Having read it, I can appreciate it as a truly well-crafted story in its own right, and while “enjoyable” may not be the right word, I’m glad that I read it, and not just because it illustrates points and techniques that might help me hone my craft.
Imagine that the year is 1869. Heavier-than-air powered flight is a distant fantasy for reckless dreamers and adrenaline junkies willing to throw themselves off of cliffs to test their contraptions. The American Civil War only recently ended, and the transcontinental railroad is not quite complete. Steam-powered ships are just beginning to replace sailing vessels for oceanic travel. This is the context in which Jules Verne, one of the grandfathers of science fiction, told the story of the Apollo program.
In my review for A Christmas Carol I asserted that I will read most anything with “Dickens” on the cover, and this is a good example; I cannot recall any reason for it being on my reading list except for it being by Charles Dickens.
eviews), I decided it was finally time to sit down and read what has become known as The Divine Comedy.
As I said in my review of The Hobbit, during this reread I was surprised by how light that novel is; I suspect that my memory of its tone from my last reading was affected by my intermediate viewing of the movies. Or, perhaps I was merely linking it with the core Lord of the Rings books, which very quickly take on a markedly different tone from their prequel (and yes, I know that technically there is just one "book," which was split into three parts for the convenience of readers and publishers). The implications of a darker turn are heavy throughout even the early chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring, but are pivotally confirmed with the events of the chapter A Knife in the Dark.
One of the wonderful things about this modern age is the fact that so many classic texts are available for free, or for very little, to read instantly on Kindle. That's actually why I first found myself delving deeply into the lesser known works of authors like Jules Verne and HG Wells, and I continue to find it convenient how easily and cheaply I am able to obtain copies of classics. I can't help but think that in another day and age, finding a copy of something like The Story of Burnt Njal would have involved multiple trips to specialty bookstores in the hopes of finding this particular text.
Coming off of the Bhagavad Gita, I had every intention of either a) finding an additional work of Eastern philosophy to read, or b) going into a reread of The Lord of the Rings (since it has been almost ten years now since I last read them, I intend to reread them this year, so expect reviews for those on the site some time this year). Then, somehow, I ended up picking up a copy of Gulliver's Travels, instead. This ended up on my reading list as one of those classics that is frequently referenced by other works, and so I thought it would be valuable to know just what was being referenced.
There are certain novels that you can read again and again, and you’ll always get something a little different out of them. It can be because you’re at a different point in your life, or because you’ve read other things and are approaching the story with a different context, or simply because the story is that intricate and beautifully written that, like any other great work of art, there are always more mysteries to be revealed. When it comes to literature, these are often the books that first got you into the genre, and that you come back to time and time again. These are the books that are thumbed through and dog-eared and well-worn. There might be pages trying to fall out, maybe even a tear here and there. These are well loved books.