Captains Courageous is the classic tale of Harvey Cheyne, a rich, spoiled fifteen-year-old boy who falls overboard after smoking a cigar and becomingCaptains Courageous is the classic tale of Harvey Cheyne, a rich, spoiled fifteen-year-old boy who falls overboard after smoking a cigar and becoming seasick on a ship bound for Europe. Luckily, he is picked up by a fisherman in a dory and put aboard a fishing schooner called the We’re Here. The owner and captain of the boat, Disko Troop, is not pleased to have the boy aboard but tells him that he will pay him ten dollars a month and board until the schooner docks in Gloucester the following September. The captain’s son, Dan, is glad to have someone his own age aboard the fishing boat, and he soon becomes a friend of the castaway. Gradually, Harvey becomes accustomed to the sea. There are times of pleasure as well as of work. Eventually, they return to port and Harvey is reunited with his parents who had thought he was dead. But in the end, Harvey became a man while at sea and was better for it.
Overall, an interesting sea tale. However, sometimes Kipling overused the use of New England vernacular to the point where some passages were indecipherable. Otherwise, a mild recommendation.
This is the second book of a projected trilogy by Frank Norris. From the front of the book:
The Trilogy of The Epic of the Wheat includes the followingThis is the second book of a projected trilogy by Frank Norris. From the front of the book:
The Trilogy of The Epic of the Wheat includes the following novels:
THE OCTOPUS, a Story of California. THE PIT, a Story of Chicago. THE WOLF, a Story of Europe. These novels, while forming a series, will be in no way connected with each other save only in their relation to (1) the production, (2) the distribution, (3) the consumption of American wheat. When complete, they will form the story of a crop of wheat from the time of its sowing as seed in California to the time of its consumption as bread in a village of Western Europe.
The first novel, "The Octopus," deals with the war between the wheat grower and the Railroad Trust; the second, "The Pit," is the fictitious narrative of a "deal" in the Chicago wheat pit; while the third, "The Wolf," will probably have for its pivotal episode the relieving of a famine in an Old World community.
Unfortunately, Norris died before he could write the third book of the trilogy. I remember attempting to read The Octopus when I was in high school for an American lit class but I know I didn't get very far into it. However, I did read Norris' McTeague several years ago and thought it was one of the best novels of the time period around the turn of the 20th century. It told the story of a couple's courtship and marriage, and their subsequent descent into poverty, violence and finally murder as the result of jealousy and greed.
The Pit has some similar themes as McTeague including how greed can lead to self destruction and how it can ruin relationships. It was published in 1903 and takes place in Chicago. It centers on the life of Laura Dearborn and her eventual marriage to Curtis Jadwin who at first is a minor wheat speculator in the trading pits at the Chicago Board of Trade. But Jadwin becomes obsessed with speculating on the price of wheat and eventually makes millions. Laura is torn between three different suitors but marries Jadwin primarily for the security. The novel delves into her motivations which don't seem to really include love. The parts of the novel involving Laura and her love life were definitely dated and read like an early romance novel. However, as the story developed, and focused on the speculation of buying and selling wheat, it became quite engrossing. Toward the end of the novel there was a sequence in "The Pit" that was reminiscent of a prize boxing match with the Bears fighting the Bulls as the price of wheat rose and fell. Of course, the novel did not end happily for the Jadwins.
The novel was great in describing the Chicago of the time and the daily routine of the idle rich including attending the opera, reading the current novels, investing in art, etc. It also taught a lot about how the commodities market work and how greed and gambling in the market can affect the fortunes of both farmers and small investors while also making the price of the commodity out of reach for the poor. Overall I would recommend this one and now I need the read The Octopus....more
Read this book for high school lit back in 1968. Remember it to be a very disturbing story about some young boys marooned on a tropical island who creRead this book for high school lit back in 1968. Remember it to be a very disturbing story about some young boys marooned on a tropical island who create their own society, rules and rituals....more
Classic tale of a treasure map, a perilous sea journey across the Spanish Main, a mutiny led by the infamous Long John Silver and a lethal scramble foClassic tale of a treasure map, a perilous sea journey across the Spanish Main, a mutiny led by the infamous Long John Silver and a lethal scramble for buried treasure as seen through the eyes of cabin boy Jim Hawkins. Read this one several years ago....more
This is a horror classic that I have been meaning to read since high school and I finally got around to it this October shortly before Halloween. DracThis is a horror classic that I have been meaning to read since high school and I finally got around to it this October shortly before Halloween. Dracula was written in 1897 and is the novel from which all subsequent vampire tales evolve. Stoker writes of the ultimate evil in his Dracula, with no redeeming qualities as in some current iterations of the vampire such as the Sookie Stackhouse series and others. Of course, I have seen several of the movie iterations of Dracula, including the most famous as played by Bela Lugosi in the 1930s, who showed little resemblance to the monster in the novel as described by Stoker as a "tall old man, clean shaven, save for a long white mustache and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of color about him anywhere." The novel is written as a series of entries from journals, diaries, and letters, which I thought was a very effective way of telling the story. It starts out with Jonathan Harker's journey to Transylvania where he has been summoned to arrange for some real estate transactions by Count Dracula. This part of the novel is very foreboding and frightening when Harker learns the true nature of the Count. The novel then shifts to England where Dracula has started his evil plan to feed on all of London starting with Lucy Westenra, a friend of Harker's fiance, Mina. Then the novel evolves into a chase to find and kill Dracula and his minions led by Harker, Dr. Seward, and Professor Van Helsing. Mina also plays a key role in this hunt and is vital to the novel's resolution. Overall, this is one of the classics that should be read, especially for any fan of horror fiction. I also have a couple of sequels to Dracula that I need to get to soon....more
She tells the tale of Horace Holly and his ward, Leo Vincey searching for a lost city and immortality in the depths of Africa. This was written in 188She tells the tale of Horace Holly and his ward, Leo Vincey searching for a lost city and immortality in the depths of Africa. This was written in 1887 and is a prime example of a Victorian adventure novel where the British are definitely the superior race. Holly and Leo eventually arrive in eastern Africa where they encounter a primitive race of natives and a mysterious white queen, Ayesha, who reigns as the all-powerful "She" or "She-who-must-be-obeyed" and who has a mysterious connection to young Leo. Haggard was probably the original "pulp" novelist and I'm sure he was an inspiration for Edgar Rice Burroughs and his Tarzan adventures and the myriad pulp novels written during the 30s and 40s such as Doc Savage. To me She was a little hard to get through because of the Victorian language and style but overall an okay adventure. ...more
I read Heart of Darkness with my daughter as part of a literature reading assignment for high school. I found the language used in the novel to be verI read Heart of Darkness with my daughter as part of a literature reading assignment for high school. I found the language used in the novel to be very dense with long sentences and paragraphs. The story is told in a rather unique way with the narrator actually telling of a narration of another person, Marlow, about his experience as a river-boat captain in Africa. The story take place in the late 1800s in the Congo and is basically an anti-imperialist and anti-slavery work. It is also fundamentally an adventure story showing the perils of a journey into "darkest Africa."
From 1001 books you must read: Charles Marlow tells a group of British friends about his journey into a part of central Africa which was then the private property of Leopold II, King of the Belgians. Marlow recalls the absurdities and atrocities which he witnessed: a Frnch warship shelling the continent, the cruel treatment of enslaved black laborers, and the remorseless rapacity of the white colonialists who are impelled by the desire for profits from ivory. He looks forward to meeting Mr. Kurtz, the greatly talented and idealistic European trader; but, when he reaches the dying adventure, he finds that the idealist has become deranged and depraved. The "heart of darkness" we learn, is not simply the jungle at the center of Africa; it is also the corrupt heart of Kurtz, and it may even be European imperialism itself..."...more
Dickens classic Christmas tale of Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and Christmases past, present, and yet to be. I read this at Christmas time a few years ago and wDickens classic Christmas tale of Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and Christmases past, present, and yet to be. I read this at Christmas time a few years ago and would highly recommend it even if you have seen more than one of the movie versions!...more
Read this one a few years ago when I was working for USDA. USDA is responsible for oversight of meat packing and this novel really hit home. The descrRead this one a few years ago when I was working for USDA. USDA is responsible for oversight of meat packing and this novel really hit home. The descriptions of the meat-packing industry at the turn of the century in Chicago were really horrific. This novel resulted in food safety regulations....more
Finished reading this with my daughter as part of a school assignment. All I can say is that I'm glad I didn't have to read this in high school! The bFinished reading this with my daughter as part of a school assignment. All I can say is that I'm glad I didn't have to read this in high school! The book was written in 1850, around the same time as Moby Dick (another classic I have put off reading). I guess Scarlet Letter does have a message -- be true to yourself and strive to be individualistic. And it does delve into the morals (or lack thereof)in Puritanical Society, but trudging through the tortuous journey was really a struggle for both me and my daughter. The language used in the book may well have been common language in 1850, but trying to decipher it in 2012 was a chore to say the least. Seems like Hawthorne would go on for paragraphs trying to describe a scene or say something meaningful but would usually leave us saying, "huh?" I know this is a classic but I would only recommend it slightly....more