Saturday, June 27, 2009

Out of the Silent Planet

Greetings, my lords and my ladies, aka fellow book-wormy geeks!

Out of the Silent Planet is by C.S. Lewis. He wrote it because Tolkien challenged him to write a book about outer space. (They had somewhat of a dare exchange. Tolkien agreed he would write a book about time travel if Lewis wrote one about space travel.) I believe it is considered a children's book, though it has a much higher reading level than the Chronicles of Narnia, a series also written by C.S. Lewis.
This book is about a man who gets kidnapped and taken into outer space, the things he discovers and meets there, and how he eventually finds his way back to earth.
I began reading this book thinking I would really enjoy it. I've read every one of the books in the Chronicles of Narnia and loved almost every one. So I was almost sure I'd love this book too. Well, to be frank, I was wrong. My attention was never conquered at any part of the book, and therefore most of the time I kind of had to force myself to sit down and read it. It contained nothing very intriguing in my opinion. It was considerably dull at some parts, and as for the others, I simply was not amused at what was happening. I'm not that interested in outer space. If I was, perhaps I would find it more compelling. I'm just not. So I just didn't.
It's not that I hate this book; indeed there is nothing wrong with it. But nothing in or about it interested me other than the fact it was written by C.S. Lewis, of whom I am an avid fan.

Rated 2/5

I apologize if I have offended those who are a fan of this book :) but this is my honest opinion. Thanks.
~Lady Arwen

P.S. Regarding my last post on The Tempest: if I may, I'd just like to let you know that after giving it much thought I have changed my rating for The Tempest. I've changed it to 3/5 instead of 2/5. Thank you.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Highwayman

Good morning!!
Here is a really cool poem by Alfred Noyes. This poem, like Longfellow's Paul Revere's Ride, has a beat like the drummimg of horses hooves. While your reading it, see if you can feel it. It is bizarre, but awesome. TD

The Highwayman - Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)
THE wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.
He'd a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.
Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.
And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's red-lipped daughter,
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—
"One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way."
He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair i' the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(Oh, sweet, black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonliglt, and galloped away to the West.

He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;
And out o' the tawny sunset, before the rise o' the moon,
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching—
King George's men came matching, up to the old inn-door.
They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window;
And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.
They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest;
They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
"Now, keep good watch!" and they kissed her.
She heard the dead man say—
Look for me by moonlight;
Watch for me by moonlight;
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!
She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it!
The trigger at least was hers!
The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the rest!
Up, she stood up to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast,
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love's refrain .
Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding,
Riding, riding!
The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still!
Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.
He turned; he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o'er the musket, drenched with her own red blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.
Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.
* * * * * *
And still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding—
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.
Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard;
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Cricket on the Hearth

Hi People,

A book by our very own Charles Dickens! Finally!

I recently finished for the second time The Cricket on the Hearth, by Charles Dickens. It is the story of a man named John Peerybingle and his wife Dot. The story is basically the narrative of an incident in the life of these two people. The cricket's role in the play is simply to bring them good luck, he is the guardian of the home. The cricket is not very important. Other characters weave in and out of the story with most of the time little importance. The plot is so small I could tell the whole story in two sentences, so I will say no more. I think the moral of the story is to never judge things by appearance. Now for my opinion. The first time I read it I thought it was the weirdest thing ever but, the second time it made more sense. One of the things that threw me off the most was that it was very unlike any Dickens book I have read yet. The story line was well... simple. There was nothing big and complicated about it. There was no major twists in the story. I'm not sure if that is a Plus or a Minus . There were a few things that threw me for a loop but over all I enjoyed the book the second time around. I am really going to enjoy all the comments on this one.
$ The Dodge $

3/5 Recommended

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Captains Courageous

Greetings, followers!

I have just finished reading Rudyard Kipling's novel, Captains Courageous. Having never read a book by Kipling before, I had almost no idea what to expect. I had been meaning to get into his books for a long time, and this seemed like a good opportunity.

Captains Courageous tells the story of Harvey Cheyne, a spoiled rich kid who falls off the side of an ocean liner and gets picked up by a bunch of fishermen, led by captain Disko Troop (coolest name ever.) Disko won't take him back to his parents, so he has to stay on the boat and learn to be a sailor.

I found Kipling's style to be very appealing. He's sort of a tough-guy writer, not unlike Mark Twain, but not nearly as funny. Much of the dialog in this book is in heavy dialect, which may be confusing to some people. You just have to pay close attention to know what's going on when the sailors are talking. I thought the plot was pretty exciting and the narritive pretty well-structured. Although I did enjoy this book, I get the sense that this isn't Kipling's best book by a long shot. That being said, it may be a good place to start if you aren't familiar with his work. After having read this, I'm excited to read some of his more well-known stuff, like Jungle Book.

3/5 Recommended.

Now, how about some questions for the comments...

1. Have you ever read a Kipling book before? What do you think of his style?
2. Is Disko Troop the coolest name ever or what?

Selected Works

Hello everyone!!

Here are two selections of literature that I really liked. I hope that everyone enjoys them as much as I do! Some of them give a slight background, so that it makes more sense. Anthony D.

Macbeth - William Shakespeare

Macbeth became king of Scotland after murdering the previous king. He has held the crown through violence and more murder. His wife supported him, then went mad, and he has just learned that she has died. However, he knows that he must shortly fight a battle for his crown, and his life, and he knows that he will lose. These are the reflections of an evil man who realises that he has lost everything.

Macbeth: She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.
Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Charge of the Light Brigade - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Their’s not to make reply,
Their’s not to reason why,
Their’s but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn’d in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Good huh? Got to love stuff by Tennyson and Shakespeare! ~T.D.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Troll Sat Alone on His Seat of Stone

Good morning everyone!! Here is a hilarious poem by J.R.R. Tolkien. This time I decided to post in directly on the site, rather than connect a link to it. What does everyone like better?
~Tony D

Troll Sat Alone on His Seat of Stone

Troll sat alone on his seat of stone,
And munched and mumbled a bare old bone;
For many a year he had gnawed it near,
For meat was hard to come by.
Done by! Gum by!
In a cave in the hills he dwelt alone,
And meat was hard to come by.

Up came Tom with his big boots on.
Said he to Troll: 'Pray, what is yon?
For it looks like the shin o' my nuncle Tim.
As should be a-lyin' in the graveyard.
Caveyard! Paveyard!
This many a year has Tim been gone,
And I thought he were lyin' in the graveyard.

''My lad,' said Troll, 'this bone I stole.
But what be bones that lie in a hole?
Thy nuncle was dead as a lump o' lead,
Afore I found his shinbone.
Tinbone! Skinbone!
He can spare a share for a poor old troll,
For he don't need his shinbone.

'Said Tom: 'I don't see why the likes o' thee
Without axin' leave should go makin' free
With the shank or the shin o' my father's kin;
So hand the old bone over!
Rover! Trover!
Though dead he be, it belongs to he;
So hand the old bone over!'

'For a couple o' pins,' says Troll, and grins,
'I'll eat thee too, and gnaw thy shins.
A bit o' fresh meat will go down sweet!
I'll try my teeth on thee now.
Hee now! See now!
I'm tired o' gnawing old bones and skins;
I've a mind to dine on thee now.

'But just as he thought his dinner was caught,
He found his hands had hold of naught.
Before he could mind, Tom slipped behind
And gave him the boot to larn him.
Warn him! Darn him!
A bump o' the boot on the seat, Tom thought,
Would be the way to larn him.

But harder than stone is the flesh and bone
Of a troll that sits in the hills alone.
As well set your boot to the mountain's root,
For the seat of a troll don't feel it.
Peel it! Heal it!
Old Troll laughed, when he heard Tom groan,
And he knew his toes could feel it.

Tom's leg is game, since home he came,
And his bootless foot is lasting lame;
But Troll don't care, and he's still there
With the bone he boned from its owner.
Doner! Boner!
Troll's old seat is still the same,
And the bone he boned from its owner!
~ JRR Tolkien

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ben Jonson: To... William Shakespeare

This is a cool poem about William Shakespeare that I thought would give everyone something to look at. ~T.D.

Click here --> Ben Jonson: To... William Shakespeare