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text 2017-06-03 20:54
Personal Canon 02
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood - Howard Pyle

Title: Adventures of Robin Hood and His Merry Men

Author: Howard Pyle


First Read:  Have no idea, forever


                This was my first literary introduction to Robin Hood, it might even pre date my seeing of the Flynn movie, though I am not sure. 


                The strange thing is that this book also had my first literary crush – David of Doncaster.  I’m not sure why I fastened on to him, but I did.  Maybe because I knew, or thought, Robin was already taken, and Little John never seemed to be a man for me.


                Robin Hood no doubt is a large influence on my love for elves, so this book is partly to blame.  Much is made of his books being for boys, but they are pretty good for young girls too.  The examples are all heroic, but there is no moralizing.  The purpose, if purpose there is, seems to be educate the reader on the basic myth or legend.


                This was also one of the first books that my father gave me.


The aged palmer gives young David of Doncaster news of Will Stutely. From The merry adventures of Robin Hood, written and illustrated by Howard Pyle, New York, 1892. (Source: archive.org):


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text 2017-05-26 21:46
Personal Canon - Hobbit and LOTR
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien,Michael Hague
The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien

Author: JRR Tolkien

First Read: 6 or 7 years old.


                I can’t remember when I first read the Hobbit.  I do know when I first read LOTR.  It was when I went with my mom to the eye doctor.  She started reading it to me, and when she couldn’t continue because of the eye drops, I started reading it on my own.  About four years later, I received my own illustrated copy of the Hobbit (with Hague illustrations, so he is my first LOTR artist), and then a few years after that, I brought my own copies of Fellowship, Towers, and King.  When the movies came out, I caved and brought hardcover editions of the trilogy.  Additionally, it is one of the few books where I own multiple versions – not only physical books, but kindle version, audio cassette versions, and Audible files. 


                And that’s not counting the movies.


                But let’s not count those because I will keep bitching about the lack of a thrush.


                I have read the books so many times, that I got a little po’ed when I reviewed the kindle version of LOTR and somebody thought it was the first time I read the books. 


                When I first read the books, I found everything before the Council of Elrond boring and after the first two times I read the story, skipped it for a bit.  I liked the bit at the Ford, but the Council of Elrond was where it was at because it had Elves.  I loved Elves because they had bows like Robin Hood.  Flynn’s Robin Hood was the first movie I saw, the Pyle version of Robin Hood was one of the first books I owned.  Bard was my favorite character in the Hobbit because he had a bow.  You see how it goes.  I also couldn’t figure out why Arwen married Strider because she didn’t do anything but sew.



                While I agree with Pratchett -that if you think LOTR is the greatest book every, you haven’t read it enough, I love this book.  It isn’t perfect, but it holds up well.  And yes, there are parts that don’t quite fit – Tom Bombadil for instance, but their friendship and bonds that run though the novel are the joy of the novel.


                As I got older, I grew to love the Arwen story at the same time I got angry with how it set such a standard of elven maiden giving up immortality to marry a human man, something in reverse that you tend not to see too often.  I realized that there are aspects of the Prof in many characters, perhaps mostly in Eowyn when she complains of being left to burn in the hall when men have more use for it.


                What the Prof did was not only give Britain a saga, a story that Milton wished to do.  He didn’t just simply set the standard for world building or create a template that writers like Terry Brooks would “borrow” (or steal) for years to come.


                It’s humanity.  Really. 

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text 2017-05-26 21:41
Personal Canon - The rule for moi -update

Moonlight Reader started this with her post about her personal canon, so she is too thank or blame or both.  And I wish to thank her again because writing this has made me think of


                I thought a bit about my criteria for my personal canon.  Then I got out a notebook with gnomes on it and designated it my canon book.  I’ve been keeping reading journals since 2000.  Listing the start date of the book, a bit about it when I finished, and so on; therefore, I have plenty of notebooks.  The first page of my Canon Notebook is the “rules”, which are roughly as follows.


  1. Fiction and non-fiction allowed.
  2. Short stories and poems are allowed.
  3. List book, author, and first reading time/period
  4. Series are allowed in some cases, but pull out a particular few books.
  5. Has to be something more than simply liked it.
  6. Give reasons why.
  7. In most cases, the book or work should be read more than once (though there will be expectations).

 Comic series or individual issues are allowed


The reason I allowed short stories and poems because for me such work is just as vital.  In many ways, I am basing the ideas of the Personal Canon along the ideas of the list of books that I had to study for gaining my Master’s in English Literature.  There are some stories and poems that are central.  So, to not include them is stupid.  In short, I am looking for what impact, touched me, or made me think in a new way. 


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text 2013-10-30 00:38
30-DAY BOOK CHALLENGE - Bonus Day 31 - A book that scared the snot out of you
The Hephaestus Plague - Thomas Page
The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham
On the Beach - Nevil Shute
Lord Foul's Bane - Stephen R. Donaldson
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

I'll go with these.  


The first one, The Hephaestus Plague - Thomas Page , was the only book available when snowed in on a business trip in a cheap hotel with lots of creepy noises so not able to judge how scarey it really was--but, I sure heard imaginary scritchy-scratchy exoskeleton noises from creepy-crawlies whether was real or imagined (my own fault for thinking "terrifying novel of a world in panic" was just publisher hype).  


In Lord Foul's Bane - Stephen R. Donaldson  , I just pictured leprosy and the bad guy stuff too vividly.  


In The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood , hardly exactly "horror" but the book hangover lingered where I could all to easily see this happening.


The other two pretty self-explanatory -- creepy alien invaders turn our world into occupied territory in The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham and an over-realistic to my imagination tale of how survivors of nuclear holocaust fare in On the Beach - Nevil Shute 


I'll also toss out there The Brothers Grimm (a lot of German and Russian folklore I find creepy), a lot of Phillip K. Dick works (particularly if surgery in it), Michael Moorcock's books, and a lot of the dystopian/post-apocalyptic works published before dystopian was a top genre.  


I'd probably have more except that I usually do not deliberately read scary books so not much reading in the horror genre.

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text 2013-10-29 07:34
PERSONAL CANON / 30-DAY BOOK CHALLENGE - Day 30 - Favorite Book of All Time
The Stars Are Ours (Ace Sf, #78432) - Andre Norton
Charlotte's Web - E.B. White,Garth Williams,Rosemary Wells
The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Princess and Curdie (Puffin Classics) - George Macdonald
The Dragonriders of Pern (Dragonriders of Pern, #1-3) - Anne McCaffrey

SpppphhhllllltttTttt!!!! Yeah, right, an old fart in their 50s is going to be able to pick an all time favorite.


I'll list what are likely my most re-read, carted around with me on every move books and just direct you to my favorites shelf on booklikes http://donealrice.booklikes.com/shelf/favorite-books -- which still isn't all that accurate because I've barely imported books over and not begun really editing, reviewing or shelving.


Don't forget that with October having 31 days,

you can do a bonus "Day 31 -

A book that scared the snot out of you."

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