This Shiz is OG Scary

You guys. For real? So, I’m about half way through Dracula, and I felt like I just needed to get a few things off my chest (not to mention Mark will be home soon, and I needed something to help me transition from the book to the fish I have to go cook for dinner. How blogging helps me do that, I’m not sure, but it does help). Let us do this in list form, shall we?

  1. I LOVE ABRAHAM VAN HELSING. Sure, his crazy dialectical word inversions are making my eyes go all cross-eyed and loopy, but I just love him so much! He’s such a believer at heart, and we all know that if it weren’t for him, thing with Dracula would have been a lot worse than they actually were. He’s so nice to Mina! And he’s all, like, ‘I’m gruff and have no friends and eyebrows like Peter Gallagher, but all of you English people are so nice and all named Jonathan, so I believe I shall be your friend!”
  2. So, Lucy. She’s sick. Then she’s better. Then she’s sick again. And it’s great and scary and all (also clearly the work of a vampire) but really it’s more just monotonous repetition of “oh, I shan’t sleepwalk” “dear diary: oops, I sleepwalked” with every now and then a cool, creepy thing happening.
  3. Speaking of creepy cool things happening: I think that, without a doubt, my favorite part of the book so far (I’m sitting at page 235 out of some 440-ish) is the beginning of the novel, Jonathan Harker’s journal. The one he writes while he’s staying with the Count. Without a doubt, these first fifty-whatever pages are the SCARIEST shiz in the whole book. Stoker does such a great job (throughout the whole novel, but especially here) of creating this slowly encroaching feeling of madness. Each of his characters seems to go through the process of excusing little thing after little thing as simple aberrations or just simply oddities without explanation. And then BAM. They’re stuck in a nightmare they didn’t realize was coming. I’m thinking especially about how Stoker seems to constantly want his characters to blur the lines between dreams and reality, and the passing of time and the inverted behaviors associated with day and night all serve to create a kind of topsy-turvey world – similar, I imagine, to how the characters must feel when all this crazy business is happening.
  4. Honestly? Diaries? And letters? And journals? It’s great to have the first person narrations and all – and it’s kind of nice to mix it up with those newspaper clippings every now and then, but really, for me, it’s just too much ‘ephemera’. I’m a little glad books got further and further away from the epistolary style. If I have to hear one more character go “I swear, this is a verbatim conversation, I have a great memory. And if it’s not…my bad” I’m going to be slaphappy
  5. Reading this book this time of year is, of course, absolutely perfect. Today was bright and cold and I sat outside on my ghetto porch rocking chair with my giant buggy Mary Kate Olsen sunglasses and…do you know that fall has a smell? And I don’t mean, like, cinnamon and pumpkin and charcoal, although those smells are all equally awesome. I mean fall itself. The season. It’s on the air, and I don’t know how to describe it – a million bucks to the person who does. But the air was full of that smell today, and while it didn’t necessarily create the creepiest atmosphere for reading, it was still pretty bad-ass. Truthsies.

And there you have it. Blathering away on classic horror and great air smells. How’s your reading going?

Persuasion: Part One (By an Austen Convert)

Does anyone else just hate this book cover? This is the cover to the edition I’m actually reading (as opposed to sometimes when I just post whichever cover I think the prettiest), and I think it makes Anne look so…dowdy! And that nose?! I know Anne is supposed to be somewhat on the plain side, and I’m assuming this rather unfortunate looking female is supposed to be Anne, but I never thought she was supposed to be that, well, plain! Most of this might be because I absolutely adore Anne, and think better of her than do of many other of Austen’s heroines!

Let me just begin by saying that my love for Jane Austen has never ran particularly deep. I’ve always loved Pride and Prejudice, of course, and because of this enrolled in a class my sophomore year of college that was completely devoted to her works. This was, of course, also the semester I enrolled in my Shakespeare class, my British Literature survey course, and a course on magical realism. These classes were FANTASTIC. But coupled with the attention that I’ve found Jane Austen required, and the demands of all of those other courses at the same time, but I found myself just not reading the books, hating the discussions, and getting by in the class by my charm and the skin of my ‘writes essays well under pressure’ teeth. Since then, I’ve just always had trouble with Lady Jane, and I knew taking on this section of my master list might take some deeper persuasion *PUN!! PUNNY PUN PUNS!!*. Anyway, my first plan of attack was to pick a work I knew (or remembered) relatively little about, as this would give me the chance to read it with a clean slate. After reading some other reviews around the blogoverse, I decided that Persuasion was what I needed for my springy mood and this place in my life! I picked up the book and, with a pen in hand (a habit I reserve for me “serious” reading!), found that when I give it the dedication it deserves, I’m loving Austen’s work more and more!

It’s so tragic that the intervening of meddling but well meaning adults has such tragic consequences from the beginning of the couple’s relationship onward! It’s a great example of the dichotomies that Austen develops throughout the work, trade offs of things like influence versus feelings, wisdom versus judgement, money versus passion, and ultimately self versus others. It’s taken me some time to tease it out (as I’m only half way through the book, and I like to take my time to really absorb and comment on what I’m reading, including the wonderful notes in the back of my Penguin edition) and I’m not entirely sure I’ve gotten it all hammered out, but they are opposing themes I’ve having fun looking for underneath it all. SIDE NOTE: having taken the class on Jane Austen has left me with REALLY lovely annotated editions of all her novels and her juvenile works.

Now that I’ve gotten my one “analysis” attempt over with, it’s time to tell you that, up to the second half, I’m really not liking this new Wentworth! I mean, I know he’s been jilted, and it sucks that right after that happened he made is fortune and that Anne totally missed out on that. But still! She’s able to see the good in him, and yet he’s all “make Anne do it” and “wouldn’t it be great if Anne stayed behind with the sick whiny boy” and “Oh, Louisa, let me bounce you down the steps like a toddler”. It’s a little gross and I want back the dashing, romantic, well spoken and perfectly hero-esque Austen man that was with Anne the first time around! This also brings me to the point where Louisa takes her tumble and EVERYONE is just like

And it just perfectly reminds me of how much I always love Austen’s swooning ninny females and the frantic ‘chicken-sans-head’ mothers that she seems to give us in every novel! I’m not sure what that says about what Austen thought of women in general (and women without money in particular, as this is what seems to be the case for a majority for her characters) but it sure does make for some pretty epic comic relief!

Before finishing, I want to mention that I’m absolutely adoring Anne. I think it’s so sad and tragic (and totally par for the course where Austen’s heroines are concerned) that she is so misused and disliked by her family when, really, she is such an example of loyalty and devotion to those around her. I hate that she hates her life, and I wish that Wentworth could just get over it so that the two of them could be happy and together and she could finally be with someone who loves and deserves her. So far, the only promising solution other than that is this Mr. Benwick fellow, and from what I know of Austen, I’m sure there is something we don’t know about him yet. I’m looking forward to the second half immensely, and really crossing my fingers for a romantic Austen ending!