Only six weeks in, and six books finished. Ugh, I feel like I should be much farther! I can’t tell if it is simply because I am only beginning or if I should actually be farther, but I suspect the later. Some of these books are a little harder to tackle than I thought, and many of them are much longer. I’m sort of glad that I decided to keep a page count as well; even if I end up reading a smaller number of books this year than normal, I think I might just even out in page count. Of course I have never kept a yearly book count before, so I’m not sure how many books I read on a normal basis, only that I used to have books I would finish in one day occur more than once a week.
Oh well, moving on. For anyone who is new to this feature, I am working my way through a list of 50 books you should read before you die in one year. This is an attempt to learn more about writing, feel more cultured, and have the bragging rights next time I am in a crowd of literature nerds which comes up much less often than I would like. If you want to see the whole short trip, start here!
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Where did I get the book and how many pages?
I cannot remember exactly when and where I purchased this book. I’m pretty sure it is one of the books in my collection I ran across in a BX bookstore on a base somewhere and put aside to read at some point. I am certain however that this book has 213 pages, so at least I am sure of something today.
Have I read this before?
I meant to, but never got around to it, like many of the other books on this list.
What do I know?
Sorry. It had to happen at some point here.
I actually have never seen the classic movies (unless you count Young Frankenstein as a classic.) Mostly what I know is the common knowledge from movies. Frankenstein is the Doctor, not the monster. The fire adverse monster is made in a lab, gets out, and terrorizes people mindlessly. There are many different versions, but the common monster look is the tall, lurching, green guy with stitches randomly across his skin and bolts in his neck.
What did I think?
I don’t even know where to start. This book leaves me speechless. Seriously, while reading I did a lot of grunting at my family and waving them away since they were interrupting my reading time.
This book is so much more than a tale about a mindless killing machine. In fact, reducing it to that is insulting. This book is about the pursuit of knowledge and scientific achievement. It is about a man who works to achieve greatness and is driven mad by the results. It is about the outsider who is desperately trying to fit in, and is angry that they never will.
This is considered to be one of the greatest horror novels, but to me that seems to be a bit simplistic. This is not just a horror story; this is a story that delves into the psychological and philosophical. This shows the devastating results that can occur when one acts without forethought. Frankenstein examines the ideas of man, and God, and creation in a way that makes sense; it is not some far away concept, it is relatable and understandable. Even as the monster kills, you understand his actions. I could even find a level of sympathy.
I know I am not necessarily making sense as I ramble on. I honestly do not know how to explain why I found this book to be so amazing. All I can say is it spoke to me, and I am glad I listened.
Should you read this book before you die?
Read this book when you are making a hard decision. Read this book when you are questioning the humanity of man. Read this book when you want to think. Read this book when you want to feel better about your own decisions. Read this book when you have messed up.
Just read this book.
I almost feel a little breathless right now. I wasn’t expecting to add any new books to my personal top ten or even my top fifty, but I fell deeply in love with this book. Not only am I glad I read it, but I am sure I will read it again.
Unfortunately, I must move onto the next one and hope I can find something that gives me even a fraction of the joy I found in this one.
As I said before, or at least as I meant to say before, after Frankenstein, I am moving onto The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I have no picture, since I am reading an ebook version. I could give a picture of my ipad, but somehow I don’t think it will have the same punch. After reading about the picture, I pan on a trip down a river with Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Hopefully after a couple of these shorter books I will have the energy to tackle another long one. This is definitely a marathon, but it’s not my first. I know how to take the pain.