In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka Review

The story is set in an unnamed penal colony. It describes the last use of an elaborate torture and execution device that carves the sentence of the condemned prisoner on his skin in a script before letting him die, all in the course of twelve hours. As the plot unfolds, the reader learns more and more about the machine, including its origin, and original justification.”

In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka is one of the weirdest stories I have ever read. The plot and setting are fairly odd. But once you dig deeper into the book and really get in depth, it becomes much more clearer and Kafka’s short story really becomes something else.

   I have been reading a bunch of classic novels lately, and I decided to read this short story after a friend recommended it to me. It is a short story at a small 40 pages (at least in my edition). Normally classic novels, or classic literature in general, are a bit obscure and this is no exception. Upon first read, the characters are fairly straightforward. There are only 4 characters in this novel, at least ones that have dialogue: the explorer, the officer, the soldier, and the condemned man. The weird, devoted officer and the skeptic explorer make up most of the short story. And for the most past, all of the characters stay the same. It’s hard to talk about the short story into detail without going into spoilers, but all I can say to make the reading a bit easier is determine what the explorer and officer represent. They are clearly on two different sides of the argument. Once you figure it out, the machine and the symbolism become much clearer. Kafka is a more straightforward writer than Melville and for the most part, you will get what is happening (although, not so much what it means). But he is a clever writer and once you understand the novel, the writing comes to life. He can give so much within one sentence, often causing you to think about it.

In the Penal Colony is an odd short story. Yet once the meaning is unveiled, it becomes so much more than a weird short story and Kafka’s writing becomes more important and comes to life. If you are an English major, definitely read it.

Rating: Must Buy 

 

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October TBR

Better late than never. Things should pick up reading-wise and for the blog as my personal life evens out.  I have been into more classical books so a good chunk will be older books.

1. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

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2. In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka

3. Paradox Bound by Peter Clines

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4. King Dork by Frank Portman

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September Wrap-Up

After a busy month, things should return back to normal. I was able to read 4 books, but most of them were fairly short. October should be a much more active month for me. Also, I reached 1,000 total views! So that’s pretty cool.

Total Books Read: 4

Highlights:

  1. The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter

Summary:

     “It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared.
So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells’ book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat.
He is right.
Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist – sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins – must survive, escape and report on the war.
The Massacre of Mankind has begun”

My Thoughts:

“So this is a perspective from a newcomer to the series. I thought it was a fairly solid sci-fi book with a great world and solid characters. The plot took some time to get going and I found the writing style a bit weird, but I really liked it.”

2. Billy Budd by Herman Melville

Summary:

Stung by the critical reception and lack of commercial success of his previous two works, Moby-Dick and Pierre, Herman Melville became obsessed with the difficulties of communicating his vision to readers. His sense of isolation lies at the heart of these later works. “Billy Budd, Sailor,” a classic confrontation between good and evil, is the story of an innocent young man unable to defend himself against a wrongful accusation

My Thoughts:

“At the surface, it’s a bunch of complicated words and sentences that will definitely confuse you. However, when you read it slowly and digest it, it becomes a thing of beauty. It can come of as but show off-ish, and it kinda is, but it is a great piece of writing.”

Unfortunately, I only reviewed two books. There will definitely be more coming. Here’s to a good October.

 

 

Quick Thoughts: The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter

“It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared.
So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells’ book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat.

He is right.

Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist – sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins – must survive, escape and report on the war.

The Massacre of Mankind has begun”

I just wanted to be able to get some form of post out to you guys. I am still busy, but things should probably go back to normal next week. For now, I wanted to get some quick thoughts on a book I just read, The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter. I have not read War of the Worlds by H.G Wells and viewed it as a standalone book. So this is a perspective from a newcomer to the series. I thought it was a fairly solid sci-fi book with a great world and solid characters. The plot took some time to get going and I found the writing style a bit weird, but I really liked it. From what I have read, Baxter’s style is similar to Wells and overall, does a good job emulating his style (which is pretty cool). But I loved the detail in the world. There is so much depth and just really small touches that put it above other sci-fi novels. It also has a pretty awesome cover which is always nice. Things should go back to normal by next week, expect more posts from me.

 

 

Mojo’s Must Reads: Billy Budd by Herman Melville

Stung by the critical reception and lack of commercial success of his previous two works, Moby-Dick and Pierre, Herman Melville became obsessed with the difficulties of communicating his vision to readers. His sense of isolation lies at the heart of these later works. “Billy Budd, Sailor,” a classic confrontation between good and evil, is the story of an innocent young man unable to defend himself against a wrongful accusation.”

   It’s been a while, but I have some time to write a quick recommendation. I recently read through Billy Budd by Herman Melville and I, at first, hated it. Mostly because it is one of the hardest books I have ever read. Melville’s writing style is extremely eloquent and quite pretty, but it is hard to follow, I mean, he spent a paragraph to write about someone getting a drink. But once I reread it again, as it is only about 90 pages, and I started to understand it I grew to really like the book. At the heart of the book, it’s the classic tale of good vs evil. But there is so much more to it. I don’t want to discuss it at length, as it involves spoilers, but Melville gives enough evidence to justify both sides of the argument. He really leaves it up to you to choose what you believe is correct. I think it is definitely a must read for anyone who wants to be an english major. When you deconstruct Melville’s writing style, it really is beautiful. At the surface, it’s a bunch of complicated words and sentences that will definitely confuse you. However, when you read it slowly and digest it, it becomes a thing of beauty. It can come of as but show off-ish, and it kinda is, but it is a great piece of writing. That’s really what I have to say on it. Hopefully, I can post more later in the week. 🙂

August Wrap-Up

I’m pretty late on this one, but I felt I needed to close August out and what better way than to review the books I read which was little. It was the first month in a while that I did not read 5 books, reaching just one shy of it.

Total Books Read; 4

Books from TBR: 4/5

Highlights:

1. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Abertalli

Official Summary:

“Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?“

My Thoughts:

“I am a dude who likes video games, action movies, etc., but I will admit this is probably the cutest book I have read. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli is a cute, emotional, and great young adult novel without being depressing or bleak which was a bit refreshing.”

2. Who Let The Gods Out by Maz Evans

Official Summary:

Elliot’s mum is ill and his home is under threat, but a shooting star crashes to earth and changes his life forever. The star is Virgo – a young Zodiac goddess on a mission. But the pair accidentally release Thanatos, a wicked death daemon imprisoned beneath Stonehenge, and must then turn to the old Olympian gods for help. After centuries of cushy retirement on earth, are Zeus and his crew up to the task of saving the world – and solving Elliot’s problems too?

My Thoughts:

Who Let The Gods Out? was a funny and entertaining novel that kept me laughing throughout and engaged with its likeable characters and modernized take on the Greek gods. It was genuinely a blast to read.”

Tags/Award:

  1. The Unique Blogger Award
  2. The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

 

September will be busy as some of you might know, but I’m going to try my best to post and read. Hopefully I can get some audiobooks that should help this reading drought.

 

A Bit of An Update

This will be a quick post, but I just wanted you guys to know what is going to happen with the blog for the next month or so. With August nearly done, vacation is finished.  My personal life will be full for the next month or so as work begins and as a result, the amount of posts on this blog will decrease. I will definitely still be posting, but not as frequent (maybe once or twice a week). It also sucks as my reading time is cut a considerable amount and I won’t be able to read as much as I had hoped. But by end of September or October, I should settle in and things should go back to normal.  Just wanted to give you guys the heads up of what will happen going forward. Thank you for being such awesome people and being an awesome community! 🙂