The opening sentence is a classic, foreshadowing the entire tale. Some anthropomorphism here, but it doesn't destroy a great adventure story, a look into the past, the Gold Rush in Alaska. The relationship between Buck and Thornton reminds us of how close man and dog can be, and the story never flags until the satisfying ending when Buck, too powerful a force to remain in civilization, returns to the wild.
A not-quite-modern Cinderella Story, but all the better for that. Some readers will be familiar with the film starring Frances MacDormand, and who better to deliver the charming story but she.
I was driving east with my daughter's family, Colorado to Pennsylvania, when I first heard Alexander McCall Smith's work, The Incredible Lightness of Scones, and no warning either. It was a while before I picked up on it, some nonsense about using moisturizer. Then I just relaxed into chuckling and laughter with the rest of the family; I was converted. As soon as I got on the Internet I ordered 44 Scotland St from Audible. And of course, it isn't nonsense at all, or just a funny story, more like an easy path to enlightenment. The play between Bertie, mother Irene and the psychiatrist is a gentle study of defective child rearing that should put us all on notice. Learn while laughing. Why not?
Convinced that Dickens must have worthwhile aspects that I have heretofore overlooked, since he continues to be read and admired, I determined to give him another chance with the excellent reader, Charlton Griffin. The listen worked painlessly and well. Griffin helped me to believe in the improbable characters (except for Estella, who is beyond hope), and between writer and reader, they wrung a few laughs and tears from me. Apparently, in the original serialized version of Great Expectations, Pip and Biddie were to be united at the end, but Dickens was influenced to opt for Estella. Bad choice for both Pip and the novel, but Griffin eases us over it.
Whatever one may think of Ian Fleming and the 007 series, they are definitely part of the culture, and we must be grateful to Simon Vance for lifting the story out of the weeds. He makes us take these improbable characters seriously. An entertaining read.
I read most of Kipling's Jungle Tales when I was eleven and enjoyed them thoroughly. Perhaps it was after listening to Kim recently in my Golden Years, catching the flavor of Imperial India, that I decided to listen to the Jungle Tales again. Good decision.
The descriptive color and exotic expression seem piercingly fresh probably because we are now so far away from them. It is as Aristotle has suggested, Art has a better way of describing reality than Truth. Listen to the stories with your children, but hear them for your self.
A good novel is a place to go in the way that only Old Time Radio has ever achieved, a Theatre of the Mind. That Mark Twain and William Dufris can transport us to the strange, lost world of the 18th century Mississippi River and its environs is a remarkable achievement not to be missed, a piece of Americana that grounds us firmly in our country.
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