Metzengerstein is Poe’s first published short story, and it was not good. Seven pages of confusing, and almost nonsensical, Hatfields and McCoys tale of two feuding families.
It’s been a while since I studied Marxism at school, a refresh of my memory was required, and having never read The Communist Manifesto, I thought I might as well try it.
My views have changed. When I studied Marxism as a teenager I was enamoured with its idealistic belief that capitalism would inevitably end in revolution and somehow result in a more utopian and equal society. No one could ever accuse me of being an optimist, even back then, but I think perhaps Marx’s revolutionary philosophy played on my pessimistic “the world’s going to hell in a hand basket” outlook and shining a spark of optimistic hope that once society finally crumbles, things will get better.
“It has a spell put on it by an old fakir,” said the sergeant-major, “a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow. He put a spell on it so that three separate men could each have three wishes from it.”
A fascinating classic horror story that has definitely withstood the test of time. I don’t usually enjoy short stories but it seems Jacobs knew his craft because he didn’t leave us wanting.
My read for Banned Books Week was certainly apropos. Fahrenheit 451 shows you the results of a book banning society. A scary, ignorant and shallow world where brutality and casual violence are everyday events done in the name of entertainment; a regressive and disabling move in social evolution, handicapping progression by limiting knowledge and encouraging selfishness.
I chose this for Banned Books Week but I couldn’t wait any longer to read it.
Disappointingly my library copy came with a warning slapped on the cover. What’s to be frightened about with ‘same sex families’?
So I looked this one up online (and read it there for free) as I was struggling with the 13th volume which is a 2014 Hugo finalist for Best Graphic Novel, and while this is from only one point of view – Agatha’s – it’s still a little disjointed and hard to follow. Almost every sentence of dialogue feels like it should end with a exclamation mark. It’s high drama, or melodrama. But perhaps that’s a mark of the mad science genre – I wouldn’t know, I’m new to it.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
Khayyam struck me as a man with a love-hate relationship with the old vino, which sort of implies that perhaps he wasn’t the strictest Muslim. I wonder if that was a such terrible thing 900 years ago when he was alive.
I hate selkie stories. They’re always about how you went up to the attic to look for a book, and you found a disgusting old coat and brought it downstairs between finger and thumb and said “What’s this?”, and you never saw your mom again.
If you know of selkie mythology, you’ll understand this opening quote, and if you don’t it’s explained within this short story (which can be read for free HERE).
Rosa Parks was not the first woman to refuse to give up her seat on a bus for a white person. I know, I didn’t know this either. It’s not our fault. Claudette Colvin had done the same nine months before. She was not considered by African American civil rights leaders to be a suitable symbol for the campaign against segregationist legislation. She was too young (she was fifteen), perceived to be too fiesty and too emotional, and too working class to be an appropriate figurehead to inspire revolution among her fellow African American residents of Montgomery, Alabama. She suffered more at the hands of the police than Ms. Parks (Colvin was jailed, among other things), more scorn from her neighbours and supposed friends than Ms. Parks, and yet she’s been conveniently forgotten by the press, the historians and the public.
The Shawl is the first book I’ve read concerning the Holocaust but it’s everything one would expect it to be. A horrific, poignant, lyrical, and heartbreaking narrative of one woman’s life before, during and after the traumatizing events for the Jewish during WWII. Listening to Yelena Shmulenson’s skillful narration brought Rosa’s suffering to life and doesn’t fail to evoke heartache for her plight.