I didn't expect this to be so short or so very very simple. I think the only way to get a ton out of it is to read it much slower than I did in search...moreI didn't expect this to be so short or so very very simple. I think the only way to get a ton out of it is to read it much slower than I did in search of the deeper meanings both textually and contextually. I did enjoy seeing how Alice learned some, while venturing through Wonderland, about manners and maybe not telling her animal companions about how she ate or saw someone eating their kind just the other day. Silly Alice. The book does do a great job of characterizing how the young are so very oblivious to their own shortcomings while still aware of those same flaws on those around them.(less)
The only somewhat new and interesting element to this fifth installment in the Tarzan series was the return of La, the high priest...moreSame old, same old.
The only somewhat new and interesting element to this fifth installment in the Tarzan series was the return of La, the high priestess of Opar, who will do nearly anything to force Tarzan to become her mate. Beyond that, Tarzan loses his memory and is reduced to the original state of his bestial upbringing. Jane gets kidnapped and escapes about fifty times (surprise!) and, as usual, her incredible beauty makes the kidnappers decide they would like to take her for their own.(less)
Sometimes movie renditions set up false expectations for the original work. The Wizard of Oz was an amazing movie, particularly for its time. Fortunat...moreSometimes movie renditions set up false expectations for the original work. The Wizard of Oz was an amazing movie, particularly for its time. Fortunately for me, the book is quite as good. Very similar, in fact, though with a few "lost chapters" that never made it into the movie. Baum writes in clear and enjoyable prose. His characters are funny, quirky, and oblivious to their own natural faculties for brains, hearts, and bravery. I loved the part where we find out the Wizard of Oz made those "protective" glasses mandatory (to protect against the brilliant glare of the glowing green city) so that, in fact, everyone would see the Emerald City as green. What a trickster.(less)
This fourth installment in the Tarzan series follows Jack, the now teenage son of Tarzan and Jane, as he secretly travels back to the African jungle h...moreThis fourth installment in the Tarzan series follows Jack, the now teenage son of Tarzan and Jane, as he secretly travels back to the African jungle home of Akut the ape, gets stranded there, and becomes--like father, like son--a wild man of the jungle, known as Korak the Killer. While raiding a jungle village, he comes upon the young girl Meriem and rescues her from her abusive situation. She too adapts well to life in the jungle and it seems that Jack and Meriem are becoming the perfect match for each other before Meriem's secret history and unknown true identity come back to disturb their simple life together, separating them so that neither, perhaps, will ever know happiness or love again.
I enjoyed this Tarzan installment much more than the previous two, as The Son of Tarzan involves a refreshing new set of characters and some emotional depth beyond killing bad guys and running from kidnappers. There is an excellent twist near the end, (view spoiler)[having to do with one of the character's true identities (hide spoiler)], that I saw coming but then Burroughs did such a good job of leading me astray that I was pleasantly surprised when my initial guess turned out to be true.
My only issues with this novel were, first, my confusion over Jack's age. For some reason, I thought he was only ten years old when he started out on his adventure. But that is clearly not accurate. I'm guessing he was somewhere around fifteen years old. But this was never made clear (that I caught) in the text. Second was Burrough's confidence that we would dismiss and forgive Jack/Korak's brutish behavior just as we had previously with Tarzan himself. Tarzan's bestial violence and occasional acts of murder were understandable because he was raised by animals and, until he first met another human (and gained morals, I might add), didn't know any better. But Jack did know better. Yet, in the jungle, he murdered other men for a trifle. This moral discrepancy makes the son infinitely less likable than the father.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I had a feeling, just from the cover blurb, that this book was going to be disappointing. If you want to read a lot more of the exact same stuff from...moreI had a feeling, just from the cover blurb, that this book was going to be disappointing. If you want to read a lot more of the exact same stuff from the second book then please read on. We've got the same villains and, lo and behold, our hero finds himself again (to review, this is the third time) in the African jungle where he must let his bestial instincts take hold.
The only fun addition in this book is that, as the title suggests, Tarzan gets some beasts. (view spoiler)[Yep, he tames himself a panther and a tribe of apes to do his bidding and help him fight battles against evil African tribesmen and the villainous enemies who have kidnapped his wife and child. (hide spoiler)]
The growing downside is the racism pervasive in Burroughs' works. The African tribesmen are frequently referred to as "blacks" rather than "natives," particularly when speaking toward their brutish natures and minimal cerebral faculties. Tarzan is always the master, never just a companion or friend, of the one or two African natives he always recruits to do his bidding in each book. I can't ignore the fact that the natives are constantly criticized for their brutish natures when Tarzan is clearly the most brutish of them all. Clearly white skin and an English title made all the difference to Burroughs.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
What can I say? I love Tarzan -- the complexity of his brutish and uncivilized moores contrasting with his genuine sense of honor, honesty, and goodne...moreWhat can I say? I love Tarzan -- the complexity of his brutish and uncivilized moores contrasting with his genuine sense of honor, honesty, and goodness; the clash of the civilized Parisian man with the animal-like wild man of the jungle; and, like Jane Porter, I too fall prey to fawning over his statuesque physique and physical prowess.
That's not to say that the plot of this book is as heavy-hitting and powerful as Tarzan himself. In fact, I would say this story is redeeming in entertainment only. The plot is meandering, the antics of the "new Russian enemy" felt a bit like I was reading Home Alone: the Novel as Tarzan swatted away the weakling men as if batting away a fly.
There are, however, some scenes with amazing dynamics. One, in particular, (view spoiler)[the pistol duel between Tarzan and Count Raoul de Coude (hide spoiler)] was phenomenal.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This is an emotional whirlwind of a story. I've never been so emotional affected by a book except when I tried to read Stephen King's The Stand, which...moreThis is an emotional whirlwind of a story. I've never been so emotional affected by a book except when I tried to read Stephen King's The Stand, which I had to put down after 90 pages because it made my spirit feel black even when I wasn't actually reading it. Unlike King's dark and brooding flavor, Gone with the Wind is chock-full of romantic angst--and not the over-dramatized YA angst of this day and age. This wonderful classic is full of hardship, social intrigue, and a girl who doesn't recognize her own feelings through the constant weight of necessity. The reader, unfortunately, is left (view spoiler)[just as unsatisfied (hide spoiler)] as Scarlett herself, in the end. I wonder if Margaret Mitchell ever intended on writing a sequel?(less)
This novel is much more like a collection of morality tales than I realized when I first opened the book. It's interesting to get a peek into the soci...moreThis novel is much more like a collection of morality tales than I realized when I first opened the book. It's interesting to get a peek into the social mores of the 19th century, particularly as they related to the roles of women.(less)
Light in August primarily chronicles the struggles and mistakes of Joe Christmas, Reverand Gail Hightower, and Lena Grove/Lucas Burch/Byron Bunch lead...moreLight in August primarily chronicles the struggles and mistakes of Joe Christmas, Reverand Gail Hightower, and Lena Grove/Lucas Burch/Byron Bunch leading up to and following Christmas's arrest in Jefferson for the murder of Joanna Burden, his one-time lover.
I was most particularly drawn to Lena Grove's search for Lucas Burch, her taciturn lover and father of the child she is soon to give birth to, which dominated the beginning of the novel. This section was like reading the juiciest gossip about everyone you do and don't know, and wondering all the while what's true and what could possibly happen next.
My interest waned a bit when I delved into Christmas's backstory and took a further plunge when the focus turned to Reverand Hightower. But although not all of the characters drew equal sympathy or interest, overall the novel was a good one and probably deserving of a re-read or two. (I listened to Light in August on audio-book, which in retrospect probably wasn't the best medium for a first-time read.)(less)