Tag: Classics

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Book Review and Movie Comparision

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Author: Ken Kesey
Published: 1962
325 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Tyrannical Nurse Ratched rules her ward in an Oregon State mental hospital with a strict and unbending routine, unopposed by her patients, who remain cowed by mind-numbing medication and the threat of electric shock therapy. But her regime is disrupted by the arrival of McMurphy – the swaggering, fun-loving trickster with a devilish grin who resolves to oppose her rules on behalf of his fellow inmates. His struggle is seen through the eyes of Chief Bromden, a seemingly mute half-Indian patient who understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them imprisoned. Ken Kesey’s extraordinary first novel is an exuberant, ribald and devastatingly honest portrayal of the boundaries between sanity and madness.

Kim’s Review:

Reading this book was a given for me. I had already seen the movie; plus I learned that they had used a working psych hospital and real patients for the movie. I found this gorgeous edition of the book and started reading. What a ride! I’ll admit that there’s not tons of action and the plot itself can be a little slow going, but the emotions and thinking and discussions and strategizing all make up for it!

This is one of those stories that has to be experienced in order to be understood. I will say this, the best thing to remember is that the narrator is a chronic psych patient. As long as that’s constantly understood, the perspective, surprisingly and ironically, makes much more sense! This is a book that will stick with you and you’ll be mentally gnawing on it for a good while after you finish! I also believe that everyone working in the mental health system should read this book! It’s so good, that I actually recommend it to everyone!

Now here is Kim’s Video Comparison of the movie:

 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

Jamaica Inn
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Published: 1936
307 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

The coachman tried to warn her away from the ruined, forbidding place on the rainswept Cornish coast. But young Mary Yellan chose instead to honor her mother’s dying request that she join her frightened Aunt Patience and huge, hulking Uncle Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn. From her first glimpse on that raw November eve, she could sense the inn’s dark power. But never did Mary dream that she would become hopelessly ensnared in the vile, villainous schemes being hatched within its crumbling walls — or that a handsome, mysterious stranger would so incite her passions … tempting her to love a man whom she dares not trust.

Kim’s Review:

I first read this book back when I was in college. I was working on campus during the summer and I’d spend my lunches in the library reading and exploring … I know, I was a nerd. I had already read Rebecca in high school so I knew du Maurier was a great author.

Jamaica Inn is almost as good as I remember! It’s suspenseful, gothic, and kinda scary. I’ll admit that Mary felt a little overdramatic at times, which is why I gave it 4 stars, but when the problems were revealed, most of her reactions became justified. I also found it amusing that du Maurier was obsessed with gender in this book. Every other conversation was, “were I not a woman,” or “if you were a man”. Thankfully, it was mostly said in jest or “what if” scenarios, but it added an interesting perspective to a classic gothic tale. The plot also moved steadily and had a good twist, that I suspected, but was not obvious.

I’m pretty sure that Jem Merlyn was one of my first fictional crushes; he’s adorable! I enjoyed my rereading and I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Jane Eyre-esque stories.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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