**spoiler alert** While I thoroughly appreciated the many stories contained in the first book of 3 that describes the life of Kvothe, there were too m**spoiler alert** While I thoroughly appreciated the many stories contained in the first book of 3 that describes the life of Kvothe, there were too many of them and they were told in too much detail. There were moments of "this is neat!" but there were also moments of "how far can I skip ahead and not miss anything?" in the reading. Tedium crept in. Tell the story of the hero, yes..... but adding up all the incredible and amazing events attributed to one guy kind of made me start laughing. In the recent Hercules movie (2014) at the end of the movie, Hercules' twelve labors were shown to be the result of teamwork with his 6 friends even though in the myth Hercules gets sole credit for them. I think the author might want to take a tip from that and make some of Kvothe's epic adventures a little more interesting because they were shared. Attributing them all to one man somehow begins to make them laughable.
In the last half of the book I started to read one page and skip the next page to see if I would miss much in terms of plot. Sadly.... I did not miss much.
My favorite part of the book has to be about the dragon, called a draccus. I started laughing as soon as the dragon hit the scene and didn't stop until Kvothe killed it. The way he goes about killing the dragon reminded me of a wildly improbable "Get Smart" episode. Figure out the dragon is acting weird because it is high on drugs. Hmmm, that's different. Try to kill the dragon by giving it more drugs. Darn, that didn't work. Now what? Oh no, the drugged dragon is attracted to the fires at the harvest festival in town! Of all the nights of the year to have those dratted harvest festival fires!! And killing the dragon by crushing it under an iron wheel from the front of the church?? Wow.... wish Maxwell Smart had been there to see that!
I listened to the version with Ian Holm reading. He reads remarkably well.
The book is worth reading, and the mystery and ending very unusual. The stylI listened to the version with Ian Holm reading. He reads remarkably well.
The book is worth reading, and the mystery and ending very unusual. The style of writing is extremely detailed and thorough. If I had been reading the book, I might have skimmed over some of the more descriptive sections. However, I was listening to Ian Holm read, and I was glad afterwards that I had heard the entire story.
**spoiler alert** A fascinating book, the first detective novel ever written. It was published in 1868 and has never been out of print since. I was me**spoiler alert** A fascinating book, the first detective novel ever written. It was published in 1868 and has never been out of print since. I was merrily led astray (***SPOILERS***) with answers supplied by the London detective, not realizing until the end that this was a book written not so you could figure out "who dun it", but as an adventure and exotic mystery.
Very worthwhile. I'll now go look up some other Wilkie Collins books to read....more
**spoiler alert** Yes, I actually own all 24 of the Tarzan books. I have decided to have a fun jaunt thru the books, and count up the number of lost c**spoiler alert** Yes, I actually own all 24 of the Tarzan books. I have decided to have a fun jaunt thru the books, and count up the number of lost civilizations, lost princesses or pagan priestesses that Tarzan encounters. Wish me luck!
The first two books are actually fairly good. Edgar Rice Burroughs started turning out Tarzan book-fodder as he needed money and could always make something from a Tarzan book. The initial concept, however, is intriguing and a worthwhile story.
Before reading the first book, it is necessary to forget or purposely set aside much of the world-wide sensation that is Tarzan. Much of what we know from TV / radio / comic books / film is inaccurate. Forget the Johnny Weissmuller movies of the 1940's, the TV series with Ron Ely in the 1960's, the comic books.... just don’t event think about them.
The first Tarzan book is probably the most interesting of all the books because it deals with much of what is critical about Tarzan — his parents, and growing up among the great apes. These are areas that the movies always neglect. Tarzan’s parents, John and Alice Clayton (Lord and Lady Greystoke), are marooned on the western coastal jungle of Africa. Clayton has been assigned by the Colonial Office to move to a post in British West Africa. John and Alice are newly married. They are mere passengers, but observe significant abuse of the crew by the captain and officers. A mutiny breaks out, and the Clayton’s are preserved from death because they had treated the crew with respect. Rather than kill them, the crew votes to put the Clayton’s ashore. They give them supplies and food as well as all their luggage that they had brought for their move to the British West Africa post.
Clayton immediately builds a raised platform tent for them to stay in, and then begins in earnest to build a snug safe cabin for them to live in long term. Alice is pregnant, and John does all that he can to protect her from the terrors of the jungle. They move into the cabin, and begin a time of industry and work to make additions and to secure their safety. One day, John is working further from the cabin than usual and is attacked by a large male great ape. Armed with only an ax to defend himself, he seems doomed to death until the animal is shot dead by Alice, who has never fired a rifle before. The shock of the ape attack combined with the months of stress cause Alice to go into labor and for their son to be born. Alice awakes but never regains her full awareness of where they are. She seems to think they are in England still. She never leaves the cabin again nor understands fully that they are in the jungle, but happily cares for her son and her husband.
Clayton works to make their home a safe and beautiful place in the coming months. He keeps a daily diary of their lives, and at one point lets little baby John play in the ink, and thus smear the pages with his tiny fingerprints. Then sadly about a year after baby John’s birth, Alice suddenly dies. Clayton, in his grief, has accidentally left the cabin door unsecured. It is entered by a great ape who kills Clayton and is about to kill the baby when a female great ape snatches the baby away and runs into the jungle with him.
Thus the circumstances of Tarzan’s birth are explained, and how he was taken into a tribe of the great apes to be raised. Kala, the female great ape, has just had a stillborn baby, so she is able to feed Tarzan and keep the other apes from hurting him. Tarzan grows up in a communal tribal setting and is taught the laws of the tribe.
The apes are treated as intelligent and their actions and "laws" are critical in helping Tarzan grow up with a proper set of morals. When he discovers humans (first native Africans and later Europeans), he is intrigued and sets about to study and learn as much as he can. Kala is killed by a nearby warrior from a village and Tarzan avenges her death and appropriates the weapons and clothing of the dead warrior, thus learning how to use a knife and bows and arrows. Eventually he stumbles on the cabin where where he was born, not realizing its significance, and begins unlocking the treasures it holds. He finds the primer books that the Clayton’s planned to use to teach him to read, and he teaches himself to read over time.
Eventually a group of Europeans are marooned in the same area of the jungle as the Clayton’s, and they discover the Clayton’s cabin and take refuge there. Tarzan helps them, and saves Jane from harm and of course falls in love with her. Able to read and write English, but unable to speak English, the marooned group never equate Tarzan (the silent giant) with notes that are left by him. The group are rescued while Tarzan is away. He stumbles upon an injured Frenchman in the jungle that he nurses back to health. Paul D'Arnot undertakes the task of teaching Tarzan a known human language, French. D'Arnot gives him the ability now to speak with the Europeans.
Tarzan puts D'Arnot in the cabin that his father had built and D’Arnot reads the journal that Clayton had kept of their days in the jungle. Clayton kept his journal in French, which is why Tarzan was never able to read it. D’Arnot is convinced that Tarzan is the young Greystoke, and takes the journal with plans to have the fingerprints examined.
Tarzan is taught how to behave in proper European society by D’Arnot, and eventually learns English also. He travels to America to search for Jane. When he arrives, he finds out that his cousin, William Clayton, is the proper heir to the Greystoke estate and title. William Clayton is engaged to marry Jane. D’Arnot cables Tarzan that the fingerprints in the journal are his, and thus he is the rightful heir to the Greystoke estate. Tarzan chooses to keep this information secret, as he believes Jane loves William Clayton and does not want to interfere with her happiness. ...more
Enjoyed re-reading this book after forgetting it probably for 20 years. Even though I remembered "who-done-it", the developing relationship and friendEnjoyed re-reading this book after forgetting it probably for 20 years. Even though I remembered "who-done-it", the developing relationship and friendship between Elijah and Daneel is fun to watch, as well as being re-introduced to the three laws of Robotics....more
An interesting mix of genres (Roman mythology with science fiction), this dystopian book would have a been more enjoyable to me if it had not been soAn interesting mix of genres (Roman mythology with science fiction), this dystopian book would have a been more enjoyable to me if it had not been so crass. I confess that I don't like reading made up profanity that obviously is an attempt to create a new way to say "darn" but instead saying "nard". I read another book not long ago that did this, and it falls totally flat and makes me want to laugh at the sophomoric attempt to sneak under the radar.
I was off-put almost immediately by this, and sadly it was hard for me to generate more interest in the book. I may have to try to re-read it later....more
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand on the 28th of June, I thought I would read how WWI started. This is aAs we approach the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand on the 28th of June, I thought I would read how WWI started. This is a 10 star book, really amazingly written and terrifyingly apt for today. Instead of writing about the entire First World War, Barbara Tuchman writes about the month preceding the war, and then the first month of the war itself, August 1914.
We are reading Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" out loud together in the evenings as a family, and one of the things that has struck me is how much of Tolkien's war experience is in LOTR. He was of course in the fighting at the Somme in 1916. I know that Tolkien denied writing about WWI specifically in his books, but I think once you have experienced the horror of trench warfare, you cannot but write about battle using the experiences you have had first hand. The "drums from the deep" from Tolkien reflect the German siege guns. The terror caused by the shrieking of the artillery shells also is reminiscent of the cry of the Nazgul.
But back to Barbara Tuchman's book. It is outstanding. I wept upon reading the chapter about the burning of the Belgium city of Louvain. I knew from my Belgium and Dutch friends about their longstanding hatred of the Germans. I have even witnessed the coldness and barely contained contempt that Belgian shopkeepers demonstrate towards German tourists. And now I know why. The Germans felt totally in the right and justified in using their "theory of terror" as a way to try to use terror among non-combatants as a way to shorten the war. However the horrific execution of civilians set the rest of the world against them. The Germans, like a huge and cruel class bully, denied any wrongdoing but instead blamed the violence on the fact that the Belgians resisted them.
I plan now to read more of Barbara Tuchman's books, and would highly highly recommend this book. ...more
Worth having and reading. The footnotes and editorial comments are worthwhile also, but you REALLY REALLY need to like Beowulf and be familiar with itWorth having and reading. The footnotes and editorial comments are worthwhile also, but you REALLY REALLY need to like Beowulf and be familiar with it to probably enjoy this as much as it deserves to be enjoyed. ...more
Excellent read! Enjoyed it greatly, and brought some new life to an old and worthwhile tale.... and made me want to read the old worthwhile tale againExcellent read! Enjoyed it greatly, and brought some new life to an old and worthwhile tale.... and made me want to read the old worthwhile tale again in other translations....more
Well written, but very typically depressing John le Carre. No redemption, all trust rewarded with deceit, manipulation on every side, and we are leftWell written, but very typically depressing John le Carre. No redemption, all trust rewarded with deceit, manipulation on every side, and we are left at the end of the book stunned and sad when the master manipulators are out-manipulated. The ending reminds me very much of the end of "The Spy Who Came In from the Cold" except this time le Carre is upset at the United States. No one is a good guy in any situation, really. Every person is made up of the many shades of deceptive gray, sometimes more "white" and sometimes more "black", but never seeming to be who they really are at any time.
I know that le Carre had a most unhappy childhood and relationship with his father (read "A Perfect Spy" for a clear description of his father, Rick Pym in the book). This theme of trust betrayed is common throughout his books, probably because he lived it so deeply himself.
Again well written, but I really could not gather any enthusiasm for any of the characters. ...more