Archive for the ‘Classics’ Category

Frankenstein

Every once in a while, I feel like I should read a classic that doesn’t actually appeal to my tastes in books.  Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was one of these times.  I’m not frankensteinreally into monster stories but since Dr. Frankenstein comes up in many other stories and everyday references I thought it was about time to broaden my horizons and start understanding those allusions more thoroughly.  

I got about what I expected: a monster story written in very flowery language.  The main thing that I was disappointed with was that the parts where the action came in were all but glanced over.  Essentially, it was all build-up and no delivery.  However, like all classics, there is a reason that people have decided for many many years that it’s worth reading.  It explores the problems man faces when he tries to “play God.”  A theme that seems to be appearing in modern history over and over again taking different forms.  If you love monster stories, this along with Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the must-read basis for your library.  For everyone else, I would still recommend the book just purely for the benefit of understanding other references better.  Just make sure you don’t read it around a holiday when you will probably get other, more appealing books to read!

Advertisements

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

The setting is an insane asylum in the vicinity of Portland, Oregon.  Like everywhere where a group of people coexist, there is a hierarchy mainly consisting of two tiers: the “Acutes” and the “Chronics.”  The Acutes are the insane who have the potential to recover and still have control over the basic functions of the human body.  The Chronics include the vegetables and the people who have been there for so long that they have lost hope to leave the ward.  One other major character is “Big” Nurse Ratched who is quickly made the antagonist.  The story is written from the perspective of one of the Chronics.  He’s a huge half-American Indian named Chief Bromden.  The story begins with the introduction of a new patient on the ward.  He’s a defiant, loud and charming Irishman who is able to avert all of the “machinery” and tricks of Nurse Ratched and the black boys who work in the hospital.  The novel follows his story and that of the other patients that are swept into his clutch.

The novel moves through the first 250 pages steadily and calmly (and at times slowly) while interest in the characters and their actions continues to grow.  The last fifty pages dramatically accelerate the story.  Although I was not completely surprised by the ending, I was unable to put the book down and I was disturbed enough that the book changed the mood of the day instantly.  If you read this book always remembering that the contents of it actually happened to many undeserving victims, there is no way you will not be shaken.