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Dracula by Bram Stoker

A bit about the author:

Abraham Stoker was born in 1847 in Dublin, Ireland.

He was the son of a civil servant and a charity worker.

He attended Trinity College in Dublin and later became personal assistant to the actor Henry Irving.

During his life time he wrote a number of non fiction books, as well as articles, a few poems and some short stories.

Of The 12 novels that he wrote, Dracula was his 5th and his most famous work and was first published in 1897.

He died in London aged 64 in 1912 and is buried at Golders Green Crematorium in London.

Dracula is a gothic horror novel.

The story is written as journal entries, letters, telegrams and memorandums from some of the main characters –

Jonathan Harker, solicitor

Mina Murray, Jonathan’s fiancee

Lucy Westernra, Mina’s friend

Dr Seward, a suitor of Lucy’s, doctor and manager of an insane asylum.

Professor Van Helsing – a Dutch, professor, metaphysician and scientist whom Dr Seward was once a pupil of.

The story begins with Jonathan Harker’s journey to Transylvania to meet his client Count Dracula in order to secure a property sale and tells of his time at the Counts castle where he learns that the Count is planning to move to London. He finds himself imprisoned and is very lucky to escape with his life.

Afterwards he questions his sanity and doesn’t know wether his ordeal is some kind of delusion or if it really happened.

Whilst he is in Transylvania, Mina goes to Whitby to visit her friend Lucy who has recently had 3 marriage proposals from Dr Seward, Quincy Morris – an American, and Arthur Holmswood, who happens to be a friend of Quincy’s and son of Lord Goldalming.

During the time that Mina is in Whitby there’ s a very strange and mysterious incident of a Russian ship being wrecked onto the shore, with all the crew members missing and the Captain being found dead on board. A dog is seen running off of the ship. Soon afterwards Lucy starts sleepwalking.

The events that then unfold spark a feeling of disbelief and horror as the characters find themselves confronted by an unbelievable, supernatural and evil force and a desperate hunt by all 3 of Lucy’s suitors, along with Van Helsing, Jonathan and Mina to track down Count Dracula and kill him ensues.

It is a tale of philosophical and superstitious belief and ultimately of a battle between good and evil.

This is an excellent gothic horror novel which has become a timeless classic and has been inspirational for a lot of writers, film makers and other creatives and in doing so it has created a whole genre of Vampire fiction.

My Week With Marilyn 

My Week With Marilyn – Colin Clark 


A little about the author – Colin Clark was born in October 1932.

His father was art historian Lord Clark of Saltwood. He was educated at

Eton and was a writer and filmmaker who specialised in television programs about the arts.

He was the third assistant director on the 1956 film – The Prince And The Showgirl.

He died in 2002.

 

My Week With Marilyn was first published as The Prince, The Showgirl And Me in 1995 by Harper Collins.

This copy of My Week With Marilyn was published in 2011 to tie in with the movie adaptation of the book by BBC Films.

 

My Week With Marilyn is essentially memoirs of Colin Clark that he wrote whilst working as the third assistant director on the 1956 – The Prince And The Showgirl, which started. Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Olivier.

Colin Clarke was a young man in his early twenties at the time and it was his first job within the film industry. He had always been fascinated in the way films were made and as his father was a friend of Sir Laurence Olivier he eventually managed to get a job working on the film.

There was a big buzz about the film as at the time Sir Laurence Olivier was the greatest theatre actor and Marilyn Monroe the biggest movie star in the world was coming over to England to make the film.

Colin Clark’s account of the making of the film are fascinating not only doesn’t it give a real insight into the way movies were made and the film industry but it gives a firsthand account of the problems on the set and the well known difficult relationship between Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe.

This book also gives an insight into Marilyn Monroe as a person and it is already known that she was a troubled person who took too many uppers and downers, taking one to counteract the other. She also suffered from mental illness and was a vulnerable person. The book also depicts how everybody seemed to want to control Marilyn yet all were unable to. She was infamously late all of the time for everything and what I felt when I was reading the book is that she really was completely clueless as to how this and her other behaviours affected and massively inconvenienced everyone else. It never crossed her mind.

She also could never remember her lines and it again is well known that often loads of takes had to shot to get her to do one short scene right.

I was left feeling that the whole thing overwhelmed her having to concentrate on lines, expression, character as well as the dozens and dozens of people on set watching.

Sir Laurence Olivier thought she was completely unprofessional and intensely disliked her – as did everyone else who worked on the film except for Colin Clark.

What was really sad is that on the last day of filming Marilyn bought everybody on the set who had worked on the film a small gift and everyone threw it in the bin, that is how much she was disliked.

A fascinating insight into Marilyn as a person. I could not help feeling ( Despite being a fan of Marilyn) that she was quite a self obsessed person and I did think that somebody should have told her straight and told her to wise up, but sadly nobody did. I don’t think anybody really cared about her to really help her, all the friends that are know we’re all just hangers on with their own agenda and too afraid to say anything that might upset her.

I thought it was a good honest account of time spent with Marilyn and I could not help wondering if Marilyn Monroe’s real problem could possibly have been Aspergers, because there is so much in her personality that indicates this.

This is a great biographical read and an essential read for people who are interested in Marilyn or those who are already fans.