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Search tags: 5-my-classics
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review 2016-12-19 01:10
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island is to pirate stories what Lord of the Rings is to fantasy. R.L.Stevenson created the pirate character as we know it in literature and pop culture today in a very similar way to how J.R. Tolkien defined elves, dwarves, and halflings. Then Stevenson took it a step further by creating Long John Silver, one of the most fascinating characters to come out of 19th century literature. Long John is a lying, cheating, conniving, murderous, and greedy pirate, the same as all the other pirates in the story. But he is also clever, diplomatic, and capable of working both sides of the fence when it serves his purposes. This puts him in a class of his own. He is not a super pirate. He is a super villain for his day. I have always thought that Treasure Island should be called "The Tale of Long John Silver" in the same way that my father always used to say the 70's t.v. show, Lost in Space, should be called "The Doctor Smith Show". Long John Silver is really the central figure of the story. He sets the tempo, and more than any other character, he makes Treasure Island a great story. One thing I wondered this time as I read Treasure Island was- is this the first YA story? For although LJS makes the story in my mind, the story is really about Jim Hawkins, a boy, who narrates most of the story. By Jim's cleverness, gutsiness, and sheer luck he manages to outsmart pirates and save the day. Jim is the hero, and I am curious to know if there were many young heros in literature before Treasure Island. In summary I consider Treasure Island as by Robert Louis Stevenson as one of my personal classics. I have read this story several times, and each time it is as fresh as the last time. I cannot help feeling the excitement of actually setting out on an adventure. For this reason I give it 5 stars.
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review 2016-12-04 00:46
Kim by Rudyard Kipling
Kim (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) - Rudyard Kipling

If you are willing to put aside the hyper-sensitive, arrogant, post-20th century viewpoint that this book is a racist treatise on the superiority of the white man, if you are willing to dig deeper into the text and work at understanding the non-English words and religious concepts, if you are able to look for the deeper meanings, shades of meanings, and hints of meanings, then you are in for a treat.

 

In Rudyard Kipling’s Kim I experienced colonial India of over a century ago rising up around me. I became immersed in the sights and sounds of a rich land filled with colorful people, a blend of races and creeds that I cannot imagine being contained on a single canvas. I felt a sudden longing for India which I had never felt before. And I felt the desire to spend just one day with Kim, a courageous and streetwise boy, as he travels the dusty roads with his beloved master, begging a meal, winning a smile and a favor, helping a fellow poor soul.

 

I may or may not read any other Rudyard Kipling books, but I will definitely read Kim again. I consider it a masterpiece of literature that requires a fair amount of hard work to unlock its breadth and its beauty. And although I read the whole book, I feel as if I did not read some parts well. I think everybody who reads this book will take something different away.

 

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review 2016-12-04 00:39
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien

With the many fantasy books on the market these days, it is easy to forget where it all started. Reading Tolkien for me is like going home. The Hobbit was one of the first fantasy stories I read, so it may have an unfair advantage on my sensibilities. But I believe the characters, the action, the details of the world Tolkien created- all still hold up against the best that has been written in the field. For this and many other reasons, I include The Hobbit as one of my classics.

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review 2016-11-30 15:44
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., E.B. White
The Elements of Style - William Strunk Jr.,E.B. White

There are many, many books out there giving advice on writing. But if I could have only one book, this would be it. The language is a little dated, but for me that is part of the charm. I constantly read and reread this book to find ways to improve my writing.

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