Ramble: 30-Days of Books #21

I love books. I love words.

I am doing the 30-day book challenge to get some conversations started about books. Please do join in with a comment on your own books – or a link to your own post!

Day 21 and the next prompt is:

What is the first novel you remember reading?

First novel? Wow that goes way back in time! Here I take “novel” to mean any book that was primarily words. Not a picture book. And a book that someone older than 16 might still occassional read.
And it is the book that pulled me into reading:
It is called Silver Chief: Dog of the North.

I do not have the book anymore and finding information on it is actually a challenge! It was written by Jack O’Brien

Jack O’Brien

It is set in the Arctic and if I recall mostly Alaska and Yukon.
It is in many ways a romanticized and sanitized view of life in the Arctic and the peoples in the Arctic. Jack O’Brien was a military man – and a member of Admiral Byrd’s Arctic expeditions.

I found the book in my parent’s library. We grew up out in the country and my mom loved books. She would buy up books at every church and yard sale she encountered.
When I was 10 or 11 (life blurs that way) I had acute appendicitis. My appendix actually burst, and I developed peritonitis. And I spent 2 weeks in intensive care recovering with a tube draining my abdominal area of infection. That summer was a bust (pun intended) and, because of the surgery and ongoing infection, I couldn’t do anything a boy of that age might normally do. So I began pulling books off the shelf and reading them.
Silver Chief: Dog of the North
Silver Chief to the Rescue
The Return of Silver Chief
Silver Chief’s Revenge
And associated with the Silver Chief books were some books about a Mounties…
Royal Red: Colt of the Royal Mounted
Corporal Corey of the Royal Canadian Mounted

Silver Chief is a part husky part wolf dog that begins life as semi-wild animal who learns to avoid humans as cruel and arbitrary beings. Silver Chief develops a bond with a Canadian Mountie who needs Silver Chief as much as Silver Chief. Silver Chief learns he can trust and rely on the Mountie.

It was a great early adventure book for a young boy and one – that I can imagine were to re-read it now – would reveal its age and cultural viewpoints.

Ramble: 30-Days of Books #20

I love books. I love words.

I am doing the 30-day book challenge to get some conversations started about books. Please do join in with a comment on your own books – or a link to your own post!

Day 20 and the next prompt is:

What is your favourite love story?

The original prompt is what is your favourite “romance novel” and I can’t say I read books from that genre. So I have changed the prompt – my blog; my rules! Hah. Not that anyone will read this sentence anyway…

The love story doesn’t have to be the main theme of the book. Nor does it have to be romantic love. For example the relationship between Sam and Frodo in Lord of the Rings is one love story in a book filled with love stories.

I had to think about this one. My first instinct was to pick something traditional and normative. Arthur and Guinevere . Romeo and Juliet. Tristan and Isolde. Penelope and Odysseus. Alexander and Hephaestion . Those are a few of the traditional great romantic love stories. And yet I cannot claim any of those are my favorite. Some have a variety of folk versions and adaptations. I am perhaps a bit of an odd duck in that I find standard “romantic tropes” a bit tired and unsatisfying. In some ways each of those famous romances are about the impossible and unattainable. They are lovely boxes of chocolate but the coconut cremes are horrid and fake. Oh cynical me.

In the end I had to pick this love story. Not a romance. Instead it is the love story of nurturing and friendship. The relationship of Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth is one of the great entanglements of fiction.
Alfred cares for the orphan Bruce Wayne out of a sense of loyalty and duty – yet also out of a sense of genuine nurturing love. Alfred doesn’t always agree with Bruce/Batman, and there are many instances were Alfred points out the consequences of a choice and offers another path. Alfred is foster-father, obi-wan-mentor, and simply a good friend to Bruce Wayne.

The story-arc of Bruce Wayne and the birth of a heroic Batman is not possible without the catalyst of Alfred. Yet Alfred also needs Bruce to give meaning to his own life. Other parallel relationship in fiction are Holmes-Watson; Rocket-Groot; Or even Xena and Gabrielle in the Xena TV series.

Constant companions and true friends – indulging in vices and binding each others wounds. And in the end each is the others anchor and sanity check that keeps them from embracing their inner darkness all alone in the night.

Ramble: 30-Days of Books #19

I love books. I love words.

I am doing the 30-day book challenge to get some conversations started about books. Please do join in with a comment on your own books – or a link to your own post!

Day 19 and the next prompt is:

Name a book that disappointed you.

The Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling disappointed me. It was a book in need of a plot. In need of an editor. It was clearly a book written for a contract and a deadline.

Also Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. It is a short story padded out with rambling prose and an unsatisfactory ending. Both of the endings.