Classic Couple

A Classic Couple: The Lost World and Jurassic Park

Today I bring you a very specie edition of A Classic Couple featuring two remarkable books: The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1912) and Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (1990). You may be wondering what a novel by the creator of Sherlock Holmes has to do with the book that inspired my favorite movie. The answer? The Lost World has EVERYTHING to do with Jurassic Park because it’s the classic novel that the contemporary book is based on. 

Just in case you’re anything like me and this fact has completely blown your mind, I’ll give you a few moments to recover.

I discovered this connection just a few weeks ago when I was browsing the shelves of Blackwell’s in Oxford and stumbled upon Conan Doyle’s book. I picked it up because I thought it was a funny coincidence that it shares the same title as the sequel to Jurassic Park. My jaw literally dropped when I read the back cover and learned that this was the inspiration for a book that I hold near and dear to my heart. What are the chances?!?!

Usually in this feature I focus on the similarities between classics and their contemporary pairings; however, these two books share so many obvious elements that I actually think comparing them would be rather dull. Instead, today I’ll be discussing the differences between the two novels.

+ Setting. If you’ve read or seen the film Jurassic Park then you know that it takes place on the fictional Isla Nublar. Not only does this allow Crichton to write without worrying about being geographically accurate, but it also eliminates the need to discuss any inhabitants of the island. Unfortunately, the fact that The Lost World takes place in the Amazon basin of South America  means that the novel is riddled with prejudiced colonial ideology. There is little to distinguish Conan Doyle’s descriptions of the natives that the professors meet and the ape-creatures that violently attack them later on in the novel. This racist view didn’t necessarily surprise me given the publication date of the novel, but it certainly disappointed me.

+ Women. Yet another disappointment in the earlier novel is the near complete absence of women from the story. The only woman we meet is Gladys, who appears at the beginning and end of the novel for the sole purpose of being the narrator’s love interest. While Crichton’s novel could also benefit from a boost of women characters, at least we have Ellie Sattler as an intelligent, brave, complex woman to look up to.

+ Endings. I was surprised and delighted to see how different the conclusions of these two novels are despite their numerous similarities. I don’t want to spoil the endings for anyone, so I won’t share any specific plot details; however, it is enough to say that these two novels present very different views on the relationship between science and nature. While the earlier novel celebrates this scientific expedition as a glorious conquest that should be continued and used as a means of profit, the later novel condemns Jurassic Park as a dangerous yet futile attempt by humans to control nature. Perhaps this contrast can give us important insights into how we viewed scientific advancements at the beginning and end of the twentieth century.

Despite its problematic elements, I still very much enjoyed reading The Lost World and seeing how it compares to its contemporary counterpart. While I appreciate the earlier novel for its originality, I nevertheless must admit that Crichton’s Jurassic Park will always come first for me.

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 Jurassic Park? What are your thoughts on either or both of these books? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Worlds I’d Never Want to Live In

Happy Tuesday!! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is the Top Ten Bookish Worlds I’d Never Want to Live In. Something tells me that there are plenty of unpleasant bookish settings to choose from and that most of these are pretty self-explanatory, so let’s jump right in!

What bookish worlds would you never want to live in? What do you think of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Love But Have Never Reread

Happy Tuesday!! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is supposed to be books I’ve loved but will never reread, but I’ve decided to scratch that and add a bit of a twist to it. Because I ADORE rereading books, there’s a likelihood that I’ll reread almost any book that I love. Instead, today I’ll be sharing ten books I love but for some reason have never gotten around to rereading. Fingers crossed that I’ll find time to reread them soon!

What favorite books have you never reread? Do you like rereading books in general? What are your thoughts on the books that I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Surprised Me

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) focuses on books that surprised us– for better or worse. Although I think it’s intended to be interpreted as “books that surprised us with how much we ended up liking or disliking them,” I’ve decided to take the topic rather literally. Instead, I’ll be sharing ten books that literally surprised me with their twists, turns, and unexpected plots.

What are some books that have surprised you? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit

Happy Tuesday!! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic set by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish highlights the ten bookish settings we’d love to visit. At times it has felt like I have been living in a fictional setting for the past few months (shout out to Oxford for being so magical!), so I was very excited when I saw this topic on the list. I’ve tried to avoid mentioning the really obvious ones (AKA Hogwarts and Middle-earth) so hopefully these are a little more interesting. In no particular order, they are:

The Yorkshire Moors of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This is quite a realistic goal for me considering that I’m currently studying abroad in England. I would love to visit the beautiful rural backdrop of this tumultuous Victorian novel.

The forest in Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

The forest in this charming little book sounds so idyllic and peaceful (plus there’s that beautiful magic spring!). I’d love to take a strong among the tall trees and have a chat with Winnie Foster.

Cabeswater in The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

Another magical forest I’d love to visit (can you tell I have a thing for magical forests?!). Exploring it with Blue and her crew would be an added bonus!

The BFG’s home in The BFG by Roald Dahl

I would give anything to see the rows and rows of dream jars in the BFG’s cavern… and maybe try a snozzcumber or two while I’m at it! Little ten-year-old me was so jealous of Sophie’s adventures and friendship with the Big Friendly Giant.

Jurassic Park in Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Even though the park ends up being a total disaster, it would still be incredible to see such huge dinosaurs up close. Besides, who doesn’t want to cruise around in those fun jeeps?

The circus in The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Confession: I’ve never been to a circus before. I feel like the amazing, whimsical, fantastic circus of this novel would be an incredible first circus experience… and a very overwhelming one!

The towers in The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg

I’ve read this book so many times, but I can never quite imagine precisely what the towers in the garden might look like with all of their different pieces and parts. I would love to finally see them for myself!

The Lands Beyond in The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

I would go to the Lands Beyond just for the sake of the amazing puns and wordy cleverness (and also Tock, the watchdog). It sounds like the ultimate destination for an English major!

Florin in The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Rolling hills? Looming cliffs? Fire swamps? (Minus the scary R.O.U.S. of course.) Sign me up! I would love to visit the amazing landscape of Florin (especially with Westley by my side…).

Outer space in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Adams makes me want to achieve my childhood dream of being an astronaut (although it probably wouldn’t be as hilarious as he makes it out to be!).

What bookish settings would you love to visit? What do you think of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books

TIMELINE by Michael Crichton | Review

Every now and then you read a book that blurs the lines between genres, categorization, and explanation. Leave it to the fantastic writer Michael Crichton to create such a memorable novel! Set in both medieval Europe and contemporary United States, Timeline straddles science fiction and historical fiction as it blends time travel and centuries-old ruins into one entertaining story. Though Timeline isn’t my favorite book by Crichton, it is nevertheless well worth reading.

+ Blending genres. As previously mentioned, Timeline is unique in the way it seamlessly combines science fiction and historical fiction. Elements of each genre rely on the other to create this memorable story—take away one aspect and you would completely alter the quality of the novel. It reminds me of certain Doctor Who episodes when they go back in history and are taken aback by how different it is compared to what they expected it to be like. The message is the same: no matter how much we study history, we may never be able to truly understand how people lived before our time.

+ Attention to detail. As with all of Crichton’s books, the meticulous attention to detail in Timeline is remarkable. He actually makes you believe that such advanced time travel technology is possible—and might even be hiding in plain sight in our own society. His scientific theories (both fictional and actual) are fascinating and I can only imagine the amount of research about medieval times that had to be done in order to write this book.

+ Suspense. Crichton is the king of writing suspenseful, thrilling, engaging stories that keep you guessing until the very end. He is merciless when it comes to who dies and who survives, so you can never let yourself be lulled into a sense of comfort or ease. Who knows what might be lurking around the next corner? I was surprised by how frightening living in medieval times must have been!

Despite this novel’s strengths, I wouldn’t consider it my favorite book by Michael Crichton. I felt less invested in the characters than I did when reading Jurassic Park and Sphere, perhaps because there were so many of them. Timeline also seemed more plot-driven in comparison to his other books. Overall, I still enjoyed reading this page-turner and I can’t wait to read more by Michael Crichton!

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes, if they enjoy a) Michael Crichton’s other books, b) medieval history, and/or c) time travel. But I would definitely recommend other books by Crichton before this one.

What are your thoughts on Timeline? What’s your favorite book by Michael Crichton? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons I’ll Read a Book ASAP

Happy Tuesday!! This week for Top Ten Tuesday I’ll be sharing the Top Ten Reasons I’ll Read a Book ASAP. In other words, these are some aspects of books that I look for when deciding what to read next. There are so many that I could list, but these are the first ones that come to mind.

1. An eye-catching cover design. I’m a sucker for a well-designed book cover, especially ones that are simple and have beautiful typography.

2. It’s written by one of my auto-read authors. There are some authors whose writing I will read no matter what the story or work is about. A few examples are John Green, Michael Crichton, and Joseph J. Ellis.

3. I love the author’s other work (both books and movies/shows/music/etc.). This applies to books written by people who are famous in other fields as well, such as acting, music, art, etc. A few of my personal favorites are Mindy Kaling, Stacy London, and George Watsky.

4. The book is highly recommended by my friends, professors, blogs, online reviews in general, etc. I love when people recommend books to me, especially when they are books that I’ve never heard of before. It’s the best feeling to discuss a book with the person who originally recommended it to you.

5. It has a boarding school setting. Surprise, surprise! I feel like I mention this fact a lot, but I’ve always gravitated towards books that take place at boarding schools or similar settings. I’ve loved Looking for Alaska by John Green, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta– even Harry Potter!!

6. The story takes place during or around the Civil War in the United States. The Civil War in the United States has always fascinated me, likely due to the countless different factors that ultimately culminated in such an unthinkable event. For this reason, novels like Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell always capture my attention immediately.

7. I loved the movie adaptation. Though I prefer to read books before watching their movie adaptations, sometimes its unavoidable that I’ll do it in the reverse order. However, I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy several books after seeing their movie adaptations, including The Shining by Stephen King and The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

8. It’s about hiking. Hiking mountains is one of my favorite things to do, which means that I also love to read about people’s personal experiences walking in the woods. For instance, I had a great time listening to the audio book of Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

9. It’s associated with a holiday. My enthusiasm for celebrating holidays definitely bleeds over into my reading choices. If it’s December and I see a book relating to Christmas, you can bet that I’m going to pick it up! A few recent examples of this are Skipping Christmas by John Grisham and My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins.

10. I can personally relate to a character’s experience in the story. If there’s a book about someone struggling with an allergy, trying to make it through college, or traveling abroad, then you can be sure that I’ll be picking it up ASAP!

What things will make you want to pick up a book? What do you think of the reasons I’ve listed? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Writers I Would Love to Meet

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is one that I could talk about forever. After all, who doesn’t want to meet all of their favorite authors? As per usual, I’ve done the difficult job of narrowing it down to just ten writers. In no particular order, they are:

What writers would you love to meet? What authors have you met? What do you think of the authors on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Tags

The Totally Should’ve Book Tag

book-courtship-10

Hello, hello! I hope you’re all having a wonderful day. Today I come to you with the fun little Totally Should’ve Book Tag. Thanks so much to Azia @ The Uncharted World for tagging me!

When We CollidedTotally Should’ve Gotten A Sequel

Does anyone else ever wonder what happened to Jonah and Vivi years after When We Collided by Emery Lord ended? Or Jonah’s family in general? Or the restaurant or the pottery place or any of the people living in Verona Cove? I would love to read even a novella about where these characters are at years later.

Jurassic Park by Michael CrichtonTotally Should’ve Gotten A Spin-Off Series

I’m not really a fan of spin-off series in general, but I guess I’ll have to go with Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Who doesn’t want more dinosaur fun? I’d love to read about the park from an outsider’s perspective living in another county or even the process of how they developed the idea for the theme park in general.

the night circus coverAn Author Who Should Write More Books

After reading and loving The Night Circus a few years ago, I’ve been eagerly waiting for Erin Morgenstern to write another novel. I would read anything that she writes in a heartbeat! A bookworm can always dream, I guess… fingers crossed!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsA Character Who Totally Should’ve Ended Up With Someone Else

Is it weird that I’ve always felt that Katniss should have ended up with Gale in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games? Few people seem to ever agree with me on this, but it’s a gut feeling that I’ve had ever since first reading the book years ago.

ready player one coverTotally Should’ve Had A Movie Franchise

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline would make such a fun movie! I once heard rumors that there was a movie adaption in the works for this novel, but I’m not sure how true that is. Hopefully a movie adaptation will be made someday!

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall coverTotally Should’ve Had Only One Point of View

I’m generally a fan of books with multiple points of view, providing that they actually add meaningful depth and intrigue to the story. However, I was really disappointed when I read A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall because the numerous different perspectives instead made the characters feel distant from the reader.

16156303Totally Should’ve Kept the Original Covers

My answer to this is basically any book with a movie poster as the cover design. *cringes* A recent example of this that I’ve come across is Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. There are so many better cover designs!

the maze runner coverTotally Should’ve Stopped At Book One

I absolutely LOVED The Maze Runner by James Dashner when I read it in middle school, but the rest of the series? Not so much. The other books don’t even feel like they’re a continuation of the same story. The series has so much potential stemming off from the first book, but unfortunately it all goes downhill from there.

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What are your answers to these prompts? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY