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 What I read in November.

Some were started in October but didn’t get finished in November. There’s a few shorter stories, but anything is worth reading if it’s good. I think my favorite must have been This Crowded Earth, it’s a very possible future.

Icewall trilogy #1: The Messenger by Douglas Niles

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Exiled in disgrace to the harsh land called the Icereach, Kerrick, a Silvanesti elf, encounters a group of barbarian villagers that is making a determined stand against the encroachment of the remnants of a powerful ogre empire that is out to seize control of the frozen world.

Icewall trilogy #2: The Golden Orb by Douglas Niles

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Towering aloof and secure, the isolated fortress offers humankind a place to survive and flourish in the barren realm of Icereach. Even the elven Messenger Kerrick Fallabrine has made a home there, living among the humans and teaching them a multitude of skills. But the ogre enemies are always near, and they have developed a powerful weapon, a destructive magic encased within a sphere of solid gold. Its existence forces the humans to confront the threat of extinction that lurks outside their walls.

When the sleeper wakes by H.G Wells

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Graham, an 1890s radical pamphleteer who is eagerly awaiting the twentieth century and all the advances it will bring, is stricken with insomnia. Finally resorting to medication, he instantly falls into a deep sleep that lasts two hundred years. Upon waking in the twenty-second century to a strange and nightmarish place, he slowly discovers he is master of the world, revered by an adoring populace who consider him their leader. Terrified, he escapes from his chamber seeking solace—only to realize that not everyone adores him, some even wish to harm him.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

The war of the worlds by H.G Wells

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With H.G. Wells’ other novels, The War of the Worlds was one of the first and greatest works of science fiction ever to be written. Even long before man had learned to fly, H.G. Wells wrote this story of the Martian attack on England. These unearthly creatures arrive in huge cylinders, from which they escape as soon as the metal is cool. The first falls near Woking and is regarded as a curiosity rather than a danger until the Martians climb out of it and kill many of the gaping crowd with a Heat-Ray. These unearthly creatures have heads four feet in diameter and colossal round bodies, and by manipulating two terrifying machines – the Handling Machine and the Fighting Machine – they are as versatile as humans and at the same time insuperable. They cause boundless destruction. The inhabitants of the Earth are powerless against them, and it looks as if the end of the World has come. But there is one factor which the Martians, in spite of their superior intelligence, have not reckoned on. It is this which brings about a miraculous conclusion to this famous work of the imagination.

The Inmost Light by Arthur Machen

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The Inmost Light, one of Arthur Machen’s most disturbing stories, involves a doctor’s scientific experiments into occultism, and the vampiric force instigated by his unrelenting curiosity regarding the unseen elements. A large and glorious gem-stone is the vampiric mediator; soaking up the soul of the doctor’s wife; in the place of her spirit a demonic energy too-terrible-to-believe enters, transmuting her brain into that of something “not human.” Whilst the stone is the spirit appropriator, it is the process of scientific exploration into dark waters, perhaps those considered taboo, which brings about this horrific energy exchange. Dr. Black steals his wife’s soul; his own energy is then gradually sucked by the stone too. In attempting to enter the forbidden and dark zone of the “other world” for never-before-glimpsed-knowledge, he sacrifices his most valuable attribute in this world. And the sacrifice persists..

This Crowded Earth by Robert Bloch

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This Crowded Earth is a taut and compelling story about an all too possible future. Earth is overcrowded and its resources are being taxed to the limit. The government has a desperate plan, but will it work and at what price? By the author of Psycho and Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper

The Dunwich Horror by H.P Lovecraft

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The town of Dunwich, Massachusetts is thoroughly unremarkable until Wilbur Whateley is born.His “decayed” and inbred family was already unpopular due to their dabbling in the occult, and when Lavinia Whateley gives birth to a strange-looking child and refuses to say who the father was, it doesn’t improve anyone’s opinion of them. Wilbur grows incredibly fast – he begins talking at 11 months; by the time he’s three, he looks ten years old; and at four and a half, around 15. The townsfolk don’t trust him, as he gives them the creeps even more than the other Whateleys. For all that, though, they’re still willing to sell cows to the Whateley mansion; money’s money, after all, even if it is in the form of weird antique gold coins. Although for some reason, despite the truly vast amount of livestock Old Whateley buys, his herd never seems to get bigger…The household only gets more suspicious with time. The farmhouse always seems to be mysteriously under construction, with more and more windows being boarded up; the townsfolk also suspect that interior walls are being knocked out. When Wilbur is ten, Old Whateley dies, shrieking instructions to Wilbur on his deathbed; two years later, Lavinia Whateley disappears on Halloween night and is never found.Around this point, Wilbur begins to search for an unabridged copy of the Necronomicon, having learned all of what he knew from his grandfather’s library; his copy of said book is a shortened English version, which he apparently found insufficient. He discovers that nearby Miskatonic University has a complete copy, but the librarian refuses to loan it out to him. So he breaks in to steal it, only to be killed by a guard dog.And that’s when things get really weird.

The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting influence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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In his “Ghostly little book,” Charles Dickens invents the modern concept of Christmas Spirit and offers one of the world’s most adapted and imitated stories. We know Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, not only as fictional characters, but also as icons of the true meaning of Christmas in a world still plagued with avarice and cynicism.

 

What did you love this month? 

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Great Expectations
is a rather long and complicated book to explain, so i found this “short” summary to explain how it is instead.



As a young child
, the orphan Pip lives with his sister and brother-in-law, the village blacksmith. On Christmas Eve, Pip is walking through the marshes when he meets an escaped convict who threatens him into bringing back food and a file to break the leg-irons. On Christmas Day, the convict is captured and returned to the prison ships known as The Hulks. He never reveals Pip’s assistance when he is caught and asked how he escaped his irons.

Much later, young Pip is sent to entertain Miss Havisham, a wealthy old lady who lives in a mansion known as Satis House. Miss Havisham is a bitter woman who was jilted on her wedding day long ago. She still wears her wedding gown, and the now-rotten wedding cake sits atop her dining room table. Her adopted daughter, Estella, is beautiful, and Pip instantly falls in love with her. But Estella is cold and distant. Over time, she softens somewhat toward Pip, but her affection is erratic. She tells him she can never love anyone.

Pip is dismissed from Miss Havisham’s service and becomes an apprentice to Joe. But Estella has instilled in him a shame in his commonness. He longs to be a gentleman, not a blacksmith. His discontent grows. One day he learns that an anonymous benefactor has left him an enormous sum of money. He is to move to London, where he will be trained to act as a gentleman. A lawyer, Jaggers, will oversee his inheritance. Pip is certain his benefactor is Miss Havisham, and believes he is being trained as Estella’s future husband. Pip’s happiness is unfathomable as he moves to London, away from the only family and friends he has ever known. He is educated by Mr. Mathew Pocket and strikes a great friendship with his son, Herbert.

His wealth and position changes him, and soon Pip leads a dissipated life full of idleness. He is ashamed of Joe and Biddy, and wants little to do with them. He thinks association with them will lower him in Estella’s eyes. Estella continues to be a powerful factor in his life. She has been trained by Miss Havisham to break men’s hearts, and is constantly put in Pip’s life to toy with him. Even though she warns him she cannot love him, Pip persists in loving her.

On his twenty-fourth birthday, Pip learns that his benefactor is not Miss Havisham, but the convict from long ago. He realizes he is not meant for Estella, and also that Miss Havisham deliberately let him assume incorrectly. As well, he realizes with shame that he has mistreated his good friend Joe, who was always faithful to him. Though Pip is ashamed of the convict, Magwitch, he is grateful and loyal, so he commits himself to protecting Magwitch from the police, who are looking for him. His friend, Herbert Pocket, helps him.

Pip’s moral education begins. He decides he can no longer accept the convict’s money. He becomes compassionate towards Magwitch, realizing the depth of the convict’s love for him. He tries to help Magwitch escape, but in the chaos, Magwitch is injured and caught. Magwitch dies, but not before Pip discovers that adopted Estella is Magwitch’s daughter and tells Magwitch how lovely she is. Estella marries Pip’s enemy, Drummle. Miss Havisham dies, but not before repenting of the bitterness that has ruined her life. She leaves a good deal of money to Herbert Pocket, at Pip’s request, in the hope that it will earn her forgiveness. Pip goes to Joe and Biddy, who have married one another since the death of Pip’s sister. He atones for his sins against them then sets off on his own, determined to make things right in his life. The novel ends when he meets Estella after many years. She has left Drummle, who has since died. She is remarried. She and Pip part as friends and Pip realizes she will always be a part of his life, as surely as all the other memories of his once-great expectations.


The book is a great read and i enjoyed it from start to finish. We originally read this as a part of a literature course and I’m really glad we did. The story is captivating and you really feel for Pip in a while when he unravels everything. The language could prove to be a bit difficult for some, but just give it time and look up the words you don’t quite understand and you will do just fine.
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