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To Build a Fire and Other Stories

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  2,494 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Penguin 60's are small books measuring 4.25 x 5.33 inches, published on the occasions of Penguin's 60th anniversary. This booklet contains three tales of endurance and adventure that range from the Klondike to the islands of the Pacific.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Penguin Books (first published November 1993)
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Jim
I gave this 5 stars in paper format, but never reviewed it. It's been decades since I last read it, so I'm overwriting that edition with this one. I remember some of the stories very well.

Overall, the stories ranged from OK to fantastic, but overall, they were quite good. It was depressing as hell, though. It's a tough world where a 'happy' ending is surviving intact. I'm not surprised I let so many years go by between reads. Definitely memorable, but certainly not uplifting. Still, I recommend
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Raphael
Jun 20, 2007 Raphael rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!

Jack London's short stories are astonishing. I read them last year, and my jaw was agape the entire time. I highly recommend them.
James Blatter
I believe there is no more emotional and effecting story written in human history than "To Build A Fire" if this story does not bring you to tears, does not remain with you for the rest of your life than you have no idea what it meansd to be a human and have love and companionship with animals or other humans
Artguy
It is unfortunate that London is grouped in with classic literature. Compared to the greats, he pales. Nevertheless, his writing is still quite exciting, gripping, and insightful. The tales he weaves take place in areas few know much about, yet he is able to take us into the minds of men living in extreme conditions throughout the globe.

The most famous story, of course, is To Build a Fire. I was surprised to find that his other short stories has just as much merit and originality. At times I was
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Anna
I really had a Jack London phase in middle school. I remember writing a short story based on the same style and even featuring the same morals. Good times.
Adam
Aug 05, 2009 Adam rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gold Prospectors, Those with a passion for cold, Armchair adventurers, Short-story fans
As far as I can recall this marks my first experience with the well known Jack London. 'To Build a Fire' is another book I picked up out of a buddies new apartment in Seoul as he refuses to deal with words in print form. While I at first regretted my decision, I decided to stick with it and was appropriately rewarded! Allow me to explain. . .

First of all, it's been a while since I dug into short stories or, more specifically, classic short stories. I remember signing up for a class in college ca
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David Nichols
While he is probably best-known for his novels (especially CALL OF THE WILD and WHITE FANG), London made much, if not most, of his literary revenue from his short stories. Most of his shorter fiction, as this collection demonstrates, was mediocre, weighed down by unengaging plots, racist language, and one- or two-dimensional characters. There are several very fine pieces here, however, including the title story; "Love of Life," which was apparently the last story Lenin had read to him (he enjoye ...more
An Odd1
20 stories mostly first-person about doomed subject, suffering probably from real life "enforced labor" p 267, more gallows than humor in "gallows humor" p 350. End is usually their death "The Law of Life" p 185. Always man, near prime of life, downtrodden, capitulates to harsh climate.

10 illustrations, I cannot find credit, shaded, of W. coast Indian and Inuit style like many subjects (those are women who feed, clothe, help loves), hatched textures, abstract landscapes, floating faces, swoopin
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Petra
I've never read anything by Jack London before. This man can write! I really enjoyed these stories and was surprised to find that many of them were not set in the cold, icy North. Jack can write about any setting; from city life to tropical beaches to the icy North.
I particularly enjoyed his stories on individuals from societies different than our North American one. He can get into people's minds and situations.
My favorite stories in the book were:
To Build A Fire
The Chinago - really enjoyed
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Karen
While London's book doesn't make for the cheeriest of readings (I believe you could end every one with "...and then he died."), he is indeed a master at spinning a captivating tale. The title story was probably my least favorite and among the most depressing of the collection, but for those who harbor a palate for the macabre, the book will surely delight.
Lyn
To Build a Fire is story enough by itself, towering over the other stories. Brutal and simple, the perfect Jack London story like David Allen Coe wrote the perfect country and western song. All the important elements are there.
Sara
Una dulce historia sobre el hombre y el animal. No somos tan distintos y a menudo ellos luchan por entendernos. Dulce y a la vez feroz.
Chuck

These stories were weirder than I recalled.
Геллее Авбакар
Disclosure:
I got this Edition of Jack London stories free from a friend of mine, I get in English, I have an Electronic version of the Book and soon I am planing to have it in Kindle too.

My Plot:
The story was about an American who was traveling to the Yukon Territory in Canada, he was looking forward to meet some friend there, In fact the Hero's aim from this journey was to look for the Gold, so he took his Husky and Start the Journey in a very cold winter day, He was crossing the River but unf
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Marvin
Jack London’s stories have a tendency to lean toward the depressing side of life, especially the ones based on The Klondike. They illustrate Man dealing with the extremes of nature. Hence, nature becomes the equalizing factor among man and animal, reducing humans to their most animalistic and basic form. Neither weather nor animals show mercy for human weakness, and the survival of humans depends mainly on the degree to which they use that ability which is unique to humans; superior intelligence ...more
Rauf
First of all I blame Hollywood for making awful, boring films based on White Fang and Call of the Wild. They're the reason I don't pick up anything from Jack London until last week. I had zero interest in reading any of his works. But one night I saw a 1969 film on TV called The Assassination Bureau. I love that film -- everyone should go and see it -- and as it turns out it was based on London's unfinished novel.
Naturally, I jumped in front of the computer and googled the Assassination Bureau b
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David Ward
To Build a Fire by Jack London (Tor Classics 1999) (Fiction - Thriller). Jack London is thought to be one of the greatest adventure writers of all time because he experienced that of which he wrote. He was in the Arctic with the wolves, the prospectors, and the frozen cold. "To Build a Fire" is thought of as his masterpiece. A man is on the march to meet his friends; he is not an experienced northern hand, and he does not know that the day is too cold for safe travel. London discloses that the ...more
Whitepixels
My grandma always reads this book in the cold winter months (we have a Hungarian edition, containing 26 short stories, that I cannot find on Goodreads, but this should be close). One winter I read it as well, and liked it. Some of the stories were not that good, but those about the cold north and gold miners were great. Pure naturalism, describing the harsh and unforgiving conditions in a masterful way.
Liam Bluer
This is a great mixture of adventure and existentialism. An obvious comparison can be found in Hemingway's short stories, but London is simply more consistently interesting. These tales are at once rip-roaring adventures, windows into lost times and places, lessons on the power and brutality of nature, and meditations on man's place in the universe. Jack London is the MAN.
James
These stories were very enjoyable and entertaining. I was concerned that they would get repetitive after a while but the book is split up half klondike, gold rush stories and half stories on other subjects ranging from south sea islands to boxing. Right when I was starting to get tired of the klondike stories the second half kicked in and kept me interested through to the end. The klondike stories were more consistently good but the gems of the other stories were superior in my opinion. I think ...more
Angelica Fuchs
Honestly, this was probably the only book that I enjoyed reading in my realism and naturalism class. Is it a little silly and inaccurate? Or course. This is a book containing a number of short stories you have to take with a grain of salt to enjoy. Compared to the other books we read though, such as The Marrow of Tradition or McTeague, I found Jack London's books to be very fun to read. There is suspense and action. It is good to keep in mind that most of these stories were written for a younger ...more
Russell
This was my choice for independent reading during a couple of months in my junior year of high school. The first set of short stories are set within the Yukon territory and really explore the concepts of man vs. nature and man with nature.

The remainder of the stories explore more of the every-man and one's daily challenges. My favorite out of the bunch is "A Piece of Steak", which is about an aging boxer who is set to box against a younger fighter.

All of these stories in one or more ways deal wi
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John
An excellent collection of short stories!

The plot for To Build A Fire can be summarized with: There’s a man in the wilderness and he’s trying to build a fire. In fact, the title itself summarizes the story. But this is a story you have to experience—a summary just doesn’t do it justice. When I first began reading it in high school, I thought, “Okay, so a guy is trying to build a fire…so what else happens? Is there a mystery to it…is there romance…?” There’s no romance…there’s no real mystery. Bu
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Christy
I never knew Kipling and Stevenson were his literary heroes, but it stands to reason. His writing has the same strengths and defects as theirs does: great raconteur-ism, vivid scenes, relentless, graphic gore, a tendency to turgid prose, and thumpingly condescending portraits of the non-white "others" who people his exotic landscapes (portraits that actually seem meant, in London's case, to pay them tribute). There's still something worth looking for in fiction to be found here--maybe a sense, e ...more
Cassie
No matter how brilliant a writer Jack London is, there are only so many times I can read a story where a young man succeeds against all obstacles, only to die in a heroic/tragic/interesting manner. The Klondike section of the book is phenomenal, but the "Other Stories" is hit or miss. Well worth reading, but I would still recommend this one in small doses at a time. Trying to read through the whole thing at once will end up with all of those wonderful stories blurring together, where you can't r ...more
Santanu Dutta
Just finished off reading this the other day.
Overall it's a so-so to good reading.
Have a mixed feeling with not so good remark. Since a fan of Jack London's writings, since my early days with "Call of the Wild", this book I hoped a lot and somehow it's a kind of disappointment.
With a couple of good and excellent pieces of work which I read or re read like To Build A Fire, The White silence, To the Man on Trail, Love of Life and many others, the rest of the stories are a total disappointment.
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Jeff
You are by yourself, in the Yukon, in brutal freezing conditions. You are wet and your hands are frozen and if you can get a fire built to warm up and dry out, you’ll probably be able to make it back to the camp in time for the doctor to cut off all of your frost bitten parts – and you’ll live .

That is if you can start a fire.

But to start a fire you have to thaw your hands. And to thaw your hands, you have to catch your dog, cut him open, and stick your hands into his guts. But your dog is s
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Alexandria Werenka
Fantastic and easy read. His stories and beautiful and astonishing.
Ricky Orr
This collection of 24 short stories was for the most part pretty good. I particularly liked:

'To Build a Fire' - about a man travelling on a very, very cold day on the Yukon trail;

'Told in the Drooling Ward' - as narrated by a life-long mentally-challenged patient in a mental institution;

'A Piece of Steak' - a story about a boxer that is past his prime;

'The White Silence' - an account of a tragic event occuring on the trail between long-time companions;

and 'Batard' - story of a devil-dog, Batard
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Humberto Hernandez
La constante en la literatura de Jack London es aquella de la ley de la vida, la vida misma de Jack London reflejada en pequeños relatos y pequeños puñetazos a manera de una prosa boxística bastante ágil, el buen Jack permea todo relato de ficción con lo que no podemos imaginar como otra cosa que sus propias experiencias. El escritor conocía bastante bien su oficio, por lo que si bien en algunos relatos no hay mayor trasfondo que el argumento mismo, su prosa está muy bien pulida, Jack London box ...more
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What do you think 2 7 Jan 31, 2012 11:39AM  
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1240
Jack London was an American novelist, journalist, social-activist and short-story writer whose works deal romantically with elemental struggles for survival. At his peak, he was the highest paid and the most popular of all living writers. Because of early financial difficulties, he was largely self educated past grammar school.

London drew heavily on his life experiences in his writing. He spent ti
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More about Jack London...
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“You have grudged the very fire in your house because the wood cost overmuch!" he cried. "You have grudged life. To live cost overmuch, and you have refused to pay the price. Your life has been like a cabin where the fire is out and there are no blankets on the floor." He signaled to a slave to fill his glass, which he held aloft. "But I have lived. And I have been warm with life as you have never been warm. It is true, you shall live long. But the longest nights are the cold nights when a man shivers and lies awake. My nights have been short, but I have slept warm” 15 likes
“So said Hair-Face, and they killed him, because, they said, he was a wild man and wanted to go back and live in a tree. It was very strange. Whenever a man arose and wanted to go forward all those that stood still said he went backward and should be killed. And the poor people helped stone him, and were fools. We were all fools, except those who were fat and did no work. The fools were called wise, and the wise were stoned. Men who worked did not get enough to eat, and the men who did not work ate too much.” 4 likes
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