The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar WildeBlurb

Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gwendolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend, the girls to fight for Ernest’s undivided attention and the “Ernests” to claim their beloveds, pandemonium breaks loose.

Only a nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!

My Perspective

I actually read this because i was impatiently awaiting April 1 so i could read Draekora, the third book in The Medoran Chronicles. I’d seen the movie with Colin Firth so knew the general story line however i actually didn’t realise it was written as a play!

The story is about two young gentlemen friends who get themselves in a bit of a pickle when their fictional alter egos fall in love, their lovers think their names are Ernest and they won’t accept a lover with any other name.

The characters are all equally lovable as well as irritating, which works well for the story.

I couldn’t help but giggle all the way through the story, knowing what was coming yet still laughing like it was a complete surprise.

Obviously as the story was written in 1899, the language is a bit heavy however like I’ve said before, i don’t mind that at all. Also as it was written in the format of a play, some might find it stilted because it doesn’t flow like a novel however I’ve read quite a few plays and i don’t really even notice it anymore.

Overall i thoroughly enjoyed reading The Importance of Being Ernest and it was a nice, quick read that left me unhindered to start reading Draekora as soon as it was released. I would definitely recommend it if you like classics and comedy.

The Sea Wolf by Jack London

The Sea Wolf by Jack LondonBlurb

The novel begins when Van Weyden is swept overboard into San Francisco Bay, and plucked from the sea by Larsen’s seal-hunting vessel, the Ghost. This ship’s evil captain, Wolf Larsen – The Sea-Wolf – is a murderous tyrant who uses his superhuman strength to torture and destroy, his brilliant mind to invent sick games, and his relentless will to control his mutinous crew. Pressed into service as a cabin boy by the ruthless captain, Van Weyden becomes an unwilling participant in a brutal shipboard drama. Larsen’s increasingly violent abuse of the crew fuels a mounting tension that ultimately boils into mutiny, shipwreck, and a desperate confrontation.

My Perspective

Having just read and enjoyed Treasure Island, I was definitely looking for something similar so I browsed all the classics that I’ve downloaded onto my Kobo and The Sea Wolf caught my eye. It wasn’t what I expected though!

The Sea Wolf is the story of Humphrey Van Weyden, a gentleman who becomes shipwrecked and is rescued by the sealing schooner, The Ghost. Rather than being dropped at the nearest port, he is put to work as cabin boy under Captain Wolf Larsen, who is known as one of the meanest captains in the sealing industry. Who he discovers is much more than simply a cruel man though and through his own intellect and previous study, he is able to connect with Wolf unlike any other person has before.

I quite liked Humphrey. At first i found him to be a bit insufferable however he soon got over himself and embraced his circumstances to the best of his ability. I respected him all the more with how hard he worked and the strength of character that he developed was very satisfying. Wolf Larsen was a completely fascinating character. I could not bring myself to hate him despite his evil ways. I found it hard to love Miss Brewster however i had to remind myself of the era in which she came from and when in context, she showed a lot of courage and bravery.

This book is not just a “sea faring tale”. The philosophical aspects it explores are intense and extremely challenging to one’s ideals. As i had no idea that the book involved any of that, i was a little bit unprepared however soon adjusted.

I enjoyed the basic story and adventure and i felt that it was written at quite an even pace. I did find it ended quite abruptly however really, it ended as it should have.

Overall it was an extremely well written book twisting adventure with philosophy. It certainly isn’t for the fainthearted of words and if you think, like i did, that it’s another “Treasure Island” – think again. This is more like a Tolstoy crossed with Treasure Island! I would definitely recommend this as a great classic and if you like stories that actually have a bit of substance to them.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

29485885Blurb

A mysterious seaman hides at a country inn; cut-throats raid a sleepy English village; suddenly, young Jim Hawkins becomes the owner of a map leading to a lost tropical island and a fortune in stolen gold. Three adventurers–Jim, Squire Trelawney, and Dr. Livesey–set out to find the treasure. — But they trust the one they should most fear, Long John Silver. Charming, brave, ruthless, murderous, Silver fills the squire’s ship with pirates. And on the desolate, fever-infested island, the quest for gold becomes a deadly war of hide and seek. Desperate defenders against merciless killers battling over a cursed treasure won with blood, buried with blood, sought with blood. Incredible wealth that Jim and his friends can only claim…

My Perspective

Treasure Island is the story of how Jim Hawkins came to be in possession of a treasure map and the journey and adventure he went on with Doctor Livesey and Squire Trelawney to acquire it.

I’m really in the mood for adventure stories at the moment so this is exactly what I felt like reading.

I really liked Jim. He was an easygoing young man, eager to please, hardworking, quick thinking and he had a lot of courage. Doctor Livesey was also an easy character to like whether Squire Trelawney I found a bit too freely spoken and over confident. John Silver was friendly and very easy to like, which of course made me suspicious. The rest of the crew were typical pirates, or “buccaneers”, self interested, not too smart, violent and drunk on rum all the time.

The story was very interesting and well paced, keeping you on your toes and turning the pages quickly. I did find some of the language hard to understand at times however it added to the feel of the story so I wouldn’t change it.

Overall it was a really enjoyable story, well written and full of adventure. I would definitely recommend it if you like classics, adventure stories or historical fiction.

October Baby by Eric Wilson and Theresa Preston

14978982Blurb

Not long after Hannah, a college student, experiences increasing anxiety and a sudden collapse, all signs point to the surprising circumstances of her birth. Hannah soon learns from her parents that she was adopted and is the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.

Bewildered, angry, and confused, she turns to her oldest friend, Jason, for support. Encouraged by his adventurous spirit, Hannah joins his friends on a road trip, embarking on a journey to discover her hidden past and find hope for the unknown future.

Along the way, Hannah finds that every life is beautiful, and that life itself can be so much more than what we might have planned.

Based on the popular movie of the same name, October Baby brings to life powerful themes of hope, love, forgiveness, and redemption.

My Perspective

October Baby is the novel version of the movie, October Baby, which is about a college student named Hannah who collapses on stage during a performance due to medical issues related to her birth. Her world as she knows it falls apart with the knowledge of what really happened when she was born – that she was the product of a failed abortion and her parents adopted her. She joins a group of friends on their Spring Break trip to visit the place where she was born – and hopefully find some answers.

Last year we watched the movie version of October Baby at the youth group we run. The theme for the term was forgiveness and this story really explored that concept well. I was curious to read the novel version of it especially if any of our youth wanted to read it too.

At first I found it hard to get into the book as it started out when Hannah was a child and i found the reading a bit immature. I had to remind myself that I am not the target audience for the book and so i got into a bit more plus Hannah soon became a college student so things matured.

Hannah is a likeable and realistic character. She bugged me a little bit because she reminded me of myself with the acting – a little bit up herself. Plus I couldn’t get over how much she let her parents dictate her life even though she was an adult. I can understand she was living under their roof so it was their rules etc. but I felt like she acted like a young teenager! I liked Jason except I couldn’t really understand his relationship with Alanna. I found it hard to like her Dad because he was so controlling. I understood he wanted the best for her however he went about things all the wrong way! I really liked her mother.

The story really explores the concept of what abortion looks like when it fails and how the product of that is much more than just a fetus. I’d rather not get into a political debate about abortion in a book review however I think this book is a great way to start a discussion.

The story has a small element of Christianity throughout however it’s very subtle and doesn’t shove any agendas in your face. It mainly just focuses on the power of forgiveness, which I think is great.

The story flowed fairly well and although it was a bit sappy in places, it was an enjoyable read.

I would definitely recommend this book, especially to those who like a fairly lighthearted book with deep messages and themes.

Genesis: The Story Of Apollo 8, The First Manned Flight To Another World by Robert Zimmerman

1110425Blurb

It was NASA’s most dangerous space mission. The chances of success were fifty-fifty. And three men would dare to fly farther and faster than ever before.

The year was 1968. Guided by a computer less powerful than today’s handheld calculators, NASA sent the three astronauts of Apollo 8 on the most ambitious space flight in history. Here is the dramatic account of the mission that forever broke human beings’ bond to earth… of the first time that a manned spacecraft would escape earth’s orbit and travel to the moon… of the engineering triumph that sent the Apollo 8 capsule 240,000 miles from earth. From Washington to Vietnam, Robert Zimmerman captures the political, social, and personal forces that pushed Commander Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders to the forefront of space exploration, and made Apollo 8 a true turning point in the history of planet earth.

My Perspective

Genesis: The Story Of Apollo 8, The First Manned Flight To Another World by Robert Zimmerman is the novelised true story of the first manned mission to the moon. It describes to us both the mission itself as well as the lives of each of the three astronauts who flew: Commander Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders.

A customer gave us this book to read. As Kel was already halfway through another book, I decided to read it first. Having just finished watching “From the Earth to the Moon” series (which was lent to us by the very same customer), I was familiar with the mission however the book gave a lot more insight and background than the TV series ever could.

The topic of space has always intrigued me and Sci-Fi is one of my favourite genres. I grew up watching most of the Star Trek series as well as reading Star Trek novels so this kind of book was right up my alley.

I found it was a little bit slow to start off with and it jumped around a bit, recapping other events that seemed unrelated to the Apollo 8 mission. It wasn’t until about halfway through that it picked up and I couldn’t put it down. Towards the end you can see how everything is tied together and I can see the point of everything that was written however it did seem a little disjointed at the beginning.

I enjoyed getting to know the three astronauts better and their history, and how they came to be on Apollo 8.

There was a lot of political insight in the book and it was quite disheartening to read about some of it and how society, although seeming to be searching for freedom, is in its quest practically doing the opposite.

Overall I enjoyed the book and I learnt more about a topic I enjoy. I would definitely recommend this book to those who like either Sci-Fi or history (or both!).

And…I didn’t Quite Make It Again!

In 2016, i again attempted the Goodreads Reading Challenge. My goal was only 12 books, which works out at a book a month. I really, really thought i could achieve it this time and i was quite disappointed that i didn’t reach my goal and only managed to read 10 of the 12 books by the end of the year! However with an active toddler to look after, unfortunately there is not a lot of time for reading.

I have decided to attempt the challenge again this year, and have given myself the same goal of 12 books. I think i can achieve this as Kel and i have started a new year’s resolution of no screen time before bed and reading instead. Hopefully this year i will achieve my goal for once!

I’d love to be your friend on Goodreads so add me if you haven’t already 🙂

2016 In Review

Here are some books that i read in 2016 that i didn’t review. I definitely recommend reading them, especially the first book – it’s amazing! I wish I’d read it before having a baby because it would have taken a lot of the pressure off and helped me to trust myself a lot more.

Your Cherished Baby by Dr Howard Chilton

24330690Blurb

‘This book lays out the nuts and bolts of the first two years of your child’s life. What your baby learns now about love, relationships and their value in the world will last them a lifetime.’

According to Dr Howard Chilton, one of Australia’s most respected baby doctors, you cannot give your baby too much love. Drawing on his 35 years as a baby physician, Dr Chilton explains the science that proves what many of us instinctively know: the way we feed, hold, play with and settle our babies is what determines the kind of adults they will become. Dr Chilton challenges the current fashions of strict routines and controlled crying, and offers instead practical and caring methods that keep babies and their mothers calm and connected. With clarity and wisdom he outlines:

* the neurological processes of both baby and mother in the early bonding periods
* the reasons and solutions for colic and other excessive crying
* humane alternatives to controlled crying as a method for getting your baby to sleep
* why you need to care for yourself so as to best care for your baby, and what fathers can do to help
a feeding approach that will develop your child’s palate and guard against obesity later in life
* simple discipline techniques to help your toddler learn how to negotiate his or her world.

Accessible, authoritative and compassionate, Your Cherished Baby is the essential guide to giving your child the best possible start in life.

The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook

20572294

Blurb

Alice B. Toklas was Gertrude Stein’s life partner. This is Toklas’s rich mixture of menus and memories of meals shared with such famous friends as Wilder, Picasso, and Hemingway.