The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka

Title: The Metamorphosis and Other Stories
Author: Franz Kafka
Date Added: June 12, 2017
Date Started: September 14, 2017
Date Finished: December 1, 2017
Reading Duration: 78 days
Genre: Fiction, Classical Literature, Satire, Short Story

The Metamorphosis and Other Stories coverPages: 224
Publisher: Barnes and Noble Classics
Publication Date: July 1, 2003 (first published 1915)
Media: Paperback


Virtually unknown during his lifetime, Franz Kafka is now one of the world’s most widely read and discussed authors. His nightmarish novels and short stories have come to symbolize modern man’s anxiety and alienation in a bizarre, hostile, and dehumanized world. This vision is most fully realized in Kafka’s masterpiece, “The Metamorphosis,” a story that is both harrowing and amusing, and a landmark of modern literature. 

Bringing together some of Kafka’s finest work, this collection demonstrates the richness and variety of the author’s artistry. “The Judgment,” which Kafka considered to be his decisive breakthrough, and “The Stoker,” which became the first chapter of his novel Amerika, are here included. These two, along with “The Metamorphosis,” form a suite of stories Kafka referred to as “The Sons,” and they collectively present a devastating portrait of the modern family.

Also included are “In the Penal Colony,” a story of a torture machine and its operators and victims, and “A Hunger Artist,” about the absurdity of an artist trying to communicate with a misunderstanding public. Kafka’s lucid, succinct writing chronicles the labyrinthine complexities, the futility-laden horror, and the stifling oppressiveness that permeate his vision of modern life.


This is going to be more of an analysis than a review due to the classic nature of the work.  Spoilers will not be marked.

Most writers write about themselves.  It is both an inherently selfish and selfless act.  To speak too much of oneself is narcissistic, but to share that self with the world in the hopes someone might understand upon reflection requires a vulnerability most narcissists cannot bear.

Franz Kafka’s works were greatly influenced by his relationship with his father, Hermann Kafka, who is described as “authoritative and demanding.”  We’re introduced to this paradigm in “The Metamorphosis,” and it manifests even more in “The Judgment.”

Kafka’s writing is brilliant in its absurdity.  While ridiculous and surreal things happen to his characters, the author’s message is far from it.  He uses the absurd to speak of the profound beginning with “The Metamorphosis,” where the main character Gregor awakens one morning to discover he’s been transformed into a gigantic bug.  It’s interesting to note that Kafka never wanted any depictions of the creature, because its appearance didn’t matter.  It was a “gigantic vermin” that poor Gregor had the ill luck to now be.  He’s confined to his room and often fed by pushing sustenance beneath the door.  The sister or the mother would sometimes and warily venture in to clean, and Gregor usually hid himself to not terrify them.  He is unable to speak, no longer possessing a human mouth, though his mental faculties remained the same.

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The State of the Writer: 8/12/18

<–The State of the Writer: 7/29/18          The State of the Writer: 8/26/18–>

A biweekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1


Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 261,248
Prior Word Count: 261,097
Word Difference: +151
Status: Review
Progress: Chapter 11 Review

I’m trying to figure out how to write about nail polish.  Not…that that’s that difficult; it’s more like I’m trying to figure out how I want her to talk about nail polish.  It’s why my word count has been going up.  I’ve been adding things in.  Not only to this chapter, but also prior ones (which reminds me…I need to reedit Chapter 8).  Once I have all the parts added it and organized, I can finally edit Chapter 11, which might entail more additions and organization.

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My Name in TBR Books Tag

Here we have another awesome tag I saved a long time ago from Ignited Moth.  Using Goodreads (or whatever TBR list you have), you pick a book based on the letters in you name.  Like the lovely blogger I from which I borrowed this, I’m going to use my blogging name as well, but you can do whatever you choose if you choose to participate 🙂


T – Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

Tigana coverI’m pretty sure I went out and bought this right after I read the sample.  It has that eloquent language I love, and within just a few pages, it presented characters you couldn’t help but care about.  Definitely a book I can’t wait to read.

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Top 20 Books of 2017

I set my Goodreads challenge to complete 15 books, and I read 73.  There’s something to be said for underestimation.  I low-balled it because last year, I put 20 on my challenge, but only finished 19; however, I discovered that by putting books on my schedule/to-do list, I could complete them like a fiend.  At some points I was reading eight at a time, but I mostly stuck with my favorite number: seven.  That…was too much though, and while I love to read, I also want to have enough time to do other things.  So I cut down to four, which might still sound like a lot, but one is a Kindle that I read on my lunch break; one is a fiction/fantasy; one varies between a classic or a non-fiction/reference (before I was reading one of each); and the last is a graphic novel/manga, which are easy to breeze through.  Compare this to two Kindles, one fiction/fantasy, one classic, one non-fiction/reference, one graphic novel/manga, and one library book. I’m currently borrowing Death Note from the library for my manga, and I’ll borrow fictions/fantasies from there, too.


Total Books Read: 73

  1. Tuf Voyaging by George R. R. Martin
  2. In the House of the Wyrm by George R. R. Martin
  3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  5. Rest in Piece by B. W. Ginsburg
  6. The Missing Orchid by Fia Black
  7. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  8. The Quantum Door by Jonathan Ballagh
  9. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
  10. The Illustrated A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  11. Descendants by Rae Else
  12. The Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton
  13. Riddled With Senses by Petra Jacob
  14. The Quantum Ghost by Jonathan Ballagh
  15. Radiance by Grace Draven
  16. Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K, Vaughn
  17. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  18. Eidolon by Grace Draven
  19. A Father’s Protection by K. J. Hawkins
  20. Saga: Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughn
  21. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia (edited) by Patrick Thorpe
  22. Saga: Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughn
  23. Silent Child by Sarah K. Denzil
  24.  A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  25. Saga: Volume 4 by Brian K, Vaughn
  26. Saga: Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughn
  27. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
  28. Saga: Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughn
  29. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  30. Talon by Julie Kagawa
  31. Saga: Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn
  32. Stone & Iris by Jonathan Ballagh
  33. Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven
  34. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  35. Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
  36. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Volume 1 by Katie Cook
  37. Poetic Edda: The Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes by Anonymous
  38. Never Never: Part One by Colleen Hoover
  39. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  40. Never Never: Part Two by Colleen Hoover
  41. Never Never: Part Three by Colleen Hoover
  42. The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess by Akira Himekawa
  43. Goldie Vance Volume 1 by Hope Larson
  44. Shadows on Snow by Starla Huchton
  45. Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss
  46. Monstress #1: Awakening
  47. An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel
  48. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  49. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
  50. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
  51. Dweller by Jeff Strand
  52. Abstract Clarity by B. W. Ginsburg
  53. Chobits, Vol. 1 by CLAMP
  54. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare
  55. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
  56. Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom by Tsugumi Ohba
  57. Master of Crows by Grace Draven
  58. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
  59. The Diamond Tree by Michael Matson
  60. Promethea, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore
  61. Blink Once by Cylin Busby
  62. Death Note, Vol. 2: Confluence by Tsugumi Ohba
  63. The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau
  64. The Daemoniac by Kat Ross
  65. The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
  66. Death Note, Vol. 3: Hard Run by Tsugumi Ohba
  67. Death Note, Vol 4: Love by Tsugumi Ohba
  68. Gyo by Junji Ito
  69. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
  70. Parallel by Anthony Vicino
  71. Death Note, Vol. 5: Whiteout
  72. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  73. Death Note, Vol 7: Give-and-Take by Tsugumi Ohba
Total Fiction/Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 46 (63%)
Total Classic: 3 (4%)
Total Non-Fiction/Reference: 4 (5%)
Total Graphic Novels/Manga: 20 (27%)

I was going to do this whole shebang with “Most Read Author,” “Favorite New Author,” “Favorite Series,” and all this other stuff, but I decided on just doing a Top 20 with that number as an increase from the original 10.  I marked around 14 books as potential Tops and figured I could find six more.

20. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman

The cover of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David EaglemanOne of the best parts of reading this book was the perfect timing when I read it: in the midst of watching a Let’s Play of SOMA, which I’ve spoken of at great length (even though the review/essay is still to come).  Incognito explores the intricacies of conscious, subconscious, and unconscious processes and how the latter two form the foundation of the first.  It’s written in such a way that psychological novices can still follow with relatable analogies and examples, but the volume is not without some major issues, which I started noticing around Chapter 4 with Eagleman’s views on beauty/attractiveness that spiraled unfortunately towards racism (yes…really).  He also didn’t fully explore the reasons behind why we have unconscious biases, which never just come out of a vacuum.  While the author has a flair for piquing interest in subjects that could easily come off as tedious, his essentialism and (seemingly) unwillingness to take environmental influences into account raises my brows (and hackles) a bit (e.g. his insistence that having a Y chromosome essentially makes one more violent without considering this propensity could be due to how those perceived as having a Y chromosome are treated from [often before] birth is only one of many).  While I enjoyed the book for what information it imparted, especially for those unfamiliar with psychology, the fore mentioned (and other) issues prompt me to insist it be read with a discerning eye and copious grains of salt.

19. Dweller by Jeff Strand

The cover of Dweller by Jeff StrandThis novel was like a more fucked up version of Harry and the Hendersons, if the Hendersons were a once brutally bullied loner and Harry was a man eating abomination.  I really wanted to know where the monster came from.  Was he some government experiment gone wrong?  A throwback from an early time?  A creature from an alien dimension?  Everything about him just breeds more questions, but his relationship with Toby is both poignant and disturbing.  A lot of fucked up things happen in this book.  I was initially unsure about Strand’s writing style, but it grew on me as did Toby’s character.  It made sense why the author wrote it in this way: it perfectly reflected the MC’s mental state.  This is one of those books that has the perfect ending, as in there’s no other way it could’ve ended for these characters that would’ve been as satisfactory.

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The State of the Reader: 1/3/18

<–The State of the Reader: 12/20/17          The Final State of the Reader–>

A weekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Purchased: 0


Books DNF: 1

Title: The Prophet of Yonwood
Series Title: Book of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau

Media: Paperback
Percentage Finished: 21%

Not nearly as engaging as the other books.  This prequel wasn’t compelling in the least, and it’s disappointing since the lead up to what caused the existence of Ember could’ve been a rousing tale.  We could’ve found out if there were other underground cities and/or how the rest of humanity survived, but the author choose to focus on prophecy and proselytizing instead of that.  I still have the final Book of Ember to read, which I’m looking forward to, as it involves Lina and Doon’s return.

Books Finished: 3

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Date Added: April 18, 2016
Date Started: August 26, 2017

Media: Physical/Hardback

Oh my god this book was so good.  I don’t know how I’m going to review it, since I can’t say much without spoiling, but it took so many familiar tropes, cliches even, and yet they didn’t come off as trite.  While I figured it out about a chapter or two before the reveal, I still covered my face with my hands.  All the pieces just fell together beautifully, and I think it worked because it’s not like the author doesn’t give away an integral part in the very prologue.  I kept going back and forth from there to my current place just to make sure all of the ends matched up.  They did…to tragic effect.  I hope the sequel comes out sooner rather than later sometime this year.

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The State of the Writer: 12/17/17

<–The State of the Writer: 12/3/17          The State of the Writer: 12/31/17–>

A biweekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1

Project: Game Review
Title: The Witch’s House

Date Posted: December 10, 2017

I’m concentrating on shorter, easier game reviews during the holidays (if I can even get to them), while I figure out how I’m going to organize and work on projects in the new year.  This was a terrifying watch for someone as jumpy as me, and even if you’re not a wuss puss like yours truly, the end of the game is going make your mind bend over backwards as you attempt to “what the fuck?!” your way out of the epic twist.


Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 259,206
Prior Word Count: 259,206
Word Difference: 0
Status: Revising
Progress: Chapter 2

Seph is patiently waiting.

The Great General should never be kept waiting, but hopefully he understands how busy the season of Advent is :p

As you can tell from my word count I made zero progress on any revisions.  Even with cutting down on how often I update and reading less books, the holiday season has stepped right into those empty time slots.  I’ve also been working later since overtime is available, because TSN needs that money.

I’m not sure how I’m going to fit in the revisions I want to do for this with the ones I want to do for my first original novel and working on my next one, but that’s why I’m planning on “time schedule” spreadsheets.  Spreadsheets will save the world.


Reviews

Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Upcoming

Right before I wrote/posted this, I reorganized my book reviews.  I’m going to start reviewing graphic novels and manga as series instead of individual volumes.  That will greatly decrease the amount of book reviews I garner in a given time.  Now if I’ve already reviewed a book in the series (like Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft), I’ll continue reviewing each volume separately, but going forward, I’ll review manga and graphic novels as part of a whole.

I did add a few books in the past two weeks:

  1. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
  2. Parallel by Anthony Vicino
  3. Death Note, Vol. 5: Whiteout  by Tsugumi Ohba (Series)

Project: Game Reviews
Title: 
Various
Status: 
Upcoming

Just one added to the pile this week, but what a game.  I thought I was watching something else, but stuck with it, and in the end, I ugly-cried in a way I’d never ugly-cried for  for a game this entire year (and possibly ever).


What are you currently working on?  Is it a creative writing project, essay, review, or something else?  Have you just started something new or are you wrapping up a long term project?

<–The State of the Writer: 12/3/17          The State of the Writer: 12/31/17–>

The State of the Reader: 12/6/17

<–The State of the Reader: 10/25/17          The State of the Reader: 12/20/17–>

A weekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Do people like reading news/updates in the beginning or end of regular posts?  I think I like the beginning so I immediately know what’s going on, but I’m sure some of you might prefer just reading the weekly, and then dealing with any news.  Well, as mentioned in my End of Hiatus post, I’m not going to be doing this weekly anymore, but rather biweekly.  I’m also cutting down on the number of books I read at once.  Instead of two Kindles, I’ll be reading one and only on on weekdays during my lunch break if I’m at work.  Instead of reading a classic and a non-fiction/reference, I’ll alternate between the two.  Since I just finished reading a classic and I’m already in the midst of a reference, the latter’s reading days will be moved to the former’s.  Once I finish the  non-fiction, I’ll read another classic and so on.  Then I’ll read one physical fiction/fantasy, which could be a book borrowed from the library; however, I’m not necessarily going to read an additional book from the library anymore.  I was going to keep it at three, but graphic novels/manga are really easy to breeze through.  Cutting down from seven books to four is going to help tremendously (it already has), especially considering I have a shit ton of reviews to catch up on.  So that’s my update.  Biweekly SOTR posts and less books at a time.


Books Purchased This Month: 0



Books Finished This Month: 5

Title: The Bonesetter’s Daughter
Author: Amy Tan
Date Added: August 16, 2012
Date Started: October 19, 2017
Date Finished: November 12, 2017
Reading Duration: 24 days

Media: eBook/Kindle

I think I might have read this book before, but forgot I’d finished it, so didn’t include it on my Read shelf.  Regardless, like Amy Tan’s other books, I adored it.  She tends to write about mother-daughter relationships using some of the most eloquent language possible, and I’ve been reading her novels since high school.

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