The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

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Notable for its sheer invention, suspense, and psychological nuance, The Invisible Man focuses on Griffin, a scientist who has discovered the means to make himself invisible. His initial, almost comedic, adventures are soon overshadowed by the bizarre streak of terror he unleashes upon the inhabitants of a small village.

 

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
Published 1897 by Pearson’s Weekly
Format: e-book/library hardcover/audiobook; 192 pages (clearly I couldn’t put this book down!)
Classics/Science Fiction
Also By This Author: War of the Worlds, The Time Machine
Goodreads
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

What a creepy story! I have to admit, when I first picked up The Invisible Man, I was not expecting it to be a Gothic suspense story, so I was pleasantly surprised to read the subtitle: a grotesque romance. I love Gothic literature, especially when paired with science fiction! [side note: there is no romance in this novella; according to the footnote, that description refers to the fact that this story deals with supernatural incidents that are removed from every day life.]

The Invisible Man starts off right away by throwing readers into suspense and intrigue. We meet our antihero, whom we later learn is called Griffin, as he arrives at an inn and begins terrorizing the local townspeople. Terrorizing is a little harsh; at first he is simply worrying them with his shroud of mystery, but as the novel progresses and Griffin’s condition worsens, he enacts a self-proclaimed reign of terror.

I must confess that in the beginning I liked Griffin, despite the fact that he was impatient, rude, and prone to outbursts. He reminded me of Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre and he had an unusual sense of humor about him. But then Griffin started harming other people without remorse, and I felt torn over my former sympathy for his predicament and my later fear of and disappointment in his mental decline.

There are several minor characters, but none of them are nearly as interesting as Griffin; however, I did feel for both Marvel and Dr. Kemp at times.

The ending was appropriately abrupt, and the story was resolved in a surprising and inevitable way (the best type of ending!). This was my third H. G. Wells novel, after War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, and I will definitely be reading more of his novels in the future.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy classic novels and science fiction.
…you appreciate Gothic literature.
…you’re interested in books that feature a villain or antihero as the main character.
…you’re looking for a suspenseful story that has a fair amount of creepiness.

You May Also Enjoy…

waroftheworldsFrankensteinThe Birthmark

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

The Time Machine.jpg

The Time Traveller embarks on an astonishing journey into the future. His Time Machine transports him to a far-distant but dying world where humanity is divided into two classes: the graceful, idle Eloi who inhabit the idyllic surface of the world, and the Morlocks, ugly nocturnal creatures who live and work underground. In The Time Machine, Wells created one of the first and finest science fiction stories: a social allegory that is both vivid and perturbing.

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
Published 1895 by William Heinemann
Format: paperback; 118 pages
Classics/Science Fiction
Also By This Author: War of the WorldsThe Invisible Man
Goodreads
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

When I was twelve or thirteen years old, I remember watching what was quite possibly my first ever live-action sci-fi movie. However, for years afterwards I could not remember the title, or the basic plot, or even the actors; I could only remember one scene that involved a beautiful, misfortunate lady in a red dress and a man determined to save her life. For years I longed to find this movie and watch it again. It bothered me like an itch I just couldn’t scratch, and I started to believe that I had dreamed the whole thing up.

Then one day, somehow, I stumbled across the movie The Time Machine. I probably picked it up for one of two reasons: Guy Pierce was on the cover, and it was about time travel. But then I watched it, and my heart filled up with excitement because at long last I had been reunited with THE movie!

Since then I have watched and re-watched The Time Machine multiple times, and I credit it as the movie that sparked my love for all-things time travel. But, until only recently, I had never actually read the novella that the movie is based on. H.G. Wells is often regarded as the father of Science Fiction, and The Time Machine is what originally brought him critical acclaim at the end of the 19th century. It was one of the first stories of its kind, and it propagated sub-genres of science fiction that remain wildly popular today.

The Time Machine is told through the narrator, known only as The Time Traveler. In the same manner Jules Verne, another pioneer of science fiction, introduced Phineas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days, H.G. Wells introduces The Time Traveler and his time machine by presenting them to a group of intelligent and skeptical peers. The majority of the novella is told as a recounting of The Time Traveler’s journey to the very distant future, when the human species has devolved into two opposing and rival species. The Eloi, which represents the consequences of mankind’s political and cultural aspirations, is a frail and indistinct group that has few interests or emotions in general. Their way of life is free from burden, work, or even relationships. The Morlock tribe, on the other hand, symbolizes the savage and industrial sides of mankind. They are completely nocturnal and reside underground, surfacing only at night to hunt.

The suspense in The Time Machine is incredibly thick and mystical. Even though, through Wells’s use of foreshadow, you know what is going to happen, you can’t help but become caught up in The Time Traveler’s journey to and escape from the future. The imagery of dying Earth and the fall of humanity is both fascinating and worrisome. When coupled with H. G. Wells’s technical voice, it’s easy to pretend you’re reading a memoir and not merely a science fiction novella.

Read This Book If…

…you appreciate both classics and science fiction.
…you are looking for a book that can be read in one sitting.
…you have a healthy imagination and sense of curiosity.
…you love stories about time travel and dystopian societies.

You May Also Enjoy…

Around the World in Eighty DaysjourneyThe Martian Chronicles

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

 

Final Musings

The Time Machine

Does anybody else love the movie The Time Machine? Fun fact: it is directed by H. G. Well’s great-grandson.

Top Ten Tuesday: All About Audio

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I’m back this week after my summer hiatus from blogging! Yesterday I posted a review to one of my new favorite series, and today I’m talking about my favorite audiobooks and podcasts for Top Ten Tuesday.

Top Ten Tuesday: All About My Favorite Audiobooks & Podcasts

Audiobooks You Can Listen to For Free!
*because who doesn’t like free entertainment?

  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton – Michael Crichton’s books are already hard to put down, but when you stumble upon a perfectly narrated audiobook version, you will spend the next 13 hours with your headphones on, visualizing mad scientists, man-eating dinosaurs, and genetic experiments gone wrong. This was me last summer. My favorite part about this audiobook: William Roberts’s voice is exactly like the one you would hear narrating an actual Jurassic Park ride.
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – I had a Shakespeare professor in college who said that plays are meant to be read aloud, and I wholeheartedly agree with that, especially after listening to this table read of Oscar Wilde’s hilarious play. It’s short (under 2 hours) and I guarantee you will laugh out loud at least once.
  • War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells – The fact that Orson Wells turned this famous science fiction book into a panic-inducing radio broadcast speaks volumes about it’s value as an audiobook. This Librivox version is read by an older British gentleman, and I love the juxtaposition between his calm and proper voice and the chaotic alien invasion he’s narrating.

Favorite Narrators

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – I know I will probably shock and disappoint a lot of people when I say this was only an OK read for me. As much as I laughed at the nerdy banter and satiric writing, there was something that kept me from loving this book. BUT, I will have to say that I really appreciated hearing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy narrated by the author himself, Douglas Adams. I’m having a hard time finding a link to that particular version, but I checked it out from the library so I know it exists!
  • The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot – I know there are a lot of people who hate Anne Hathaway (which is crazy to me because my husband and I love her), but I really enjoyed her narration of The Princess Diaries audiobooks. She played Mia in the film versions, and listening to the audiobooks convinced me even more than she was perfect for the role of the awkward teenage princess. I’ve only listened to the first few books in this series, but my local library has the rest so I plan on finishing it sometime!
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These next two are recommendations from my husband (Matt), who listens to more audiobooks than I do!

  • 11.22.63 by Stephen King – Matt and I watched part of the Hulu 11.22.63 miniseries, but I was getting too creeped out by some of the characters, so we stopped and Matt downloaded the audiobook to listen to instead. It wasn’t his favorite book, but he did love the narration by Craig Wasson. He said hearing all the different accents really helped him visualize everything.
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  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – Matt actually listened to this audiobook in French (because it’s the epitome of French literature and when I asked him if he was listening to the English version he pretended to gag), but the narration must have been well done since he talked about this book for weeks after he finished it. Most of that praise probably goes to Victor Hugo himself, but I also know that an audiobook narrator has the power to make or break (or kill) a book.

Podcasts

  • Astonishing Legends – my favorite! I love to put in my headphones and listen to these podcasts when I’m cleaning or commuting to and from work. If you’re into mysterious and unexplainable happenings, this is a great podcast to binge listen to. Some of my favorite topics have been the Oak Island Money Pit, the Dyatlov Pass tragedy, The Knights of the Golden Circle conspiracy, and the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.
    AstonishingLegends
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class – The name of this podcast pretty much says it all. Holly and Tracy talk about all sorts of interesting, mysterious, creepy, and legendary historical events and people, and each episode is relatively short (around 30 minutes) so it’s easy to listen to an episode while you’re cooking dinner or walking the dog. Some of my favorite episodes have been about early Danish monarchies and the Jelling Stones, The Great Vowel Shift, The Queen Victoria/Lady Hasting’s scandal, the disappearance of the Sodder children, and some other “history’s mysteries” episodes.
    Stuff You Missed in History Class
  • Rebel Force Radio – This is actually a podcast my husband listens to, but I’ve listened along to a few of them and I can totally see why he loves it so much. The few episodes I listened to were the Star Wars Oxygen podcasts where David Collins and Jimmy Mac analyzed John William’s soundtracks to all 7 of the Star Wars films. I was so impressed by how thoroughly they broke down and analyzed each track. I learned some really amazing facts about how the Star Wars scores add an incredible depth to the films.
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Back to the Classics 2014 Wrap-Up Post!

classics2014I did it!! I read 10 classics from various authors, countries, and time periods in 12 months! (To be honest, a big chunk of those books were read this month *procrastinator*).

This was such a fun challenge, and I’m earnestly considering doing the Back to the Classics 2015 challenge next year, although I still have a little time to decide :)

Here is my wrap-up post listing all of my reviews for this challenge:

Required Categories:

Optional Categories:

I thoroughly enjoyed every one of these books (except for maybe Wuthering Heights), but if I had to rank my Top 3 it would be: North and South, Little Women, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Thank you to Books and Chocolate for hosting this challenge!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Are you up for next year’s Back to the Classics Challenge?

War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

waroftheworlds

“For a time I believed that mankind had been swept out of existence, and that I stood there alone, the last man left alive.”

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
Published in 1898 by William Heinemann
Classics/Science Fiction
Format: paperback; 248 pages
Also From This Author: The Time Machine, The Invisible Man
  Goodreads Amazon
My Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

Man had not yet learned to fly when H.G. Wells conceived this story of a Martian attack on England. Giant cylinders crash to Earth, disgorging huge, unearthly creatures armed with heat-rays and fighting machines. Amid the boundless destruction they cause, it looks as if the end of the world has come.

Thoughts

As an amateur fan of early science fiction, I am just amazed at H.G. Wells’s creativity and imagination. He wrote this book before the Wright brothers had even developed a way for man to fly, and yet he was able to effortlessly describe flying capsules crashing to Earth in the dawn of an alien invasion. I have always been so amazed at people who are able to imagine the idea of something before it is even tangible. I don’t have that type of intuition or innovation, so I really admire people who do.

This was not my first experience with The War of the Worlds. I remember seeing the 2005 film version with Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning and being absolutely absorbed in the story. I was terrified and wondrous at the same time. So when I finally started reading this book I was happy to find that The War of the Worlds was as suspenseful and thought-provoking on page as it was on-screen.

One of my favorite aspects of science fiction is the social commentary. I love that science fiction is more about analyzing the human condition than it is about the technology and the futuristic settings. H.G. Wells was a huge part of the social science fiction movement, and in The War of the Worlds this is seen in the relationship between the narrator and the Curate as the world they know is falling apart. This relationship was the most interesting part of the novel for me.

Read This Book If…:

…you enjoy Sci-Fi, especially early Sci-Fi
…you’re looking for a book that can speak to all generations
…you’re a lover of suspense!
…curiosity gets the better of you sometimes

Final Musings

I don’t know why I hesitated for so long before finishing an H.G. Wells novel! I love so many movie adaptations of his works, it’s no surprise really that I’d love his books too. Next H.G. Wells book I’ll read will be The Time Machine (which happens to be one of my favorite movies!).

Are you a fan of H.G. Wells? What are some of your favorite early science fiction works?

November Highlights

Oh my gosh, it is December already!? Whaaaat!

October was a big month for me, but November was just as busy and eventful. This month brought some great, new changes to my life, and it was also a bit of an awakening for me as well. My blogging and reading time entered a bit of a lull, but if you keep reading on you’ll see that it’s been worth it :)

November Highlights!

This month I read 7  books! (Which might not seem like a lot, but it surprised me because I felt like I hadn’t read anything this month)

thebeautifulamerican thetroublewithflirting waroftheworlds thewonderofallthings
            robinhood weddingnight somethingstrange

I still need to get my review up for The War of the Worlds, and later this week I will be hosting a blog tour for The Beautiful American, which I am so excited to talk about!

What I Watched In November

Like I talked about last month, Matt and I have been binge watching Supernatural. We watch a couple of episodes most nights, and right now we are halfway through Season 5. The first two seasons were amazing! I am totally in love with Sam and Dean and I LOVE their relationship. I think the fact that they are brothers as opposed to best friends makes the show so much better. But seasons 3 and 4 were kinda disappointing. Season 5 is better, but honestly, every time Castiel pops up, I know the rest of the episode is going to go downhill (except for the Trickster one! Oh my gosh, that’s one of my favorite episodes so far).

I also started The Blacklist, and I think I’ll be binge watching the rest of Season 1 next month (I have SO MANY QUESTIONS!).

I saw The Maze Runner finally (and broke my cardinal rule by seeing the movie first), and loved it, but I also saw Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal and was creeped out. Good movie, but not the kind of thing I want to see twice.

Most Popular Blog Post

My most viewed post from November was my update on my 25 Things list! I’m slowly crossing off things from my list of 25 Things For My 25th Year, and I’ve done some pretty big and exciting things throughout the past couple of months!

Favorite Memories From November:

  • I GOT A JOB! Woooooo! I talked about this in my 25 Things Update post, but I’ve been employed for nearly 3 weeks now and I love it so far. My husband and I are very thankful for God’s provision.
  • YALL Fest!!! I could go on and on about this amazing experience, but I sort of already did that ;)
  • Thanksgiving! This was my first Thanksgiving in 3 years that I got to spend in the States, and since it is my favorite holiday, I was very excited about it! My grandfather came to visit us for the long weekend and it was really nice getting to spend some time with him. I spent Thursday morning watching the parade and cooking up all my favorite dishes from last year.
    thanksgiving

Biggest Challenge From November

NOT ENOUGH READING TIME! This is the one downside to working full-time: I don’t have as much time to read and blog. My commute to work is about 1 hour and 15 minutes, so I’ve been listening to audio books to make up for it, but not all of the books I want to read for reviews, for example, are available on audio book. Hopefully this month I can catch up on my TBR pile :)

December To Be Read:

I listed most of my TBR for next month on last week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, but I also plan on finishing the books on my Back to the Classics list, which includes North & South, The Journey to the Center of the Earth, and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Things I’m Looking Forward To In December:

  • Matt and I celebrate our 3rd Anniversary later this month! Hopefully we can spend a 3 day weekend somewhere nice.
  • CHRISTMAS! But mostly Christmas decorating! I love Christmas, but I really love getting ready for Christmas. Usually we would have gotten our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, but we were busy visiting family, so we’re doing that one night this week instead and I AM EXCITED! Matt and I have a tradition of decorating the tree, making Christmas cookies, and watching It’s A Wonderful Life :)

What were some of your favorite moments/books from November??