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review 2020-05-24 14:32
The Bottle Imp
The Bottle Imp - Robert Louis Stevenson

by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

This is a tale written for a Polynesian audience, set in Hawaii, yes with Christian elements. Keawe is a mariner and decides to see the world beyond the islands. He books passage to San Francisco where he is impressed by all the fine houses. A man in one of the smaller houses invites him inside and offers to sell him a bottle with an imp from Hell inside who will grant all his wishes. What could go wrong?

 

It comes with certain conditions. The imp cannot grant long life and if the owner of the bottle dies while it is in his possession, he suffers the fires of Hell. The way to escape this is to sell the bottle to someone else, but it has to be sold for less than he paid for it. Naturally the price diminishes over time until it looks like Keawe is going to get stuck with the bottle and take the penalty.

 

The story struck me as familiar and I'm sure I read it or heard it in primary school. The fact that it's a classic author makes that likely. I knew how it would come out, but still enjoyed reading the convolutions of the plot and of course it was excellent writing. It also had a satisfying conclusion and possibly some moral lessons along the way.

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review 2020-02-29 20:39
Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom, Wayside #4
Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom - Louis Sachar

Louis Sachar returns to Wayside School with a new collection of stories about Mrs. Jewls' class of 29 students on the 30th floor.

 

These books were a lot of fun to read growing up and it was pretty easy to slip back into the characters. I never knew a third book had come out! The only issue is that my adult imagination is too deficient to add details, or the stories in 'Sideways' and 'Falling Down' were more fleshed out.

 

I mean, I know one of those "fleshed out" stories was about a frustrated janitor picking up paper and pencils from the ground outside before hauling a heavy box to the 30th floor. At the top the teacher thanks him, removes a computer, and promptly throws it out a window. The class was learning about gravity and computers are much faster than paper and pencil. Har har. It's great stuff, but I remember being able to picture each student and get a feel for their character and in this volume I'm pulling on decades-old memories and wasn't given much that was new.

 

Except for friendship and the metaphorical Cloud of Doom, which doesn't get more specific than that, which was...nice. We just needed a touch of Doom.

 

I won't share any stories from the new book. You should check it out yourself.

 

Wayside School

 

Next: ?

 

Previous: 'Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger'

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review 2020-02-15 15:39
Review: Treasure Island
Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson,Marty Ross,Philip Glenister,Daniel T. Mays,Catherine Tate,Owen Teale

Great performance,  meh story. I love pirates, adventure, historical settings, classics, and full cast performances. This story had all of that, yet it didn't entertain me like I hoped/expected.

 

I couldn't get into it, even with the very excellent voice cast carrying me through the tale. I suspect this just isn't the story for me, or perhaps it's one of those "must re-read later" kind of books.

 

All-in-all, not bad, just not great.

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review 2020-02-01 13:26
Olalla
Olalla - Robert Louis Stevenson

Olalla was my first venture into the literary works of Robert Louis Stevenson and it was not a very good one. I have a lot of friends who keep telling me to get to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde so I had high expectations of this one, but I don't know. I don't think the story was very good, or that much happened for that matter. I know Victorian prose has a tendency to be slow but this is taking it to a new level. No thanks.

 

~Little Black Classics #19~

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text 2020-01-27 18:35
Reading progress update: DNF at 44%
James Madison: A Biography - Ralph Louis Ketcham

I hate hate hate DNF-ing this book halfway through, as it's a great biography of James Madison that's teaching me a lot about the early Republic. But the press of other reading is making it impossible to give it the time it deserves.

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