This is the second or third time I've read this book, and at first I didn't enjoy it as much. But by the second half of the book I was once again caugThis is the second or third time I've read this book, and at first I didn't enjoy it as much. But by the second half of the book I was once again caught up in the story and how it would unfold. (I had forgotten some of the details, so I was nicely surprised at times.) This is not my favorite Dickens work - I think that honor goes to A Tale of Two Cities - but it's still a wonderful example of his work, and certainly worthy to be called a classic.
The book tells the life story of Pip, a young boy living on the edge of the marshes near Kent. He lives with his domineering older sister and her simple, kind-hearted husband, Joe. It opens rather dramatically, as Pip encounters an escaped convict in the churchyard on Christmas Eve. The convict threatens Pip and orders him to fetch food and a file for his leg irons. Pip obeys, setting into motion events that would drastically change his life.
A few months after this encounter, Pip is summoned to the ruinous mansion of Miss Havisham - a jilted bride, still wearing her bridal gown, and driven slightly mad with hurt and the desire for revenge. At the mansion, Pip meets Estella, Miss Havisham's young ward, and he is immediately smitten, despite Estella's cruelty to him. From this point on, Miss Havisham and Estella are focal points for Pip, and his relationship with these two women drive all that he does, as he grows.
A few years go by, and Pip is contacted by an attorney with wonderful news: a mysterious benefactor has bestowed 'great expectations' upon Pip, with a lavish trust fund, and the desire of this benefactor to see Pip become a gentleman. Pip can't believe his good fortune, as he didn't feel worthy of Estella as a blacksmith's apprentice. He goes off to fortune to become a gentleman. The identity of this benefactor is the central mystery of the story, and I won't reveal it here.
Throughout the book, Dickens populates Pip's life with the usual assortment of colorful characters, as is his wont. These, along with his clever turn of phrase make the book a joy to read - though the archaic tone and slow pace can take some getting used to, at first. But Dickens wondrously ties up all the loose ends (even those you weren't aware of) by the book's end, giving the reader much satisfaction at the end. Indeed, I read that Dickens changed the original ending to make it happier.
This is a true classic, and justifiably so. Do read it, if you haven't!...more
I know of this author from her blog at tanyamarlow.com, though I do not know her personally. Ms. Marlow suffers from a chronic illness, as do I, so II know of this author from her blog at tanyamarlow.com, though I do not know her personally. Ms. Marlow suffers from a chronic illness, as do I, so I can really relate to what she writes. Because of reading her blog, I knew I had to read this book, and I'm very glad I did! And while this book uses her personal story to illustrate the story of Ruth from the bible, even those who are not chronically ill will be able to get something out of the book. We all have times when we are bitter, or feel lost, or are struggling in some way.
This short book follows the book of Ruth (which is also a short book), and intersperses the author's experiences and struggles with those of Ruth and Naomi. Each chapter of the book corresponds to a chapter of Ruth. At the end of each chapter is a series of short questions to help readers explore the themes of that chapter in their own lives. After reading the book, I think it could be appropriate for bible study groups, as well as individual study. I found the book to be very well-written, clear and concise. It is full of wisdom, and can enrich any Christian who reads it. I learned a lot about the book of Ruth, as well as about myself and my struggles. I highly recommend it!
**spoiler alert** I grabbed this e-book in desperation one evening, when I had some time to kill after work & before bible study, and I had forgot**spoiler alert** I grabbed this e-book in desperation one evening, when I had some time to kill after work & before bible study, and I had forgotten to being the book I was currently reading. So - iPhone to the rescue! This was a free book, in the Gutenberg Project, and it was Sci-Fi, and I'd read other books by this author when I was a kid, so I grabbed it. I knew it would be a bit out-dated, but it wasn't as bad as I'd feared - a few too many references to EarthMEN, and no female characters, but overall, it was a pretty decent read.
The story is about Dal, the first non-human to train on Earth as a doctor. (At this point in Earth's future, we are known as "Hospital Earth" and known as the galaxies best doctors.) Dal faces prejudice and fear as he graduates, and it is clear that there is one senior doctor who is definitely out to "get" Dal and prevent him from becoming a full "star surgeon". Nevertheless, cooler heads prevail and Dal is put on a probation ship, with two other doctors-to-be.
The three young men travel around the galaxy, answering pleas for help, and we see further prejudice by one of the other crew. They encounter various medical trials, and finally learn to respect one another when faced with a planet-wide plague that they can't figure out how to stop. Dal manages to figure out what the problem is, and the 3 think they will be awarded their "stars" (as full-fledged doctors), but Dal's nemesis shows up and it's clear he's going to twist circumstances to get Dal kicked out. But then he has a massive coronary, and only Dal can save him. He does, the doctor relents and Dal gets his star!
I found the characters pretty one-dimensional (though Dal's relationship to his symbiont, 'Fuzzy', was original, and the intelligent virus was good), and as soon as the mean doctor showed up at the end, clearly ailing from a bad hear, I knew how Dal would win him over. It was all just a little too pat. I find this kind of plot and writing to be very common-place from novels of this era (1950's), so I wasn't surprised. I still managed to enjoy it, and thankfully it was pretty short.
If you are interested in "intergalactic medicine" then there is a far better, and more recent series, I HIGHLY recommend James White's "Sector General" series (the first is "Hospital Station")....more
I'm not sure how to rate this book. I didn't really 'like' it, because the characters were so evil and depraved. It made it difficult to really enjoyI'm not sure how to rate this book. I didn't really 'like' it, because the characters were so evil and depraved. It made it difficult to really enjoy the story. It really is a horror story - the horror of a selfish life, lived hedonistically, seeking only pleasure and not caring if others are hurt. It really was difficult for me to read it. Not that it wasn't well-written - it was. And as a morality tale it is quite effective. So, on literary merits, it probably deserves at least four stars. But four stars means "I really liked it", and I can't say that I did. Is it worth reading? Most assuredly! It is a classic for good reason. And I will remember it, and the characters, for a long time, I am sure. I guess that makes it a 'good' book, even if I didn't really enjoy reading it!!...more
After a very slow and rocky start, this book really takes off and is quite the adventure tale. A few racial slurs, standard for the time, but I've reaAfter a very slow and rocky start, this book really takes off and is quite the adventure tale. A few racial slurs, standard for the time, but I've read worse, in that regard. Surprisingly enjoyable tale!...more
Can't really say I 'read' it. Tried twice. Couldn't finish it. Not my cup of tea, despite the fact that I'm a huge sci-fi fan. Never connected with thCan't really say I 'read' it. Tried twice. Couldn't finish it. Not my cup of tea, despite the fact that I'm a huge sci-fi fan. Never connected with the protagonist. Never got into the story. I couldn't decide if it it was trying to be ironically profound or profoundly ironic or what. Too many other books I know I'll like than to spend any more time on something I don't like.