Little Lord Fauntleroy
So this was an interesting read. It wasn't particularly engaging, although that was because the plot revolved around a "perfect" protagonist who changed imperfect people for the better. Little Lord Fauntleroy reads like a novel length fairytale, or I at least saw a lot of parallels to fairytale traditions.
His father was the youngest son of a misery, old lord who had three sons. The older two were corrupt and wasteful. The youngest was the old lord's pride and joy expect gosh it! Why'd he have to marry some lowly American woman? The youngest son was disinherited and the youngest went to be with his perfect wife and had a perfect little boy. Fauntleroy is intelligent and funny and he takes himself rather seriously. It's basically a rags-to-riches story. The grandfather finds Fauntleroy, who's real name is Cedric, and brings him to London with much skepticism. I'd tell you more, but I'm sure you can speculate or at least read the book for yourself. XD
Naturally, it's beautifully written, although it's idealistic at times.
What I loved, loved though was the book itself. I'm a bit weird like that. My love for books doesn't stop at just the story, but I like the book itself. I found Little Lord Fauntleroy while wandering the MG section of the library. It was a very old edition from around the 1950s or 60s. I loved its worn pages. And the illustrations! Some excellent sketches, maybe in pen? I don't know. I'm not very good at determining the medium of art.
Anyhow, Little Lord Fauntleroy was a good experience. Not a fast-paced, adventure read, but a sweet story told in the fairytale tradition.
A Farewell to Arms
So because I'm a nerd, I'm going to tell you why I picked this book up in the first place.
1) I need to read more classics. Why *need*? I don't know. I can argue away every argument that comes to mind. Expect that I should at least have more variety in my book diet.
2) Emily told me too. Okay, that may be an overstatement. I can't remember if Emily told me to or if she raved about it and then strongly suggested it. My mind palace is a cluttered place, so 'scuse me if the memory needs dusting.
3) My favorite English professor from my former college loved Hemingway. So we studied 'Hills Like White Elephants.' He talked a lot about Hemingway and in his office, he had two whole bookshelves full of Hemingway books. This professor, uh, died a couple years ago. It was sad [obviously]. So I kinda picked this book up in a sort of to-remember-him kind of way, although I clearly had not forgotten him. So what kind of sense does this make? It doesn't make sense. It's sentiment.
Unfortunately, I didn't like A Farewell to Arms. I really, really wanted to like it. But it just wasn't for me. I thought it was going to be a war story with a side of romance. Ha! It was a romance story with a side of war. Eh, I don't really do romance stories, so it's amazing I actually finished the book.
The dialogue confused me at times. Hemingway often leaves off dialogue tags which is not necessarily a bad thing. But he also likes to put two speakers in the same paragraph together, or begin new paragraph even though the speaker had not changed. So sometimes it was difficult to understand who said what. It was tedious with talk about the weather and such too. But I think Hemingway was trying to bring a sense of realism into the conversation? Maybe? People do actually talk like that [
but why do we?].
I can't say I disliked all of the dialogue. I did enjoy some of the conversations. Like the one about the brave and the cowardly and how the world breaks us all.
I do like the way Hemingway painted the war. I think that's why A Farewell to Arms is lauded. The realistic portrayal of the war. The characters made a big deal about how the main character was wounded and they made him into a hero. But he was like, "I wasn't even fighting. I was getting cheese for our lunch." He was wounded while setting up dinner. And everybody thought it was great that he was wounded for nothing. Rather sad, isn't it?
I loved the way Hemingway ended it. It doesn't feel like an ending. It's so open. But I love open endings! And with A Farewell to Arms, I realized why open endings work for me. Because the character lives on, when that one time in his life or that one story ends, another begins. It's a natural thing.
You end one chapter, another takes its place immediately. When you go through one phase in life, you enter another. There's no hanging around in between, even that would be consider a phase of its own. So it makes sense that when the story ends, another opens. We see that next story open because the change is so immediate. One story leads to another, it's so seamless that the writer cannot separate the two. We then feel as if the story hasn't ended, not because in truth the story hasn't ended, but because we have a begun a new story and are forced to discontinue it.
Anyhow, despite not liking A Farewell to Arms, there were still good things about it. And may I just talk about the edition again? I found this book was on a shelf in the back of an un-air-conditioned shop filled with yellowed and faded books. The edition was from the 70s or 80s. It might have been previously owned by a bored college student or something. It had to have been required reading for someone. There was the occasionally line or unusual word underlined. But sometimes I would come across a whole page wherein all the "o"s were colored in with pen. Or all the "a"s. It was funny. And interesting to think about the previous owner.
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
So, of course, I loved this book! It's Holmes, what's not to love? Honestly, I've read so many Holmes books now, I can only accurately place a few details within this book. Most things I just know that I've read it in one of the Holmes stories, but which one? *shrugs* Does it matter?
So here's what I remember.
You know on BBC Sherlock, that time when SH sits with his knees hugged to his chest?
Yeah, book Sherlock actually does that.
So the thing about the Memoirs is that this is the book with Moriarty.
Moriraty first "shows" up in the book The Valley of Fear. Both Watson and Lestrade thought Holmes might be going crazy because he kept alluding to this Moriarty. But Moriarty seems a respectable man and is so far removed from the plot in The Valley of Fear that he doesn't even make an appearance. Holmes merely talks about him. And the readers wonder if Moriarty had anything to do with the events of the plot.
But finally in the Memoirs we see probably the most famous Holmes story unfold, The Final Problem. And we see Moriarty. Again even in the story, he gets little page time. His notoriety is held in whispers and the evil results of his deeds.
So you know that part during BBC Sherlock, the pool scene, when
Moriarty says, "All that I have to say has already crossed your mind."
And Sherlock says, "Then possibly my answer has crossed yours."
Guys! They took those lines STRAIGHT FROM CANON! Do you know how ecstatic I was when I read those lines? Some Sherlock Holmes purists don't like BBC Sherlock because the production changed so many things. But accuracy is in the details, the timeless snippets that you just can't alter or delete because it's too perfect. Like those lines.
The Final Problem was probably my favorite of the all the stories, although I do remember the Greek Interpreter one as very interesting too.
The only thing I didn't like about this book was the edition. I bought it secondhand from a Half Price Books. It's riddled with typos. Sometimes a word is missing from a phrase, and there are a lot of misspellings. The worst and most frequent is a missing "l" from "Holmes," so it reads as "Homes."
But the stories themselves were amazing!
What have you been reading lately?