This is a pivotal book in the Little House series because everything before has built up to Laura's final major move with her family. After that, she...moreThis is a pivotal book in the Little House series because everything before has built up to Laura's final major move with her family. After that, she begins to grow up very quickly. (less)
I own an original copy of this book. Very well-written and easily understood by middle and high school students. Tastefully written compared to some a...moreI own an original copy of this book. Very well-written and easily understood by middle and high school students. Tastefully written compared to some authors of mythology compilations. I'm enjoying rereading the last chapter in the book on Norse mythology. My daughter reminded me that the book covered this after we watched Thor which recently came out at the movies.Edith Hamilton
I learned that the Norse did not really think in terms of good conquering evil, but to "die resisting" evil. They believed that heroism depended on lost causes and that the hero can prove what he is only by dying, (sounds a little like the Muslim radical's philosophy). "The power of good is shown not by triumphantly conquering evil, but by continuing to resist evil while facing certain defeat" (444). The Norse hero had the choice in his own hands between yielding or dying. They believed that victory was possible in death. "Even more than that. A heroic death, like a martyr's death, is not a defeat, but a triumph." As Ms. Hamilton put it, "The easy way has never in the long run commanded the allegiance of mankind...it would appear that for unknown centuries, until the Christian missionaries came, heroism was enough" since the Norsemen did not look "forward to a heaven of eternal joy."
Early beliefs of Northwestern Europe were mostly obliterated by the priests of Christianity who hated paganism which they intended to destroy. These priests made an extraordinary clean sweep of all but a few bits of the ancient writings of the Teutonic race, Beowulf in England and the Nibelungenlied in Germany, and for example. We should know practically nothing of the religion which molded the race to which we belong if it were not for the preservation of the two Icelandic Eddas, (Iceland was the last northern country to be Christianized and the Christian priests were either gentler or less influential with the Icelanders). Latin did not replace Norse as a literary language in which the old Norse stories were still told and even written down.
Asgard-belonged to the Gods; Odin-sky father who eats nothing and gleans knowledge of the humans through two ravens, Thought and Memory. It is his responsibility to put off the day as long as possible when heaven and earth will be destroyed (Ragnarok). He won knowledge of the Runes and graciously shared this with the humans to help protect themselves. Wednesday is named after him (southern form of his name is Woden); Gladsheim-Odin's palace; Valhalla-hall where the heroes feast; Valkyries-the maidens who attended Odin and decided which of the slain to take back to Valhalla.; Thor, Freyer, Heimdall, and Tyr-the five important gods.; Balder-most beloved, son of Frigga who was wife to Odin; Hela or Hel-Goddess of the Dead; Loki- not a god, but son of a Giant, for which trouble always followed. Reason for being freely allowed into Asgard is never explained. Loki was jealous of Balder and eventually engineered his death.; Thor-god of Thunder for whom thursday is named and strongest of the Aesir; Freyr cared for the fruits of the earth; Heimdall was warder of Bifrost, the rainbow bridge which led to Asgard; Tyr was the God of War, for whom Tuesday, once Tyr's day, was named.; Freya-the Goddess of Love and Beauty and probably Friday was named for her, carried her share of the dead warriors; Midgard-battlefield for men; Ymir-the first Giant and Odin's father (his mother was a frost maiden). Killed by Odin and two brothers; They made the earth, sky, sea and a great wall to protect humans with Ymir; Midgard-the space within the wall where humans were created from trees and were parents to mankind.; "Dwarfs-ugly creatures, but masterly craftsmen, who lived under the earth" (460-1); Elves-lovely sprites, who tended the flowers and the streams; YGGDRASIL-a wonderful ash-tree that supported the universe. Its roots went through all the worlds: Hel, frost-giants, men, and Asgard. Urda's Well-found beside Yggdrasil's root into Asgard contains white water that is so holy none might drink it. Yggdrasil is doomed to destruction by a serpent and its brood that gnaw continually at the root beside Niflheim, Hel's home; Norns-guard the well and the three (Past, Present, and Future) "'Allot their lives to the sons of men, And assign to them their fate.'"; Well of Knowledge-also by the root of Yggdrasil that goes into Asgard is guarded by Mimir the Wise.;Frost Giants and Mountain Giants-live in Jotunheim, enemies of all that is good.
"Even these sternly hopeless Norsemen, whose daily life in their icy land through the black winters was a perpetual challenge to heroism, saw a far-away light break through the darkness. There is a prophecy in the Elder Edda, singularly like the Book of Revelation, that after the defeat of the gods...there would be a new heaven and a new earth...Then would come the reign of One who was higher even than Odin and beyond the reach of evil...This vision of a happiness infinitely remote seems a thin sustenance against despair, but it was the only hope the Eddas afforded" (462)
Now I have to read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings again, it might make so much more sense!!! (less)
I can see why the publisher didn't bother with this first book of Jane Austen's! It was definitely not as well-written as Pride and Prejudice or Emma....moreI can see why the publisher didn't bother with this first book of Jane Austen's! It was definitely not as well-written as Pride and Prejudice or Emma. The story line was good and I wish it could have been better developed. (less)
This is my teen son's favorite book. I'd read it in high school over 20 years ago and really couldn't remember the details. I asked him what the story...moreThis is my teen son's favorite book. I'd read it in high school over 20 years ago and really couldn't remember the details. I asked him what the story was about. After hearing his description, I began to worry a little. I decided to reread the story so we could have a meaningful discussion. Though horrified by the language and sexual content, I was left with a complete satisfaction of having read an important and meaningful book. Society has managed to improve conditions for African Americans, handicapped, mentally disabled, indigent, and the elderly since the time of this book. It is sad that for ages their plight was so grim. Though many have fought and won civil rights for these groups of Americans, I have noticed that there are still many who suffer from deep loneliness, especially the elderly. This book, if taught correctly, could do so much to help young people learn empathy. They can learn what it was to be a black man (and a cripple to boot) with very few options. Youths can gain compassion for people who need others to survive. No one should have to be put out of their misery because life for them is limited. We were meant to lean on each other. I've gained new admiration for those who have gone before and who currently fight for the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness insofar as it is possible for each person.(less)
This was not quite what I expected, but I learned soooo much! I highly recommend the book to everyone! There is so much about hospitality and raising...moreThis was not quite what I expected, but I learned soooo much! I highly recommend the book to everyone! There is so much about hospitality and raising families that has been lost in recent times, due to a lack of time around the "family table."Mimi Wilson(less)
Yet another example of what a great story-teller Laura Ingalls Wilder really is. Laura writes about her husband Almanzo Wilder's childhood. This is th...moreYet another example of what a great story-teller Laura Ingalls Wilder really is. Laura writes about her husband Almanzo Wilder's childhood. This is the third time I've read this book and it has definitely been the best. (less)
This is one of the most famous of Christie's works. However, it is not one of my favorites. It is a little too like Sherlock Holmes. I liked it when s...moreThis is one of the most famous of Christie's works. However, it is not one of my favorites. It is a little too like Sherlock Holmes. I liked it when she broke away from that and wrote books like The Death of Roger Ackroyd, And Then There Were None (the most haunting of the three titles), The Man in the Brown Suit, Sittaford Mystery, Evil Under the Sun, Death on the Nile, Murder at the Vicarage, The Mysterious Mr. Quin, and Appointment with Death to name just a few. I especially like Appointment with Death. I had to read it so many times to really understand just what was going on. Also Christie's writing is so vivid--it puts you right there. You feel that she has been and done exactly what she describes, which is actually true--her second husband was a famous archaeologist. Also, Appointment with Death is one of the few books where you get a whole lot of information about the victim--and your wondering what took so long to "bump them off" "as the Americans say!"(less)
I enjoyed this book when I first read it since I liked the character, Hastings, and he finally gets the girl after his dismal failures in The Mysterio...moreI enjoyed this book when I first read it since I liked the character, Hastings, and he finally gets the girl after his dismal failures in The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Christie wanted to be rid of his character by marrying him off and sending him to South America where he stays for a while making reappearances later. Madame Daubreuil reminds me of the Becky Sharp character in the book Vanity Fair.(less)
Sparkling Cyanide has one of my favorite recurring characters: Colonel Race. He became one of my favs in The Man in The Brown Suit. To me, he's probab...moreSparkling Cyanide has one of my favorite recurring characters: Colonel Race. He became one of my favs in The Man in The Brown Suit. To me, he's probably one of the most romantic characters Agatha ever wrote. He has a minor part in this mystery. Having read the book many, many times, I still couldn't remember exactly who dun it--or at least how it was accomplished. I kept thinking another main character had to have something to do with the murder. I love the Christie's that gave us a glimpse of the pre-war upper-crust British society.(less)
This was the first of the Eyre book I read as a young mom. I just recently reread the book and recommend it to all moms! It's a short but inspiring, h...moreThis was the first of the Eyre book I read as a young mom. I just recently reread the book and recommend it to all moms! It's a short but inspiring, humorous read.A Joyful Mother of Children: The Magic and Mayhem of Motherhood(less)