White fang is a good book, but it does not suite my tastes. Most of the book follows White Fang and his (mostly) difficult existence. London does a go...moreWhite fang is a good book, but it does not suite my tastes. Most of the book follows White Fang and his (mostly) difficult existence. London does a good job of describing his 'feelings' or what feelings he would have if he wasn't a (mostly) wolf. Personally I would rather dive into the human condition than explore a wolfs, however while this does not god into the nuances of the soul as much as say 'Great Expectations' it still does scratch the surface so that a younger generation can explore it in some meaningful way. For example my 10-year-old (who is very much a nature and animal world kind of guy) ate this book up.(less)
his is a wonderful little story of a young man (Ralph Moody) who moves with his family from the east to Colorado to take up ranching. While Ralph's wh...morehis is a wonderful little story of a young man (Ralph Moody) who moves with his family from the east to Colorado to take up ranching. While Ralph's whole family takes up ranching the story centers on Ralph and his Father. There are great role models in this story for both fathers and sons as Ralph's father seems to have the perfect blend of compassion and discipline when dealing with his son's typical boyish ways.
Ralph grows up quickly in the two or three years covered in Britches, and although he is still a boy of 9 - 11 he learns from his mistakes and the lessons taught to him by his father as they struggle to make ends meet, deal with tragedies and negotiate with difficult neighbors on their new Ranch. Despite it all, the Moodys are in good spirits because they have an understanding of what really brings true happiness. One thing that I will try to take away from Britches as a father was the way Ralph's father allowed Ralph to take ownership of the Ranch. That became the motivating factor to much of Ralph's participation and behavior. I hope to incorporate that into my own parenting.
After I was about 3/4 of the way through Britches I read the first two chapters to my 9 year old son and afterward could not tear the book from his hands. He loved the book and I'm going to have to get him the next few books about Ralph Moody.
In case you were wondering, this book is an auto-biography by Ralph Moody and the first in a series. If Anne of Green Gables was a book that gave insight into the motivation of girls, Britches gave at least as much insight into boys. I reccomend this book to anyone of any age who enjoys horses, cowboys, ranching, father-son relationships, or is just in need of a good uplifting story. Little Britches will make you want to be a better son, daughter, mother or father.(less)
To be brutally honest, I was disappointed. I found Anne quite often to be annoying and found my self skimming through many of her rambling soliloquies...moreTo be brutally honest, I was disappointed. I found Anne quite often to be annoying and found my self skimming through many of her rambling soliloquies. Many (especially those of the female gender I suppose) may find her apt to talk ad nauseum to be one of her most enduring qualities, I however did not.
I discovered that it was difficult for me to continue reading once the characters had been established, that is I had no motivation to continue reading as there appeared to be no underlying plot to the book. Each chapter was it's own story and there was very little connecting one chapter to the next, so after you finished a chapter it's easy to put the book down and not be in the least bit curious was was going to happen next. After reading about 3/4 of the book, I must have put it down for two weeks as I did not care was was going to happen next, nor did it seem to matter as the next chapter was just as likely to be the same as the last one: Anne would get into some minor scrape which would be resolved in one way or another by its conclusion.
Having said that, I must conclude that I was glad I did finish it. The last two or three chapters were by far the best of the book and they did bring the conclusion of the book to a wonderful little ending. Keeping with my policy of not posting spoilers, all I will say about this is that it was nice to see the person that Anne grew into. I started the book with the hope of understanding young girls just a little bit better as I have two daughters of my own. I think that in the end I was successful in that, at least to some degree, however I'm not sure that I could stand living in a young girls world for any sustained length of time(less)
Let me state for the record that I very much enjoyed reading this book. There is a lot of majesty that the author has regarding the desert and the old...moreLet me state for the record that I very much enjoyed reading this book. There is a lot of majesty that the author has regarding the desert and the old west and it comes ringing through the pages of the book. I also became very attached to the main character Johannes Verne who's life we get to follow from age six to about 18 or 20. There were several wonderful characters in the book all of which I thought were beautifully portrayed although they did seem a bit 'larger than life' at times.
I was encouraged with several wonderful life lessons scattered throughout the book like this one:
"Is something wrong?" "It is never easy to realize you have been a fool," I said. "If you have done something foolish and realize it, then you are not quite the fool you were" (P 317)
"You are a hero!"Miss Nesselrode said positively. Papa smiled at her."It is an empty word out here, ma'am. It is a word for writers and sitters by the fire. Out here a man does what the situation demands. Out on the frontier we do not have heroes, only people doing what is necessary at the time. " (P 30)
Johannes is constantly evaluating and re-evaluating his position and life, how many of us do the same? We see how he becomes a man and an excellent one through his self-education using the classics (although that point was more implicit than explicit) and his constant self-evaluation and his refusal to be mastered by fear.
Now all of that I enjoyed however I must critique the book as well. I found that although the climax buildup was riveting (and there were several hours of reading where I could not put the book down), the ending was somewhat disappointing as the author felt the need to tie absolutely every aspect of the book into a neat little bow. He brought virtually every character we ever met (or heard of) back into the ending of the book. I found that highly improbable and a little annoying. It seemed to me to be too much like the ending of a Seinfeld episode where all the story lines tend to converge at the end. (Not that I'm comparing the story to a Seinfeld story) Others may think it's clever, I find it improbable.
I also struggled early in the book as the six year old Johannes acted much closer to 17 than any child I had ever met, but I took that with a grain of salt as maybe six-year-olds of the time (and this one more than even those) were apt to be more mature then the ones I have taught on the soccer field. Still I found that difficult to believe
The characters all tended to be black or white. The Bad guys were too bad and the Good guys were too good. There were very few moral struggles and what few ones there were were over with quickly.
Lastly the book kept switching between 1st and 3rd person. Now I know I am being picky, but that started bugging me too. I'm no author but I always thought that was taboo.
All in all this was a good book, I'm happy to have read it, and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good moral and uplifting story with characters they can get into. You will not be disappointed until you read the last words and realize that you cannot read any more about your new friend Johannes Verne. (less)
This is a wonderful story about two boys who befriend each other despite their clash of cultures.
While I enjoyed the story and the excellent way Potok...moreThis is a wonderful story about two boys who befriend each other despite their clash of cultures.
While I enjoyed the story and the excellent way Potok uses a common baseball game and slight tragedy to quickly engage the reader, what I found most delightful was the relationships that were developed between the Boys and their fathers and the respect - even without a relationship - between the fathers themselves. Also even without the story and relationships, the backdrop of Jewish New York city during and immediately after WWII was a great time to see these young men grow up in and I found that I enjoyed seeing that period of history from a Jewish - actually two completely different Jewish - perspectives. The origin of the Jewish State in Israel was not something I spent a lot of time thinking about, and it made a great backdrop to the climax of The Chosen.
I was introduced to the Jewish sect of Hasidim, and to the importance of the Talmud to Orthodox Jews, and to that I am grateful. As a Christian I consider myself a spiritual Jew as God Chose the Jewish people to make His original covenants with. I would like to study Jewish culture and different and opposing sects some more.
If you are considering this book but are not interested in Judaism, please do not let that scare you away. While it is pervasive it is certainly not overpowering nor does it assume any previous religious instruction in either Judaism or otherwise.
Finally this book carries a prominent theme of Education. The two main characters Reuven and Danny become great scholars through hard work and dedication. They each know what they want and where their talent lies even though it may be difficult and have some difficult moral questions that appear as roadblocks at times. All the great characters in this book are well educated. And I suppose it would be difficult to have a great character without a similarly great education.
My only complaint, if it can be one, is that the book is too short. I would have welcomed reading even more detail about Reuven and his relationships with Danny and his father. I would have loved to get a better understanding of the motivations for the conflicts developing in Israel at the time. And the end was a little abrupt.
In the end it was a great story that gave the reader much to think about(less)
In case you didn't know, 'Foundation' is science fiction and if anyone is looking for classics in the Sci-Fi genre this is a good place to start. Howe...moreIn case you didn't know, 'Foundation' is science fiction and if anyone is looking for classics in the Sci-Fi genre this is a good place to start. However if you don't like Sci-Fi then you should stay away.
I think I know why this is so popular and that is because Asimov has created an entirely unique perspective on time, space and most importantly, humanity itself. The science of psychohistory is a very intriguing idea where one can know with almost mathematical certainty what an entire species will do (as long as the population is big enough) while at the same time not having to know what any one individual may or may not do, and Asimov knows how to play his new science like a well tuned instrument.
Because of some of the more interesting aspects of psychohistory, Asimov's characters are often dealing with what is and is not predetermined and what they should (or should not) do about it. This would make for very interesting discussions about the book and humanities own perception of what is or is not inevitable. Also what should we be doing about our own civilization, what role do we play and what is our moral obligation to it.
one of the downfalls of the Foundation Trilogy IMO, is due to the length of time over which the books take place. I for one very much enjoy character development and following their progress throughout the story, however in Foundation you are constantly being introduced to new characters throughout the 1,000 year history that has been pre-determined by the first psychohistorian, Hary Seldon. I have a tendency to loose track of all those characters as the generations fly by. Ultimately it has the effect of making those characters rather shallow. Despite this fact Asimov does understand the human condition and as all great sci-fi does. And what character development there is it almost always touches upon this element, which in and of itself makes the book (and the seires) a classic.
I will give a ton of credit to the originality of Asimov and the many creative and intreaguing plot twists, which has continued to drive me towards the next book to see, not only what the 'Seldon Plan' truly was, but if and how it will come about. Asimov is skillfull in revealing just enough to keep you going as you realize 'oh my' this was way bigger than I ever thought at each instance.
Finally, while I will stand behind my labeling of this as a classic, I would rather have seen a little better writing style to give this book (and series) anything better than three stars(less)
This is IMO, the best book of the Foundation Trilogy. The first one had some very interesting ideas, but short on story (It is just not very exciting...moreThis is IMO, the best book of the Foundation Trilogy. The first one had some very interesting ideas, but short on story (It is just not very exciting when you already know the outcome) The second one dealt with the Mule with such amazing mutant powers that I was disappointed that Asimov felt the need to create this mutant out of 'thin air'. But it was ultimately necessary to cause enough problems so that we ultimately did not know that the outcome would be and that all the problems caused by the Mule would have to be solved by the 2nd Foundation.
Asimov continues to add great plot twists and the story is intriguing if not my favorite series it still has much to contemplate about destiny, politics and the human condition. (less)