Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Tolkien & C.S Lewis: The Gift of Friendship - Colin Duriez

Tolkien and C.S. Lewis: The Gift of a FriendshipTolkien and C.S. Lewis: The Gift of a Friendship by Colin Duriez
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

For me, this books subtitle is misleading. The majority of the book has nothing to do with the friendship of Tolkien and Lewis. In fact, the information in the books indicates they were co-workers and writing at the same time/sounding boards at times for each other but not "friends" in that they weren't really involved in each other's lives outside of the college and writing.

So much of the book had nothing to do with the interactions between Lewis and Tolkien. There was back story on a bunch of other people - including what they thought and said and wrote about L & T and their writings. There were lengthy summaries of many of L & T's works (with spoilers included if you haven't read them). There was some philosophy and theology (and not just as related to their beliefs and/or works) thrown in.

The book's structure was lacking as well. It was confusingly organized at times, despite there being dates on the chapter headings. Some places there were a ton of dates and others none at all. Even within those dates, the author jumped back and forth and all around. It had a lot of redundancies as well.

You don't even get any "friendship" information unti around Chapter 5 (page count in the 80's). That in addition to all the randomness had me skimming pages at a time. So much skimming I almost feel bad marking it as "read."

If you're looking for a wonderful book covering the friendship between these two great authors, keep looking. And then come back and comment when you've found one so I can check it out. :)

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Monday, July 29, 2019

That Churchill Woman - Stephanie Barron

That Churchill WomanThat Churchill Woman by Stephanie Barron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This historical fiction novel draws on letters and other (auto)biographies to paint a fuller picture of Lady Randolph Churchill - an American by the name of Jennie Jerome.

I've honestly never thought about Winston Churchill's mother despite me interest in him as a person and politician. I certainly never realized she had such a reputation in her time. She certainly was a strong women of her time and knew how to stand on her own. Yet she also had a fiercely loyal streak. It was interesting.

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Monday, July 1, 2019

Black Elk Speaks - John G. Neihardt & Black Elk

Black Elk SpeaksBlack Elk Speaks by Black Elk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the story of Black Elk as told by John G. Neihardt. It's the "as told by" that knocks my rating down from 5 stars. According to the notes in the appendix (which I was grateful for), Neihardt took quite a bit of poetic license in extrapolating what he thought Black Elk meant by what he said or felt at various times.

Black Elk lived from 1863 to 1950, although this book wraps up shortly after the Indian Wars were concluded (read: the US government and people got their way and most of the native lands). Black Elk was a medicine man and holy man of the Oglala Lakota tribe. He was cousin to Crazy Horse. This is his experience woven through the background of the greater Native experience.

Again, I'm aghast at all of this being skipped in history teaching in our schools.

This book was readable. It did have several prefaces and introductions. And oh so many appendices. Honestly, I skimmed some of those.

A valuable read for anyone.

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Unleashing Mr. Darcy - Teri Wilson

Unleashing Mr. DarcyUnleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A modern retelling of P&P, set in the world of dog shows.

I loved the references and even quotes from P&P dropped in. The story was fun, overall. Although clearly I don't know about dog shows much. It seemed like there were the same judges for the same dogs at each show. So is it really necessary to give them such examination? I don't know.

Towards the end there was a section that got quite steamy. Which I didn't expect after having read The Accidental Beauty Queen (my introduction to Teri Wilson). There steam was alluded to but not detailed out like here. I skipped several pages. Without that, it probably would have been 3.5 stars.

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