession more understandable and even relatable.
Wade is a really dynamic character, who could have easily suffered from the male equivalent of mary sue, but was prevented from this dire fate by his relatable flaws, and contradictions. And I think many geek/nerds would be able to relate to a character like him because, while trying not to sound like a stereotype, he manages to encompass the trials and tribulations (Star Trek Reference here…because I can) that many who are called a nerd and/or geek go through.

What can I say. The story is engaging, the twists and turns are amazing, the characters are wonderfull and the whole experience is a delight. I recommend it to all readers, but especially those who remember the eighties/nineties. Or are a fan of the culture that was a big deal in those decades.

Now, I’m back to reading this book for the second time. Or is it the third. I lost count.

Have a lovely day! And keep creating.

 

 

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyle and Mr. Hyde

Ever allowed hype to affect your opinion on something. I have. It kept me from reading a book titled The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyle and Mr. Hyde. You see, I tend to avoid the horror genre because I frankly cannot handle being but so scared. I have still only read maybe two Steven King novels. No, three. They were The Green Mile, The Stand, and It. I will save my thoughts on them for their own blogs. I will only say one I read and will read multiple times, One I might read one more time, maybe two, and the last I will only read to refresh myself so I can write a review by and by, but never again.

Well, when I say that the take I am reviewing now did not live up to the hype, that is not necessarily a bad thing. It was not nearly so scary as I feared it would be. It was, to be honest, also not as good as I hoped it would be. I’m afraid I found it a bit prosy, a bit slow. But there were some great bits of suspense in it, and the mystery was engaging. Plus I found myself getting interested in the lives of the people in it. The ending was completely satisfying, and if I read it again, it will be for that.

I give it a solid worth re-reading. Enjoy this short, suspenseful read and let me know what you think of it. As Dr.Wolf would say, I look forward to hearing from you

A Christmas Carol

Hello Everyone! Here is one of my favorite all-time stories! A Christmas Carol!!

The story, written by Charles Dickens is still my favorite Dickens. And it was a wonderful, and wonderfully condense tale full of wonderful characters, drama and that feeling of warm fuzzies that we have come to associate with Christmas.

 

http://literature.org/authors/dickens-charles/christmas-carol/

 

 

 

I was going to post links to the various movies found on Youtube. But there was simply too many of them!! What a strange problem to run into….so you’re on your own there. However, I can give you some reviews. Such as the one between Books vs Movies!!

Seriously, this series by Bandgeek cannot be overstated. It goes over the novel, matching it up against not one, two, three, even four movies. It goes against five movies! And most of them are my favorites. give them a watch, preferably with a hot cut of tea or cider at your side, and a crackling fire in the hearth…or one on your t.v. if you got nothing better.

 

 

 

 

There is so much material out there to explore this tale, and that is probably the real power of the Christmas Carol. There is so much in the work to explore, often without feeling too done. the only reason we can get tired of it is that of how much there is!

 

And I hope to see you again tomorrow with another day of Christmas Glee!

The Vicar of Wakefield Review

The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith

This was an interesting read, to say the least. It offered a peek into an England and the customs and language and sensibilities of an age long gone. Yet was completely enjoyable in its own way. The story follows a family as they fall from fortune and take up a new place, and the adventures and misadventures while there. The writer pokes fun at many of the characters, by painting them in very broad strokes. All but the eldest son, who is supposed to be the writer himself.

The main character of the father, Dr. Primrose, is the main focus and the moral center of the book, and we are not left long and doubt of his thoughts and beliefs. Personally, I was really amused and enlightened by those thoughts and how they were conveyed. I tend to have more patience for older forms of writing than contemporary, as that was simply how they wrote and feels somehow more honest and simple than many books that came out later that tried so hard to be clever and ironic that they can forget how to tell a good story. But I won’t linger long on that soap box.

The introduction was written by Ernest Brennecke. He did a good job summarizing the contents of the book and helped make it somewhat more relatable to the modern reader. And I got to warn you, there are many modern readers who might find the language of the book off-putting. There are some names that, while not bad, are not politically correct either. This might offend someone who grew up in today’s culture where political correctness had swung completely in the other direction. Personally, as I already said, I enjoyed the language.

I fancy myself as something of a student of history, and to catch a glimpse into what people of the mid seventeen hundred would have called a best-seller is fascinating. It is not perfect. There is more melodrama than I would like, and the characters are, while good characters, are a bit two-dimensional and sometimes even goofy, the pathos and humor of the family do shine through. And I found it an interesting read, and am not sorry to have read it.

Check it out and have a happy nerdy-wordy day!

Heart of Darkness Book Review

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

It stinks. Moving on.

Okay, okay, I won’t cheat you with that pathetic review. It after all, does have some good merits. But let me first say, there is a reason classical books have such a bad reputation. One of them is that they are all grim and pessimistic. Now that I am reading

One of them is that they are all grim and pessimistic. Now that I am reading books on the ‘Thousand and One Books You Must Read Before You Die’ list, I am starting to see why people say this. For instance, Animal Farm does not exactly end on a happy note, now does it. And do I even need to bring up Frankenstein, or The Gold Bug? Well, actually that one did end happily. But Wuthering Heights?

But this one really takes the literary cake in grim. Almost every chapter seemed bent on hurting me. I ended up listening to it on audio to blunt it some, and I still had to read something more cheerful. Maybe you heard of it. The Little Match Girl. I like how Conrad wrote tension, and the description was really good. But I could not wait to get out of that world and check it off the list, never to come back to it again.

Because of the descriptions, and because some people would like the military angle and some of the characters, I think it’s worth skimming. But only barely. Check it out, give it a read, and see if your wordy-nerdy selves agree or disagree with me.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow written by Washington Irving

What can one say about this short story, that had not been said before? There is a reason why Washington Irving is so celebrated as one of America’s first celebrated writers. He has a fine grasp of telling a thrilling story in a concise manner.

In this story, the main character, though sympathetic, as a somewhat dislikeable character who charms people so that he might have enough to fill his vorocious appetite, and courts the only daughter of a prosperious farmer with the sole intention of owning that farmer’s property when that worthy gentleman dies. The most remembered section of the book is, of course, when the headless horseman shows up, and the wild chase as Crane tries to run away from him, and all that happened as he reached the bridge. Nobody in the book can say what happened to Incabob Crane. Tales

Nobody in the book can say what happened to Incabob Crane. Tales circulated wildly. But the most widely held belief was that he was spirited away by supernatural means. This is still a good read now, and I strongly recommend it come Halloween. So I would rate this a worth re-reading.

Enjoy it, and let me know what you think of it. And have a happy wordy-nerdy day

Book Review-Gathering Blue

Gathering Blue Written by Lois Lowry

A sequel to The Giver, it tells the story of a girl who has a bad leg, forced to learn to live on her own in a very brutal world. After losing her Mother, the last living relative, and last guardian, she finds herself challenged for the right to even continue to survive in the village, because of her disability. And in their world, if you have any kind of disability then you are going to die. You are not seen as having any value at all. But She is also strong, and clever, and has a talent in her strong, capable fingers that might not only end up saving her life but give her status enough to ensure comfort and useful work that she never dreamed of. But what would the price for that life be? And would she be willing to pay that price?

Lois Lowry did it again. This masterful writer once again invites us to an immersive world, that unlike the Giver, does not even pretend to be utopian. It is not friendly, it is savage, and the environment turned the people as savage as the world around them is known to be. Yet nothing is what it seems to be. And the twists and turns of the simple yet deep story will leave you guessing. Well, for the most part. There is a twist that happens near the end that I saw coming a mile away. But for the target

 

Book Review-The Giver

The Giver

Written by Lois Lowry

The book, The Giver, is a young adult fantasy novel about a seemingly utopian world. But when the main character got his job as Reciever, his whole world was turned upside-down. And he slowly found out that the perfect, serene world that he lived in was not at all what he had expected it to be. But what can he do about it? What would happen to him, if he dares to fix it? I was entranced when I first read this treat of a book. I first started reading it, when I saw it on the list of books, 150 book list, that was on the webpage, Level Up Live. It is a great site, by the way! One of many that allow you to gamify your life. But I will write a review of that later. When I read it, I thought at first that it would not be that great, but I looked it up at the library, ready to give it a chance for the points mostly. See, if I had remembered another book, A Summer to Die by the same author, I would not have been so nervious about reading this one. But again, the review on that book will be soon. I didn’t make the connection at first, and more shame to me. Also more shame to me for ever doubting the worth of this book. I cannot recomend it enough. the characters are wonderful. The setting is wonderful, the pacing, the story, the plot, all are completely wonderful, and wonderfully engaging. Written in sweet yet dark, and completely simple language, it is also a short read. Even slower readers would probably finish it in two or three days. I know I was a little let down at the end. It came too quickly for me. I wanted to live in the book a while longer. But it was amazing, and I give it an Ultamate Recommendation. Read it! As soon as you can. Don’t wait, go now!