The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe

By Daniel Defoe

Rereading this after many decades I’m far more impressed that this belongs on a must read in your lifetime book list.

The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1808)My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four Stars, recommended as a classic.

In summary, this is written as an autobiography of an English youngster, born in the year 1632, in the city of York, anxious for adventure against his family’s advice. He sets upon the sea to satisfy his adventure yearnings. He endures some hardships, some enslavement, and some fortune obtaining a plantation in South America. To enhance his fortune he voyages to find laborers to work on his plantation, slaves. (He had been a slave to moslems for some years during his adventures, this isn’t a controversial point in this 1600s novel)

During his voyage he is shipwrecked and is the sole survivor on a deserted island for some 27 years when circumstances change to allow him to return to England. There after are some other minor adventures, re-obtaining his properties and monies he had entrusted to others before he vanished at sea.

The meat of the novel is his adventures as a sole survivor on a deserted island. Continue reading “The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe”

A Public Folder

Our path for Reading Classics.

Reading Classics

As a matter of public service Sagely Fox has a Public Folder where he stores some classic audiobooks and epub books.

You’re free to download them or share them with your friends as one of my friends or followers.

Here is the link to the Public Folder.  In that folder you will find a link to the Reading Classics Folder and some free utility programs that may be useful. Continue reading “A Public Folder”

Don Quixote

by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

There are good reasons “classics” are classics. Don’t miss Don Quixote

Don QuixoteDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found a list with the top ten best classic books and Don Quixote was at the top. I read the Kindle edition and listened to an Audible edition, alternating and sometime simultaneously.

Any blurb anywhere (Goodreads, Wikipedia, Amazon, book cover) can give you a more in depth summary of the stories. Everyone, even those who have not read the book know of the gallant Knight Errant… The Renowned Don Quixote De La Mancha attacking windmills with his faithful squire Sancho Panza right behind him.

The book is so much more. First thing I would note is the fact I laughed to tears, stopped reading (and laughing), then laughed some more.

If laughing until you cry isn’t encouraging, the wisdom and quantity of puns streamed together by Sancho Panza is surpassed in wisdom by Proverbs which also makes more sense — but does not have the reach of Sancho who may have expressed every pun under the sun. Continue reading “Don Quixote”

The Art of War

by Sun Tzu

Reading it might improve your life if you only learned that 2500 years ago folks had already learned about morality and discipline.

The Art of WarThe Art of War by Sun Tzu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read The Art of War by Sun Tzu translated by Lionel Giles in 1910 as it had been suggested to me in a variety of ways for decades and this afternoon I thought, just do it and get it off this list of things other people think I should do.

Chapter one caused me to remember As A Man Thinketh by James Allen. For the record that actually is one of the best “self-help”, “spiritual-growth”, “wisdom-obtaining” books in the last century and I suspect there have been 2000 books written every year since that says what “As A Man Thinketh” says, except they didn’t say it as well or as concisely.

After chapter one of The Art of War my natural habit of “thinking” kicked in to high gear and I started asking myself, “What?” and “Really?”
Continue reading “The Art of War”

Clay’s Ark

by Octavia Butler

She was terrified of Ingraham, certain that he was crazy, that he would kill her if she were not careful. If she committed herself to a poorly planned escape attempt and he caught her, he would certainly kill her.

Clay's Ark (Patternmaster, #3)Clay’s Ark by Octavia E. Butler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This seemed a abrupt sideways twist of this series that had spanned a millennia following primarily one of the most interesting villains contrived in my thousands of reads. Since it is a series, including one book Octavia insisted never be published again (Survivor #4) and this being #3 in the series, I wouldn’t normally have anything to say except, “Yep, this series is still good.”

Here’s the deal with this one. If the next book Octavia wants you to read, “Patternmaster” (which I’ve read) wasn’t the book it is, this book could easily be a “Steven King” independent book, noting that King so frequently fails to “conclude” his stories. Continue reading “Clay’s Ark”

Mind of My Mind

by Octavia Butler

Mind of My Mind (Patternmaster, #2)Mind of My Mind by Octavia E. Butler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is number 2 in the Patternmaster series by Octavia Butler, one of the best all time of Speculative Fiction writers. So what do you say about book 2 in a series that would not be a spoiler?

I gave it 4 stars, probably deserves 5. I recommend it.

The first two books has “Doro” as a primary character and a variety of people are co-primary as you progress through these 2 books (Wild Seed & Mind of My Mind). It is relative to who is the focus of Doro at any given time. Oddly, the person who is the focus of Doro is usually the viewpoint character and the events of the plot are in relation to Doro. While I call Doro “the primary character”, he is definitely the antagonist.

Anyanwu was largely the main character in Wild Seed, and without spoilers I can say, she was very interesting to me. I was able to relate to her and feel like I understood how she felt or why she did the things she did.

Anyanwu is in Mind of My Mind as a very minor character, the focus is now on Mary. The book opens as Doro arrives to find one of his favorite projects, “Mary” bruised and beaten, in bed naked at age 3. Her mother Rina, is drunk and with a bum of guy. Doro arranges to move Rina and Mary next door to Emma (One of Doro’s favored from Wild Seed).

Octavia doesn’t spend a lot of time on the miserable life of Mary growing up, but it is easily imagined. Next scene with Mary, she is 17, nearly kills one of Rina’s John’s and leaves, takes a bus to Los Angeles. There she goes on a stealing spree (which Doro has forbidden).

Looking at my notes of the beginning of the book, then at the end, I see a massive transition of “Mary”, but reading it, the changes happen so gradually and naturally I barely noticed. So often protagonist type characters have an epiphany then a sudden change. I didn’t notice this until I started writing the review.

If you’ve not read the Patternmaster series, start with Wild Seed. You start thinking Anyanwu is the main character, and she is, but Doro shows up and from there forward near everything about Anyanwu is relative to Doro. In Mind of My Mind, even when Doro is not “on stage” you can feel his influence with what ever is going on.

I think it is safe to say that Doro is the antagonist and the primary characters, Anyanwu in Wild Seed, and Mary in Mind of My Mind are the protagonist. With great writers like Octavia Butler, her characters are real, and complex enough that saying “good vs bad” is possible but you’d have to add that phrase that is popular today, “It’s complicated”.

To those who have read the whole series. I have a question. Octavia hated Survivor, forbid it being reissued, and obtaining a copy isn’t the easiest thing… but I have it. It is supposed to be the 3rd book in the Patternmaster series, but in newer Omnibus editions of the series, Survivor is “gone”. My question to those who know… should I read Survivor?

These days, a large portion of my reading any book is in audiobook form. Survivor, I do not have an audiobook so it isn’t one I can “listen to” while doing other mindless tasks. Your comment or recommendation is appreciated.

View all my reviews

Triplanetary

by E. E. “Doc” Smith

Every speaker in the space cruiser blared out the warning as he evacuated his lungs entirely empty. “Vee-Two Gas! Get tight!” Writhing and twisting in his fierce struggle to keep his lungs from gulping any noxious atmosphere, and with the unconscious girl draped limply over his left arm, Costigan leaped toward the portal to the nearest lifeboat.

Triplanetary (The Lensman Series Book 1)My rating: 3 of 5 starsnodapprove-3
Triplanetary by E.E. “Doc”Smith, Read in 2016 on 6/1 to page 71, on 6/22 to page 110, on 7/7 to page 211, on 7/16 until complete.

Before I begin rambling, I liked it. I recommend it to classic science fiction space opera fans. Triplanetary is the first of the Lensmen series by E.E. “Doc” Smith. A wonderfully successful series.
Triplanetary Rating Chart 3x5Triplanetary is Earth-centric in this galactic adventure. If memory serves (more on that later) the planets of the Triplanetary service are Earth, Venus, and Mars. It’s a shoot-em up space adventure with rather clear good guys and bad guys. There are a number of threats that are also lingering as foretelling.

The hero-saves-damsel-in-distress-and-falls-in-love is 1930’s contrived as are some Doc Savage-like escapes. You don’t know who Doc Savage is? Shame on you! Continue reading “Triplanetary”