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October 2021 Spooky Read: Silence of the Lambs


SailorScoutMandy

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Time to grab the cider and a bag of candy and dive into this months choice of : Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

Feel free to bring in the movie as well for comparison if you'd like. It's fun to talk the difference between the written and recorded as well. 

 

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Hannibal Lecter. The ultimate villain of modern fiction. Read the five-million-copy bestseller that scared the world silent. The Silence of the Lambs. A young FBI trainee. An evil genius locked away for unspeakable crimes. A plunge into the darkest chambers of a psychopath's mind--in the deadly search for a serial killer. 

 

(Technically it is book #2 but Google says its not necessary to read them in order FYI)

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Horrible confession time: I've never seen the Hannibal movies. So I'm actually starting with red dragon and then will read silence. 

I know the general story of Hannibal so I'm starting at the first. They're shorter reads so should be no issues finishing both this month. 

After reading dragon I want to watch manhunter or red dragon ( they seem to be the takes on the same book) and then I'll watch silence once finished that book. 

 

Spooky plans 🎃

 

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1 hour ago, Reed Rothchild said:

You can just watch Red Dragon.  They're both very similar, but it's hard to compete with Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

I do agree that they did a very good job with the movie but I still think the book is better. I’m definitely glad I read the book first. Book over movie most of the time for me.

Mandy, there is also the Hannibal tv show that was excellent. I never did finish it though, I need to do that.

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4 hours ago, Reed Rothchild said:

You can just watch Red Dragon.  They're both very similar, but it's hard to compete with Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

I mean you're not wrong. That cast list 🤯

2 hours ago, Shmup said:

I do agree that they did a very good job with the movie but I still think the book is better. I’m definitely glad I read the book first. Book over movie most of the time for me.

Mandy, there is also the Hannibal tv show that was excellent. I never did finish it though, I need to do that.

I've seen gifs and clips of the show, the dude who plays Hannibal seems really good at it. It's on my backlog of shows for sure. 🙂

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Editorials Team · Posted
2 hours ago, Shmup said:

I do agree that they did a very good job with the movie but I still think the book is better. I’m definitely glad I read the book first. Book over movie most of the time for me.

Mandy, there is also the Hannibal tv show that was excellent. I never did finish it though, I need to do that.

Ah, I meant watch Red Dragon over Manhunter.

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Alright, this one was quite the page turner.  I'm glad it came up because I've had an unread copy of Hannibal on the shelf collecting dust for a couple of years now...

Choice lines and observations:

Spoiler

The first thing that popped into my head was that while there are many people who do kill and eat Starlings, there is also a general idea that the Starling is not to be eaten on account of the fact that they are reportedly capable of carrying no less than 17 different types of diseases which are communicable to humans - 5 bacterial, 2 fungal, 4 protozoan and 6 viral.  I'm uncertain what to make of the 'conflict' inherent between former and latter, but the latter made me think maybe this was connected to the choice of Starling for the protagonist's surname, as she states emphatically that Hannibal would never come after her (at least not with her as victim/dinner on his mind.)

p.21  "Nothing happened to me, Officer Starling.  I  happened.  You can't reduce me to a set of influences.  You've given up good and evil for behaviorism, Officer Starling.  You've got everybody in moral dignity pants-nothing is ever anybody's fault.  Look at me, Officer Starling.  Can you stand to say I'm evil?  Am I evil, Officer Starling."

Spoiler

[ I'm pretty sure that I laughed out loud when I found out that Dr. Lecter has 2 middle fingers on his left hand. ]

p.146       "You have some psychology, some forensics.  Where the two flow together you fish, don't you?  Catching anything, Clarice?"

       "It's pretty slow so far."

       "What do your two disciplines tell you about Buffalo Bill?"

       "By the book, he's a pure sadist."

      "Life's too slippery for books, Clarice; anger appears as lust, lupus as hives."  Dr. Lecter finished sketching his left hand with his right, switched the charcoal and began to sketch his right with his left, and just as well.

p.206       He moves the beam down Catherine's back.  Normally he would put the closure in the back, but then how could he don it alone?  It won't be the sort of thing he can ask someone to help him with, exciting as that prospect might be.  He knows of places, circles, where his efforts would be much admired-there are certain yachts where he could preen....

p.219       Waste and stupidity get you the worst, that's what he said.  Use this time and it'll temper you.  Now's the hardest test-not letting rage and frustration keep you from thinking.  It's the core of whether you can command or not.

p.226-227       "When you show the odd flash of contextual intelligence, I forget your generation can't read, Clarice.  The Emperor counsels simplicity.  First principles.  Of each particular thing, ask: What is it in itself, in its own constitution?  What is its causal nature?"

On page 280 there is a little quip about Crawford in which he whistled "Begin The Beguine."  At a glance it doesn't seem to be connected to anything so maybe it was just there for the sake of poetics, but I'm curious what deeper meaning the reference may have.  It's a song originally recorded by Cole Porter.  It's rather virtuosic with a relatively slow beat that lead to a dance described as "a slow rhumba."  The main reason it caught my eye is because I can recall an episode of Twin Peaks (which has somewhat similar subject matter) in which Leland Palmer is singing "Get Happy" at the Hayward house until he passes out.  When he's awakened w/smelling salts he very quickly states in a creepy demonic voice: "Begin the beguine!"  

So if anyone has any further thoughts on that, by all means...

Very good book, very quick read.  I especially enjoy all of the psychology and forensics although, at times those two things occasionally come off inaccurate if not all together wrong. 

Spoiler

I neglected to record the page numbers, could find them if I have to, but there were a couple of places where they were talking about knowing that Buffalo Bill had to live in a two story house or else he would not have been able to hang one of his victims because without the high ceiling above a stairway it wouldn't be possible.  It's also claimed that the victim is too difficult to manage onto a chair, head in noose etc.  They also go on to talk about how people hang themselves from doorknobs all the time.  I want to look it all up again now, but at any rate it didn't make a lick of sense.  How hard is it to screw a hook into the ceiling, hang a noose over it, put another hook in the floor for the other end of the rope and then hoist the drugged or knocked unconscious victim up to their fate?

Ps. For relevant readers: Suicide is not the answer.  Lots of people would love to get to know and help you.

The Book is better than the movie as is almost always the case.  

Spoiler

In the end, rather than calling Starling on the horn, Lecter writes individual letters to her, Chilton and Barney.  It's deeper and more interesting than the end of the movie but it also forwent one of Hannibal's best lines: "I'm having an old friend for dinner."

 

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Two more pesos in the fountain:  I saw Red Dragon and thought it was very good.  Then I saw manhunter and wanted to stick a fork in my eye, mostly due to the lead actor's performance which I would characterize as "very dry ham trapped in a paper bag."

 

Ardelia Mapp, Starling's friend and roommate struck me as an anagram when I read it.  Neither is a made up word, they both have a record of origin and meanings.  It just seems like an odd choice.  Ardelia is not exactly a popular name in 1983 and the two names together, (to my ear at least) sound clunky.  I could be wrong.  Nothing that made much sense came to me.  Then I watched the movie and there were two anagrams used in the plot:

Spoiler

Esther Mofet = The rest of me    &     Louis Friend = iron sulfide aka fool's gold

The only interpretation I can think of so far that makes any kind of sense isn't an anagram at all, but if you say "Ardelia Mapp" fast it sounds like: "I'll deal ya a map" which would be another way of expressing Lecter's quid pro quo with Starling.  Figured I may as well toss it out there...

Also, forgot to mention: I think that one of the best parts of the book is the seemingly never-ending depth of compare and contrast between Hannibal and Clarice and the way that attraction is repeatedly suggested in both book and film, ...as unsettling as that may be...

Edited by PII
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59 minutes ago, DoctorEncore said:

I checked this bad boy out from the library and downloaded it onto my Kindle and that's like 90% of the battle for me. I've never read the first book though. Should I potentially miss out on this spooky read discussion to go in order?

Nope you don’t have to read Red Dragon first. I don’t think there is really any reference at all to it in Silence of the Lambs.

However, in saying that, I think Red Dragon is the better book.

Depending on your time you could do both, they’re not long reads.

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So I'm currently a third through red dragon and holy smokes is it good. I don't normally like crime novels, but this one hits differently. It's an easy read so I'm sure to finish it probably this weekend and then dig into silence. 

 

I cant help but picture Hopkins Everytime they mention or talk to Hannibal. 

hannibal lecter GIF

 

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Just now, SailorScoutMandy said:

So I'm currently a third through red dragon and holy smokes is it good. I don't normally like crime novels, but this one hits differently. It's an easy read so I'm sure to finish it probably this weekend and then dig into silence. 

 

I cant help but picture Hopkins Everytime they mention or talk to Hannibal. 

hannibal lecter GIF

 

I couldn't put Red Dragon down either, I think I blazed through it in a couple of days. Silence is great too, but as I said above, I felt Red Dragon was better, but only slightly. 

Anthony Hopkins did a fantastic job with Hannibal but I now can only picture Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal. He absolutely nailed the role for me. See what you think if you check out the TV show :)

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I've been chipping away slowly at Silence and I'm enjoying it. It's definitely a mass market book and it really flies by. I'm really surprised (and a bit disappointed) at how similar it is to the movie. I know that's a weird criticism since the movie is fantastic, but I was hoping there would be a few surprises or twists that I didn't see coming. I'm only 25% through, so there's still plenty to go and I'm excited to finish it.

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2 hours ago, DoctorEncore said:

I've been chipping away slowly at Silence and I'm enjoying it. It's definitely a mass market book and it really flies by. I'm really surprised (and a bit disappointed) at how similar it is to the movie. I know that's a weird criticism since the movie is fantastic, but I was hoping there would be a few surprises or twists that I didn't see coming. I'm only 25% through, so there's still plenty to go and I'm excited to finish it.

I would see that as a positive. Since the book was first it meant the film stayed true to the source material. Tho I can totally understand reading a book and being like ohhh secret scenes I didn't know about since not in the move. 

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2 hours ago, SailorScoutMandy said:

I would see that as a positive. Since the book was first it meant the film stayed true to the source material. Tho I can totally understand reading a book and being like ohhh secret scenes I didn't know about since not in the move. 

Yeah, I immediately started thinking, "That's why the movie was so good. It actually stuck to the novel." I'm still enjoying it quite a bit, although my brain insists that Jodi Foster and Anthony Hopkins are the faces of these characters.

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I had never seen or read this story until now and only had the typically pop culture knowledge of it. I finished the book yesterday and watched the movie today. Both were good but I didn't think they were anything particularly great. I do appreciate the movie did follow the book so closely but it did take a lot of the suspense out. 

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Red dragon book 3/5

Red dragon movie 1.5/5? 

 

The internal monologue drove the story of the book and the movie was really lacking without it. Edward Norton would not be my pick for Graham nor Ralph Fiennes for Dolarhyde. The movie was confusing because it was lacking too much information. 

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Editorials Team · Posted
On 10/12/2021 at 8:49 PM, SailorScoutMandy said:

Red dragon book 3/5

Red dragon movie 1.5/5? 

 

The internal monologue drove the story of the book and the movie was really lacking without it. Edward Norton would not be my pick for Graham nor Ralph Fiennes for Dolarhyde. The movie was confusing because it was lacking too much information. 

Harsh.

 

I'm 50 pages into Silence and my thoughts echo Doc Encores.

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3 hours ago, Reed Rothchild said:

Harsh.

 

I'm 50 pages into Silence and my thoughts echo Doc Encores.

I'm about to start that one this weekend. 

 

The movie just felt boring compared to the book. There was nothing like the internal dialogue to drive the characters like there was in the book. 

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I went ahead and read "Hannibal, didn't make any notes although I'm sure I'll make plenty on the re-read.  The experience of seeing a "scary" movie as a kid and then seeing the same movie as an adult and laughing all the way through because its that ridiculous, occurs to me.  And then I think: 'this is a creepy and disturbing book, because the author is holding a mirror up to reality.'

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