Classic Couple

A Classic Couple: Frankenstein and Jurassic Park

Do you like science fiction? I hope so, because this week’s Classic Couple feature highlights two famous science fiction novels that have made it to the big screen: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park (1990).

Dangers of science || A major theme of both of these novels is the fact that humankind does not and cannot have complete control over nature. Try as we might, there is no place for humans as supreme rulers in the world. One quote I love from Jurassic Park sums this up nicely:

“But now science is the belief system that is hundreds of years old. And, like the medieval system before it, science is starting not to fit the world any more. Science has attained so much power that its practical limits begin to be apparent. Largely through science, billions of us live in one small world, densely packed and intercommunicating. But science cannot help us decide what to do with that world, or how to live. Science can make a nuclear reactor, but it cannot tell us not to build it. Science can make pesticide, but cannot tell us not to use it. And our world starts to seem polluted in fundamental ways—air, and water, and land—because of ungovernable science.”

Unexpected intelligence || The creatures produced in these novels end up being much more intelligent than the creators initially expended or intended. Both Victor Frankenstein and John Hammond believe they’ll be able to completely control what they scientifically construct, yet this is far from reality. Victor’s Creature argues for his right to happiness and asserts that Victor should create a female companion for him so they can mate. Hammond’s ultimate undoing is the way he underestimates the intelligence of the dangerous raptors who try hunting down all of the people on the island. These men don’t want to acknowledge that humans are not the smartest form of life, yet that is precisely what they learn by the end of these novels.

Violent twists || I always think it’s funny when people are surprised to learn that Jurassic Park is not quite the fun family movie they expect. Newsflash: PEOPLE DIE. While the Creature in Frankenstein has a reputation for being sinister due to movie adaptations over the years, the Creature in the book is actually much more terrifying because he closely resembles a human being. This is science reflecting our own flawed nature right back at us, showing humans that we are not always the peaceful beings we like to believe that we are.

Click here to check out other Classic Couples from past posts.

What do you think of this classic couple? What other books would you pair with FrankensteinWhat are your thoughts on either or both of these books? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Books

FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley | Review

12974171-2Some stories seem to extend beyond the confines of their original forms. Whether it be from popular adaptations or its reputation over time, certain novels have been distorted in the eyes of those who have yet to read them. Put simply, this is a clash between expectations and reality, between what the reader perceives the work to be and what it is in actuality. I experienced this disparity while reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula a few years ago and more recently while reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Thanks to the popularized image of Frankenstein’s monster as a gigantic, green, bumbling figure, I was not prepared for the complex, humanlike being that Frankenstein actually created. He is no lumbering monster; rather, he is an intelligent, curious, agile, and morally ambiguous figure capable of learning human speech and adopting many civilized customs. It’s after he is spurned by society and those he views as potential friends that he becomes vengeful, violent, and conniving. Discovering that Shelley’s monster was much more complex and multifaceted than the creature often portrayed in modern media was honestly a relief. The monster’s ambiguity not only makes for a more interesting story, but it also presents the reader with a difficult moral dilemma: Is the monster truly evil? Can his actions be justified in light of his suffering at the hands of his creator? How does he compare to Frankenstein, the man who brought such a formidable being to life? These questions cannot be easily answered, yet we often ask ourselves similar things today. Such gray areas frequently pop up in our daily lives in the forms of relationships, court trials, and certainly when reading literature. No one is absolutely good or evil– not even the “monster” of Frankenstein.

I was also not expecting Frankenstein to have such a layered narrative style. There are numerous narrators in this slim book: Walton, the sailor writing letters back home; Frankenstein telling his story to Walton, who then copies it down; and the monster himself, recounting his struggles to his creator in an attempt at persuasion. At first these layers made me feel disconnected from the story, but I loved the way they cleverly connected and unfolded from one another at the end. Though I initially struggled to see the value in this complicated narrative structure, I now believe that this novel would not have been as effectively delivered through any other form. The many layers and perspectives add to the ambiguity and mystery that the novel exudes.

More than anything, I left this novel with an overwhelming sensation of pity towards Frankenstein. Despite the fact that the monster was his own creation, he took very little responsibility for his actions. He did try to prevent the death of innocent Justine, but his efforts were ultimately futile. He refused to tell his family about the monster for fear that they would think him mad (Well, perhaps that perception would be rightly justified!). While I feel sorry about the deaths of many of his loved ones, I believe that Frankenstein could have done much more to prevent these tragedies from occurring.

Overall, Mary Shelley has left me feeling both confused and fascinated by her classic novel Frankenstein. It was much different from my initial expectations, but in ways that made me enjoy this story even more. There is something in this depths of this dark, twisted tale that lingers in the mind long after the final page has been turned; perhaps this is why it has remained on our bookshelves for centuries.

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) :0) 5 out of 5 smileys

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely! Not only is it a fantastic novel in general, but I think a lot of people would be interested to see how their expectations of the story differ from what it is in actuality. Besides, who doesn’t love a story that will make your heart raise and send shivers down your spine?

What are your thoughts on Frankenstein? Have you experienced this clash between expectations and reality when it comes to literature? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books of 2016

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Happy Tuesday!! Can you believe that 2016 has almost come to a close? It feels like it was New Year’s Day just yesterday, yet here we are as 2017 fast approaches. I’ve been fortunate to have read a plethora of fantastic books this past year, so narrowing down a list of my Top Ten Best Books of 2016 was no easy feat. Nevertheless, here are the best books I’ve read in 2016 in the order that I read them:

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What are some of the best books that you read in 2016? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Read-A-Thons

#CramAThon 2016 Wrap-Up

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Happy Christmas Eve! Yesterday was the final day of the CramAThon, which means that it’s time to take a look at what I’ve accomplished over the past week. As I mentioned in my CramAThon TBR post, my goal during this readathon was simply to read more than I usually do in a week (which, given the fact that I’ve only had time to read books for classes for the past three months, was a very reachable goal). It has felt so nice to prioritize reading for fun again now that I’m back home from college. How I missed these lazy days of flipping pages, sipping tea, and feeling cozy in my fuzzy socks!

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  1. Read a book under 200 pages
  2. Read 2 books in 24 hours
  3. Read a book set in a different country than where you live
  4. Read a book you’ve been putting off/have been meaning to read forever
  5. Read a book with pictures
  6. Read a graphic novel
  7. Read 7 books

I ended up completing over half of the challenges, which I’m pretty pleased with! I don’t own any graphic novels so I didn’t expect to complete that one– and I knew from the start that I definitely didn’t want to just plow my way through seven books in a single week.

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Throughout this readathon I read a total of a little over 1400 pages, a number that I’m beyond thrilled to report. Even though I didn’t have much planned for the week, I didn’t expect to actually get this much reading done. Here’s what I ended up reading:

13588439The Truth About Style by Stacy London

THIS. BOOK. I flew through this book in record time (the incorporation of photographs helped!) and was left wanting even more. Stacy London has managed to write a book that is not only witty, hilarious, and brimming with her spunky personality but also empowering, insightful, intelligent, and incredibly inspirational at the same time. My admiration for this style guru has grown exponentially from its already high level and I now have a newfound appreciation for her impressive work ethic and the personal perspective she brings to everything she does. You can be sure that I’m rating this 5 out of 5!

When Everything Changed by Gail CollinsWhen Everything Changed by Gail Collins

Reading this book so close to finishing The Truth About Style was great because I was riding on a wave of feminist empowerment and positivity. Though it felt a bit repetitive and disjointed at times, this comprehensive look at the ever-changing role of American women since 1960 was well-written, expertly researched, and presented in an accessible, entertaining account. It provides the perspectives of minorities in terms of race, sexuality, and class and offers insightful commentary on where women are today. By the time I finished this book I felt inspired to go out there and prove to the world that women can do anything!

12974171-2FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley

As I turned the last page of this chilling novel, one thought played on repeat in my mind: Why didn’t I read this sooner??? Far from the lumbering green giant portrayed by modern adaptations, Frankenstein’s monster presents an endlessly fascinating moral dilemma that I can’t stop thinking about. Though definitely not what I was initially expecting, this book nevertheless exceeded all of my expectations. Don’t make the same mistake I did: read this book ASAP!

14800528-2Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Sometimes a book takes you by surprise and exceeds all of your expectations. (Hint: this is one of those books!) I’ve had this on my shelf for months and I can’t believe I waited to long to read it. Definitely a favorite of 2016! If you have any suggestions of other works by Thomas Hardy that I should read, please feel free to send them my way!

I also managed to read about half of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I’ve owned a gorgeous edition of this classic novel for around two years now and I’m so happy that I’m finally getting around to reading it. It’s such a cute, quaint, happy story!

As per usual, full reviews will follow for all of these books!

Did you participate in the CramAThon? If so, how did you do? What are your thoughts on the books I mentioned here? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Read-A-Thons

#CramAThon 2016 TBR

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Hello, hello! Today I come to you with an exciting announcement: I’m participating in the CramAThon 2016!

What is the CramAThon, you ask? It’s a week-long readathon from December 16th (TODAY!) to December 23rd run by Aprilius Maximus and Whitty Novels. The goal is to try to cram in as many books as you can as the end of the year approaches in order to boost your book count for the year. Though I’m not particularly interested in reading as many books as possible in this short amount of time (I’ve already reached my Goodreads goal for 2016!) I couldn’t help but join in because this readathon comes at the perfect time for me. Today I finally head home after having completed my third semester of college, so I’ll have plenty of time to read!

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  1. Read a book under 200 pages
  2. Read 2 books in 24 hours
  3. Read a book set in a different country than where you live
  4. Read a book you’ve been putting off/have been meaning to read forever
  5. Read a book with pictures
  6. Read a graphic novel
  7. Read 7 books

Since this readathon is pretty relaxed I’m not going to worry too much about completing as many of the challenges as possible. At the very least, I know that I won’t be able to read 7 books!

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Though I do have some books in mind that I would like to read in the near future, none of this is set in stone at all. I am definitely a mood reader, so every TBR I make is liable to change as quickly as it was created. These books don’t necessarily align with all of the challenges, either– they’re just books that I’ve been looking forward to reading for a while.

When Everything Changed by Gail CollinsWhen Everything Changed by Gail Collins

This book does correspond with the challenge of reading a book that you’ve been meaning to read forever. My AP US History teacher gave me this book when I graduated from high school and here I am two years later and I still haven’t read it! It sounds like a fascinating and valuable read, especially in the wake of the recent US presidential election.

13588439The Truth About Style by Stacy London

I was ecstatic to receive this as a birthday gift recently because it’s been on my general TBR for the longest time. Stacy London has inspired me ever since I first started watching What Not to Wear (if you haven’t seen it, it’s a great show!). Also, the fact that her book has pictures in it means that it fulfills the fifth challenge!

12974171-2FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley

Recently a friend of mine read this classic novel for one of her courses and really enjoyed it. Frankenstein is one of those books that I feel as though I’ve read even though I haven’t because the general idea of the monster is present in a lot of other stories and mediums (though the monster is too often mistakenly called Frankenstein). Anyways, I’m excited to finally see what this dark tale is all about.

4200White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith is an author that has somehow never managed to make it onto my shelves. I’ve decided that a good place to start is probably with her debut novel, White Teeth. Though I don’t know much about the story, its fantastic reviews certainly have me intrigued and excited. I’ve heard amazing things about her work, so I’m hoping that this book doesn’t disappoint!

And there you have it! I likely won’t be able to read all of these books over the course of one week, but I’d honestly be happy if I could just finish two or three of them. The mere idea of being able to read for fun again is enough to make me pleased with any progress I make. I’ll probably post a quick wrap-up once the readathon is finished, so stay tuned!

Are you participating in this CramAThon? If so, what are you planning to read? What are your thoughts on the books on my TBR? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent TBR Additions

foodie-facts-about-me-6Happy Tuesday!! Now that November is in full swing I’ve been itching to jump into the holiday season, which makes it even harder to focus on the mountains of coursework that keep getting taller and taller. Nevertheless, I’m hanging in there!

This week’s topic is pretty self-explanatory: I’ll be sharing the Top Ten Recent Additions to My TBR List. I’ve managed to add quite a few titles to my list since my last TBR update in September.

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I’ve only added eight books to my list since my last update, but I’d say that’s a pretty good amount!

What books have you recently added to your TBR list? What do you think of the ones I’ve mentioned here? Any recommendations on where to start? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY