I mentioned in a previous post that I was devoting this year to reading classics I've somehow skipped over in my literary education. I started with Pride and Predjudice, The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moraeu, and Tarzan of the Apes.
The most recent books I've read are The Jungle, Wuthering Heights, and Frankenstein.
Frankenstein was the most tedious to the projects. The only interesting part of the book is the monster waxing poetic from time to time. To much of the plot relies on Victor just being a dolt.
Wuthering Heights was also something of a slog, but it did contain sufficient levels of emotional drama to keep me going. Heathcliff is a pretty interesting character, and the scenery described in the book is a character itself.
The Jungle was the best of the three, and also the worst. The first half of the book was amazing. But, after a while, the deck feels stacked. The characters experience so many tragedies that they stopped being real people to me and just started being object lessons, puppets being manipulated to make the authors larger argument. It was very similar to Atlas Shrugged in that aspect. The last few chapters fo the novel are just dreadful. Does anyone actually read all the socialist lectures at the end? My eyes just glazed over. The protagonist, Jurgis, just absolutely disappears as a distinct character. He's just a cog in the machinery of socialism. Of course, in the early parts of the book, he was just a cog in the machinery of capitalism, but at least in those chapters he had dreams and ambitions of his own. At the end, he's just a brainwashed, broken, and ghostly as Winston at the end of 1984. The book makes a convincing case that unrestrained capitalism is a cruel system for the poor, but it unintentially makes the case that socialism strips men of their identities and individuality. It's a pity; it really was the most readable and interesting of the books I've read this year, if only I'd stopped midway through the book.
Coming soon: Dracula and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. After that, I'm contemplating something really big, like War and Peace. But, I don't know if I want to devote myself to one big book, or choose a couple of small ones. We'll see what mood in in come April.
Welcome to my worlds!
I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!