Classics Club: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island

Though Treasure Island is short enough to be considered a one night read, it took me about a week to finish.  I enjoyed it, but life interfered with me trying to finish it within a couple days.  The story seems more meant for children, but the adult part of me didn’t get in the way, especially since there were so many turns of phrase and events throughout that are the origins (or at least the near-origins) of the pirate tale in popular culture.  Who hasn’t heard of Long John Silver or Davy Jone’s Locker or the phrase “shiver my timbers!” even if they’ve never read the book?  Now I’m in the mood to watch Pirates of the Caribbean, or even The Princess Bride, just for the sake of watching Captain Jack Sparrow or “the dread pirate Roberts”!

Since tomorrow is the 1st of September, when I usually stop reading what I consider to be Summer books and start reading my Autumn books, I think Treasure Island was the perfect book to close out my Summer, and to begin crossing off books from my Classics Club list.

The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin

The Killing Moon

I went back and forth between being interested and not being interested in this book, just as I had been with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.  The only reason I even read The Killing Moon was because it was one of the items in the Quarterly box from Book Riot.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t have ever thought to read it, and I certainly wouldn’t have bought it.

Though this is only the second book of Jemisin’s that I’ve read, and more than likely the last, I’m going to take a guess that all of her books involve the same formula: a moralistic Fantasy involving race and class issues and the mythology/culture from a non-typical (i.e. medieval European) Fantasy setting, a strong female character who finds herself in a role or situation she either doesn’t like or doesn’t think she can handle, and who is at odds with an even stronger male character while both are struggling against a truly evil character who is planning to gain absolute power.  None of the characters have any real depth or ever surprise me by doing or saying something that makes me think perhaps they’re more than two dimensional.  By the end, good conquers evil and the two protagonists have a better understanding of each other.  In other words, Jemisin writes Disney stories.  All that’s missing is the song and dance with some comedic moments thrown in to keep it lighthearted.

While there’s nothing wrong with using a formula (some of the best books I’ve ever read are formulaic, and without formulas we wouldn’t have popular genres like Romance or Fantasy/Sci-Fi), it can get a bit tedious and cause me to lose interest.  There’s a reason I only read one book a year from some of my favorite series, and those series offer something else that keeps me reading and allows me to overlook the formula, or, in some rare cases, not even notice it until I’ve finished the book.  Unfortunately, Jemisin doesn’t offer that “something else”.

With all of that being said, I didn’t hate this book.  It took me quite a bit longer than it should have for me to finish it, due to all of the above, but I still liked it enough to continue reading after the first fifty pages, and then enough to continue to the end.  Most Disney stories aren’t horrible, even if they are full of cliches, and in most cases, they’re great for a Summer read because they don’t require much thought.  The Killing Moon‘s setting alone made it good for reading during the Summer, and the addition of the race, class and other social issues made it just thoughtful enough to keep it from feeling like a guilty pleasure or just pure brain candy.

Announcements!

Now that I’ve got a little bit more time on my hands, I’ve decided that I’m going to add a few features to this blog:

What I’m Reading Monday – I will detail what I’ve finished reading, what I’m currently reading, any DNF books, as well as my total pages read for the previous week, and the total number of books I’ve read for the year.

Wordy Wednesday – I will list the words, and their definitions, that I didn’t know from books I’m reading that week.

Thursday’s Quotables – This will be my favorite quotes from the books I’m currently reading.

In addition to these, I will also be adding a Reviews page which will list every book that I review, in alphabetical order, that isn’t a book on my Classics Club list.  Each book on the list will be a link to that review.  Also on the Reviews page will be information regarding review requests, but I haven’t quite figured out all the details for that yet.

Bout of Books 11 Day 7 – Wrap Up!

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I’ve finished up this Bout of Books with only 81 pages left of The Wastelands (The Dark Tower III).  I would stay up and finish it, but I hurt my back today and I’m very tired.  As far as the the whole Bout of Books 11 goes though, I met my goals, with the exception of finishing The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.  I’m fine with that, especially since I was able to read over 1,000 pages this week, and I usually only manage about half that.  I only completed one challenge, but, again, that’s fine considering how much reading I accomplished.  Now, that Bout of Books 11 is over, I’ll be making some announcements and posting a review of N.K. Jemisin’s The Killing Moon before the end of the week.

Total books finished: 2

Pages read today: 183

Total  pages: 1289

Bout of Books – 5 Book Challenge

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This challenge, from Falling Down the Book Hole, asks us to choose the 5 books we’d grab to take with us if the world were to go to Hell in a hand basket:

“Given the short amount of time you are only able to take 5 books with you. What books would you pick to take with you as you escape and prepare for the end of the world. Would you choose books that would help you survive in the post-apocalyptic world, books for pleasure that would make you happy and take you to a fantasy reality or books that you can’t live without?”

My reason for choosing the following 5 books is that these are the books I could read over and over again and never get sick of.  They are my all time favorite books:

1) Matilda by Roald Dahl

2) The Princess Bride by William Goldman

3) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

4) The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers

5) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Bout of Books 11 Day 6

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I don’t have much to say for today.  I crossed off a lot of items from my to-do list in preparation for going back to school on Monday, while also getting over half of The Wastelands (The Dark Tower III) read.  Since it’s been so long since I read the Dark Tower books, there is quite a bit of the story I had forgotten.  I’m enjoying it, and thinking that I’ll have it finished by tomorrow night.  Either that, or I’ll get so close to the end that I won’t be able to get to sleep until it’s done, even if that means not going to bed until well after midnight.  Luckily, it’s the first day of classes, which means most of each class will be spent going over the syllabus.  I also won’t have to get up until 8am, and I always keep a good supply of caffeine, in the form of tea and coffee, in the kitchen.  Chances are, I’ll have a difficult time getting to sleep anyway, like I always do the night before the first day of class.

Total books finished: 2

Pages read today: 286

Total  pages: 1106

Bout of Books 11 Day 5

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Today, I finished The Stranger’s Woes by Max Frei, which I didn’t think I was going to be able to do.  Before I finished, I ended up getting a late night breakfast-for-dinner at my favorite 24-hour diner.  As with the pastries, the book made me do it.  After I finished the book, I realized I just really don’t want to return to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay right now.  As I’ve said before, it’s not that it’s a bad book.  I’m just not in the mood for it’s depth right now.  I’m technically on vacation, the only most of a week of vacation I’ve had all Summer, and I go back to school starting on Monday.  I’m excited about getting back into a more intellectual routine, but I also want to be very lazy and read “easy” but still wonderfully engaging books until then.  The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, while definitely engaging, is most certainly not easy.  So, I decided to start reading The Wastelands (The Dark Tower III) by Stephen King.  I’ve already read most of the series when I was much younger, and re-read the first 2 within the past year.

Total books finished: 2

Pages read today: 222

Total  pages: 820