Monday, April 28, 2014

Julius Ceasar

by William Shakespeare

For a while now I've pondered reading some Shakespeare, but whenever I'd have a look, I'd pass because it really was Greek to me. And my only previous experience with him was the nightmare of Hamlet in high school. I've mentioned before that I like to listen to audiobooks when I'm exercising. I have an account and receive their daily deals email and a few weeks ago Julius Caesar was listed for $2.95 so I decided to give it a try. The version that I heard was narrated by several people, each taking a role in the play, which for me was the way to go! Despite the antiquated language, I really did understand them and the story, and I liked it.

Julius Caesar is a pretty short play and a good way to wet your toe without diving all in. Another benefit is that the story and the characters are familiar. Caesar triumphs over a Roman enemy, he is offered the crown, he is betrayed and killed by his friends Brutus and Cassius, Marc Antony gives his famous speech, Octavius comes to take the throne and seek vengeance for his father's murder.

Here are some of the famous lines from this play:
Et tu, Brute?
Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears
It was Greek to me
Beware the ides of March

I now see more Shakespeare in my future.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


by Joe Hill

When I first read the plot summary of this novel I passed over it, but my sister in law kept talking it up, so I finally succumbed. Shoulda stuck to my gut. I will give credit to Hill, Horns is a well written and engaging book, I just did not like it. I didn't like the idea, I didn't like what happened in the story and I didn't like any of the characters, even though the idea is unique, the story is solid and the characters are believable. But for me there was too much focus on evil and too much trash.

Here's a quick run down. Ig Perrish wakes up one morning with a hangover and with horns growing from his head. The horns allow him to hear the inner most evil thoughts and actions of the people he is talking to. He has been accused of killing his girlfriend and been under the suspicion of the whole town for more than a year, and he is resentful. He did not kill her and needs to find out who did, but to do so he has to get ugly. And the uglier he gets, the better the horns work.

Not my cup of tea.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


by Mary Shelley

Even though I had never read Frankenstein, I thought I knew the story. After all, I had seen Young Frankenstein. Boy was I mistaken! My first misconception was that the green monster with the bolts in his neck was called Frankenstein, when actually the monster in the book has no name, its creator however is a young man named Victor Frankenstein. Then I thought the story was about this crazed monster who goes through towns trying to kill people, which also doesn't happen, instead the monster is actually trying to find friends, he is lonely and alone. My biggest misunderstanding was thinking it was a horror story, but it is actually more of a tragedy, and I loved it!

It's amazing how much substance Mary Shelley crams into this short novel. Here are a few of the themes: creation, relationships, love, loneliness, hate, guilt, remorse, regret, beauty, enemies, revenge. Some thoughts to ponder: what is the responsibility of a creator to its creation, is beauty really skin deep, can revenge satisfy the offense, should man be alone?

If you liked Dracula and haven't read Frankenstein I recommend it, you're in for a pleasant surprise.