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text 2016-08-25 13:44
Review + why I decided to dnf Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe

Goodreads summary:

'I walk'd about on the shore, lifting up my hands, and my whole being, as I may say, wrapt up in the contemplation of my deliverance ... reflecting upon all my comrades that were drown'd, and that there should not be one soul sav'd but my self ... '

Who has not dreamed of life on an exotic isle, far away from civilization? Here is the novel which has inspired countless imitations by lesser writers, none of which equal the power and originality of Defoe's famous book. Robinson Crusoe, set ashore on an island after a terrible storm at sea, is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. That is, until, twenty-four years later, when he confronts another human being. First published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe has been praised by such writers as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Johnson as one of the greatest novels in the English language.


My opinion:

I saw the famous movie adaptation when I had philosophy class (a few years ago) and I loved it back then, so I decided to buy the book and read it. Honestly I was disappointed. The book is so different than the movie (usually I don't mind it that much); the plot was totally different. Even the writing style and story was super boring to read. I compare it to The Martian, so if you loved that one, you might enjoy this one too. But it's less funny (much less funny) and just meh in my opinion. I got one third through and decided to def it. If you liked The Martian I would give it a try, but if not than is that not worth to try.


What is your opinion about Robinson Crusoe? Should I continue or not?

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review 2016-05-10 09:09
Stranded in the Tropics
Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe

Well, he I am, sitting at one of my favourite coffee shops on a blustery and wet winter morning in Melbourne having just finished another book of which I have known the story since I was a little boy but having never actually read the book. I'm sure we all know of the story of Robinson Crusoe, who was shipwrecked while out at sea and ended up spending years (about twenty three of them) alone on an island, forced to make do with what he could scavenge from around him (including off a couple of ships that had become wrecked along the coast). Sure, he eventually finds some company, first with the native whom he rescues and names Friday (because he rescued him on a Friday, but the term has now become a part of our language to basically refer to a gopher – I remember reading job advertisements for positions as a Person Friday), and then a couple of Spaniards, before he is finally rescued by an English merchantman, though he initially has to help the captain wrestle the ship back from some mutineers.


I'm not necessarily going to say that this is the first story about a person trapped alone on a desert island – the concept goes back as far as the Ancient Greeks with the story of Odysseus (and one might also suggest The Tempest) however what differs is that Robinson Crusoe is entirely focused on Crusoe's life on the island, where as the earlier works have the island (in the case of The Tempest) as a backdrop, or (as in the case of The Odyssey) as another hurdle that the hero must overcome to reach his ultimate goal (and the protagonist may not actually be alone either). The story of Robinson Crusoe is a story of survival against the odds – not just adapting to a life outside of civilisation, or even trying to create civilisation where there is none, but also surviving the fact that he has been left here alone for so long.


The idea has been picked up by numerous stories later on, including Gulliver's Travels, the Mysterious Island, and The Swiss Family Robinson, however, unlike Robinson Crusoe, these stories aren't about a person who has been left alone on the island, and a part of me feels that maybe Dafoe doesn't necessarily understand the true nature of loneliness. The question that I raise is how is it that Crusoe manages to survive for twenty-five years on this island, alone, without either going mad or simply becoming an animal? I guess this is one of the major things that challenged me in the book because I am sure that a human cannot survive mentally, for such long periods, alone without going insane.


Okay, I'm not a psychologist, and I don't pretend to be one, nor am I familiar with other stories of people who have lived a bulk of their lives outside of human contact, either willingly or not. Sure, we have the stories of the crazy cat ladies (and we used to live next to one), who would never leave the house, and never answer the door (which raises the question of how they managed to buy food and stuff before the age of the internet and home delivery, though the one we lived next to had a supermarket just across the road, which I have to admit was really convenient). However a part of me feels that for us to maintain our humanity, and not descend into our base animalistic instincts, we need to have human company, and to be able to interact with humanity. This, I have to admit, seemed to be one of the major flaws in an otherwise quite entertaining book (ignoring the fact that the end dragged on for a bit – the fight with the bears and the wolves as they were travelling across France at the end was quite unnecessary, though it probably did work to suggest that travelling in those days, whether it was either by sea, or by land, was always going to be a very dangerous exercise).


Oh, before I continue, here is a map of the Island of Robinson Crusoe:




Interestingly enough there is actually an island off the coast of Chile that is called the Island of Robinson Crusoe, though it was my understanding from the book that the island is actually located in the Carribean Sea, off the North Coast of South America, and the reason I believe that is because Crusoe was ship wrecked while travelling between his plantation in Brazil and the Carribean. However, according the Wikipedia, the reason the island received this name was because it was where the sailor Alexander Selkirk was shipwreck, which some believed inspired Dafoe to write this book, as opposed to being the island that Dafoe selected as the setting of his story (and I am doubtful that Dafoe would have been all that familiar with the Carribean islands in any case).


I'm not sure if we can actually consider this book to be because while in some aspects it is an adventure novel (which has been picked up by numerous renditions since its publication, especially when it was turned into a children's book), it doesn't come across as such. Most of the book is basically Crusoe's life on the island, and it is only the last part where the adventure begins. Some have suggested that it is a travelogue, but once again I'm going to have to disagree since a bulk of the action is set on the island.




Interestingly there is an awful lot of theology in the book, and in a way could be connected to Pilgrim's Progress, but once again I'm going to have to say that I don't believe that it is necessarily a Christian allegory. Dafoe suggested at the end, when Crusoe discovered that his plantation in Brazil ended up doing exceedingly well, and as such there is a relation between Crusoe's adventures and the Biblical book of Job. However time and time again Dafoe suggests that Crusoe lands up on the island because he refused to listen to his father and instead wanted to sail to the seas. Every attempt to makes he comes across misfortune, first a storm off the coast of England, then he is captured by the Moors and enslaved, and finally he lands up on the island for twenty-eight odd years. This isn't the story of Job, but the story of a man who wanted adventure, and got it, and then came to realise that adventure wasn't as exciting that he anticipated – twenty-eight years trapped on an island with a bunch of cannibals as neighbours isn't my idea of a really fun time. Nor do I believe that it is a psychological story, as I have suggested about.



Yet time and time again Crusoe talks about his puritan (and quite Calvanistic) belief in God. Maybe it is his unwavering belief in God that enables him to survive for so long. He even goes as far as evangelising Friday, yet I note that he never actually leaves the island to become a missionary to his neighbours (viewing them as savages who through their actions are deserving of God's judgement, which isn't really a Christ-like attitude). Sure, in the end he becomes wealthy, but it isn't exactly the type of book that I would consider labelling as either Christian, or Allegory.


The final thing that I find interesting is the idea of how he brings civilisation to the island, but then again it is more a story of survival as opposed to the civilising aspect that comes across in books such as Verne's mysterious island. He doesn't actually turn the island into some English utopia, but rather simply does what he needs to survive with what he has at hand. Even then things, such as the crops, and the second shipwreck, simply happen through luck as opposed to any purposeful family, though of course Crusoe (and in turn Dafoe) wouldn't see it as such, suggesting that these events are once again a reminder of God's providence. In the end, though, I'm just going to suggest that it is an adventure.


Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1624728419
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review 2016-03-25 00:00
Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe - Virginia Woolf,Daniel Defoe,Gerald McCann description

Dear Crusoe,
What the F*** is wrong with you?!!!


My opinion, short and simple: when Crusoe revolted against his father/God he actually didn't want to change the social or natural system, he just wanted to take the role of his father! He wanted to become a father/God. And eventually that is exactly what happened!

I liked this book.
The 18th century is awesome!

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text 2016-03-22 03:21
February 2016: Reading Plans
Piper - Helen McCabe
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott,Laura Ciolkowski
The Rattle Bag: An Anthology of Poetry (January 1, 1985) - None
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny - Beatrix Potter
Jamie's America - Jamie Oliver
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance - Barack Obama
Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe,John Richetti
The Persimmon Tree - Bryce Courtenay
Night - Marion Wiesel,Elie Wiesel

Last day of January so it's time to post my plans for February.  I think I was slightly (just slightly) overambitious with how fast I imagined I would read this month.  In my 'plans' post for last month I somehow convinced myself that I would be able to finish 17, or possibly even 18 books, in the month.  I actually only managed ten (may be able to get an eleventh done tonight if I pick the shortest on my list, but we'll see).  Considering that I pledged (to myself) that any books I didn't finish would spill over into my next free month (June), June is looking like a busy and already completely planned month.


I'm pretty sure that if six of that ten hadn't been so full of editing errors I would have had time to read at least one more (it's amazing how fast you can read a book when you don't have to stop every second page to question the writing).  I'm looking forward to a month mostly free of that problem.  I've also had more health problems at this end of the month, which when added up likely held me up for seven days altogether.  I'm praying for a month completely free of that problem.


February: My Library-Free Month (any books that don't get finished will spill over into July)


1. A Book Based on a Fairy Tale - Piper by Helen McCabe, 320 pages (read from Feb 1-3)


2. A YA Bestseller - Little Women (Little Women, #1) by Louisa May Alcott, 500 pages (read from Feb 4-8)


3. A Book of Poetry - The Rattle Bag by Seamus Heaney, 512 pages (read from Feb 9-13)


4. A Book that's Becoming a Movie this Year - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1) by Ransom Riggs, 352 pages (read from Feb 14-17)


5. A Book you Can Finish in a Day - The Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix Potter, 58 pages (read on Feb 18)


6. A Book Written by a Celebrity - Jamie's America by Jamie Oliver, 359 pages (read from Feb 18-19)


7. A Political Memoir - Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama, 442 pages (read from Feb 20-23)


8. A Book at Least 100 Years Older than You - Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, 252 pages (read from 24-27)


9. A Book that's More than 600 Pages - The Persimmon Tree (The Persimmon Tree, #1) by Bryce Courtenay, 711 pages (read from Feb 28-highly unlikely I'll finish it in Feb)


And if I can manage any more, here are another ten books that I likely won't get to and will end up spilling over into July:


10. A Book from Oprah's Book Club - Night (Night Trilogy, #1) by Elie Wiesel, 115 pages


11. A Graphic Novel - Flight 714 to Sydney (Tintin, #22) by Herge, 64 pages


12. A Book Written by a Comedian - Fatherhood by Bill Cosby, 178 pages


13. A Classic from the 20th Century - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 168 pages


14. An Autobiography - Dear Fatty by Dawn French, 368 pages


15. A Book about a Road Trip - Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, 252 pages


16. A Satirical Book - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently, #1) by Douglas Adams, 247 pages


17. A Book your Mum Loves - Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairbairn, 756 pages


18. A Book More than 100 Years Old - The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson, 224 pages


19. A Book that Came Out the Year you were Born - A Secret Rage by Charlaine Harris, 198 pages


20. The First Book you See in a Bookstore (my home library actually, I don't need to buy any more books) - Thinning the Predators by Daina Graziunas and Jim Starlin, 327 pages

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review 2015-11-25 00:00
Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe God, this one is awful. It's tedious and boring and very poorly written. Defoe has essentially no ability for description. The story line should be interesting, but long, tedious patches are taken up with hideously awful maundering on Calvinist theology, theology which Crusoe apparently picked up merely by picking up a Bible at the age of 26 or so and reading it through a few times. It doesn't work that way.

I have a recollection that I read and enjoyed Robinson Crusoe back in elementary school. I'm thinking I must have read one of those "as told by" thingies. No way I'd have persevered through this rubbish when I was 10 or so.

My suggestion is that anyone wanting to know the story of Robinson Crusoe would be well served to look for a condensed version specifically aimed at children. That way, you'll likely manage to escape most of this book's awfulness, awfulness that consumes the major part of the work. All the "action" is basically subservient to the twisted theology Defoe purports to propound. Reading this book was not a pleasant experience.
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