So I find that I not-infrequently read books that I just feel rather “meh” about and they don’t seem worth writing an entire post about. However, since I also use this blog as a sort of book-review diary, I like to at least say something. So, inspired by the way that Stephanie reviews the unreviewed every month, I think that some months (or maybe all of them!) will get a post with minireviews of all those books that just didn’t get more than a few paragraphs of feelings from me.
Quite a few this month, so here is Part I – Part II should be revealed at the end of the month…
William Tell Told Again by P.G. Wodehouse
When I started this book I just assumed that it was going to be another of Wodehouse’s school stories. My goal of reading all of Wodehouse’s books in chronological order means that I’ve been wading through a lot of school misadventures and cricket. However, William Tell is actually a story about… William Tell!
Now, I must be completely honest – I really don’t know anything about the real story of William Tell. But Wodehouse’s version was quite entertaining, with plenty of little sarcastic quips and fun characters. He really made the whole story come to life, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a very short, fast read as well.
I read it as a free Kindle book, and didn’t realize until the end that the original book had multiple illustrations throughout, and, more importantly, each illustration was accompanied by a short poem that actually added to the story! The poems are available to read in the Kindle edition (although not the illustrations), but are at the very end of the book. Apparently, I ought to have been flipping back to them throughout.
Fury and the White Mare by Albert G. Miller
This is the final book in the Fury trilogy, and followed the same basic pattern as the first two books. There’s a new neighbor who wants to do bad things (in this case, steal timber), Fury does many clever and intelligent things, and Joey learns more about being unselfish and independent.
The only thing that annoyed me about this book was Joey’s attitude towards the white mare. Basically, Fury yearns for a mate, and he wants the mare, jumping his corral to go to her. Joey’s adopted dad, Jim, wants to round up the mare and bring her to the ranch for Fury, because Fury is very upset without her. But Joey is basically jealous of the mare and doesn’t want her at the ranch. That’s all fine as far as it goes, but they try to find another companion for Fury and eventually they find a dog that Fury really likes and who helps calm him down… so why isn’t Joey jealous of the dog?? He makes some halfhearted explanations, but none of them really make sense to me. It just seems like Joey either should be jealous of everything else that Fury likes, or nothing else.
But on the whole, this was a perfectly fine read and a nice addition to the series.
To Refine Like Silver by Jeanna Ellsworth
This was a moderately interesting variation of Pride and Prejudice where Darcy and Elizabeth meet in Derbyshire before the events of the original story. There, Elizabeth befriends Georgiana, who is recovering from her harrowing experience at Ramsgate. Darcy is captivated by this kind and intelligent young woman, and things go from there. This is definitely a story that is heavy on Christian themes, and a lot of the story is comprised of conversations about deep and serious topics rather than anything actually happening.
I read another variation by this author a while back – Mr. Darcy’s Promise – which was also alright. However, Ellsworth definitely needs to find someone else to do her cover art, because they are both just simply dreadful.
If you’re interested, I’ve reviewed this book more fully on my “secret” book blog where I post reviews only of P&P variations, because I can’t stop reading them even though they’re terrible…
Lad of Sunnybank by Albert Payson Terhune
Earlier this year I reviewed another book by Terhune, The Way of a Dog. At the time I gave a bit of background for Terhune, who raised collies at his New Jersey home (Sunnybank) and wrote about the prolifically in the 1920’s and 30’s. Lad is one of Terhune’s great heroes, and he has several books and numerous short stories about him, of which Lad of Sunnybank is one. This volume is a collection of vignettes starring this intelligent and faithful companion.
While most of the stories are good (True?? Maybe?? Some of them??), Terhune does have a habit of veering off onto minirants about personal peeves. It’s not bad if you’re just reading one of his shorts, but if you’re blazing through the whole book, have 2-3 pages per chapter devoted to Terhune’s grumbling sometimes gets rather old. And it’s not even that I disagree with him – it’s just not really part of the story. For instance, in one chapter, Lad saves a child from being struck by a car. Then Terhune goes on for three pages about the dangers of motor vehicles –
A heedless high-school boy – a feather-brained flapper – a drunkard – a degenerate speed-maniac – any or all of these are allowed to drive a gigantic metal projectile of death, through crowded streets or along peaceful country roads. The examination they have taken in order to get a driver’s license has made no test of their reliability or even of their sanity. They are turned loose with full chance to kill or maim.
A bit melodramatic, but valid points – also nothing to do with the actual story, so.
But homilies aside, Lad of Sunnybank is another engaging group of stories that make for delightful reading for dog lovers of all ages.