Finished rereading Mary Shelley's Frankenstein . . . ten years after reading it the first time, I can now really tell it was written by a nineteen-year-old. Her expressive vocabulary is stunning and I am terribly envious of it. However, there are all sorts of plot holes like
SPOILER: Highlight text to read: how the creature recognizes Victor as its creator when its sensations were so indistinct in its early days (according to it), why the old man in the cottage doesn’t say anything to change his son’s mind (when Felix is driving away the creature after the creature tells his story to the father), why Victor is worried about the creatures multiplying and filling the earth when they’re made of corpses and he could easily make the female infertile, why he needs to go to England for more medical knowledge to make a female creature when he already had perfectly sufficient knowledge to make the male, and where the creature intends to get firewood for his pyre in the north pole. Also the extreme histrionic emotion present throughout the book is not appealing to me in the least.
Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart. Watered-down pop psychology; the author makes assertions and expects readers to take her word on them without her backing up her assertions through any kind of argument or evidence. The writing style is cliché-ridden and overly popular. Was able to glean a few things from it, but overall it was not very good.
Masks of Melancholy by John White was a welcome change from the above. Like Wild at Heart or Strong Women, Soft Hearts this book is also a book by a Christian author about a psychological topic; however, unlike Rinehart, White does thoroughly and carefully cite the studies that demonstrate the facts and ideas he asserts. I appreciate White’s scholarly, rather than popular, approach, and especially his acknowledgment of the complexities of his subject and of the fact that depression manifests itself in many different ways and that there are many different factors that can be causes or risk factors. He doesn’t make the mistake of generalizing and assuming that everyone’s experience is the same, which is a huge mistake made both by Eldredge and Paula Rinehart.
The subject of the book is riveting for me personally, and I greatly appreciated White’s careful, scholarly style; it’s just a shame that the book is so dated (1982). I wish more Christian authors wrote like this.
The Musician’s Quest (abridged version of Robert Falconer by George MacDonald): Has some good thoughts about the necessity and importance of following Christ by doing concrete things to serve and help people around you. Also, apparently MacDonald doesn’t believe in hell. Overall a pretty slow read even in the abridgment, though abridged versions do tend to be much plainer and more generic in their writing style than the original, so perhaps the colorlessness of the book is partly owing to the fact that it is abridged.
Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard: Pretty much this entire book strongly evoked that sweet sense of longing that C.S. Lewis calls “joy.” Extremely emotional read for me. The story isn’t necessarily universal—the specific sins and faults that Much-Afraid struggles with are not going to be the same sins and faults that everyone struggles with, and there will be many that other people struggle with that do not appear in the book. But still there are some amazing lessons in the book, particularly the song of the waterfalls and streams that rejoice in always seeking lower places and pouring themselves out in love.