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Thursday, March 23, 2017

#11 - David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

Title:  David Copperfield
Author:  Charles Dickens
Read by:  Ralph Cosham
Genre/Category:  Fiction/Classic
Published: originally/1850
Published: currently/Blackstone Audio/2012
ISBN: 978-1-4551-3605-6
CDs/Hours:  27/36
Dates Listened to:  2/7/17 – 3/23/17

The book covers the period of time from David’s birth and into his adult years.  This is a timeless story of an orphan who discovers how to survive and love in a difficult adult world.  As the back cover describes it – “It firmly embraces all the eternal freshness, the comic delights, the tender warmth, and the ghastly horrors of childhood.”  Yet Dickens is the supreme storyteller and I delighted in his descriptions of infatuation that Doady, one of his numerous nicknames, has with the feminine sex.  I kept thinking why are you falling for Emily or Dora and not Agnes?   

I imagine what it would have been like to read the tale in three chapter segments in its original form in the local newspaper between the dates of May 1849 through November 1850.  And, maybe, to recognize the autobiographical context that Dickens often used in his books.  In any event, and like in so many of his books (this being the eighth one) it has a happy ending.

The antagonists, Edward Murdstone and Uriah Heep are characters you love to hate.  The dear young things, like Dora and Agnes, are so innocent and charming you fall in love with them.  The movement of the story, though long, takes you from the fictional Blunderstone, Suffolk where young Copperfield was born to Yarmouth, a coastal town in Norfolk and then to London and Dover.  

This is the sixth of his books I’ve either read or listened to.  Might just go for the other two in the years to come.  They are so worth it!

#10 - The Son - Phillip Meyer

Title:  The Son
Author:  Philipp Meyer
Performers:  Will Patton, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Shepherd and Clifton Collins, Jr.
Genre/Category:  Fiction/Historical
Publisher/Date: Harper Collins Publishers/2013
ISBN: 978-0-0622-8095-4
CDs/Hours:  16/18.5
Dates Listened to:  3/6/17 – 3/23/17

This saga begins in 1849 with Eli McCullough watching his mother and sister killed by a band of Comanches in west Texas.  He and his younger brother are then captured by the Indians and taken far away where their father, a Texas Ranger cannot find them – EVER.  

We jump ahead to 1917 and into the diary of Peter McCullough who journals a few weeks in the late summer/early fall.  The family ranch is rich in cattle and soon-to-be oil.  A woman in his life, not his wife, is Mexican, Maria Garcia.  Their affair results in a branch of the family carrying the name Garcia.

Another aspect of the story is written by Jean McCullough who is heir to the ranch and struggles with the richness she will ultimately possess.  She struggles with her marriage, her children and the men who are also part of her life.

As the back cover of the CD explains, “(a)n utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of  the McCulloughs, an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim.

Soon to be found on the AMC Channel, beginning April 8, I look forward to viewing this story, starring Pierce Brosnan.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

#9 - The Elephant Wish - Lou Berger

Title:  The Elephant Wish
Author:  Lou Berger
Illustrated by:  Ana Juan
Genre:  Kid Picture Book
Publisher/Date: Schwartz & Wade Books/2008
ISBN: 978-0-375-83962-7
Date read:  3/9/17

Absolutely delightful story.  It tugged at my heart strings, especially at the end.  I became the ninety-seven year old woman who wished for the elephant.  It appeared and satisfied me.  I had a two-hundred-year-old bulldog who rode in a red wagon, named Potato.  Granddaughter was the young girl who also wished for something extraordinary.

Granddaughter declared this was her favorite story.  When I asked her why this story was her favorite, she simply replied that the wish was granted.  It’s an age old theme, wishing for the impossible and getting it and then remembering it fondly.  Forever.   The story was even more endearing when the old lady and the young girl met when they were both the same age, each wanting to keep their wish when Cousin Floyd, the elephant, said that one of them must go, that he couldn't hold two wishers at the same time.

You’ve just got to read it to appreciate it.