A Review of Edgar Allen Poe: The Strange Man Standing Deep in the Shadows by Charlotte Montague

First of all, I just want to say, I’ve read everything by Poe as he was at one time my favorite author. He still is one of my favorites. I thought I knew a lot about his life through the articles I’ve read here and there over the years. I realized that I really knew not much of anything about him. His story is sad and very tragic.

Without getting into too much detail, because this is a book every Poe fan should read, one of the things that really stood out to me was how socially awkward Poe was. He fought with a good majority of his literary colleagues and was somewhat of a ladies man. Though he was fiercely loyal to Virginia, he received quite a few letters of admiration from friends, writers, and poets. He would read these letters to Virginia and they would laugh together. After her death, he couldn’t bear to be alone so began passionately pursuing several women he was acquainted with. The only thing that really stopped Poe from remarrying was his refusal and/or inability to give up drinking.

I was saddened by the circumstances of his death. He died a not very well liked man, clouded by scandals, alone, and in poverty. Though he had gained quite a bit of popularity due to his stories and poetry, he never made any money from any of it. It took him many years after his death to gain the fame and understanding of his genius that he truly deserved.

I ┬ádefinitely recommend this book. It is fully illustrated. It gives a synopsis of each of his more famous stories. There are explanations for things and events happening at the time that help to shed some light on the corresponding events in Mr. Poe’s life. Charlotte Montague wrote a series of these books on different historical figures and I intend to delve into her biography of HP Lovecraft next. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!

A Review of The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher is an icon to me. I have wanted to read her books for some time but never managed to actually put out the money for one. That changed recently for two reasons. One reason is that she recently passed away. As a long time fan of Star Wars and her iconic role as Princess Leia, this hit me hard. Second, I have a subscription to audible and she and her daughter, Billie Lourde, narrate this book. I was sold.

This book is mainly her confession to having an affair with Harrison Ford during her time filming the first Star Wars film. She has spent her whole life denying this relationship because at the time of their fling Mr. Ford was married to someone else, albeit an unhappy marriage. This is her account of that time period and the early stages of fame. She found her diaries for that time period and decided to publish some of the contents in this book. This part of the book is read by Billie while the rest is read by Carrie.

I enjoyed most of this book quite a bit. It was interesting to find out how being the daughter of famous parents affected her. She also talks about auditioning for Star Wars and her first impressions of George lucas. The real interesting stuff starts when she meets Harrison and their affair begins. Hearing it told from her perspective, it was basically a sexual relationship on his part and she gradually fell head over heels in love with him. She was only 19 and had a single relationship prior to Harrison. He confided in her about a marriage in ruins and a wife who didn’t understand him, all the while giving Carrie the idea that he was going to leave his wife for her.

She goes on for many chapters about how much she cares about him and is trying to fight it. It even seems like she’s trying to convince herself to be aloof about it. Her diaries entries are just verbal diarrhea about loving yet not being loved, some interesting poetry on the subject, and how horrible she feels being the other woman, yet not doing anything about it. This is all her side of the story and I have no idea how much of it is actually true.

I gave this one a 4 out of 5. I was entertained and I loved hearing Carrie reading this to me. I would have rather her read her diary entries as well. Billie Lourde’s voice is a bit monotone and scratchy for me. I can see how they were trying to capture a young Carrie Fisher with the transition but for me it didn’t work. I recommend listening to this on audio if you like audio books. It didn’t feel like it was very long at all and all the Star Wars facts and anecdotes from fans was very entertaining.