This is my favorite of the Oz books so far and since I am now near the end of the original Oz series written by Baum, it might well become the best of...moreThis is my favorite of the Oz books so far and since I am now near the end of the original Oz series written by Baum, it might well become the best of the lot. While the first book was ingenious for its time, the story in this one was more complete and satisfying. For those that haven't read these books, generally, each book introduces a new character or two and the story is pretty much about their adventures somewhere in the land of Oz, often with them making their way to Emerald City and meeting all of the other characters that have come before.
This time, however, Ozma, the Princess of Oz, herself has gone missing, along with other key artifacts including Ozma's magic mirror and Glenda's Great Book of Records. So this story is about how most of the characters we've met in previous books get together and search the land of Oz for their missing princess. Of course, along the way we do get to meet still more oddball characters including the Frogman, Cayke the Cookie Cook, and the Little Pink Bear.
All in all this is a pleasant read with a happy ending (despite a rather obvious and annoying deus ex machina near the end that allows Dorothy to save the day).(less)
"You an' me we'll sluice that out'er when they're through. 'Send we'll hev fuli pens to-night! I've seen 'er down ha'af a foot wit fish waitin' to cle...more"You an' me we'll sluice that out'er when they're through. 'Send we'll hev fuli pens to-night! I've seen 'er down ha'af a foot wit fish waitin' to clean, an' we stood to t'tables till we was splittin' ourselves instid o' them, we was so sleepy, Yes, they're comin' in naow."
Did you get that? That's just an example of the kind of dialogue you must try to decipher as you plod your way through this classic novel. I triple checked what I had typed to make sure I got it exactly as it's printed in my copy of this book. There is a lot of dialogue in the novel and most of it seems to be just this sort of hard-to-follow style...and that makes it a tough one to get through without succumbing to the temptation of skimming whole paragraphs.
The story itself is pretty straight forward: rich, spoiled 15 year old boy is saved from drowning by a fishing boat in the North Atlantic. But instead of returning him to shore, the fishing boat has to keep to its schedule and so the boy, not having any other choice, hires on as part of the crew. The boy learns the ways of a tough life at sea through hard work and experiencing a series of adventures. When finally returned to shore, he meets his parents again who discover their brat of a boy has grown into a serious, industrious young man.
It's a classic coming-of-age tale, written in 1897 by one of the kings of early adventure stories. While the story was good, the style or writing was just too much for me. I've read almost all of Kipling's well-known works and several of his lesser known pieces, and I rather think I'm done. It's nice to be able to say, "I read that" but that's happening with less and less frequency for me.(less)
This book, I believe, is one of those few that gets talked about and talked about and actually lives up to the hype. Well written, thought-provoking,...moreThis book, I believe, is one of those few that gets talked about and talked about and actually lives up to the hype. Well written, thought-provoking, and certainly disturbing but I wish I had read it as part of a literature class or a discussion group because it's just crying out to be discussed with others who are currently reading it or have just completed it.
make sure to read the "Historical Notes" at the end (written in the year 2195 and looking back at the events of the story). Those that need to have their tales neatly wrapped up and every question answered may feel frustrated at the end but that Historical Note can help with that.
Glad to see this one on most "100 books to read before you die" lists.(less)
Theoretically, this is the 10th Oz book in the original 14 Oz series of books, written by L. Frank Baum. There have been many more additions to the wh...moreTheoretically, this is the 10th Oz book in the original 14 Oz series of books, written by L. Frank Baum. There have been many more additions to the whole Oz multiverse but only the original 14 are considered canon. Whereas, the first book in the series, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is heralded as a classic of children's literature, Mr. Baum struggled fruitlessly ever after to recreate the magic of that first book. Books #2 through #9 were honest attempts to do so and, indeed, introduced many memorable and much-loved characters but this 10th book...well, let's just say Mr. Baum took the lazy way out. It was actually written about 10 years prior to its publication, an early attempt to create a whole new children's fantasy world (and, incidentally, a whole new cash cow as well), but alas, Oz seemed to be the only answer for any further success for Mr. Baum.
And so it was that this story, Rinkitink in Oz, is all about Prince Inga, his friend Rinkitink, a talking goat named Bilbil, and three magical pearls which serve as deus ex machina on multiple occasions. It is only near the very end of the book that we have any mention of Oz or its major characters at all. It seems the only way this story would have a chance at selling was to make it an "Oz book" and so Dorothy puts in a cameo appearance at the very end.
Overall the story was OK but too silly for my taste. I am hopeful book #11 will be a return to the real Land of Oz.(less)
Often referred to as the very first detective novel written in the English language, this classic of the mystery genre was an enjoyable read. It was o...moreOften referred to as the very first detective novel written in the English language, this classic of the mystery genre was an enjoyable read. It was originally serialized in Charles Dickens' magazine, "All the Year Round".
I often struggle to rate books such as these...it is like comparing apples to bananas when one compares a modern day detective/mystery to one such as this written in 1860. Compared to other novels I've read from that period, this is an easy 5 stars. Unlike so many of them, this one is entirely readable and enjoyable. But it is also written in the classic style with lots and lots of explanatory passages which can tend to bog down the story for modern readers. I settled on 4 stars because, for me, "I really liked it."
The "moonstone" itself, is a diamond which gains it's name for the Hindu god of the moon. There are quite a few characters within the novel and the various parts of the book are presented from many of their points of view. It is easy to see how this could be published in serial form. There are really two detectives at work here: Sergeant Cuff,a London policeman called in from Scotland Yard is the formal detective assigned to the case of the stolen diamond while Franklin Blake acts as the amateur detective, and is a good example of an early "gentleman detective."
The mystery is fairly complex and includes major story elements beyond crime solving, including opium addiction, embezzlement, trust funds, and a pleasant love story. The characters are well-rounded, allowing the reader to get to know them well beyond the requirements to solve the mystery. The final 50 pages are simply great classic detective novel stuff, complete with the unveiling of the culprit. And the final fate of the Moonstone diamond itself is enormously satisfying.
Highly recommended for detective novel enthusiasts. It's great background material for so much of what has come after.(less)
As I continue on my quest to read various "classic" novels that everybody seems to have been assigned in High School but I never did, I also continue...moreAs I continue on my quest to read various "classic" novels that everybody seems to have been assigned in High School but I never did, I also continue to be happily surprised at how good they often are. This one is my wife's all-time favorite book so I knew I was destined to read it at some point. Several years ago I read The Eyre Affair and was a little bit perplexed with some of the plot and so had to keep asking my wife what such-and-such referred to. And since then it seems like I come upon more and more references to Jane or Mr. Rochester or even Thornfield Hall. And so I thought it high time to finally engage the source material.
There is obviously little I can say about the novel itself that hasn't already been said by so many others. It has been called the perfect representation of the Victorian novel or Victorian romance and in fact, largely gave rise to the definition. Who am I to argue? Is it a perfect novel? Of course not. The ending especially provides such a profound deus ex machina that an editor would bounce it back if presented in the modern era. The narrative can be long and drawn out, the characters hardly realistic, and yet, for the time it was written, it defined a genre. For me personally, I found it a darn good read, bringing out my inner 12-year old girl. Its progressiveness is quite a contrast to more straight-laced Jane Austin novels although only 50 years or so separated the authors.
Many times I try to read a “classic” only to give up in boredom or else in disgust at my obviously Neanderthal inability to grasp the inherent brilliantness of it all. This one though provides one more tick mark in the opposite column…just enough to keep me pursuing the great “classics”. (less)
I can't believe it's taken me this long to read this one but when I saw it on the library shelf, I grabbed it. This short novel is on most 100 Great N...moreI can't believe it's taken me this long to read this one but when I saw it on the library shelf, I grabbed it. This short novel is on most 100 Great Novels lists and considered one of the most important crime novels of the 20th century. I can see why, given its tight narrative storyline and engaging characters. First published in 1934, it launched James M. Cain's writing career and it has been filmed at least 6 times. Obviously, it has had a huge impact on crime fiction in general.
Pretty cutting edge stuff for its day, especially when the femme fatale of the piece, Cora, asks the leading man, Frank Chambers to kiss her and bite her lip so that it draws blood. The story mixes sensuality and violence (pale by today's standards) which engages the reader and keeps the swift-moving plot hurtling towards the conclusion. The crimes, attempted cover-ups and the ultimate resolution have been copied and altered many times since this novel first appeared but reading this now gives one the sense of originality and is, simply, a great read.
This was a hand-me-down book from my dad and as such, has been in my TBR shelves for years. Essentially, it is the diary of the author who, as a stude...moreThis was a hand-me-down book from my dad and as such, has been in my TBR shelves for years. Essentially, it is the diary of the author who, as a student at Harvard in the 1830s, suffered a bout of measles which affected his vision. He decided to enlist as a common sailor, planning not to write a rousing sea adventure tale but rather to expose many of the hardships faced by common sailors.
The author and the crew sailed from Boston, around Cape Horn to the early California coastal towns where they worked the California Hide trade, ultimately returning to Boston in what turned out to be a two year journey.
This could have been very dry material, as the author does spend quite a bit of time describing in detail the everyday life aboard the sailing ships. But he also offers his insights into the people he encounters, both his shipmates and the native peoples of California. The book is one of the few that exists about that time in California and with the onset of the gold rush in 1849 has become a valuable historical resource for that period. Herman Melville was also, reportedly heavily influenced by this book.
An interesting read, told in a narrative style but certainly an opportunity to gain some insight on sailing ships of that time and how they operated.(less)