Carsten's (ctpress) 2017 - Take and Read - part 1
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Painting by Danish artist Oluf Høst.
Welcome to a new year of book-sharing, novel-talk, fiction-discussion, chit-chat and/or deep philosophical musings. This is my seventh year in this group - I'm living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Working as a journalist and I'm almost always reading some classic. But new literature will slip through. Hope to reread more novels this year, but let's see how it goes.
14. Psmith in the City by P. G. Wodehouse (1909) 3/5
13. Room With a View by E. M. Forster (1908) 4,5/5 reread
12. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë 5/5 reread
11. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1861) 5/5 reread audiobook
10. White Fang by Jack London (1906) 5/5 reread audiobook
9. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1861) 5/5 reread
8. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson (1957) 3,5/5 (audiobook)
7. Villette by Charlotte Brontë (1853) 3,5/5
6. Shirley by Charlotte Brontë (1849) 4,5/5
5. Lady Susan by Jane Austen (1793) 3/5
4. Mike and Psmith by P. G. Wodehouse (1909) 3/5
3. He Wants by Alison Moore (2016) 4,5/5
2. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (2016) 4/5 (audiobook)
1. Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian (1969) 4/5 (audiobook)
But here are my Top ten picks of 2016.
The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham (best depiction of forgiveness, grace and redemption)
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (best love story)
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (best coming of age novel)
A Philosophy of Walking by Fréderic Gros (best non fiction)
Leave it to Psmith by P. G. Wodehouse (best comedy)
Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (best modern novel)
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (best sci-fi)
Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear (best crime fiction)
I Am David by Anne Holm (best children's novel - and it's Danish)
If I had to pick the one book it would be The Painted Veil - Somehow that novel was just perfect for me. I'm still thinking about it and I think it would make a great audiobook listen (listened to it in Danish). A.J. Fikry was also a good narration.
Thank you for your "best of" list. I will do a cut and paste and pursue!
Mary - Yes, I like the winter colors in this one. Paste and Pursue - great hunting :)
Describe yourself: The Inimitable Jeeves
Describe how you feel: State of Wonder
Describe where you currently live: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Island of the Blue Dolphins
Your favorite form of transportation: A Philosophy of Walking
Your best friend is: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
You and your friends are: Writers to Read
What’s the weather like: Summer Lightning
You fear: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
What is the best advice you have to give: Leave it to Psmith
Thought for the day: The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction
How I would like to die: Unnatural Death
My soul’s present condition: Mariette in Ecstasy
Nancy - Yes let's hope for many hours of pleasure reading in this age of distraction :) and being in a state of wonder. (Some books actually helps with that)..
Paul - Always find it thrilling to prepare a new year of reading. Looking forward to your meme....
I am part of the group.
I love being part of the group.
I love the friendships bestowed upon my by dint of my membership of this wonderful fellowship.
I love that race and creed and gender and age and sexuality and nationality make absolutely no difference to our being a valued member of the group.
Thank you for also being part of the group.
Happy New Reading Year, Carsten.
Paul - I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. It's what makes this a special group.
Jim - Thanks. And thank you for keep this group going.
Mary - I agree - it's a fine statement.
Deborah - And a Happy New Year to you. Hope you had a quiet and peaceful New Year celebration. Looking forward to your new 2017-thread.
Lori - Thanks.
Donna - Happy New Year. Yes, I love doing them also. Chuckle a lot when I find one that fits :)
Beth - Happy New Year. Yes, some great reads last year.
Happy new thread. My friend is in Sweden for a medical placement this neext few months, and there is talk of a trip to Copenhagen... Any bookish tips?
Charlotte - A visit to the central library new building would be good. It's called Diamanten (The Diamond). Totally dark and shining and beautifully situated near the canal. And totally contrast to the very old library besides it. Some hate it, others adore it. Also Politikens bookstore at the central square is large and have many English titles.
Thanks Deborah. I've also a digital pile of ebooks and audiobooks lined up....
Anne - Happy New Year. Delighted to see you back for another year of reading. The Painted Veil was a surprisingly good read. The best in 2016.
This is Jane Austen on a ship of war, with the humanity, joy and pathos of Shakespeare. (quote from a blog-review)
The praise and accolade for Patrick O’Brians 20-novel long Napoleonic naval series are worth attention. And I agree. This first one in the series was just great. You are instantly brought back to this period in time - with attention to detail and naval expressions and conversation.
In this first book we are introduced to our hero, Jack Aubrey, a fighting captain in the British Navy, and the beginning of his long-lasting friendship with Stephen Maturin, naturalist and naval surgeon.
Aubrey gets his first command and there’s ups and downs through the book as the newly appointed captain navigates the seas.
I couldn’t have asked for a better narrator in Simon Vance - but I regret the choice of listening to the novel. I needed explanations of the seaman’s terms and quaint expressions - and several times I was lost (at sea) and couldn’t figure out the naval tactics and ships positions. Next time I will try it in book form so I can stop and check. And I’m even considering this companion:
Nancy - Yeah, ok - that quote is a bit overstated but you get the point. But I think the relationship between Aubrey and Maturin is really interesting as they approach life at sea and the ethics of war very differently - as the movie brilliantly portrayed. One of my favorite movies. I can recommend if you don't get to easily seasick.
I was introduced to the books through a college course and the book Patrick O'Brian's Navy: The Illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey's World was a required resource. I found it very useful and always make sure and lend it out when I introduce someone to the AubreyMaturin books because it so helpful in picturing the parts of the ships that are being discussed.
Erik - Thanks for the link to that companion-book. It looks beautiful and fantastic from the preview on Amazon. Although it comes with a hefty price tag I'm interested - not only because of the Jack Aubrey info, but in general I'm interested in this time period mainly because of it's rich literature. Of course it should be an illustrated companion.
Great when a modern novel leads you back to a classic. Some R. L. Stevenson is not a bad way to start the new year :)
Would anyone be interested in a group read? Also maybe if you're interested in reading just one or two of their novels. This will also include discussions of the movie adaptations.
I wouldn't mind setting up a thread.
Maybe we could skip The Professor to make it six and read one every two months.
Is there plans for reading some of their works this year?
I'm talking about:
The Tenant at Wildfell Hall
I might be late to the game with a Brontënathon as many have already made plans for reading this year. But at leat we could do a group read of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. February/March-ish...we'll see what the response is - I've also posted it on the "What We are Reading: Classics" thread.
I liked the Wayward Pines-sci-fi-trilogy - I liked this sci-fi-thriller even more. No wonder it was a popular one in 2016 and another one very likely to be adapted as a movie.
A man’s desperate attempt go get back to his wife and son and the life as he knew it, before he got kidnapped and ended up in an alternate universe.
A delightful, suspenseful and mindboggling story. If you’re into time-travelling and/or alternate universes this is for you. There’s seveeral twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. What an imagination Blake Crouch has.
Deborah - Oh, it's the Brontë-sisters challenge - I'll let my beloved Austen rest for a while. Yes, everyone have already made reading plans, but if you're interested in late February start of March we'll be reading The Tenant at Wildfell Hall.
Nancy - You have to be in to the sci-fi thing to really enjoy it Nancy. I've started my Brontënathon and are reading/listening to Shirley now and will try to complete the remaining Brontë-novels I haven't read: Shirley, Vilette and The Professor - all by Charlotte. By the end of february we could plan a group-reading of "Tenant".
Robin - Don't expect nuanced characters or anything like that - but as a sci-fi-thriller heavy on action and suspense - you're in for a treat.
"It's rumored that the Danish are among the happiest people in the world, and their secret is said to be hygge (pronounced hoo-ga), which is loosely translated as a feeling we get when we are with people we love, a feeling of home, and a feeling of safety. Now the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen has written a guide to achieving your own warm and fuzzy feelings of contentment in The Little Book of Hygge. " (from Goodreads) The link recommends a few books that are on my shelf such as Winnie the Pooh and The Little Prince.
I guess it is a sense of belonging?
Have a great weekend, Carsten.
Paul - Definitely a sense of belonging.
Deborah - Yes, literary sacrilege :) And then blaming it on poor Poppy. For shame :)
Nancy - Great. Looking forward to that group-read - Am enjoying "Shirley" at the moment as an audiobook.
He does sleep through earthquakes. There was one recently, with a magnitude of three, right where he lives but he was unaware of it until he read about it in the paper in due course. He would like to experience an earthquake, to feel the ground shaking beneath him, to feel the bed trembling, all the ornaments rattling like something out of an exorcism.
Lewis, a 70 year old retired Religious Education teacher, does sleep through earthquakes. As he sleeps through so many other things that could have changed the course of his life. He aches for Beef Wellington, but ends up eating his daughters cold soup. He dreams of flying to Australia, but he never travels anywhere. And then there’s a denial of even deeper desires.
But then he meets his old schoolfriend Sydney - a whimsical, rather mysterious character with his yellow Saab and Golden Retriever - and Lewis starts to wake up.
Desire, regret, fear - all of these primal emotions is in play in this well-crafted, suspenseful novel - that also contains a lot of dry humor. You can just feel that a lot of thought have gone into every element, every sentence of this story. Like the many references to yellow and gold - suggesting something wild, colorful and dramatic set against the mundane and drab lonely life of Lewis.
One thing we now have to expect from Moore is the surprising endings. In “The Lighthouse” it was brutal - in this one it felt surreal, dreamlike. I flipped back and reread bits of several chapters and there’s clues along the way. That is brilliant writing.
Like this quote:
And of course the references to D. H. Lawrence.
I also like the dry humor. Like the repeated references to Goldschläger, the Swiss liqueur with bits of gold in it….an exotic and mysterious drink.
”Have you ever had it”, asks Lewis, taking a sip of his shandy.
“No”, she says.
Lewis shakes his head. What kind of a man, he thinks, walks around asking for Swiss liqueurs with bits of gold in? He stands at the bar with his drink, thinking about the things he’s never had and never will.
hmmm…I might try to order a Goldschläger today.
I think I have a vague memory of my dad purchasing or being gifted with a bottle of Goldschläger one Christmas in days past. I think we all in humourous awe , and I think it gave my dad a big chuckle. Not sure that it tasted that good, but was good for fun at Christmas. A bit like the time someone gave my dad " chocolate flavoured beer" and I thought okay, I might try that. But I gagged on it. I don't like beer , but I thought the so - called chocolate flavour might be passable. Nope.
I really love your cover as opposed to mine in Canada. The yellow cover is so much more appropriate than my blue and and whatever colour cover.
Thumbed, my friend :)
I do miss my dad - he was full of " hygge " moments. You know, just " casual stupid on purpose ." We had a lot of laughs.
The Goldschläger sounds like a very special drink, so I might not like it either. But as Sydney says in respons to the drink: "I've tried it. You've got to try these things, haven't you?
Good that although you miss your dad can remember good "hygge" moments together with him. He does sound like one you would have a cosy time around. Chocolate beer is a challenging beer - I'm not a big fan either, although I generally am fond of beer.
The cover is so much better in yellow. Wonder why they change cover from country to country - can it really be cost effective to hire a new designer?
After reading Leave it to Psmith (Blandings Castle #3) I wanted to explore Wodehouse’s Psmith-character. He first appears in this short novel where Mike is the main character, although he’s quickly outshined by the eccentric and quick-thinking Psmith.
Mike and Psmith quickly become close friends as they arrive at the same time as new students at Sedleigh School - the novel is filled with pranks, mischievous boys, a clueless headmaster and a strict housemaster with his beloved bulldog (the biggest prank is painting the bulldog red which ensues in an extensive manhunt for the culprit).
The story also features a lot of cricket which Wodehouse was fond of. (I have to part ways with him there). Good fun and an example of the early Wodehouse - a little too juvenile to be very interesting - not up there with the Blandings Castle-series or Jeeves and Wooster.
I think I had in mind to put two Wodehouse's on the list...The other were The Inimitable Jeeves. If you want to start and read Wodehouse - and you should - that's a good one to start with.
Marie - Thanks for dropping by and a happy 2017 to you.
Nancy - It was ok fun - and interesting to read Wodehouse before his more mature works. I don't think I'm going back to that anytime soon - there's still some Jeeves and Wooster left to read - and the Blanding Castle series.
I'm glad you enjoyed Mike and PSmith, even if was not quite up to your standards. Humour can go a long way .
Charlotte - I haven't seen any of the tv-series of Jeeves and Wooster. Maybe I should try to find some of them. Could be fun.
Paul - Yes, the press conference showed what I think we'll have to get used to. Miles away from Obama in so many ways.
I read this mainly as a preparation for the new adaptation of the novel. Jane Austen’s short epistolary novel is an example of her early writings - for whatever reason she didn’t try to get it published and it also seems a little unfinished.
Surprisingly it features an absolutely unscrupolous woman as the main character. Manipulation, flirting and scheming - she tries everything to ensnare first a married man and then a much younger man but there’s no real feelings of love or affection here. There’s no one to root for here - well, yes, Lady Susan’s daughter, but we really doesn’t get to know her that well.
The novel does show a great novelist in the making - and Jane Austen’s talent for ironi and humour.
Tonight I watched the movie adaptation “Love and Friendship” - I guess it was an ok adaptation, but of course it suffers from the starting material. We have no Emma or Elisabeth here - just an “anti-hero” you want to strangle whenever you see her on screen. The dialoque was great and very witty, even hilarious in places. But I don't think it will find a place into my Austen-collection.
Glad you sort of enjoyed Lady Susan. I'm not familiar with Love and Friendship, but glad you enjoyed. I think I'm going to see if my library has a the cinema version of Mr Pip.
If you're looking for an adaptation of Great Expectation I would recommend David Lean's classic (1946) - if you like old movies, that is. So good. Beautifully fllmed. But the novel has been adapted so many times - also a modernized version with Ethan Hawke (1998) that I also liked.
I read Lady Susan a couple of years ago or so, and completely agree: Ms. Austen's wit was delicious!
I have listened to and enjoyed many Jeeves & Woosters over the years -- Jonathan Cecil is definitely my favorite narrator. On a whim, I picked up a set of the Jeeves & Wooster TV shows at the library by Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, and now my family is hooked!
Being a great Wodehouse-fan it's silly I've never seen a Wodehouse tv-adaptation - I think I'll follow your lead on the Hugh Laurie/Stephen Fry version :)
My Brontënathon is off to a good start with Shirley. I loved it more than I expected.
Five reasons why I liked Shirley:
Free-spirited Shirley: Miss Keeldar is a great heroine. Charlotte Brontë have enriched Shirley with great wealth, she’s a land owner and independent, which means she can speak against the corrupt curates, help the mill owner - start a social reform program for the poor - and in one of the best scenes of the novel go against her uncle when he thinks he has found the best match for her. Just brilliant.
Luddites uprising: The novels first chapters takes us right into the historical setting (1811-12) in Yorkshire during the Napoleonic Wars where the poor workers try to attack and kill the mill owner, Robert Moore, because he’s replacing workers with new industrialised equipment. A very interesting conflict that’s the background for the two romantic plots.
Women’s role in society: The novel have several interesting discussions on women’s emancipation - We empathize with Caroline Helstone and the constraints society puts on her - she has limited possibilities in life without parents and dependent on a fickle uncle - and marriage seems out of reach. Shirley on the other hand embraces her economic and social independence which defies conventions and expectations.
Enduring friendship: The deepening and beautiful friendship between Caroline and Shirley is a great pleasure to follow. They have altogether different temperaments and characters - yet support and help each other throughout the novel.
“The Valley of the Shadow of Death” Headline for this chapter with Caroline on her deathbed. I can still remember walking and listening to it with both fascination and trembling - and it reveals one of Charlotte Brontë's famous plot twists. It’s haunting with gothic elements - and no doubt influenced by her own life experience. Three of Charlotte Brontë’s siblings died during the writing of this novel (all wihtin nine months). First her alcoholic brother, Bramwell, and then shortly after each other, Emily and Anne.
Deborah - Shirley is the longest of the Brontë-novels. Great that you're onto Dickens now. It's one of his "small" reads - half the size of his normal chunksters :) Still a long read I would say. I'm into the last chapters of my reread of Great Expectations and just loving it. Well, I'm prejudiced in favour of the Victorian novel, I dare say :) If they were just not so long I could get through more of them.
Have a great weekend.
I'm reading Villette at the moment, and I think it's time for a ranking of the Brontë novels I've read - and then I will re-rank them all after The Brontënathon.
1. Jane Eyre
2. Tenant of Wildfell Hall
4. Agnes Grey
5. Wuthering Heights
unread: Vilette, The Professor
I have given Wuthering Heights a low 2-star rating, but it was years ago when I read it, and I hope I'll appreciate it more after a reread. Can't remember what made me rank it so low, as some consider it the best of them all.
I know everyone is going crazy over "La, La, Land" and all the Oscar-buzz - haven't seen it yet but hoping to do it soon - but let me recommend "Sing Street" - it will probably not get so much love as "La, La, Land" at the Oscars, but it's just a cool celebration of music, artistry, friendship and love.
Oh, yes, The Commitments - totally forgot that. Just checked and it's on Netflix, so I'll have a rewatch of that one pretty soon I'm sure. Some good/important movies you're mentioning - The Snapper of course but also Magdalene Sisters although hard to watch.
1 Wuthering Heights
2 Jane Eyre
3 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
5 Agnes Grey
The first three are in a different category to the last two in my opinion. I haven't read the others.
I haven't read that many Dickens novels, but so far Great Expectations and David Copperfield are my favorites - and about Miss Havisham...wait for her comeback later in the novel...just saying...
Jane Eyre is by far my favorite of the Brontë novels - but I have a feeling you might enjoy The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne, I think, is more realistic than both Charlotte and Emily who has a more romantic and gothic style going. Realistic for an early Victorian novel that is. As you know we have a group-read of that one in March....
I love the Commitments film too - and anything by Roddy Doyle, of course. I think my favourites are still the historical fiction though. Hopefully someone will film his books about the Easter Rising through to Hollywood and Maureen O'Hara, one day.
Charlotte - I haven't yet seen "The Guard" and "Calvary" but Brendan Gleeson is such an enigmatic actor that I can easily believe they would be worth watching. Specially Calvary looks intriguing.
Nancy: You are ready, my friend - I really like those Penguin editions - the covers and their lengthy introductions, notes, chronology etc. I have a few of them myself. I have to admit that sometimes I "cheat" and buy the Kindle samples - that way you can get the introduction for free...if it's placed in the beginning of the book.....but then sometimes I end up buying the physical book as well...
Paperback or hardback?
For "Tenant" I bought the new "Penguin English Library" paperback-edition - the new lineup they have printed the last few years. I like it not for the "extras" - they only have an essay at the end that is not so long. But for the quality of the paper - there's something so soft and delightful about this type of paper that make you want to caress it all the time. And the font is very readable. I'm a nerd in that respect about books. And then the covers are cleverly designed - all different but the same theme.
My first reading was a Danish translation, but I'm going to the original this time. Almost regretting not buying your edition. Maybe there's an important note I'll be missing :)
Charlotte - They are beautiful - and there are over 100 different ones in that series - that is the new edition of the series.
Penguin book-video for you, Charlotte.
Nancy - Exactly, don't forget to smell your books - they deserve to be noticed once in a while :)
Deborah - Buying classics online are really difficult, I think. I've also had my share of disappointments with some series - I guess that's why we need the bookstores - I found my first "english library classic" in a bookstore - Jane Austen's "Persuasion" - now I have five from the series. At you some of my favorite ones are old well-worn books that stays open on a page.
I ordered a copy of "Penguin's Clothbound Classics" (Jane Eyre) but was disappointed. I know they are popular and they look beautiful - but hmmm....heavy, too thick paper and just didn't feel great to hold and didn't fold well. I guess we're not easy to please :)
Charlotte - Thought you would appreciate it :)
I know a new hardcover has to be used to fold properly - but this is just ridiculous - here's what my "Jane Eyre-clothbound-edition" looks like while resting on it's own:
Here's what it's suppose to do in a good hardcover: (danish edition of Ivanhoe)
I know I'm a little on the obsessive side here, but my grandfather was a bookbinder, and I used to spend time in his workshop where he would show me some things about good bookbinding. I can remember when he took a used book - usually an old worn out Bible people would like to preserve - and then give it a new leather binding meticulously stitching it together with glue....the joy of good workmanship.
It gets a little geekery around here.
Get your geek on!'
Yes Nancy >147 lit_chick: Geeks unite!
Lori - Yes, I can imagine bookbinders would have a hard time making ends meet nowadays. In his later years he would do private bookbinding for friends and relatives and charging almost nothing, but it was a labour of love seeing that old worn out book and turn it into state of the art.
Nancy - Get the geek on! LOL - Yes...I really miss those times spend in his workshop and then afterwards grandmother always ready with tea and light bun halved and toasted with thick layer of butter....Once when I was a child he promised me a gift if I kept on with piano lessons. So I kept on practicing, dreaming of big things. A new football maybe, or even a pair of sneakers. After a year or so he gave me.....a hymn book. Had a hard time not looking disappointed. But he had made it himself in real fine leather with my name in gold print on the cover. Ungrateful kid as I was :) Later it meant a lot to me, but you know....
Mary - Some fine discussions here for sure. Brightens up a dark january. Love it :) Ah, moving is such a hassle, but at least you have something to look forward to when its all done. Geek unite :)
Second reading in my Brontënathon. Librarything description: With neither friends nor family, Lucy Snowe sets sail from England to find employment in a girls’ boarding school in the small town of Villette. There she struggles to retain her self-possession in the face of unruly pupils and a suspicious headmaster.
A few thoughts:
- I liked it but I didn't love it - Villette didn’t capture my imagination as either Shirley or Jane Eyre.
- I never really warmed up to the heroine Lucy Snowe (no pun intended) - she fascinated me, but not enough.
- Liked the gothic elements which created an eerie feeling throughout the novel - the appearence of a ghost - a white nun….
- Liked also the descriptions of Lucy’s loneliness and despair and her deliberate attempts to be an independent free spirit.
I might read The Professor in february - or maybe wait until march and The Tenant…we’ll see.
>39 ctpress: Though I have not fully engaged this series, I listened to one on audio, as well, some years ago. I'll have tor revisit is on audio as Simon Vance is a master narrator. I recent listed to him narrate Hero of the Empire by Candace Millard. As for British Napoleonic fiction, I have loved the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell. It's a ground troop series as apposed the sea.
>55 ctpress: I really enjoyed Dark Matter. It was suspenseful but not scary.
>70 ctpress: Leave it to Psmith and The Inimitable Jeeves are on my to read list for Wodehouse. Mike and Psmith might fun as well...if I can find it.
>77 ctpress: This sounds interesting, but I don't know if my patience would win out. ;-)
>93 ctpress: I heartily agree that the 1946 Great Expectations film is superior to anything before or after. Excellent film. I'm considering a reread of GE, but it may have to wait until next year.
You have been starred. :-)
I wouldn't recommend Mike and Psmith other than a curiosity for a Wodehouse fan. Leave it to Psmith and The Inimitable Jeeves are both very good, I think.
Great - another David Lean fan. i found a recent adaptation on Netflix a few nights ago and started watching, but hmmmm....I think the 1946 adaptation have ruined all other versions for me. It's just sheer perfection.
Nancy - Thanks. I know it's a little unfair to compare coming so close after Shirley maybe it was too much at the same time. Anyways...I'm glad to have satisfied my curiosity with the Brontë-collection - only The Professor to go and I've read them all.
The cover of Vilette is very eye catching. I like it and I'm not one to notice that sort of thing very often :) Unlike Duchess Kate, I am not an Art grad from the University of St Andrew's , more is the pity. Trump's visit to the Queen will be awkward, I hope. Can you get an invite to that particular occasion and get a close up look at Crazy Trump and the Queen? Should be a piece of cake for you, Carsten, with your connections! :)
A classic story about a boy Travis and his beloved dog. It’s not love at first sight, rather hate at first site, but soon the ugly, but clever dog wins the heart of everyone - and even manage to save the boys life.
As in Ingalls Wilders prairie stories you really have a good sense of the harsh realities in the farmhouse, a family where the 14 year old kid/man has to take responsibility as the father is away on a long cattle drive.
Peter Francis James reading with a slow deep southern accent is excellent.
A Newbery Honor book
Lori - Oh, that must have been some experience - a book capturing the imagination of the whole class. There's some hard earned lessons in that book.
Have anyone seen the movie version? I'm considering it.
Thanks for sharing the memories of your bookbinder grandfather. How cool that he used to do it for friends and family with little profit. I think just seeing the rebirth of a good book would be a great reward. No wonder you are such a lover of the old books.
Donna - Yes, true that my grandfather learned me to appreciate the older books. He was all about books. I don't think he ever went to the cinema - and they had no tv for sure.
Funny you should mention David Copperfield - I just bought an audiobook-version today. I loved it when I read it a couple of years ago. Would like to listen to it also at some point. Read by Richard Armitage.
Bought it with the Audible Whispersync deal and got it for 2 dollars I think.
I have a large collection of Dickens books, packed away somewhere (and I will take a picture of them when they are unpacked....which will not happen anytime soon) and will then commit to reading them then. They are a gorgeous edition all with lovely small green leather covers, and very light onion skin paper, I think! Now I need your grandfather's advice on these ones......how should I take care of them! They were in my parents' library.
Mary - I am in the mood of rereading classics at the moment, I have to say. Looking forward to a photo of that Dickens series - once you've settled in. You just describe the perfect book. "Small green leather covers and very light onion skin paper..." :)
Nancy - It's actually one of his more thoughtful movies - kind of dark in tone - but I like the ideas presented - and well, Matt Damon is always good I think.
Deborah - It is a sad read for sure, but I can see why it's a children's classic - very powerful....I've bought a few cheap classics as audiobooks lately as they are very cheap with the Whispersync-deal. Oh, KP....yes, well, you know... I'm trying :)
“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before – more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”
5 reasons Great Expectations is a great novel
1. Pip’s journey It’s a great bildungsroman. At its heart it’s about Pip’s inner journey toward greater self-understanding and molding of his character. He does not get what he expects, but in the journey finds so many other things of greater value.
2. Enduring friendships For me one of the most touching themes is that of friendship - Pip’s and Joe’s and later on with Herbert Pocket. When Pip need his friends the most they do turn up by his side. And Pip will also himself be a true friend to an unexpected person.
3. Surprises, surprises You’re not aware of it, but slowly this “bildungsroman” turns into a tightly constructed mystery plot. The second half is full of surprising twists and turns.
4. Lessons on wealth Wealth is the vehicle in the story. Everything hinges on what people are in terms of class and money and “expectations”. I like that Pip finds happinness in “working for his profits” rather than living on someone else’s money.
5. A wealth of memorable characters You could mention this about any Dickens novel - but just think about Pip himself, Joe and Biddy, Miss Havisham, Estella, Jarvis, Wemming, Magwitch etc, etc.
Also love the quote....."we should never be ashamed of our tears......overlying our hard hearts".....
Nancy - I came across this book on a review on Youtube - sounded like my kind of book - as I've recently read A Philosophy of Walking - didn't know Dickens was a "night walker".
Anne - Yes, I heard a snippet of Armitage doing Copperfield and I was almost..almost ready to just listen on, but I'll keep it for later. And that you can get it for two dollars is a treat.
Lori - Glad you like it. Certain books it comes more natural for me to do review in this way.
"The aim of life was meat. Life itself was meat. Life lived on life. There were the eaters and the eaten. The law was: EAT OR BE EATEN. He did not formulate the law in clear, set terms and moralize about it. He did not even think the law; he merely lived the law without thinking about it at all.”
“I’m going to give the evolution, the civilization of a dog—development of domesticity, faithfulness, love, morality, and all the amenities and virtues.” Jack London about the purpose of the book.
The opening scene where White Fang lures out the sledge dogs one by one and kills them - and then goes after the two men - is both frigthening and fascinating.
There are several other frightening scenes - like the crucial fight with the bull dog. Oh, my. But then also delightful scenes where White Fang encounters the God’s (humans) goodness and tenderness.
I had forgotton how great this classic American tale was - up there with Watership Down in it’s realism and moral force.
Brilliant narration by John Lee. Like his deep slow voice. Fits well here.
Thanks Deborah. You're definitely missing out :) That is if you like stories told from animals perspective. Both comes with a warning. They contain some grueling scenes with animals fighting to death.
“We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” The Chesire cat to Alice
What delightful wonderous nonsense. To spend 2 hours and 44 minutes listening to Scarlett Johansson’s joyful narration of Alice in Wonderland was like a breeze of fresh air for my overworked brain.
“Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin… but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!”
Is it subversive nonsense? Filled with hidden meanings? Cleverly organised and meticulously metered out nonsense? Maybe…I don’t know - overblown psychoanalytical interpretations kill the wonder of it all - and it’s original intention: The enchanted nonsense of a child’s imagination. As the forever tea party - where Alice ponders:
“The Hatter’s remark seemed to have no sort of meaning in it, and yet it was certainly English.”
And it’s certainly a “curious dream” I will revisit again and again. Scarlett, we have a date next year for another 2 hours and 44 minutes.
We're all mad here....Nancy, speak for yourself. Ha ha! Okay, maybe I see your point.
Did fine with Little House in the Big Woods, Mr. Popper's Penguins, A Wrinkle in Time, The Mixed-up Files...
when someone recommends a book I've not heard of, my question is: "Does the dog die?"
Mary - Thanks - It will be a long engagement if we only meet 2 hours and 44 minutes every year, but I'll take whatever I can get :)
m.belljackson - That's a good question: "Does the dog die?" I'll have to remember that. I can believe it would be a hard one to read aloud. Not at all like Mr. Popper's Penguins....
PS - have you secured a place at KP? ;)
>191 ctpress: I may well do that. All this talk of Jack London also brings to mind the study of his famous short story 'To Build A Fire' when I as in high school. excellent story.
>192 ctpress: I loved your review of Scarlett Johansson's Alice in Wonderland. I could use that same breath of fresh air. I'll be putting this on the library hold list immediately. Lovely cover image as well.
Brodie - I remember reading "To build a Fire" in an American Greatest short story collection years ago. Frightening read. Yes, a clever cover design - Scarlett does a very good job with it. Before that I've listened to a Danish audiobook edition with one of our famous Danish actors - I liked that very much, but Scarlett is hard to beat.
Hope you are doing fine this weekend.
Hi Paul - Doing fine, but my work schedule have been insane these previous days - looking ahead to some days off at the end of the week. Have to keep the outpost running :)
Will look forward to the Tenant thread when you have a few moments to set up. No rush. As I said, I'm reading at a snail's pace presently.
Hi Nancy - So the group-read-thread is up and runnning: https://www.librarything.com/topic/250589.
Anyone interesteed in reading Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall in March are more than welcome to join in. Or others who wants to discuss the novel or The Brontë's
Thanks so much for setting up our GR thread for The Tenant.
Nancy - I've got a few days of work and plan to get ahead in "The Tenant" - thanks for posting on the thread. I guess it's just you and me reading it, but it's fine - good to have a discussion going.
Mary - Yes, I'm alright - but still not reading so much at the moment.
Have a great weekend and take a rest, man!
Mary - It's definitely not going well with reading at the moment. But enjoying The Tenant at Wildfell Hall.
Paul - Thanks. Although I'm pretty late in responding this time.
Suddenly spring has sprung here! Warmed up quite a bit this week.
Deborah - Nyhavn Canal area is beautiful and a "must" for visiting Copenhagen - and you do get a very fine view over Copenhagen from the top of Vor Frelsers Kirke (Our Saviours Church). For a capital it is indeed a "little city" to be sure - no skyscrabers here :) I'm sure they've had a good time - despite it being still cold.
I suppose the population of Copenhagen might also make them say it is a " stylish' little city. Here in Vancouver, we have an area population of 2. 4 million. No tall building in Copenhagen, Carsten? I'm not sure how many sky scrapers we have in Vancouver, but I suppose we do have a skyline. I looked it up - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_in_Vancouver.
I think it would be lovely to live in smaller , more walk-able city. You are fortunate, Carsten!
Edited to add that we in Vancouver are very sad to have recently been forced to open a Trump Tower. Sad face about that.
Mary - Of course you must come to "Norden" now when you've completed the "theory-book" - now it's time to practice :)
BTW - the new study/statistic is out - and Norway has now replaced Denmark as the "happiest" people in the world - ah, well, it still stays in Scandinavia :)
Thank you Carsten, I would love to come to Denmark and 'practice" as you say!
Here , it does not matter what nursery school or pre -school you attend. Of course as a parent you try to pick one that you think your child will benefit from and enjoy, but has no bearing on the rest of your education. And of course you pay for children's pre-school, as we call it.
ETA - I'd think my kids think much about politics much yet. My daughter in law does teach kindergarten, so she doe see the difference in the backgrounds of children at a young age, and how it varies so much at an early age.
Deborah - I don't know what to think of these surveys - how do you measure such a feeling or state as "happiness"? - I suspect a lot of factors contribute to the numbers - like stable government, social security, equal access to education and hospitals, a high percentage of middle-class etc. etc. but how exactly does it contribute to "happiness"?
Wow, the fight for the children's education begins before kindergarten - I've been to Hong Kong and yes there's a lot of people everywhere, a lot of noise - it wasn't a place I would like to live.
Nancy - Yes that is a blessing to lov where you live and to be able to make it ones home.
I do love where I live too , and part of it is the sense of community and safety that I get in my townhouse complex, my dog walking buddies , just a feeling of safety and belonging.
having Health Care equal to that of other Western Countries,
having a decent President who cares about the people, animals, environment and future of the country,
with finding solutions to climate change,
with feeling safe in our own communities and free from terrorist attacks,
with having our taxes go for cures and not for more destruction
with food safe from GMOs and pesticides ...
with saving those who are starving and need our help
Deborah - Thanks for the link - I might look into that report. Will be interesting to see how they measure it.
m.belljackson - some good and essential reasons for sure. Feeling safe and healthcare is two reasons at the top of my list.
Paul - Yes, intimidating is a good word for that place - we weren't there for more than three days I think.
I think I'm slowly easing in to LT again having been silent for a few weeks.
It was a pleasure to be part of the group reading of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - as I mentioned on the thread it has gone from a 4 to a 4,5 and now to a 5. It was a great read and great discussions on the themes of the novel. I think I've talked enough of the novel, so no review here...
A young man steals a kiss from Lucy Honeychurch on a vacation in Italy - and Lucy begins to question her narrow life, her selfish fiancé, her conventional family, her bleak future.
What I appreciate about Room With a View
- Forsters empathy with his characters. Even aristocratic and selfish Cecil Wyse we sympathise with when he’s rejected.
- It’s sunny, optimistic and witty - very witty. If you want the “darker” E. M. Forster read Howard’s End.
- I like the way Lucy Honeychurch is questioning herself, her choices, her opinions, her ideals - the way her irrational mind is trying to make sense of the restricted, narrow world she has grown accustomed to.
- That George Emerson remains an enigma throughout the story. His actions we get explained mainly through his father - he’s the fresh wind blowing new life into Lucy’s existence - but a big questionmark to Lucy as well as to the readers.
Yes, I've seen it and what a stellar cast. Helena Bonham-Carter IS Miss Honeychurch- Maggie Smith IS Charlotte Bartlett. And Denholm Elliott as Mr. Emerson steals every scene he’s in. (not to mention Daniel Day-Lewis, Simon Callow and Judi Dench).
Another round of fun with Mike and Psmith - now in the big city forced to work in a bank and having trouble adjusting to real working life. Apparently Wodehouse detested his job while working in a bank - and he does not make it look very attractive I have to say.
Now I only have to read Psmith, Journalist to complete the series with Mike and Psmith. I rank it below - way below - The Blanding Castle series and Bertie and Wooster.
Paul - thanks, yes it's good to be back posting.
Nancy - Psmith rushing to work :) I won't grow tired of Wodehouse, I'm sure.
PawsforThought - Actually Psmith, Journalist is the third of the four Psmith-novels - and the only one I haven't read yet - so your take on it makes me more hopeful. I love the character of Psmith - very refreshing - and Wodehouse is made better when you listen to the books.
I know it's unfair to compare, but reading recently All the Light We Cannot See I think this one was not so original in its content, nor in its prose. Somehow I wasn't so immersed in the story as with Doerr's great novel. This is the first Kristin Hannah novel I've read and for plain entertainment is was good.
It's the only time I've listened to a Wodehouse book, actually. While I did enjoy it a lot, I'll probably read the others myself. Not because there was anything wrong with the narration or anything - just a preference.
So glad you are considering being Prince William's private secretary :) I think it would pay well and you'd get a fair bit of travel. Could you mail me a signed photograph from the Royal Couple? :-)
PawsforThought - It's the old english stiff-upper-lip accent I like so much from the audiobooks - makes me laugh all the time :)
Deborah - A signed royal photo is the least I can do :)
Robin - All the Light We Cannot See grabbed my attention more - it was the perspective from the young people, the radio-stuff and Hitlerjugend thing made it very interesting for me.
Mary - I haven't read Helen Humprey yet. But I had considered reading Coventry. Maybe that's one of those you think of?
Have a great weekend, Carsten.
Mary - The River also sounds interesting - the pull of nature - love that :)
Paul - Sounds like a captivating experience. A great weekend to you to.
A 2000 year history of Christian Spirituality - I like Sittser’s approach - he focuses on a specific theme in each period of church history. Ch 4 - it’s “RHYTHM” (spirituality of Monasticism) - Ch. 5 - “HOLY HEROES” - (spirituality of Icons and Saints).
Although he acknowledges the excesses, errors and weaknesses in each period his overall goal is to present the strenghts and what we can learn from the Christian spirituality in each period - Desert Fathers, Monks, Mystics, Reformers, Evangelicals - all periods has something to offer.
A very “inclusive” approach. Much food for thought.
Gearing up for Pippa's wedding, are you, dear Carsten! ;-) Great to see you!
A Grace Disguised was my first read by Sittser - an honest, very personal and profound book on grief - it propelled me towards other books by him.
Nancy - Yes much food for thought - he's a writer with much empathy and insight into different Christian traditions.
I've just watched the first two episodes of the new Anne of Green Gables adaptation on Netflix - I have to admit it's impossible not to compare with the Anne I've come to love from the tv-series.
It's beautifully made - has a more serious and darker portrayal of the story - and a lot more dialogue. (but not so funny as the tv-series) - Episode two introduced a whole new plotline not found in the novel, but it made also for an interesting development between the characters.
Although the old tv-series feels more in line with the tone of the original story in the novel I'm exited that this new series will introduce Anne to a new generation who hasn't watched or read the story before. Episode three is waiting for me....
Have a great weekend, Carsten.
Nancy - It's a collaboration between Netflix and CBC so CBC I guess has some rights to show it for a period. Hope it will be available soon.
Paul - I knew you would say that:)