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review 2018-03-03 00:50
Of Mice and Men -- buddy read with a young man
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

I just reread this with my nephew - a buddy read. I was reminded how much I loved this book years ago. It's a short and somewhat simple story that leaves me aching and questioning myself about ethics and morals and what, exactly, does "right or wrong" mean? Lenny is one of the most endearing figures I've ever read. George can seem so brilliant in comparison, but he is also just a simple guy, doing his level best to figure out what is right in a difficult situation. Both men steal my heart.


It's not a simple book, not by a long shot. It just reads simply. The implications are huge. Amazing how Steinbeck could bring up so many questions in a two-hour read.


I've made up my mind about this book, but it's one everyone should deal with on their own.

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review 2017-12-05 18:29
Mice Templar Series - Series Review
The Mice Templar, Vol. 1: The Prophecy - Bryan J.L. Glass,Michael Avon Oeming
The Mice Templar, Vol 2.1: Destiny Part One - Bryan J.L. Glass,Michael Avon Oeming,Víctor Santos
Mice Templar Volume 5 - Bryan J.L. Glass

When I was in college, I started reading the Redwall novels by Brain Jacques.  I know that I was reading below my reading level, but to say that I had read Watership Down at a very impressionable age would be an understatement.  So, give me animals doing human things or close to, and I will at least try the story.  Therefore, later in college when I discovered William Horwood while on a trip to the Netherlands, I was like WTF, why isn’t he published here in the US.  Bastards.


                Mice Templar is like Redwall in that it focuses on mice.  That’s about it.  There is more blood, there is more violence, there is less feasting, there is more death.  It is Anime and not Disney.


  Mice Templar relates the story of Karic of Cricket’s Glen and his friends and family as they struggle to make sense of a dark world, where light is not.  Karic’s home is attacked and his family and friends taken or killed.  Those that are taken are to be sacrificed in the capital.  Karic is determined to save those he lives, and so answers in the affirmative when he determines upon a course that will change not only him, but his world.


                The world of the Mice Templar is based on various European myths and history.  There are connections to Joan of Arc, to various Norse sagas, and Arthurian legends.  But it is also connection to the Dark Ages, for the mice’s world seems to be on perpetual darkness, there is not day.  Even the inclusion of the Maeven, female mice warriors, has historical precedent.  (To be fair, the inclusion of female characters who are actually truly active takes a bit, yet it is played off quite nicely in the end).


                One of the main themes that the comic series explores is the question of story telling and destiny.  Our lives are stories, and most humans convey wisdom don history though stories.  Kari is willing to take on the quest, but does he lose himself in the process?  He becomes a symbol to more than just mice.  But is that symbol something to be feared or to be worshiped, and for how long?  We tend to blame the English for the death of Joan of Arc, but the French were also culpable. 


                Part of Karic’s struggle is to reconcile the Templars who are split almost along the lines of the time of two popes, though more on a secular level than anything.  The mouse who becomes Karic’s closest friend, Cassius, has been tramlined by this war, and both Karic and his childhood friend Leito almost reenact over the course of the series.


                But what hangs over the story, one of the themes is the idea of story and the power of story.  It forces the reader to confront how story telling plays a role not just in history but in setting us on the paths we chose as well as how we view questions of faith.


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review 2017-10-12 16:35
New to me but not very good – too garbled
Mice Templar Volume 5 - Bryan J.L. Glass



Admittedly I have not read the previous four volumes but a synopsis at the beginning explains a lot. This volume is basically one long battle as the templars (with help from cats and owls) take back the kingdom from the rats, weasels and bats. There are a lot of characters and I didn't feel the need to know who was who.


The artwork is not particularly clear but, if you've read the previous four books, I'm sure that this is not an issue. With lots of divided loyalties and betrayal, the story moves along but this was not for me.


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review 2017-08-15 04:07
Review: Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

Ok, I think I’m traumatized now! Believe it or not, I read this book for the first time without knowing much about the story or anything about how it ended.  There was enough foreshadowing that I felt pretty sure something horrible would happen by the end, but it ended up being a bit beyond what I had expected. 


I really enjoyed reading it, though. This is probably one of the more accessible classics I’ve read, and not just because it’s so short.  The story quickly captured and held my interest, and I could sympathize with the characters.  Steinbeck did a great job of making the characters’ motivations clear without spelling everything out in excruciating detail.  I felt like I understood exactly how and why everything happened the way it did.


This could easily be read in a single sitting, although I read it in three. I started it late last night, and then I read a little more while I was eating breakfast in the hotel lobby.  (Yes, I’m on yet another business trip.)  Thank goodness I didn’t finish this while I was eating breakfast.  I’ve never tried it before, but I suspect bursting into tears over one’s oatmeal would draw strange looks.  I finished it later in the evening, safely tucked away in my hotel room.  This book is not safe for reading in public places.


This was my first Steinbeck read. It may take me a while to cycle back to him, but I’d definitely like to try some of his other work in the future. 


Next Book

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolf.

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review 2017-05-30 19:48
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

What can I say about a book like this? More to the point, what can I say that hasn't already been said? I highly doubt I can add anything original, but I can tell you what I thought.


I fell in love with the work of Steinbeck when I read and loved Grapes of Wrath. Although that was very different in a lot of ways, there were certain similarities, such as the power of the narrative and the deprivation that was highlighted.


Of Mice and Men may have been less than 100 pages, but that had no bearing on how powerful it was. In some ways I think it had a more immediate impact on me than Grapes of Wrath did. Maybe that's becuse of how sad it was. Maybe.


The story, as I'm sure you all know, is about Lennie and George who go searching for work and end up in a ranch in California. While there a situation arises that calls for a dire solution.


Unbelievably I came to this book knowing very little about it and I think that benefited me. It meant I could experience the story, characters and themes without bias.


From almost the first page I felt hugely sympathetic to Lennie. Although George was exasperated with him a lot of the time, his friendship towards Lennie was one of the things that impacted me the most. The way in which this friendship was tested was shocking and brutal but at the same time beautifully handled.


I loved everything about this short work, from the deprivation Lennie and George endured to the diverse range of characters. If you haven't read this you need to rectify that, now. I read this for:


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