Better than The Man who was Thursday, not as good as Kim. In terms of readability the best of the three. Although not far above ordinary, it reads nicely and works as an interesting prelude to Jurassic Park and King Kong. Makes me want to see those movies again, after these exciting moments with dinosaurs and such like.

28 April 2009

Comments

Read it in a hurry to finish in time for class. Perhaps I should have taken a little longer, because what struck me as a quirky spy novel hardly worth its time turned out to be more, for both my professor and fellow students. I'd missed an interesting parallel with the Book of Job. And certain passages (in particular the ending) did yield more upon a closer reading. Enough to make me reconsider my initial opinion of this novel. What that opinion turned into eludes me. I'm not sure what I think of it now. But it certainly is more than just a flimsy spy novel.

21 April 2009

Comments

I don't know how I feel about this one. I remember I liked The Jungle books and I sort of liked this too, but still I never really got into it. It seemed to slip away from me at times and, furthermore, I couldn't see any sense of urgency in the book. The story was fine, the characters and the overall pictures of India were quite good, but as a whole I didn't respond to it. There were some very good scenes that did trigger a response, but unfortunately not too many. And yet, this slippery, lopsided thing (on further thought) seemed to be the point as well. Perhaps, as our professor said, Kim works better on re-reading. Possible. Would certainly like to re-read The Jungle books once again.

7 April 2009

Comments

The real classic on the Adventure list. Second time I read it and it does get better. You just have to take the time for it. Ten pages an hour maximum, but that's okay. It can be quite dense at times, and yet it always makes you think. I don't suppose this book will ever get any easier. Still, I'm going to go back to it, another day. And hopefully some other books of his too. The Secret agent maybe.

31 March 2009

Comments

The first, or one of the first, science fiction classics. Hence, a must read and worth its place on the Quest & Adventure list. It's a very readable novella that cuts right to the chase. The bulk of the book is set in the year 802,701 AD and tells an enjoyable story of survival in the future. Yet I think I liked the unexpected last bit the most, where the Time Traveller witnesses the demise of the Earth. Short, but very beautiful. Am looking forward to more Wells.

2 March 2009

Comments

Stream of consciousness avant la lettre? More like a stream of anecdotes. This comic little book is still a delight to read, more than 120 years after publication. A plot is hard to find, but who cares? All these highly associative anecdotes keep the pace going and more than once had me laughing out loud. As a reader usually left cold by 'comic novels', this one really had me charmed. Especially canine fellow traveller Montmorency.

24 February 2009

Comments

A flawed but entertaining adventure novel that reminded me most of all of Indiana Jones (which is not a bad thing). Two British intellectuals, with their servant, go into the heart of Africa in search of the legendary Queen Aysha (or 'She who must be obeyed'). Of course, there's all sorts of weird stuff going on as the novel is as much horror as adventure. Especially liked the sacriligious dance with the flaming corpses. Characters were shallow though and a bit silly at times. And the book dragged a bit; was too long. Still, apparently more than 100 million copies of She have been sold since, so it's certainly interesting to know what all the fuss was/is about.

17 February 2009

Comments

A new version and a sharper mind (in some ways at least), six years later, made this re-read a succesful one. The novel is certainly not perfect all around, in particular the boring final section, but most of it holds very well. It reads smoothly, at least once you get used to the dialects, the adventures are thrilling and the picture of Mississippi life, albeit quite violent, is a fine one. I remember my first take on Huck was a struggle and I didn't like it so much. But now, anno 2009, I'm glad to say that first impressions aren't always right.

12 February 2009

Comments

An excellent read, this classic adventure novel (the first on the list for the Novels of Quest and Adventure course). Short, punchy and quite gruesome for a children's book. A good thing, because adult readers can enjoy it equally. Nice bits with treasure hunting and especially the complex character of Long John Silver. Most of it has since become standard pirate fare, but in this original it's still innovative and quite cool.

3 February 2009

Comments

Zo'n zes jaar geleden dat ik dit voor het eerst las, zittend aan de Ouderkerkerplas volgens mij. De plot kon ik me nog altijd goed herinneren, maar dit boek gaat juist meer om de sfeer, het groeiende gevoel van frustratie. Hermans is op zich geen sadist ten opzichte van zijn personages, maar de omgeving waar hij ze in plaatst des te meer. Het is een knap gestileerd werk, Nooit meer slapen, maar tegelijkertijd ook zo makkelijk leesbaar. Waarschijnlijk is dat één van de hoofdkenmerken voor een echte klassieker.

1 Februari 2009

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