Tag: Classics

Book Review: Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

Rosemary’s Baby
Series: Book One of Rosemary’s Baby

Author: Ira Levin
Published: March 12, 1967
218 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse were delighted at the chance to move into Bramford, one of Manhattan’s oldest and most celebrated apartment houses. Their friend Hutch urged them not to; he knew of too many shadows in the Bramford’s past – unsavory tenants like Adrian Marcato, who had practiced witchcraft, and the monstrous Trench sisters. But Rosemary and Guy were clear-thinking and not at all superstitious. They dismissed Hutch’s warnings and moved in. At first, they were completely happy. Rosemary hung curtains and planned a nursery for the baby she hoped to have some day. Guy pursued his career as a stage and television actor. They met their neighbors who were friendly and unintrusive. But then, one day when Rosemary was down in the basement laundry room, a girl her own ago came in … Quietly and with a compelling matter-of-factness. Ira Levin tells a story of mounting terror and icy climactic shock in a book that manages to be wildly entertaining as well.

Kim’s Review:

What a great book! Of course, we’ve all seen the movie, but I once I found out it was based on a book . . . so I read it and I love it so much! I’m not sure I’d even call this horror. I’d classify it more as suspense with a slight horror twist. The Bramford is a great setting and Levin did a superb job of building up the tension slowly and subtly, until the twist just pounces and you’re left speechless. The only other author who is this successful at a slow burn is Shirley Jackson, and even she wasn’t this subtle.

Rosemary is an excellent character who both conforms to and breaks the 60’s housewife stereotypes. You also get a great look into the decade and feel like you’re actually living it. Even if you don’t like horror, I would still recommend this book because it’s such a awesome story! It’s easy to read and quick to get through!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: The Illustrated Animal Farm by George Orwell

The Illustrated Animal Farm
Author:
George Orwell

Illustrators:
Joy Batchelor
John Halas
Published:
Novel was originally published August 17, 1945

Illustrated Edition published January 1, 2015
115 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned –a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.

Halas & Batchelor studio’s classic and controversial 1954 animation of Animal Farm, George Orwell’s chilling fable of idealism betrayed, was the first ever British animated feature film. This landmark illustrated edition of Orwell’s novel was first published alongside it, and features the original line drawings by the film’s animators, Joy Batchelor and John Halas.

Kim’s Review:

This is easily one of my all-time favorite books. I was a senior in high school when I first read it. I was taking Economics and it was assigned reading. I was a little skeptical, but once I started reading, I was hooked. I remember that I was at a basketball game, but I tuned it all out and finished Animal Farm before the game ended. It blew my mind! We also had to do a project along with the reading and I chose to draw a picture of Boxer dragging rocks up to the windmill . . . and I drew it! Ok I traced Boxer, but I drew everything else and made an A! I was devastated to learn that it was not required reading in my Economics class that I taught during my first year in Hawaii. Why is Orwell not require reading anywhere?

Part of why I decided to re-read it is because of the current political climate here in America. I know that we’re adamant about keeping politics out of Jessica’s Reading Room, so obviously I won’t go into anything specific. But I will make the statement that I believe everyone, every single person, should be required to read Animal Farm and 1984 in high school and in college. The story is simple and reminds me more of a fairy tale than anything else. The metaphors are relatively clear, at least they should be if the reader paid attention in history class. The lessons are also easily understood. I find it amazing that Orwell was able to create such a story with these characters and get his message across so well. It’s a great book and if you haven’t read it, then you should!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker

First Published: May 26, 1897

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Kim’s Version of the Book:
Barnes & Noble Leather Bound Classics
Published July 1, 2011
399 pages

Book Description:

Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England so he may find new blood and spread undead curse, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Dracula has been assigned to many literary genres including vampire literature, horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature. The novel touches on themes such as the role of women in Victorian culture, sexual conventions, immigration, colonialism, and post-colonialism. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, he defined its modern form, and the novel has spawned numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations.

Bram Stoker’s novel became one of the masterpieces of the horror genre, brilliantly evoking a world of vampires and vampire hunters whilst simultaneously exposing the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and frustrated desire.

Kim’s Review:

Wow! I FINALLY read Dracula! Over the years, I have started Dracula over and over again, physical book, audiobook, and I could never get through the first two chapters. I decided that I would be a failure as a book nerd and horror freak if I didn’t read one of the most classic horror books of all time . . . So I sat down and read the whole thing. I really enjoyed it.

I’m all about an insane asylums and I got plenty. Renfield is a fascinating character and I’ll admit that I’m still crushing on Dr. Seward. I thought that the mutual admiration society amongst all the characters got really hilarious at times, but hey, compliments are helpful in times of stress and strife. Even all the implied horror and action was satisfying. My one real issue was near the end when they were traveling back to Transylvania and literally nothing happened for over 50 pages. That got really boring, really quick. However, overall, such a great read that I would recommend to everyone.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble Kim’s Version

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