Tag: Classics

The Signalman: A Ghost Story by Charles Dickens

Author: Charles Dickens
76 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating:  5 stars

Book Description:

“The Signal-Man” is a horror story by Charles Dickens, first published as part of the Mugby Junction collection in the 1866 Christmas edition of All the Year Round. The railway signal-man of the title tells the narrator of an apparition that has been haunting him. Each spectral appearance precedes a tragic event on the railway on which the signalman works. The signalman’s work is at a signal-box in a deep cutting near a tunnel entrance on a lonely stretch of the railway line, and he controls the movements of passing trains. When there is danger, his fellow signalmen alert him by telegraph and alarms. Three times, he receives phantom warnings of danger when his bell rings in a fashion that only he can hear. Each warning is followed by the appearance of the spectre, and then by a terrible accident.

Kim’s Review

Ivan took me to London and of course I had to visit several bookstores while there. We went to Hatchards, the oldest bookstore in London. Founded in 1797, and with several floors filled with books, I geeked out. It was pretty funny to watch Ivan, he might have geeked out a little more than I did. I’m used to bookstores so my passion is little more subtle but he was gaping with his mouth hanging open! He could not get over the multiple floors and he just stared up the spiral staircase with eyes filled with wonder!

All that said, I bought a cute little booklet edition of The Signalman by Charles Dickens. I had already seen his burial place in Westminster, so it just felt right! The Signalman is a simple, straightforward read. It’s creepy without being scary. In the same style as A Christmas Carol, Dickens conjured up a spectre that chills the reader and imagined railway accidents that convey true tragedy (my gosh, who the heck is writing this review???? lol). I really liked it! The story was spooky and the characters engaging. It took me all of half an hour to read it so pretty much anyone can read it. I actually think this is a good classic to give to younger readers. It won’t overload their brains and they’ll find a ghost story appealing. An excellent little story!!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Old Man and the Sea

Author: Ernest Hemingway
Published: September 1, 1952
132 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway’s most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal, a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novella confirmed Hemingway’s power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Kim’s Review:

I enjoyed this book more than I expected. I haven’t read much Hemingway, but going to his house and seeing his influence all over Key West inspired me to give him another try. The Old Man and the Sea seems to be the most organized of his works that I’ve read. I like how Hemingway managed to give us an omniscient view of the old man and kid all while keeping the record of events clear and flowing. I was surprised at how similar to Steinbeck’s shorter works this book is. This book gave me anxiety like crazy! My rarely seen practical side came out and I found myself obsessing over tiny details.  I had no idea it would illicit that much emotion, but by the end, I was nearly in tears! This poor old man who struggles so hard to turn his fortunes around and fights so hard . . . and I can’t tell anymore because, spoilers! Overall, I love this book. Hemingway was a fascinating man and this book completely proves his worth as a great American author.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Here are some pictures from the Ernest Hemingway house and the polydactyl cats:

The story on the cats is here.

Ivan and Kim at the Hemingway house:

 

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First Line Friday #44

I’m going “old school” with this week’s First Line Friday! I can’t remember for sure, but I think I read this when I was in school. I have actually shared more than the first line as the second flows well with the first.

My father’s name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS is Charles Dickens’ thirteenth novel and his penultimate completed novel; a bildungsroman which depicts the personal growth and personal development of an orphan nicknamed Pip. It is Dickens’s second novel, after David Copperfield, to be fully narrated in the first person. The novel was first published as a serial in Dickens’s weekly periodical All the Year Round, from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. In October 1861, Chapman and Hall published the novel in three volumes.

It is set among marshes in Kent, and in London, in the early to mid-1800s, and contains some of Dickens’ most memorable scenes, including the opening, in a graveyard, where the young Pip is accosted by the escaped convict, Abel Magwitch. GREAT EXPECTATIONS is full of extreme imagery -poverty; prison ships and chains, and fights to the death-and has a colorful cast of characters who have entered popular culture. Dickens’s themes include wealth and poverty, love and rejection, and the eventual triumph of good over evil. GREAT EXPECTATIONS is popular both with readers and literary critics, and has been translated into many languages, and adapted numerous times into various media.

Upon its release, the novel received near universal acclaim. Thomas Carlyle spoke disparagingly of “all that Pip’s nonsense”. Later, George Bernard Shaw praised the novel, as “All of one piece and consistently truthful.” During the serial publication, Dickens was pleased with public response to GREAT EXPECTATIONS and its sales; when the plot first formed in his mind, he called it “a very fine, new and grotesque idea.”

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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