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15-05-2014, 12:39   #31
wreade1872
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New Item:
Island of Frivola by Gabriel Francois Coyer (1752)
A short piece of satire about an island where the trees and animals have become as shallow and insubstantial as the people. Quite decent but only really has one main point to make so feels like its repeating itself a bit later on. [3/5]

Old Item:
Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation by Edwin Lester Arnold (1905)
Also known as 'Gulliver of Mars'. A man finds himself whisked to mars on a magic carpet. Its as odd as it sounds. A book i love to hate, everything is wrong with this, it has a lot of potential for a story but always seems to take a wrong turn. It also seems to be a first-draft, i find it impossible to believe someone read this over and thought.. 'yeah that makes sense'. Frustrating but still interesting. Definitely a 'so bad its good' kind of story. [3/5]
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19-05-2014, 23:32   #32
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Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock (1984)
A fantasy... romance i guess you'd call it. About a wood haunted by primal archetypes of myth. If described it would come across a lot more cliched than it feels when reading. Also the characters seem to accept the weirdness of things maybe a little too easy but these are both small complaints. I liked. [4/5]

Old Item:
Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1917)
The first of the Barsoom series. Considered one of the best of the pulp genre. This was painful to get through. A series of endless witless garbage with no characterization and no point.
It borrows considerably from 'Gulliver of Mars' in its setup and while that novel was really badly written, at least it provoked a reaction (rage mostly... but still ) this on the other hand was just boring. Sound and fury signifying nothing. [1/5]
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22-05-2014, 12:54   #33
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H.M.S. Pinafore by Gilbert & Sullivan (1878)
Slightly better songs than the Mikado but not as much of a story. Its ok, but not great. [3/5]

Old Item:
Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weill (1928)
Really surprisingly enjoyable, my favorite musical at the moment. A lot grittier and dark then most but still funny. [4/5]
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23-05-2014, 12:00   #34
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Vathek by William Beckford (1786)
A faustian tale, written like something from the Arabian Nights. The style of writing can make some sentences confusing but overall its quite clear. Nicely weird in places overall good but can drag a little in places. [3/5]

Old Item:
The Tempest by William Shakespeare (1611)
Not something i consider one of shakespeares best. Not a lot seems to happen in it, its ok but I can't think of a single really memorable moment. [2/5]
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27-05-2014, 14:13   #35
wreade1872
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Hell House by Richard Matheson (1971)
In many ways an unsubtle ghost story, violent, sordid and cliched BUT still pretty damn good. Ending is a little weak, some of it didn't entirely make sense. Overall though the story is certainly compelling. [4/5]

Old Item:
The Alchemist by Ben Johnson (1610)
A comedy play about a couple of con-men posing as alchemists. The humour doesn't really stand up and its just really uninteresting. [1/5]
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30-05-2014, 14:58   #36
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Utopia by Thomas More (1516)
A look at what a perfect society might look like aswell as discussions of improvements to law and order. Interesting enough i guess but More's Utopia is certainly not somewhere i'd like to live. [2/5]

Old Item:
Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry (1896)
A short play that i can't remember anything of interest happening in. [1/5]
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05-06-2014, 19:48   #37
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Hackney: That Rose Red Empire by Iain Sinclair (2009)
Hard one to describe, seems to be a book about trying to write a book. Lots of interviews, rumours, opinions. Mostly regarding the history of hackney in terms of the artists who have moved through it over the years.
Despite it being completely outside of my areas of interest or knowledge i still found it quite good despite its length. [3/5]

Old Items:
Earth-Spirit by Frank Wedekind (1895) [2/5]
Pandoras Box by Frank Wedekind (1904) [3/5]
Two plays about a beautiful street-girl. Involving murder, fraud, lust etc. They're ok, i know theres a german film version, it might be better than just reading the text.
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08-06-2014, 11:26   #38
wreade1872
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Caliban upon Setebos by Robert Browning (1864)
Poem (but one of those not rhyming poems) featuring Caliban from the Tempest, wondering about the nature of god. Not bad. [3/5]

Old Item:
Melmoth the Wanderer (abridged) by Charles Maturin (1820)
I only read the abridged version as the other is considered to be almost unreadable, the short version couldn't have been that much better. Supposedly faustian tale, its been a while since i read it but i don't remember getting much story from it at all.[1/5]
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09-06-2014, 11:38   #39
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The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain (1899)
A short story of a town renowned for the honesty of its citizens and a (somewhat psychotic) stranger's plan to ruin them. Really quite good, a few more twists than expected. [4/5]

Old Item:
The Vampyre by John Polidori (1819)
Short vampire tale. Even given its position as one of the earliest vampire stories, its still not really worth the read. [2/5]
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12-06-2014, 14:05   #40
wreade1872
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The Songbook of Quong Lee of Limehouse by Thomas Burke (1920)
Non-rhyming poetry book. I like the little scenes it paints of life in limehouse and really liked it at first, so much so that it didn't quite live up to my expectations later. Still decent though. [3/5]

Old Item:
Manfred by Lord Byron (1817)
A dramatic poem apparently. I don't know what people see in it. I read it quite a while ago but the only impression it left was of a guy standing at a window whining about stuff. [1/5]
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17-06-2014, 12:09   #41
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Erewhon by Samuel Butler (1872)
Social satire tale bookended by the adventure sections needed to travel to and from Erewhon (aka nowhere). These sections i found slow going but can't quite figure out why. The satire elements have some GREAT ideas. The author has a wonderful way of making you think by showing things in an absurd light. Also theres some amazing stuff about the fear of machines rising up and taking over, remember this is 1872!!!!. Eat your heart our James Cameron . [3/5]

Old Item:
Robur the Conquerer by Jules Verne (1886)
You know whats interesting about air travel?... Nothing apparently! This is basically '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' but with an air-ship. However unlike the sea there isn't anything up there! Boring and pointless. [1/5]
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18-06-2014, 18:57   #42
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The Problem of Cell 13 by Jacques Futrelle (1905)
Short story about a professors wager the he can break out of a prison. Fairly good heist-like story. Not much more to say really. [3/5]

Old Item:
The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne (1874)
The sequel technically, of 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea. Not so much story as DIY guide to building your own civilization. Only recommended for the scientifically minded. If you want to know how to go from hitting stuff with rocks, to a working telegraph line, then this is for you . [3/5]
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03-07-2014, 21:06   #43
wreade1872
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Miss Coote's Confession by William Lazenby (1879)
Adult story published in 'The Pearl' magazine. A lot of non-consensual whipping involved, some sex and lesbianism. Mildly interesting from a historical context but hardly arousing, a nasty sadistic vein throughout. [2/5]

The Convent School by William Dugdale (1876)
The life-story of a Countess is introduced by Miss Coote. More story driven than the above. Kind of like an unsubtle Fanny Hill. Apart from a couple of moments of enjoyment by the protagonist, its very dark and vicious. Like reading an episode of Criminal Minds or something. [2/5]

Old Item:
An Antarctic Mystery by Jules Verne (1897)
An unofficial sequel to Poe's, 'Narrative of Arthur Gordan Pym'. If i was Poe i'd be pretty insulted. It seems to purposefully undercut the weirdness of the Pym story at every opportunity. Before adding Verne's own more scientific weirdness to the plot. Ultimately though its a wasted effort as its as average as Pym was, just in a different way. [3/5]
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12-07-2014, 12:47   #44
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The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco (1994)
Not as weird as the title suggests. This is mostly i guess a fictional historical biography, set in the 17th century. Very highbrow, lot of words you'll need to look up. About half of it is flashback and another large chunk is a story the protagonist is writing. A lot of it is just conversations and thoughts. A bit like Moby Dick in its continuous digressions from what one might think of as the story. However while it is a little boring in places its VERY well written. I liked.
(oh and a hat-tip to the translator this must have been a hell of a job ) [4/5]

Old Item:
Earth to the Moon (2 volumes) by Jules Verne (1865)
Once again another overly scientific Verne book. Yes its interesting how he anticipated certain aspects of the space program but while he does the science well the story loses out, as it often seems to in my experience. [3/5]

Last edited by wreade1872; 12-07-2014 at 12:51.
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15-07-2014, 19:44   #45
wreade1872
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New Items:
Brier Rose by the Brothers Grimm (1340)
A version of the original folktale, nothing of interest. [1/5]

The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood by Charles Perrault (1697)
A properly written version of the above and somewhat extended. [2/5]

The Wise Woman: A Parable by George MacDonald (1875)
A tale of a witch-like woman who kidnaps spoiled and unmanageable children and tries to teach them to be good. Nicely weird, has got a very strong Mary Poppins vibe to it. Ending not great, not a lot of closure but overall i enjoyed my time with it. [4/5]

Old Items:
First Men in the Moon by H.G.Wells (1901)
While i admit 'War of the Worlds' is probably Well's best. This is my favorite of his stories that i've read so far. The only downside is that after what seems like a fitting climax there are still a few chapters to go. But if i just keep thinking 'Epilogue' in my head i can still enjoy them . [4/5]
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