“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley (The Real Frankenstein Monster)

frankensteinBack in the day, on Halloween, kids only had a few masks to choose from to go out into the cold fall night in the hopes of candy and conquest: those were the wolf-man, Dracula, and Frankenstein. Well, we called it Frankenstein but the monster was not named Frankenstein. Rather, it was the “monster,” “creature,” “demon,” even “daemon” in the original novel. Nevertheless, in ignorance, we donned that mask with it’s rectangular head, black matted hair, green skin, yellow drooping eyes, and of course the electrodes protruding from both sides of the neck. We were Frankenstein. But having not read the classic novel by Mary Shelley at the tender age of ten years old, we had no clue that the monster was just the monster and Frankenstein was really a scientist named Victor with aspirations of creating life from death.

I chose the novel  “Frankenstein” in my quest to read more classic literature. Honestly, from page one the prose grabbed me. “…for nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose–a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.” That is but a tidbit of Shelley’s word wizardry. So I one-clicked the novel (having nothing to lose, really, because it was free) and was nevertheless impressed with her alliteration, imagery, and poetry. The novel, while a narrative of something grotesque, is quite beautiful written.

“…to give utterance to the burning ardour of my soul and to say, with all the fervour that warmed me, how gladly I would sacrifice my fortune, my existence, my every hope, to the furtherance of my enterprise.”

Oh, my goodness, Mary Shelley is a beast! And the novel just keeps flowing in this manner: from the epistolary portion of the novel (letters from Captain Robert Walton to his sister) to the narration of Victor (a warning to the former about what I guess was seen at the time of the novel’s publication as foolish ambition). You catch this the more you read. How Victor shows up on that icy snow cap just as Walton is pressing forward in his own scientific pursuits: one which he writes in the first line of the novel as “You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.” This is the driving sentence in the novel, telling us what the theme is all about.

I won’t highlight this review with history of how Mary Shelley came about the novel in a dream and how it was initially published anonymously and didn’t bear her name until five years later (why is that?), how the novel continued to evolve and be perfected even thirteen years later, or how its initial reception was unfavorable. I believe those areas have been well covered. What I would like to do is deal with the lyricist, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Yes! The lyricist. The literary genius. Now, I’m a hip-hop head and in high school spent I my fair share of afternoons on the back stoop behind Greenville Senior High School freestyling or reciting lyrics that I had written previously. The goal, was to get the hearer’s attention, say something snazzy that would make fingers snap, make people say “Oooh!” Exchange high fives. I did this not by putting together some boring lines that any old spitter could spit, but by using allegory, allusion, analogy, alliteration, assonance, consonance, cacophony, euphony, hyperbole, irony, metaphor, onomatopoeia, puns, repetition, and rhyme — poetic devices that drive my point across. For example, I had one line that said:

On the block, quoting scriptures from Alfred Hitchcock

My brain pops with raindrops that umbrellas can’t stop.

Of course there’s the rhyme–always the rhyme. But there’s also allegory. I wasn’t really quoting scriptures from Alfred Hitchcock; he wrote no bible. But what I was saying is that I was relaying dark and gripping words, just as Hitchcock’s stories are dark and gripping. And the second bar deals with the multiple ideas in my head. Ideas so plentiful that they are like a storm that drenches even when using an umbrella. Analogy. I love lyrics like these and I guess that’s why I am a big fan of lyricists like Big Pun.

Take for instance one of Pun’s lyrics from “Super Lyrical”:

Ay-yo my murderous rap verbal attack is actual fact

Tactical tracks match perfectly with graphical stats

Half of you lack the magical dap of tragical rap

That tackles you back and shackles and laughs at you

That’s the mathematical madness I’m on, the savage, the strong

The marriage, a bond of havoc and song

This massacre’s on as if Picasso laced you

There’s lotsa hateful skeletons locked in the closet of my castle of Grayskull

I won’t even go into all Pun’s dealing with in those Bars; I’ll save that for another review.

Big Pun is a dope lyricist. Believe it or not, Mary Shelley is just as dope lyrically. Case in point: I highlighted many dope lines from the novel and while I will not share them all–probably put the whole novel in this blog post if I did–I will show a few to drive my point into the garage.

“Thus far I have gone, tracing a secure way over the pathless seas, the very stars themselves being witnesses and testimonies of my triumph.”

“I believe it to be an intuitive discernment, a quick but never-failing power of judgement, a penetration into the cause of things, unequalled for clearness and precision…”

“My limbs now tremble, and my eyes swim with the remembrance; but then a resistless and almost frantic impulse urged me forward; I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit.”

I could go on and on. But I believe my sedan is in the garage safely, the engine is shut off and we are finally home.

Mary Shelley is a beast. Hear me out on this. When other musicians and great appreciators of musicians hear something otherworldly and utterly profound be done by a musician, they might say, “He is a beast!” And that is not a bad thing. It has nothing to do with his appearance or demeanor but everything to do with the abusive nature in which he just handled his musical business. That run, that riff, that wowing rendition, that makes the listener throw up their hands and make the stank face. “BEAST!” A proficient and polished perfectionist, rendering sounds so pleasing to the ear. Mary had that same effect, only she didn’t use music. She used powerful prose and poetic devices. That is why I subtitled this review The Real Frankenstein Monster. Because it wasn’t the thin skinned, grotesque creation of Victor the Scientist. The author who created Victor and the daemon is the true monster–the true beast. (chuckle) Imagine Mary Shelley in a rap cypher with Big Pun. Yeah, not likely. But one can imagine, can’t he?

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Virtual Book Tour for An Ode for Orchids by James Fant

Romance Date Published: August 30, 2012   Meet Dawn, Brook, Cicely and Karen: four cousins raised under the Southern sun. Their grandmother called them orchids and taught them to be i…

Source: Virtual Book Tour for An Ode for Orchids by James Fant

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An Ode for Orchids Virtual Book Tour+ Giveaway

An Ode for Orchids is on tour!

Books, Dreams, Life

Romance

“An Ode for Orchids” is the story of four beautiful young women who want to love and be loved. But will their love outlive the lies and abuse? Is their love strong enough to survive the hatred?

James Fant is an award winning author who lives in Charleston, SC. When he’s not reading everything from business management to mysteries or “entertaining” his family with piano solos and spoken word, James writes inspirational romance and suspense that warms the heart and hopefully makes readers laugh—in public.

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James Fant’s THE DARKEST LOOP

announcment-picrevised-2

I believe every adult (and indeed many adults who were children then) can remember exactly what they were doing on the morning of September 11th, 2001. I had just arrived at work and a colleague told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. My immediate reaction was this: “Was it a mistake?” His answer: “No, because another plane hit the other tower not long afterwards.” The moment is etched forever in my memory as I think about the day the United States was changed forever in terms of the way we travel, how we think about safety in the confines of our boarders, and in our remembrance of those who lost their lives on that day.

Many cinematic and literary works on 9/11  have been released (both fiction and non-fiction). From where did my novel about a man caught in a time-loop that starts on Labor Day, 9/3/2001 and ends on 9/11/2001 originate? Oddly enough, I went through a period where I would see these little dark, washer-looking loops on the ground, in the most random places. I’m pretty big on signs so I thought, surely, I’m seeing these loops for some reason. I thought on it. Prayed about it. And it came to me to write about one man’s experiences on the week leading up to the September 11th attack. Only, this man relives that week over and over and over. He feels in his heart that the reason he’s stuck in the loop is so he can prevent the attacks from happening; however, each consecutive loop challenges that theory and brings him closer to the dark truth behind Déjà vu.

THE DARKEST LOOP 
A NOVEL BY JAMES FANT 
IN STORES 2017 
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One Day Read

destiny

This novel is so fast paced I read it in one day. No dry spots. Lots of relatable issues. Also, I loved the way the characters (or Eric Jerome Dickey) hipped me to new books and authors, like Paulo Coelho’s THE ALCHEMIST, which many of my Goodreads friends have read and reviewed. I’ve added it to my TBR pile.

In CHASING DESTINY, Billie plays the beautiful and sassy Ducati rider with a leather jacket to match her bike and beauty and sexiness to match its body. She has many suitors in the novel but none more complex and problematic than Keith, a man with two degrees, no job or money, and a baby mother from Hell. Can Billie ride away from all of these issues? Does she even want to?

As always, Eric Jerome Dickey entertains with eloquent and hip style. The thing about great authors (and EJD is one of my favorite) is that they share with you their intelligence. You read and learn about artistic preferences and you may even get a glimpse into what they were thinking about the world during the time they were writing. A good author of fiction informs you about much more than just make believe. You get insight into current events (at least events that were current at the time of writing). You are educated, entertained and inspired. Just like all the other EJD novels I’ve read (and re-read), CHASING DESTINY was educational, entertaining and inspiration. It stretched my imagination and my intelligence.

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Love Jumped Out At Me

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“A Woman’s Worth (The Stafford Brothers) (Volume 1)” by Chicki Brown inspired my realization that love has nothing to do with feelings. The novel is about a woman with cancer. Her ex-fiance bailed on her because of it but the new man in her life said, “I don’t care about the cancer. Whether it’s here or not, I want you!” So I had to share my thoughts because people get it twisted thinking love is an emotion or a feeling. It has nothing to do with either. Love doesn’t care what’s going on. Love just is.

What jumped out most for me from the novel was Marc’s love for Gianne. From first glance, beyond her frailty he saw the pearl in her. And I think that love surpassed mere physical attraction and went into the realm of the supernatural. She pulled on him like gravity. Tugged at his heart. He wouldn’t be like Bruce, the one than ran away from her diagnosis. No, he said, “Let me take care of you.” I fully believe it was that love that strengthened her and in turn himself. I highlighted many of the novel’s passages because they were edifying (teaching about love and its priceless nature) and educational (so much information on vegan raw eating…even recipes).

I loved this novel and I’m looking forward to reading book 2.

https://www.amazon.com/Womans-Worth-Book-Stafford-Brothers-ebook/dp/B00EUH6M3S/

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The History and Psychology of an Awesome Novel

loom

Outstanding. Magnificent. Marvelous. Superb! All the adjectives I’d attach to The Loom by Shella Gillus. This book had me stopping mid read to tweet about a gripping passage or just about how a certain scene sparked emotion. I immediately went to the author’s webpage and signed up for updates. I want to know when her next book is coming out.

I’m getting ahead of myself (sorry the book is just like that). In the first few pages you see Lydia running and you can feel her panting in your chest, hear the leaves and grass yield to her feet, see all the things she was running from, even the good things she was leaving behind because she had to go! Had to be free. Free was better than a grandmother’s touch, better than a husband’s love. And even though it hurt, she had to use her special power, the color of her skin, as a means of escape. Blending in with Whites might bring her freedom but it wouldn’t remove the chains that shackled her.

Shella did so much teaching and expounding with a fictional work that I felt as if I had taken a history class and a psychology course simultaneously. She teaches us about the Loom, the room where slaves too old, worn, or pregnant were still utilized in a colorful yet dark room of beautiful yet tragic tapestry. She teaches us about bondage. “Everybody’s a slave to something.” I could go somewhere with that passage but I don’t want to give away too much about the novel. You have to read it for yourself. Please do yourself a favor and read it for yourself!

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