a blank slate
Summary: The Man Who Was Thursday is the story of Gabriel Syme. He is a poet-turned- detective from Scotland Yard, who goes undercover to infiltrate the Council of European Anarchists. The Council consists of a group of eccentric characters, whose codes names are the names of the seven days of the week; Syme becomes the new Thursday. It is now up to him to stop the planned assassination of the Czar and the French president, without getting caught in the process.
After seeing this on Vishy’s blog, I immediately decided to take part in it; I hardly have anything to do this November and it is about time I caught up on some German Literature.
The weekly schedule for the month is –
Week 1 – German Literature
Week 2 – German Crime Fiction
Week 3 – Austria and Switzerland
Week 4 – Kleist and Other German Classics
Week 5 – Wrap up
I haven’t found the time to make a complete list of the things I would like to read. In fact, that’s good, because every time I make a reading list, I end up reading something entirely else. But there are certain German books, which I always wanted to read – these include Patrick Süskind’s Perfume, Max Frisch’s Mein Name sei Gantenbein, Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story, and Kafka’s the Trial. Along with that, some Bertolt Brecht, some Günter Grass, Ingrid Noll and something (anything) by Goethe.
Of course, I couldn’t even dream of finishing half this stuff. But you can call it my tentative list. Let’s just see how much I actually read. I’m definitely looking forward to November!
I am officially signing up for Peril the First, which means reading four books of R.I.P. literature. And since I started reading Frankenstein today, that can be my first read. Though I might add a few Perils of the Short Story and Perils on the Screen!!
Update: I started the challenge by reading Carrie by Stephen King. I’ll link the reviews here as and when I post them!
Peril the First:
Peril on the Screen:
Peril of the Short Story:
“They began to back up, and as they did, the dog began to walk slowly forward. It was a stiff walk; not really a walk at all, Ronnie thought. It was a stalk. That dog wasn’t fucking around. Its engine was running and it was ready to go. Its head remained low. That growl never changed pitch. It took a step forward for every step they took back.”
Cujo is a psychological horror novel by Stephen King. It is the story of a rabid St. Bernard. It is also the story of a little boy and his nightmares, a mother and a child, and an almost broken marriage.
Summary: Cujo is a big, five year old St. Bernard, owned by the Cambers; a family in the town of Castle Rock, Maine. Cujo is a good, loyal dog; he loves his owners and they love him! That is, until he gets scratched by a bat and becomes infected with rabies. The dog soon loses touch with reality and turns into a crazy killing machine.
Four year old Tad Trenton lives in the same town with his parents, Donna and Vic. The little family has problems of their own – the scariest being the monster that seems to appear in little Tad’s closet at night. A frightening, wolfish animal that haunts Tad’s nightmares.
Fate brings the two together, when the only thing standing between the rabid dog and the mother and child is the broken down car they are trapped in.
My thoughts: Each book that I read by Stephen King, gives me one new reason to love him. This is not your typical thriller, and there are definitely some side-plots that seem unnecessary. The horror doesn’t start till halfway through the book and when it does start, not a lot happens. Still – I loved the book. For two reasons.
Firstly, as usual, Stephen King never disappoints you when it comes to the lives and the thoughts of the characters. Their stories are so intricately built – it is very fascinating. Even without the dangerous dog, there is a lot of evil in the town; just in the ways that people think, what they do. Each of the side-plots is a message on its own.
Secondly, what I love about King’s novels is that the monsters themselves are victims of circumstance. I pitied Jack Torrance (in The Shining) and I definitely felt horrible for ol’ Cuje when he got infected. I love that King has written parts from the point of view of the dog – the helpless creature, who hurts all over and doesn’t know who else to blame but the humans. The animal lover that I am, I really appreciated that King ended the book saying something positive about the poor dog. He wasn’t trying to be a monster, he was a good dog.
Summary: Marshall France was a legend in the world of books – children’s fantasy stories to be exact, till one day he just stopped writing and disappeared. Thomas Abbey, an English teacher, is an aspiring writer and a Marshall France enthusiast. When Abbey happens to meet Saxony Gartener, a fellow Marshall France lover; they together decide to do something that Thomas has been dreaming of for ever – write France’s biography. After much effort, the two end up in Galen, Marshall France’s hometown – hoping to persuade his daughter, Anna, to let them write the book. Soon, they realize that the town has some dark secret. Meeting a talking dog is the final straw, before Abbey realizes that France’s fantasy world isn’t entirely fantastical.
My thoughts: I liked three fourths of the book. It is a book-lover’s dream: the way they obsess over France’s books, his characters, his magical worlds. The characters are wonderfully written; Thomas Abbey, the English teacher who is the son of the most famous film-maker and has always lived under his shadow. Marshall France’s books have had a great influence on him as a child, and even now. Then there is Saxony Gardner, the woman who shares an equal passion for France’s books, so much that she encourages Abbey to go through with his plans of writing the biography, and decides to assist him herself. Along with Anna France, the town of Galen is like every small town you have ever read about, quiet and private but lovable. They are also the proud owners of Marshall France’s memories. Together, the stage is set beautifully for a magical story to unfold. Only, it doesn’t.
Ever since Thomas discovers the town’s dark secret, things become entirely chaotic. The story takes a sudden turn and starts running in that direction. Before you have time to digest what you’ve read, more information is thrown upon you, and just when you place it together, the book reaches an abrupt end. The story is great, but it is too rushed. And the writing is great, but it doesn’t seem like one book. There is no continuity; it’s as if it is written by too different writers; at one point, the author takes time to describe a stranger’s nails, and at another point; he ends a life in five words.
“As a rule, Fat Charlie felt embarrassment in his teeth, and in the upper pit of his stomach. If something that even looked like it might be embarrassing was about to happen on his television screen Fat Charlie would leap up and turn it off. If that was not possible, say if other people were present, he would leave the room on some pretext and wait until the moment of embarrassment was sure to be over.”