It isn't the world's most challenging puzzle. It isn't a very hard maze.
But even knowing the way to the center and back, I love to travel through this...moreIt isn't the world's most challenging puzzle. It isn't a very hard maze.
But even knowing the way to the center and back, I love to travel through this book, wandering from room to room looking at the scenery and enjoying the sense of space, the changing light, and the wry jabs from the narrator.
I never bothered looking for the "hidden puzzle" with the cash prize (puzzle-books with cash prizes were a fad when this came out), but I expect it was a let-down anyway.
Take a look at this if you want to solve the maze or if you want to explore the world. Take it slow and appreciate the rooms. Imagine the people coming and going and make up what other rooms are in the building.
It's a blast.
Oh, the maze itself: quite solvable. Yes, it does kind of cheat, but the cheat is clearly marked and feels entirely fair to me.(less)
(This review is in response to a request as to why I have only given One Fish, Two Fish... three stars)
Firmly ensconced in the middle tier of the Dr...more(This review is in response to a request as to why I have only given One Fish, Two Fish... three stars)
Firmly ensconced in the middle tier of the Dr Seuss canon, One Fish, Two Fish... is many people's favorite for its light humor, catchy, Moliere-esque couplets, and clever use of repetition as well as surprise, as in the title, where the rhyming word comes at the beginning of a repeated syllable, rather than at the end of the phrase.
It earns its place as one of the most quotable (possibly only Green Eggs and Ham is more often quoted) and fun to read aloud (after only Fox in Socks), but it stays firmly in the middle tier because it lacks three things:
1) The classic Dr Seuss creations. That book doesn't introduce a Who, a Cat in the Hat, Mulberry Street, Green Eggs, Grinches, or other new element to our culture is not a criticism. It does, however, set those books apart as critical pieces that added to our society in some way; they rise above this book.
2) Giesel's overt moralizing. Whether teaching is about size versus importance, making your own fun and cleaning up after it, the futility of war, or even a covert (and possibly unintentional) lesson on ambiguous modifiers, Seuss' classics do what the greatest children's literature does; they remind us as adults of lessons we needed to grow up and need now not to forget.
3) Covert study of a philosophical principle. This may be all in interpretation (no one suggests that Giessel intended these), but many readers for decades have found the Seuss books' repetition and variation of a theme to serve as a metaphor or direct example of something universal. Whether it's a question of imagination in play and its social consequence (The Cat in the Hat), ontological questions about Platonic ideals (Green Eggs and Ham, which rejects the notion that the environment is relevant to the enjoyment of the food), the Freudian question of experience and its ability to drive all future behavior (How the Grinch Stole Christmas), or a more complex example such as To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, which combines all of the above in various ways), the very best of Seuss takes a universal question and circles it, showing us various views in fanciful ways while using childlike tropes to strip the question down to its abstract base. It doesn't do this because Giessel intended to be a philosopher, but because he though about children and learning in deep ways inherent to the essence of experiencing humanity.
In this context, One Fish, Two Fish... is a fine and enjoyable book, and one that I will enjoy reading many times; its three-star rating is only because it is a relative trifle in the Seuss canon when seen next to his many masterpieces. It isn't one you'll go back to over decades for inspiration, when teaching your children, or as an example to understand or explain a principle implicit to Giessel's thinking and vital to us all.
This is the longest, densest, and oddest of the Roma Sub Rosa series. It contains relatively little dialog, much introspection on the nature of Roman...moreThis is the longest, densest, and oddest of the Roma Sub Rosa series. It contains relatively little dialog, much introspection on the nature of Roman politics and Roman virtue, detailed accounts of the processes of Roman government and legal life (voting, debate in the senate, the extremely detailed and obscure campaign laws, coming-of-age ceremonies, process and applications of augury, etc.), and Hamlet-like vaccilation over whether Gorianus, as pater familias is doing the right thing by his family and raising his son Meto properly.
What Catalina's Riddle doesn't contain, however, is a mystery. Technically, there is one: across 500 pages we have three bodies left on Gordianus' farm, clearly intended as a threat of some sort. It gets mentioned every few chapters. Gordianus doesn't do any actual "finding" (his word for what we'd call "detecting") until the last few pages of the book, after the real story is over.
The real story in the book is the Cataline Conspiracy. It's one of the most famous, fascinating, and important events in all Roman history. One can even make a clear argument that it's the no-turning-back point in the collapse of the Republic. Plus, it has some of the most wonderful muck-raking in history. Cicero's nasty hyperbole about the co-conspirators (gathering to drink blood, plotting to kill people in the night to incite revolution, killing husbands to seduce wives and extract their money, etc.) is matched only by Cicero's peacock-proud parading of himself as the only true servant of Rome.
If you want a readable account of the conspiracy (Sayler has never been a Cicero apologist, so expect a sympathetic view of Catalina's motives, if not his actions), a good account of details of Roman life (including some harsh observations on the Roman ideal of country living), some good observations on Roman morals, and a great time with the Gordianus family, it's a great book. The history lessons are a bit excessive, but never go on too long. The navel-gazing gets a bit much at times, but that has always been a trait of the character. There isn't nearly enough Bethesda, although we get a *lot* of just-of-age Meto and his trying to find his own way in the world, being unsuited to following in his father's and Eco's footsteps and his family not understanding what he truly wants to do.
If you only want the mystery, skip to the next book. It makes what happened clear enough (you really just need to know where Meto wound up and that's abundantly clear when you need to know it). But be warned, from this point on the series gets more political and introspective. The action level does pick up a lot, though. (less)