Tag Archives: Dracula

Husband/Wife Book Reviews: ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ by Alexandre Dumas (March 19th, 2015)

Re-posted from LiveJournal:

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As you can tell, since my last entry (basically about a year ago already!) in which I reviewed Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and was given the further assignment by my husband Graham to read Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, my copy of this beloved tome of over 1400 pages has seen some wear and tear. But it is now finished, and worth every single day I spent reading it!

The first Dumas book I ever read was an adapted version of The Knight of Maison-Rouge, which I do NOT recommend, especially as the adaptation I was unfortunate enough to read included such verbs as ‘electrified’ (as in ‘her presence electrified the silence’ or some similar usage) when CLEARLY, electricity was probably not discovered, let alone in such popular usage as to include in the lexicon of the average person. (Does anyone else get really annoyed by such anachronisms?) I would someday like to read a translated but NOT adapted version, as the story itself would have been interesting if it weren’t for grievous errors like those mentioned above. Needless to say, my first Dumas experience wasn’t as illustrious as his reputation had given it to be.

HOWEVER. I had seen the 2002 movie version of The Count of Monte Cristo,and had truly enjoyed it. I had also had the distinction of reading from cover to cover an unabridged version of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables a few years previous, so I knew I was up to the task. I accepted, and thus my journey began.

Wait and hope: One of the last lines of this book basically describes the many facets of it, for those two elements are necessary for both revenge and redemption (two major themes of The Count of Monte Cristo). They are also important in every stage of a person’s life, which is so clearly seen in the life of poor Edmond Dantes. As a young sailor he waits and hopes for his chance to become captain and to marry Mercedes, the woman he loves. When that is all taken away from him, the fact that he has waited and hoped makes his disappointment even more palpable. While in prison with the intelligent Abbe Faria, he vows for revenge and this is what he waits and hopes for. When the Abbe dies and leaves his entire treasure to Dantes, he sets his desire for justice into action, but must wait and hope for each piece of his carefully constructed plan to fall into place. When his whirlwind of revenge begins to negatively affect the hopes and dreams of his young protege, Maximilian Morrel (the son of his former shipmaster), Edmond realizes that perhaps all he needs to wait and hope for is happiness, and after so much waiting and so much hoping, he seizes the day and sails off into the sunset with his new love, leaving Maximilian and his fiancee with a more positive form of his life motto of wait and hope

This book has everything. It has crime. It has romance. It has the dreams of the young crushed by the ambition of the powerful. It has murder, duels, intrigue, exotic locations, bandits, dandies, honour, luxury, and revenge, revenge, revenge! This book was originally serialized, which is why it was so long: it was so popular nobody wanted it to end! The Count of Monte Cristo was the popular TV drama of its day, and there are so many ways that modern shows have drawn from serialized works like it, I would be here all day if I tried to point them all out. All in all, I give this book 5 stars out of 5. It can be a bit daunting to carry around a hard copy like I did, so if you really can’t bring yourself to carry a book the size of a Bible around with you, please do get this on your e-reader. It will be worth your time, I promise you.


Husband/Wife Book Reviews – ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker (March 29th, 2014)

Reposted from Livejournal:

Dracula by Bram Stoker

This book, being the quintessential tome from which today’s obsession with vampires and all things related stems, was both more interesting and harder to get through than anticipated. Written in epistolary form, through letters, journal entries, newspaper excerpts and phonograph transcripts, Stoker’s technique is fascinating. I found some of the phonetic spelling of accents and density of various journal entries to be difficult to slog through, but the content itself held my interest.

I found Van Helsing’s quaint ways in the novel preferable to the badass ones of Hugh Jackman in the incredibly cheesy movie, ‘Van Helsing’. Quincey Morris’ bravado and Dr. John Seward’s psychologically clinical nature were well-represented stereotypes, and Dr. Seward’s pet patient, Renfield, is a strange creature worthy of Steve Buscemi himself. Mina and Jonathan Harker, Lucy Westenra, and Count Dracula himself: all of the above are excellent examples of characterization.

As for the ending, (which, if I may say so, my husband Graham disliked), I found its tragedy and passion to be appropriately pathetic enough for a book of the classic gothic horror genre. I give this 4 out of 5 stars.

To end this review, I would like to share some quotes I really liked from the book:

Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker.

– Dr. Abraham Van Helsing

There are darknesses in life, and there are lights; you are one of the lights.

– Van Helsing to Mrs. Wilhelmina Harker

You must fight Death himself, though he come to you in pain or in joy; by the day, or in the night; in safety or in peril! On your living soul I charge you that you do not die – nay, nor think of death – till this great evil be past.

– Van Helsing to Mina

We are truly in the hands of God. He alone knows what may be, and I pray Him, with all the strength of my sad and humble soul, that He will watch over my beloved husband; that whatever may happen, Jonathan may know that I loved him and honoured him more than I can say, and that my latest and truest thought will be always for him.

– Mina

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Happy 2014! (January 7, 2014)

Reposted from LiveJournal:

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Happy New Year, everyone!

2014 promises to be a stellar year with many new opportunities and surprises, if 2013 was any indication. I got married, got pregnant and, yes, HAD A BABY in 2013. My daughter, Ivy Mae Podolecki, was born at 9:41 am on December 24th, 2013. That’s right, I had a Christmas Eve baby! She was 8 lbs. 4 oz and 20.5 inches long. She has a LOT of curly dark hair and so far her eyes are blue. She was definitely the best Christmas present I have ever received. Graham has turned out to be an amazing father already. It’s pleasantly surprising how naturally motherhood comes to me, and even more pleasantly surprising how much I love it. Ivy is an exceptionally content baby, it’s true, so I do have things quite easy in relation to all the many problems so many new parents and babies often face, but because of having a mood disorder, I have always been afraid that I would be a terrible mother. So far, I am very very happy, and I think that’s what’s most important. I have a supportive partner and there has been so much love from family and friends for all of us. It’s almost (but not quite) overwhelming. Graham and I are definitely humbled and grateful, that’s for sure.

Here is a picture of my beautiful little girl. She’s very active and alert already, at only two weeks old. She seems to be a smart cookie already. I love her to bits!

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The next item of business on this post: my first book review (on Firebolt by Adrienne Woods) has been published on page 102 of the January 2014 issue of BTS Book Reviews!!! Read it here at http://www.btsemag.com! It’s super exciting to see my name in print. There is indeed nothing more satisfying.

As for my other literary endeavours, I’m working on revamping some old poetry right now, as well as attempting to finish my final assignment in my writing course, though having a newborn and getting my book reviews in to BTS Book Reviews have been taking precedence .

I am still reading Things in Ditches by Jimmy Olsen, which I am loving, and Dracula by Bram Stoker for my book challenge. Graham is already halfway done Dune by Frank Herbert, but in my defense, I’ve got a few more things to read and write than he does. 😛

Until next time, God bless you all in 2014 and thanks for stopping by! Leave me a comment and tell me your favourite thing that happened in 2013! As for myself, I can’t choose between marrying my best friend or having my little girl, but that’s a pretty great dilemma to be in, so I don’t mind. Peace out!