Aw, shoot. I have to abandon this at the end of WWII, about 16%/133pgs in. It's very, very dry.
This is an official history-- the author had unfetteredAw, shoot. I have to abandon this at the end of WWII, about 16%/133pgs in. It's very, very dry.
This is an official history-- the author had unfettered access to MI6's files from 1909 to 1949. Yet the history is remarkably hampered. The preface lets you know that: 1) the records are very spotty, 2) despite 60-100+ years, names and other details still cannot be released, and 3) MI6 during this time was only a gatherer of information- they did not perform analysis.
What this means is that the historian cannot make a compelling narrative out of the pieces. Instead we are left with just the pieces, the scraps of logistics and how the money flowed. The only time the story was even mildly interesting was when the author referred to other documents. Memoirs, diaries, and other sources where the names have already been revealed and motivations could be gleaned from the logistical pieces.
Sadly even these bits are not well blended into the overall story of War, major events and how Intelligence (with a capital I) affected their outcome.
I may come back to the WWII section for historical background if I go on a larger WWII kick, but I won't be reading this cover to cover on its own....more
Whatever you do, read Hound of the Baskervilles. Holy cow, that's now one of my favorite books. The short stories are fun, but some are better than otWhatever you do, read Hound of the Baskervilles. Holy cow, that's now one of my favorite books. The short stories are fun, but some are better than others.
It feels like Holmes and Watson are really fleshed out as dynamic characters in Baskervilles. Is it the longer length? Is it because it was written so much later than the short stories?...more
Hmmm... certainly moody and Gothic. The best part was the descriptions of the moors. But this somehow lacked surprise and suspense. It was kind of funHmmm... certainly moody and Gothic. The best part was the descriptions of the moors. But this somehow lacked surprise and suspense. It was kind of funny to imagine the Cornish moors in winter while driving through devilishly hot Utah in the summer.
As far as this audio edition: I really liked the narration by Tony Britton - he does a fabulous Cornish accent. And the characters have distinct voices and accents, so it's easy to tell them apart. But when he does the innkeeper's wife - Aunt Patience - I swear he was channeling Dobby the House Elf. ...more
Cassandra just reminded me why I enjoyed reading Origin of Species so much.
In college I had to read a fair amount of it in some very non-bio course -Cassandra just reminded me why I enjoyed reading Origin of Species so much.
In college I had to read a fair amount of it in some very non-bio course - I can't remember which one. Maybe a social sciences course? I gobbled the whole thing in my almost non-existent free time, and I still have my copy in my bedroom. Naughty!
Parts were fairly dry, but it felt like you were watching Darwin's mind churn and grow and fit the pieces together with him.
A year or two later I was so excited to go to the Natural History Museum in London to see the actual specimens Darwin chose to ship back to England....more
Wow! This is easily in the top 10 best books I've read in 2010.
It's the apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic story that most modern ones wish they could be. IWow! This is easily in the top 10 best books I've read in 2010.
It's the apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic story that most modern ones wish they could be. It's obvious most post-apocalypse tales have drawn their inspiration from The Day of the Triffids. So, if you dig stories like Blindness, The Postman, 28 Days Later, The Road, etc, etc, then make sure you read this book!
I think I naively thought, due to the title and the slim size of the book, that the story would take place over a day or a couple of days. Oh, no, no, no. The breadth of the story, both in time and situation is vast.
Here's the thing I loved most about The Day of the Triffids: it captures all the complexities of a society falling apart, while retaining this mid-century British charm. Escape to a car and light up a cigarette! Feeling low? Nothing like a hot tea with sugar and whiskey to revive you! And how about a lovely chat about the British caste system?
And the complexities! We see our narrator and his intrepid companions encounter people being extremely generous to horribly selfish. At times they have to worry about outside dangers, other times the dangers come from within. Sometimes their focus is necessarily food, other times it's just finding a safe place to hole up for a while.
Doesn't that sound eminently plausible? Some survivors are bound to be the helpers - doing everything they can to aid people in need. Others will be the selfish ones, doing deplorable things to save their own skin. I don't think it can be an all or nothing.
Then Wyndham throws in the crazy, mobile, deadly plants, a-la Audrey Jr. from Little Shop of Horrors. It's great fun.
If I ever get caught up in an apocalypse, I sure hope I can do it in post-WWII Britain. Talk about an overabundance of canned meat and preserved foods!...more
Mentioned by Clarence Brown in the 1992 introduction to We. Also, David Mitchell said this book inspired the central, futuristic sci-fi story in CloudMentioned by Clarence Brown in the 1992 introduction to We. Also, David Mitchell said this book inspired the central, futuristic sci-fi story in Cloud Atlas, Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin After....more