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!
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
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
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 first read this book when I was in high school. I don’t recall if it was for a specific class, but I remember that I simply loved it and always thouI first read this book when I was in high school. I don’t recall if it was for a specific class, but I remember that I simply loved it and always thought of it as my favorite Dickens, even after reading such classics as David CopperfieldDavid Copperfield and Great ExpectationsGreat Expectations. However, since high school was over 40 years ago (gasp!) and our book club likes to read at least one classic a year, I nominated A Tale of Two Cities, as I wanted to refresh my memory on why I loved it so much. And a third of the way into the book, I was seriously questioning my high school judgment!
As most people know, ATOTC is about the French revolution. The two cities are Paris and London. The first part of the book introduces us to the cast of characters, which isn’t as large as many other books by Dickens. We learn about Charles Darnay, the young French aristocrat who has walked away from his estate and title to live in London. He falls in love with Lucie, the daughter of Dr. Manette, who was a political prisoner in France until recently. Sydney Carton is the barrister who becomes involved in their lives, and who also loves Lucie. Those are the main characters in London, though there are a few secondary characters that end up playing significant roles in the action that transpires. In Paris, we meet the Defarges, a married couple who are both leaders in the revolution. Again, there are a few other characters that impact the plot, but it is the Defarges that we mostly follow.
Because the entire first half of the book is establishing characters and their relationships, I was baffled by why I had loved the book so much when I first read it. We see lots of little vignettes showing the characters involved in what appear to be insignificant activities. I was just not engaged by any of the characters, and even the love triangle seemed forced. Thankfully, Dickens is a master at creating an interesting turn of phrase, and quirky characters, so I kept plugging away at the book. And I was rewarded by the last third - in spades!
The action in the last part of the book takes place back in Paris, where Darnay has returned to carry out a mission of mercy. But the revolution is in full swing and he is arrested because he is an aristocrat. Things happen fast and furious from this point on, and we see how events from the first part of the book tie into events in this section. Dickens was absolutely masterful at sprinkling these seemingly unrelated events throughout the book, and then weaving them all together in an intricate tapestry. It was brilliant! He also gave each secondary character a scene of their own, where we get to see them at their best/worst. The themes of love, honor and sacrifice were powerfully played out. This last section of the book is clearly why I loved it so in high school! And why I still think it’s one of Dickens’ best books, despite the seemingly slow start.
Dickens’ portrayal of the revolution and its proponents was quite interesting. For someone whose writings helped change the way the poor were treated in Great Britain, he doesn’t paint the revolutionaries in a very favorable light. He certainly highlights the abuses of the aristocracy, but the proletariat are portrayed as blood-thirsty villains, uninterested in truth, only revenge. His depiction of what can happen in mobs, and how easy it is for noble causes to be hijacked by baser motivations, shows great insight. I was reminded of the events in South Africa, when they threw of Apartheid, and how they didn’t succumb to a spirit of revenge, though God knows they had enough motivation. I was also struck by the similarities of the world (and U.S) today, where great wealth is in the hands of a very few, who live lives so completely removed from the lives of the rest of us that they could be on an entirely different planet. I wonder if at some point there will be a similar revolution. Food for thought.
**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
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.