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text 2018-04-25 12:10
Another Audible 2-for-1 Sale: Classic Works
The Virginian - Owen Wister,Jack Garrett
Classic Novels: Meeting the Challenge of Great Literature - Arnold Weinstein,Professor Arnold Weinstein Ph.D. Harvard University
Steppenwolf - Hermann Hesse,Peter Weller
Roughing It - Mark Twain,Grover Gardner

I do enjoy the 2-for-1 sales. Audible never makes its entire inventory available in these sales but selects a couple of hundred titles to offer. Some sales I find nothing and some I walk away with hours worth of listening. 

 

Please don't read anything into my choosing both Roughing It and The Virginian. Slowly but surely, I seem to be consuming more and more Twain, and I especially like his travelogues. Meanwhile, The Virginian (and Steppenwolf, too) are returns to high school reads.

 

Then, to round out my choices, there is a "Great Courses" lecture series on Classic Novels, which will either be very enlightening or just simply pompous beyond bearing. 

 

 

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review 2018-03-28 11:27
A Double Barrelled Detective Story
A Double Barrelled Detective Story - Lucius Hitchcock,Mark Twain

I'm not sure what to say about this one.  I can't say I'm particularly well read in Mark Twain's works, but I've read enough that I expected a level of satiric humor that I didn't immediately find.  In fact, the story started out rather dark, tragic and confronting.  About 10% of the way through, a hint of absurdity, but still dark.  

 

It's not until midway through Part II of the story that it started to really feel like something written by Twain, and mind you, I've still not seen a hint of Sherlock Holmes.  I was starting to feel robbed.  It's also at this point that it sort of feels like Twain lost the reigns of the story; it scatters all over the place with suddenly changing POVs and focus.  Not so scattered, though, that it wasn't apparent where Twain was going, the set-up for the twist of irony.

 

Then, finally, Sherlock Holmes enters the scene.  Twain is known for his scathing satire, so it's no surprise that Holmes does not come out looking like the paragon he is, but at the same time, Twain is skewering everyone else too, and somehow it makes it easier to sit back and laugh at the absurdity of it all.  Even though the plot had lost most of its focus, it was still the most enjoyable part of the story for me.

 

I'm glad I discovered this book and story - I thoroughly enjoyed it - but it's clear why it's not a well-known work of Twain's.  It's worth reading for Holmes fans for the sheer novelty, if nothing else, and I adore my copy.  But for those without the sentimental streak for Holmes, it's best experienced via Gutenberg or an anthology of Twain's work. 

 

This fits the Kill Your Darlings game card for Crime Scene: Dark Tower, as it takes place out west and is written by an American author.

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text 2017-12-31 15:51
My December 2017
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain,Crystal Chan
Kakerlaken: Harry Holes zweiter Fall (Ein Harry-Hole-Krimi) - Jo Nesbø
 Vertigo: Of Love & Letting Go - Analog De Leon
Der Himmel in deinen Worten - Brigid Kemmerer,Henriette Zeltner
Sündiges Spiel - J.D. Robb
Theatrics - Neil Gibson,Leonardo A. Gonzales
Rotkehlchen - Jo Nesbø
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - 2 stars
Kakerlaken - 5 stars
Vertigo: Of Love & Letting Go - 3 stars
Der Himmel in deinen Worten - 5 stars
Sündiges Spiel - 5 stars
Theatrics - 4 stars
Rotkehlchen - 4 stars

 

Favorite book(s) of the month: Kakerlaken, Der Himmel in deinen Worten, Sündiges Spiel, Rotkehlchen

 

Books started this month but haven't finished yet: Elias & Laia - Eine Fackel im Dunkel der Nacht

 

I'm super happy with my december. I read lots of ebooks that I got from Netgalley. Just one book wasn't a review copy. I really wanna work on my pile of ARCs. I'm also just happy that I got back into reading and actually finishing books after last month was just a mess.

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text 2017-12-13 18:38
Perfectly suited to be a Shonen Jump Manga
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Manga Classics - Mark Twain

*Disclaimer: reviewing uncorrected eARC via NetGalley.

 

I loved this so, so much. Huck Finn was always my favourite Twain book, so this got a boost just for being imho a great story. I really liked the art style; basically Tom & Huck can be read as mischievous, good-hearted but troublemaking Shonen Jump heroes anyways, so it's just a super fun ride.

 

The subject matter and choices in adaptation deserve some comment, though. There's definitely what we'd call in 2017 "problematic" content around slavery and the portrayal of black people in general. Maybe it's just because I haven't re-read this book as an adult, but I really appreciated the way the Manga Classics adaptation helped the satire of the story stand out, making it clear how crazy the white kids' approach to their situation was, how little true empathy they had for the black (slaves') experience when it came down to it, and how illogical and absurd much of the adults' behaviour was as well. I remember reading this and watching movies a couple decades ago and thinking it was mostly a fun, at times emotional, kids adventure story. Reading this adaptation, it's MUCH clearer to me that Twain was commenting on slavery and a transformation in one boy's understanding of his world, justice and ethical behaviour. Huck learns to see Jim, the "runaway" black slave, as a full human and feels empathy for him by the end of the story, a big transformation from where he makes fun of him and treats him like something less-than-human at the beginning.

 

Appreciated the artist & adaptation notes at the end that spelled out some of the decisions that went into making the adaptation and grappling with how to tell the story. I thought this had great pacing (especially compared to some of the other Manga Classics adaptations that are obviously summarizing and racing through large portions of the story), the art was lovely, dynamic or funny and always expressive, depending on what the scene called for. I'd watch an anime based on this.

 

Language use is preserved from Twain's original, which at times is hard to puzzle out, since it's diving into some pretty heavy accents or dialects. Between that, N-word and the content around slavery, I wouldn't recommend this for cautious/beginning readers. But again, I loved it, so if you're up to sounding out the words and playing some guessing games as to content, definitely give this a shot.

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review 2017-12-03 13:28
Adventured of Huckleberry Finn!!!
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain,Crystal Chan

First things first: I received this book through NetGalley.

 

This review is going to hurt me more than any review I have ever written. I love these Manga Classics, they brought me closer to stories that I never thought I would like.

 

But this one on the other hand. I thought I was gonna love this. Adventures. I love adventures. But I was just so damn bored throughout this whole book.

 

The story was beautifully done. I loved the artwork, I loved the way the story was told. I loved it. It just didn't work for me at all.

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