New grandpa. Married 35 great years. Drink Batch 19,Tsing Tao, and Bohemia. Read Card, King, Hobb, Sawyer, Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction.
Since you can get these five books for one credit, go ahead and get it, instead of one book at a time. Believe me if you buy the first book, you are going to want the second and if you buy the second, etc. Since this is five books I will go over each, in case you buy one at a time. I will try an be brief. I mean if if takes you as long to read the review as the book, why not just get the book.
1, The Sword and The Stone (1938). This is the best of the five and is mostly a fantasy. Wart/Arthur is turned into several animals to learn about life. There is also an interesting part on boar hunting. Did you know on a boar spear there is a cross piece to keep the animal from running up the spear to get to you.
2.The Witch In the Wood (1939) This is shorter, darker and not as funny, nor as good as the book before and after, but necessary as it explains the origin of the Round Table.
3. The Ill-Made Knight (1940) This is all about Lancelot. You really get to know his character, matter of fact there is more character building in this book then the others. This is the longest of the books and actually goes on about three hours longer then it should have. Did you know that Lancelot was extremely ugly? This is one of the reasons he became such a great Knight. It is such a big part of his character I can't believe so many movies chose to make him some stupid Handsome Hunk. He is a lot more complicated as an Ugly Man. You are introduced to the tragic character Elaine, who starts out as a trickster, but who you end up feeling strongly sorry for. Guinvere turns out to be one horny queen.
4. The Candle in The Wind (1958) Does Might Mean Right is the common theme in all these books. It is especially in this one and the book has several long speeches. I myself as a child never understood why John Wayne won ever fight he was in. Until True Grit, John Wayne strongly believed he should never be killed in a movie. Heroes don't die and never lose fights. King Arthur's mother dies at the age of 70, in bed with a young man she seduced. In the original "Once and Future King" this was the last book, as it should have stayed.
5.The Book of Merlyn (1977) This was published after T.H. White's death. He wanted it in the original (Once and Future King), but the editor would not allow it. That was one smart editor. This book brought the whole series down from Five stars to Four. This book has no plot and is 97% anti-war speeches. There is a part where the King is turned into a ant and then into a goose. Those parts and the end which explains what finally happens to everybody are the only good parts to the book. This is mostly a debate where White argues both sides. I also am aniti-war, but no explanation is given about what to do about people like Hitler. White seems to say let him keep murdering Jews.
All in all this is very well written, is very entertaining and if you are a fan of the Legend of Arthur, then it is a must read.
The narrator is excellent.
AS a kid, the first thing I looked forward to after Christmas was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It was always aired in Feb., which was sweeps month. I did not know that, I just knew it was sometime after Christmas. It was a great musical and this is a great book. They differ some and are the same a lot. The musical gave the Wicked Witch of the West a huge part that she did not have in the book. It was interesting to see the differences and easy to see why certain changes were made. The book is more violent, with some head chopping going on, but not enough to make the whole book not worth reading. It was published in 1900 and was the best selling children's book for two years.
Baum has an excellent imagination and I loved the ceramic people, which was not in the movie. There are lessons on courage, intelligence, tenderness, confidence and ambition, which children and adults of today can learn much.
Hathaway has taken a real beating by some reviewers. I did not always agree with her interpretations of the characters, (Valley girls did not exist when this was written) but I thought she brought life to the book. She kept it interesting. I much prefer a narrator that spices up the reading, as a reader who just mouths the words. Baum himself changed the book and characters in order to get it on Broadway. If he was alive today, I do not believe he would have a problem with his story being updated.
I also liked the book Wicked, which gives you the witches side of the story.
This is simply a delightful and classic story that I and my children (ages 9 & 6) have enjoyed. If you've only seen the film, you should treat yourself to the novel - though it is admittedly difficult not to judge the book in light of the epic film.
What I could not tolerate was Anne Hathaway's dreadful performance. Ideally the narration should complement the story, but not distract or steal from the author's words. Hathaway's performance is a complete distraction - to the point that you hope certain characters won't have anything else to say because you don't want to hear her needlessly over-the-top voicing. Why does the palace guard have a southern (US) accent? Why does another person have a French accent? It's all just too much.
Do yourself a favor and pick from the 5 or so other versions of Baum's classic on Audible.