Discussion in 'Community' started by droideka27, Aug 31, 2005.
Samson Agonistes by Milton
Finished "THE BOOK OF MERYLN," by T H WHITE. What is considered his true ending to ONCE AND FUTURE KING. I loved OAFK, in fact I consider it my favorite book. Just the way White can make you actually feel through the printed word.
Book of Merlyn has quite a few good bits, and it's quick enough to call it a good read. Wouldn't call it a great ending to OAFK though. The ending he had to go with for the published book was far better, and in truth pretty much had all the ideas and feels in a page and a half, instead of the 200 pages here.
The parts that are good are anything that deals with Arthur. The parts with Merlyn preaching are the books fualts. Regardless of how you may agree or disagree with the ideas White has, and white is pretty much speaking through Merlyn here, it's just way to much. Starts off interesting, and then just grows tiresome. No real plot, just Arthur in a room with his animal friends from the first book of OAFK with Merlyn talking to him, and a couple scenes with Arthur transformed into an animal which were in the first book anyhow. Then it ends with the rest of the Arthurian story that pretty much read as cliff notes.
Still, when you get parts with Arthurs point of view the book shines. You actually feel genuinly sorry for the man, and what he's had to put up with.
It was worth the 7 dollars, but T H WHITE got carried away with his post WW2 beliefs. Like I said the original ending is far better.
Just started The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
@DarthMane2, that was exactly my reaction to The Book of Merlyn. I often reread Once and Future King, but I have no interest in going back to Merlyn.
I read that awhile back - thought it was pretty good.
Yeah, it was absolutely fantastic.
Now doing a re-read of The Lions of Al-Rassan
Han Solo at Stars' End by Brian Daley. Found the trilogy at the bottom of a pile of my old books; hadn't read it in decades. It really holds up. Good times...
"Torment" by Lauren Kate
Indiana Jones Omnibus, Volume 2. Of these stories, the two-issue Indiana Jones and the Golden Fleece is a bit generic and undercooked; it doesn't have enough time to really play out well. I liked pairing Indy up with a pregnant woman who's mostly just annoyed with him; it's an unexpected dynamic. Using the Nazi invasion of Greece during WWII was also a nice touch.
Indiana Jones and the Shrine of the Sea Devil, at one issue, just didn't have much to it, and it didn't do much with what it had. It sets up some interesting ideas in the submerged island ruins he finds and the fermenting mutiny of the crew on the ship he's hired, but then it just throws all that out entirely so Indy can stand around while a giant octopus fights the ship. I mean, they're building up this mutiny, they introduce the captain and the expedition's backer . . . and then they short-circuit it with an octopus attack that ushers the captain and financier completely out of the story in a lifeboat and has the crew fight the octopus and die while Indy looks on. Then he escapes with Amelia Earhart, because why not. Nice art, but otherwise a misfire.
The rest of the stories are four issues each. Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix, based off a canceled game, has the same problem with choppy plot that a lot of the other DH comics have had. The idea of Nazis trying to use the Philosopher's Stone to resurrect Hitler and an army of zombie Nazis is cheesy and generic, but I did like having Indy constantly crossing paths with a Soviet agent who's also working to counter the Nazis.
Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny has yet another choppy plot, poorly executed. I like getting Henry Senior in the story, but they never even use him that much, and it ends up feeling like a waste.
Indiana Jones and the Sargasso Pirates is the best story in the volume, swapping between multiple interesting oceanic settings as Indy, burdened with a treacherous seaman he just can't seem to shake, and then a con man passing himself off as the famous Indiana Jones's brother and his crook-on-the-lam lady friend, gets himself into various shades of trouble. The centerpiece of the story is their capture by a "pirate" society trapped in a ship graveyard inside the Sargasso Sea, but what really drives it is the continual scheming and betrayal of Lawton, the seaman. The plotting is coherent, and giving Indy all these characters to play off is a big advantage. It captures the sense of constant motion and fun adventure very well.
Indiana Jones Adventures, Volume 1. Much more recent than any of the other comics, this is Dark Horse's attempt to launch an Indy digest-format comic accessible to kids in the style of their Clone Wars Adventures line. It's the best of all the Indy comics I've read so far. It gets the characters, and appears to have the only artist in history who knows what Denholm Elliott looks like. It's nonstop fun, with great art, and by setting itself in 1930, it gets to make use of prequel elements -- namedropping Forrestal and getting into the rivalry with Belloq. Indy also gets to play off a nice, by-the-book British woman archaeologist as he chases an old Norse artifact that the Nazis, not yet in power, want. The character interaction is great, the plot completely works and features nonstop action, there are fascinating locations, and the story has actual ideas and themes it explores, in terms of Indy's methods, the dominance of the British Empire in the field of archaeology, and the economics of treasure hunting. It's just very smartly written and nonstop fun, with no downfalls.
Indiana Jones Adventures, Volume 2: Curse of the Invincible Ruby. Also good, but it has a few problems. The history is silly (a nonexistent Ottoman emir [not, you know, a sultan] with a palace in Mombasa?) and the McGuffin a bit more generic and perfunctory; Indy also doesn't get any particularly interesting supporting characters. It's still well-drawn, with fun action, and some good character interaction, plus Belloq as an antagonist.
The Toynbee Convector by Ray Bradbury. Getting ready to start House of Leaves.
Fiction - Gone by James Patterson.
Nonfiction - Writers Workshop of Horror - editted by Michael Knost
Some more Paradise Lost.
I've written many a paper on that one - still go back to it from time to time. I'm a sucker for creation myths and myths of The Fall.
Speaking of which, the last book I read was this:
It is simply amazing. It starts with the creation of Middle Earth [or, more accurately, the creation of Eä (the physical universe) and Arda (the planet on which Middle Earth is a continent)]. The creation of the universe resembles the Christian creation myth, with Eru Ilúvatar as God and the Ainur resembling angels as well as the gods of other mythologies. There is the fall of Melkor (later called Morgoth), an angelic spirit along the lines of Lucifer who is the Primary Agent of Evil and Sauron's master. From there we follow the conflict between Morgoth and the Ainur, the creation of the Dwarves, the emergence of elves and men (the Children of Ilúvatar), the defeat of Morgoth and the rise of Sauron, the Atlantean fall of Númenor, and much more. It's not an easy read by any stretch - it's a dense text with a lot of names to keep track of, and the skills I sharpened during my Masters studies came in very handy. But I promise you it is endlessly rewarding. The first section is, in my opinion, the best articulation of a creation myth I've ever come across. I simply love this book. It's meant to be read as if it were the collected Tales and Legends of the Elves, and so is very much from the Elven perspective.
At the moment I'm slowly making my way through the Lord of the Rings proper.
Currently in the middle of Book II of The Fellowship of the Ring. It's remarkable how many details from from the Silmarillion are referenced - Tolkien worked on the Silmarillion his whole life, but it wasn't published until after his death. Tolkien's always made sure that his sub-creative world was fully consistent with itself - Arda is a living, breathing world with a rich history and mythology. Didn't always like Tolkien's prose - thought he was too descriptive and couldn't get over his language fetish - but these days I'm totally engrossed by his works.
Always wanted to read that one. The numerous names scare me away though.
I've tried to read Tolkien in the past. I just can't get into his stuff.
Once you let go of the notion that you're going to remember all the names upon the first reading, you'll be able to enjoy it. You'll remember the important stuff, and slowly the alternate names etc will start to stick.
I was the same way,
@LAJ_FETT. Tried several times when I was younger and was bogged down by the dense, overly descriptive prose. Now I'm completely enchanted.
I was 10 when I read LOTR. It took me 9 months, but it was worth it....I think.
The Tom Bombadil parts in Fellowship of the Ring slowed down the book for me. After I got past that part was completely hooked.
Finished Fate of the Dwarves which was an epic end to an epic series. At school I'm reading Fever Crumb which is the start of the prequel series to the Mortal Engines books(which I will read as well). Nearly finished it. Also in Star Wars reading: I read Planet of Twilight (a bit weird but alright),Traitor(great writing but sometimes hard to understand) and I'm now reading Destiny's Way.
The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger does a great job capturing an attitude, an atmosphere, the sense of depression and teenage disaffection. Salinger's writing, the way he conjures Holden's point of view through his tortured-but-understandable conversational syntax, the way he builds such strong subtext, is remarkable. The core of the story is Holden, whose personality completely drives everything, and he's a fascinating character. He's sympathetic, but also obviously has a lot of issues, and is completely self-absorbed in adolescent style. Salinger does a good job of playing that out, as Holden's condemnation of "phonies" initially seems sympathetic, a stand against hypocrisy and superficiality, but as the book goes on and Holden seems to find everything phony, it becomes clear that it's a symptom of his depression, a label he deploys against all of life to justify his inability to take any pleasure in it. From the tension between his desire to be an adult and his desperation to retreat to childhood innocence, his obvious inability to move on from his brother's death, his mix of cynicism and idealism, he's a complex and compelling character who makes for a lively book. I thought it was top-notch.
The Annotated Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
(Annie Gauger is the annotator)
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch.
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The Illuminatus! Trilogy
Han Solo's Revenge, by Brian Daley. The plot is more complex than Stars' End, but it's still light and fun. And we get to meet Gallandro the gunman.
Sarge you and I read the same stuff, damm that is such a great book.
Taffy1, Taffy2, Taffy3
You will love a glorious way to die about the Yamato's Kamikaze mission to Okinawa, a must read.