In contrast to Throwback Thursdays, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release I’m excited about! Today’s is a familiar story for many, I’m sure, but told in a new way: The Phantom of the Opera by Varga Tomi! Expected Release: October 20, 2020
Why wait on this one?
It’s a story I know and love, and I am happy to hear it again. Sometimes, it really is as simple as that. I’m not worried about there being changes I dislike because I’m happy to see a new interpretation, if that’s the way they go.
The Phantom story lends itself well to stunning visuals. Have you seen the musical?! So having the story in a graphic novel format seems pretty much perfectly fitting for it. A focus on the visual part should do this story justice.
As a tagalong point to above, I’m really excited for moody, dark tones right now, and this is nothing if not exactly that. If I have time, I might even grab a copy on pub day to try to add it to this month’s spooky tbr list!
Summary: Everyone has heard the whispered tales of the phantom who lives beneath the opera house, the mysterious trickster behind all the little mishaps and lost things. But no one has ever seen the monster . . . until now. When the promise of blossoming love lures him out from his intricately constructed hideaways in the labyrinthine building’s walls and cellars, a hideously disfigured artist trains the lovely Christine to be the opera’s next star for a steep price. Does she choose her newfound success or her beloved Count Raoul? This doomed love triangle threatens to combust when a tragic death, a series of betrayals, and increasingly dangerous accidents cast the players of The Palais Garnier into a heart-wrenching horror story that will echo through the ages.
Every now and then, you have a moment where you realize your tastes have changed. Your a kid and you absolutely loathe strawberries, but now as an adult you’re baffled by ever not loving them. Or you love Will Ferrell movies, and then you actually watch one and realize it’s awful.
One of my most drastic flips like that was with Virginia Woolf. It all started years ago in a classroom… (Please imagine a hazy wavering dream sequence intro…)
My one refusal
I was a pretty rule-abiding kid growing up, and particularly in school. I enjoy learning, so I didn’t usually have an issue with being there and doing whatever things were assigned. The one exception arose in a Women’s History class that I ended up in by a fluke; technically it was only for upperclassmen, so I’m still not sure why I was in there.
The class went okay, and I enjoyed it for the most part, until one fateful day. Our assignment was to read Virginia Woolf’s signature stream of consciousness essay, A Room of One’s Own. If you’ve never read a stream of consciousness work you should really consider yourself lucky because MY GOD is it confusing i mean theres minimal punctuation and her thoughts just scramble in every direction as she starts with a walk through the park droning on about policemen and ducks and whatever else happens to catch her eye until it all becomes one page entirely full of text with absolutely no breaks and its almost impossible to follow because its just her unfiltered thoughts with seemingly no editing.
And there’s a little example, though even that is pretty coherent. So if it’s not clear, I very much disliked reading it, as it’s very theoretical and about people’s rights and whatnot, but delivered in a very rambling format. The style is the complete antithesis of “concise.”
I finished that book, and I thought it might kill me. Or at least kill my love of reading. In the end we finished discussing it in class and our teacher assigned an essay on it as part of the final project for the quarter.
Which I flat out refused to do.
I don’t remember now what I did do, if anything, but I told my teacher I would not be writing that essay, and I didn’t. It was completely out of character for me, and even thinking back on it now I’m mildly surprised by myself! But hey, stick to your guns, right?
And yet she re-emerges
I probably should have known that as an English major I would have to read something else by Virginia Woolf while I was at university. That said, I did make it until my final year before she strode back into my life. Unfortunately that also meant she was a candidate for what I had to use in my senior thesis to graduate which… was not ideal, based on past experience.
This time, she emerged in the form of To The Lighthouse, which is an actual novel instead of the unfiltered thoughts I’d read before. We worked through it in the class, and reading this one was significantly easier. It wasn’t exactly a pleasure, like a decadent chocolate cake, but it was satisfying in its own way, like a bowl of salmon and farro.
I had to stop and think about it frequently, both while reading and while discussing it in my class of about six other people. And in talking about it so much, I came to really appreciate the subtleties of the writing and the layers of each character.
In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I wrote my entire lengthy senior thesis on it and gave several presentations. (And yeah, I nailed it.) I came to really enjoy that book, and the work I did on it only increased that. I’m also really proud of what I created from it, so it holds a lot of positive feelings now.
What are your top book flip-flops?
Maybe yours don’t span over the course of years, but have you ever loved the first work by an author that you read, and then been bitterly disappointed by the rest of their works? Or maybe even in the course of one book: you started it out and were feeling a bit lukewarm, when that one plot twist or character introduction totally spun you into loving it? Love to hear about them — and any related experiences with Virginia Woolf. 😁
The adaptation of the text is solid, but a lot is missing in the details since it would be so long to include it all. Comes with the territory, really. Really lovely condensed version of the story though, and the art makes Mr Darcy much more understandable, to read into what you might not see just from text.
Recommended: yup! For a pared down version of the original story, for illustrations that give depth to small moments that may be missed in the original, for a quicker read of a classic story
Summary: Beloved by millions the world over, Pride & Prejudice is delightfully transformed in this bold new manga adaptation. All of the joy, heartache, and romance of Jane Austen’s original, perfectly illuminated by the sumptuous art of manga-ka Po Tse, and faithfully adapted by Stacy E. King. Elizabeth and her sisters are looking for marriage. The balance of love, wealth, and status is hard to find, and they’ll have to work past lies, pride, scoundrels, and ballgowns to find it.
Thoughts: Another wonderful Manga Classics adaptation! I finished Manga Classics: Macbeth and knew I had to look up some of their other works after seeing how excellent that one was. Since Pride and Prejudice is such a lengthy text, they had to adapt it rather than maintaining the full text as with Shakespeare’s. The idea of the story is maintained, and it turns into a quick read of a familiar story, good for if you want the story but also want to give time to other games as well.
Let me put it this way: I got a free digital copy for review, and it was so good that before I’d even finished it I had bought the print version to finish it on. 😍😍😍 Just brought so much depth to the story, even I caught some new details! Absolutely loved this adaptation!
Recommended: Yes!! For teachers looking for ways to make Macbeth clearer for students while still using the original language, for those who love a badass graphic novel, for an interesting and faithful illustrated interpretation of Macbeth.
Summary: Welcome to the Manga Classics’ brilliant adaptation of Macbeth! In this dark tale by William Shakespeare, a brave Scottish general named Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself. He is then wracked with guilt and paranoia. This manga adaptation brings a modern look to the classic language with the full original text alongside 300+ pages of stunning art.
Thoughts: As an avid reader and someone who majored in English and English Education in college, I’ve read Macbeth a good number of times. I even did a thesis on it and created a website around it at one point! I have some pretty solid theories around the 3rd murderer and Hecate’s role in everything. And yet, despite my familiarity, there were still details I had never fully understood before that the manga version of Macbeth revealed to me.