My Challenges (timed)


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Completed 9 of 10


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My Challenges (perpetual)

100 SHOTS OF SHORT
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CHECKIN’ OFF THE CHEKHOV
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THE COMPLETE BOOKER
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MARTEL-HARPER CHALLENGE
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MODERN LIBRARY'S 100 BEST NOVELS

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NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS
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THE PULITZER PROJECT
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TAMMY'S BEYOND BOOKS CHALLENGE

New York Times Book Review: 6/40
New Yorker: 0/36
New York Review of Books: 0/20
Vogue: 1/16
Email: 841/1373

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Fall of the House of Usher and other stories by Edgar Allen Poe

Title: The Fall of the House of Usher and other stories

The picture refers to the version I actually read, which is titled "18 Best Stories of Edgar Allen Poe". This version includes the following stories: The Black Cat - The Fall of the House of Usher - The Masque of the Red Death - The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar - The Premature Burial - Ms. Found in a Bottle - A Tale of the Ragged Mountains - The Sphinx - The Murders in the Rue Morgue - The Tell-Tale Heart - The Gold-Bug - The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether - The Man That Was Used Up - The Balloon Hoax - A Descent Into the Maelstrom - The Purloined Letter - The Pit and The Pendulum - The Cask of Amontillado

Author: Edgar Allen Poe

First Published: 1839 (applicable to the Usher story only)

No. of Pages: approx. 20 for the Usher story; 287 for overall book

Synopsis (from B&N): "[These stories] range from the poetic to the mysterious to the darkly comic, yet all possess the genius for the grotesque that defines Poe's writing. They are peopled with neurotics and social outcasts, obsessed with unknown terrors or preoccupied with seemingly insoluble mysteries. The Tell-Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher are key works in the horror canon, while in [The Murders in the Rue Morgue] we find the origins of modern detective fiction."

Fiction or Nonfiction: Fiction

Comments and Critique: I had picked "Usher" to read for several challenges, not realizing that it was a short story and not a full novel, so I decided to go ahead and read the other stories in this book as well. I enjoyed many of them, although not all. In particular, I found "The Balloon-Hoax" and "A Descent into the Maelstrom" a snooze. "The Black Cat" was a bit too gory for my tastes. And I felt that several could have benefitted from additional editing -- it tends to get extremely repetitious to read how the narrators are ordinary, sane beings who don't believe in a lot of hocus-pocus, so you should believe the extraordinary story that they're about to relate.

Among the stories I enjoyed the most were "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether," "The Gold Bug," and "The Masque of the Red Death." But my favorites by far were the two mysteries, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Purloined Letter." I'm never any good at figuring out mysteries, but I love them anyway.

Challenges: 999 Challenge ("through the decades"); A to Z Challenge (author "P"); Decades '09 Challenge (1830's), What's in a Name 2 ("building")

2 comments:

Joanne said...

Rue Morgue is one of my favorite Poe stories too. I've often wondered if this was the first locked room mystery.

bethany said...

tammy :) if you'd like to help for the OT challenge with the links, could you please email me at bethany(dot)canfield(at)gmail.com

Thanks so much!!!