Friday, July 24, 2009

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Hey People,

I am very sorry for the long delay in the arrival of my post. Well let's get down to buisness. The book I read was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne. It is the story of Professor Pierre Aronnax, his servant Conseil, and a Canadian harpooner named Ned Land. Together they set off on a mission to kill a disasterous sea creature. They run into some problems along the way,and the rest of the story is their crazy adventure 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I hope I don't sound to much like i'm selling something.

Now for what I thought of it. Well to tell you the truth... I wasn't crazy about it. I am a huge fan of Jules Verne but, I didn't really like this one. I thought it was incredibly boring, there was barely any movement in the story, there were parts I liked but not many. The beginning was especially boring, there was way to much info and not enough excitement. Before I finish I just want to say that I don't want to discourage you. please read lots of Jules Verne including this one, He's a great author, in fact one of my favorites. Thanks for listening.

$ A. Dodger $

Recommended 3/5

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Raven

Here is an amazing piece of poetry, that everyone should be required to read, in my opinion. It is rather dark, gloomy and depressing, but it is irresistibly good.

The Raven - by Edgar Allen Poe
[First published in 1845]

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,

'Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!
'Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.
'Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."

'But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!
'Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!
'Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?
'Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!
'Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

Ok.... Now that is just downright creepy. Did you find yourself reading faster and faster? TD

Monday, July 13, 2009

Beautiful Dreamer - revisited


Here are several musical versions of the poem "Beautiful Dreamer," by Stephen Foster which I have previously posted.





I have to say that number 4 is my favorite. The Beatles definitely put a different spin on it. Anyway... which one do you guys like?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Ransom of Red Chief

Hello Everyone!

This is my first post on this blog!

While reading "The Ransom of Red Chief," by O. Henry, (of whom I am an enthusiastic fan) I could not help but notice the amount of humor implemented throughout the story. It is definitely written solely for the amusement and enjoyment of the reader.

It is a story about the adventures of two robbers and a boy who they have kidnapped for ransom. However, they have absolutely no idea who they are dealing with, and soon the tables are turned and it becomes a story of life, death, and unimaginable torture... Kind of. To tell more would indeed be a crime, seeing as I have already said too much.

Indeed, go find this story at once and do yourself the honor of reading it.

Rated 4/5


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Poems for the Artistic and Romantic

Here is a poem by Alfred Noyes, that I think our art lovers will enjoy. The second is just a sweet romantic poem, by Stephen Foster, that reminds me of a lullaby. What do you think? TD

The Elfin Artist

In a glade of an elfin forest
When Sussex was Eden-new,
I came on an elvish painter
And watched as his picture grew,
A harebell nodded beside him.
He dipt his brush in the dew.

And it might be the wild thyme round him
That shone in the dark strange ring;
But his brushes were bees' antennae,
His knife was a wasp's blue sting;
And his gorgeous exquisite palette
Was a butterfly's fan-shaped wing.

And he mingled its powdery colours,
And painted the lights that pass,
On a delicate cobweb canvas
That gleamed like a magic glass,
And bloomed like a banner of elf-land,
Between two stalks of grass;

Till it shone like an angel's feather
With sky-born opal and rose,
And gold from the foot of the rainbow,
And colours that no man knows;
And I laughed in the sweet May weather,
Because of the themes he chose.

For he painted the things that matter,
The tints that we all pass by,
Like the little blue wreaths of incense
That the wild thyme breathes to the sky;
Or the first white bud of the hawthorn,
And the light in a blackbird's eye;

And the shadows on soft white cloud-peaks
That carolling skylarks throw,--
Dark dots on the slumbering splendours
That under the wild wings flow,
Wee shadows like violets trembling
On the unseen breasts of snow;

With petals too lovely for colour
That shake to the rapturous wings,
And grow as the bird draws near them,
And die as he mounts and sings,--
Ah, only those exquisite brushes
Could paint these marvellous things.

Alfred Noyes

Beautiful Dreamer

Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;
Sounds of the rude world heard in the day,
Lull'd by the moonlight have all pass'd a way!

Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,
List while I woo thee with soft melody;
Gone are the cares of life's busy throng,
--Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!

Beautiful dreamer, out on the sea
Mermaids are chaunting the wild lorelie;
Over the streamlet vapors are borne,
Waiting to fade at the bright coming morn.

Beautiful dreamer, beam on my heart,
E'en as the morn on the streamlet and sea;
Then will all clouds of sorrow depart,
--Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!

- by Stephen Foster

Monday, July 6, 2009

DC Update...

Hello everyone,

This is going to be our first book that we actually spend time to discuss.

If you would like to join the discussion, then please read
"The Man Who Was Thursday" by G.K. Chesterton
by August 1st.

On that day, (roughly) we will begin to discuss the book more in depth, and hopefully have a good conversation going. Sound good? Alright then, have fun reading!

The DC Board

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Man Who Was Thursday

Hello everyone,

Originally, I had planned to post on Sunday, but I realized that I wouldn't be able to. That being said, let's move on.

Lately, I read for the first time the book "The Man Who Was Thursday," by G.K. Chesterton. I was pretty convinced that I would like it, but I was really not sure what to expect (in the storyline). Much to my pleasure, I was not disappointed. I can honestly say that I have no definite idea why I thought the book was FANTASTIC. I shall try to explain this to the best of my abilities.

I liked this book because of the suspenseful and mystery-like storyline. (Not scary, though.) After reading a few chapters, I had already been extremely surprised at the turn of events, and I decided that this story could not possibly surprise me again. I was very wrong. It continually surprised me until the very last page. Never before have I read a book that entirely grabbed my attention and held it until the last page. This book had just the right amount of everything, from fantasy to reality. You may ask how any one book could be so real, but yet so... imaginary. Believe me, I am still baffled. I don't want to tell about the storyline, because if you knew one part, then I would have to tell you the whole story. When I finished, I could not believe that it was over... I was majorly depressed afterwards.

This book was truly enthralling, and everyone should give it a try because even suspense-haters may end up liking it... a lot. I feel like I could read it over and over again. It was not particularly difficult to understand, but it could be frustrating for younger readers. Anyway, everybody: I beg you to read this book and then tell me what you thought. Oh, and feel free to ask me questions if I did not speak/write clearly. Thanks so much!!


5/5 Recommended