Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe (unknown-1731) – Well, this book starts off very boring. I almost didn’t continue reading it. The first couple of chapters did not grab my attention at all. Part of the struggle I had was the writing style. It’s written entirely in first person with very little dialogue. That is just not a style that I am fond of. The story line was not one of too much excitement. A man was trapped on an island. And it told of his despair while on that island. The beginning of the book was a bit of back ground to how he got to this island. It wasn’t very descriptive and rushed through. I didn’t realize that it was a background to the story for quite some time. I thought the whole book was going to be rushed as well. To some degree there was a rush to the plot and not in a keep the book moving kind of way. It seemed to skip some parts mostly to keep it from being too long. After getting through the intro and on toward what life was like for him on a deserted island it did get a little more interesting. One thing that was surprising to me was the amount of theology included within this book. Crusoe happened to have a bible among the things he rescued off of his ship and proceeded to become a strong Christian. He shares his struggles and how he learns from the bible about God and how to be a true follower. It was interesting to read because most books I read have people that are nominally Christians but don’t really live it. This man lived it and was passionate. He even witnessed to one of the natives that he eventually saved from others and kept as a servant. In the end he is saved by a ship and a captain that he saves from a mutiny. In short, it is an ok read. The beginning is boring but it picks up as you go and becomes a little more interesting. At least enough to get through it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Eustace Diamonds

Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) – I absolutely loved this book. The characters were interesting, the story was well written, it was easy to follow. First off the characters were so well described that by the end of the book I felt like I knew them. Lizzie Eustace, a very unlikely heroine, is a person that I thoroughly despise. She is full of lies, and trickery. As a young widow she is faced with the trouble of some diamonds that her husband “gave” her. She completely believes the diamonds were a gift, but the rest of society believes she stole them from the Eustace family. It was interesting to learn the value of titles and property ownership of England in the eighteen hundreds. This story of this book is based upon that value and the attempt to recover property to the family. The other characters are continually manipulated by Lizzie because of her beauty and also her lies. She is described as very clever. Indeed she is. As the reader, I was given important information that none of the other characters received. It made the story all the more interesting to have all knowledge while the characters were limited. I was very happy that the story kept moving. There was never a dull spot. I wasn’t surprised in any place by certain events because I had special knowledge, but it didn’t keep me from reading. There was a certain suspense that kept me entertained and drew me to the end of the book. I learned a lot about the society of the English in this book too. The views on women and politics and marriage and an assortment of other things was a lot to take in. I do feel that from reading this book I might be able to understand other books from this time period a little better. One other thing about the characters is that I could relate to each of them in a different way. Many of the characters were dynamic in their attitudes and feelings. This made them seem much more real to life and interesting. Most people aren’t the same throughout their life and so the dynamics of what these characters went through was good to read. I could go on and on. I highly recommend this book if you want to learn about 19th century English society.