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Derek is a steeplechase jockey who has broken his ankle when he receives word that his older brother (19 years his senior) has been seriously injured in a freak accident. Derek has to make a hard decision, then, when he learns that he is his brother's heir, he realizes that he got far more than he bargained for. Not only has he inherited his brother's house, car, and gem business (something Derek has no knowledge of nor any interest in), but also all of the troubles as well, including thefts, missing diamonds, secret passwords, troubled friendships and his brother's mistress!
Derek rises to the challenges, hindered physically by his broken ankle but more so by his inability to discover who is behind the subsequent break-ins, assaults, missing diamonds, and a nasty car wreck. All the while, Derek grieves for his brother, copes with his brother's mistress, and uncovers a second criminal element involving horses and horse racing.
The usual humor that I associate with Francis is in this novel, but what I liked most was the greater attention paid to the relationships between the characters (Greville, Derek, Prospero, Brad and Clarissa in particular) and gave more emotional development as well. It is nicely illustrated by Derek's reflection on what his brother meant to him, the closeness of their relationship despite the difference in their ages, and the regret that the relationship ended far too soon and too suddenly without having the chance to say how much he meant to him nor a chance to say goodbye.
Like other Dick Francis mysteries, this one has plenty to keep the reader interested, has the usual connection to horse racing, and enough suspense and action without becoming an ordinary mystery.
Straight may refer to Derek's general moral core (no reference to his sexuality, though), but the path Derek takes to solve the mysteries thrown in his way is anything but straight. Highly recommended.
I strongly recommend this book, even to those who are not primarily mystery readers.
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I'm proud that David is a fellow Husky; his name adds honour to the reputation of the University of Washington, both as a hard-nosed athlete who hit like a freight train and as a man of courage. Just about anyone could benefit from reading his book.
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Anderson began writing The Snow Queen on December 5, 1844 and it was published sixteen days later in book form! His fairy tales made him famous and the stories have been translated into more than 100 languages and some have been made into films, like the Little Mermaid.
Nilesh Mistry is one of my favorite illustrators. He was born in Bombay and moved to London, England in 1975. His books include The Illustrated Book of Fairy Tales and Aladdin. I simply want to own every book he illustrates!
In the story of The Snow Queen, you will find illustrations and photography that shows the settings of the original book. This classic is again brought to life, yet never so beautifully as with Nilesh Mistry's art. Kai is whirled away by the icily beautiful Snow Queen. His playmate Gerda sets out to find him and encounters many adventures in his quest. This is a story I remember very well, yet I had to imagine the pictures in my own mind as a child.
In this book, she looks hauntingly similar to how I pictured her as a child. "The driver stood up, in a coat and hat of purest snow. She was a woman, tall and glittering. She was the Snow Queen."
The story begins with a story about the Devil who laughed at his own cleverness. He creates a mirror that sets people against one another by making people see the ugly side of things. If a splinter of glass from the mirror ever entered a person's eye, their heart would become a lump of solid ice. (quite a lesson there to be sure!)
When the "imps" decide to take the mirror up to the angels and try to make fun of them, it falls and shatteres into a hundred pieces. When "Kai" finds a grain of glass in his heart his entire attitude to life is changed. "Keep away from me!" he screeches at his friend Gerda.
Then one day he falls off his sled and sees the Snow Queen. She kisses him with her cold lips on his forehead and she takes him away through a cloud of darkness up into the sky. When Kai doesn't come home, Gerda goes looking for him. She sings to the river and drifts in a boat down a river to find Kai.
Gerda is a contrast to Kai and is loving and kind. Only when a spell is broken is evil defeated. After the story a page of where the event takes place helps make the story more interesting. Finally, we can explore the real and imaginary world of The Snow Queen.
Even as an adult, I am fascinated by fairy tales. They appeal to the child in us all and to something deep inside of us that knows, good will triumph over evil, in the end.
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They live in a famous city called London. The story takes place in November. Harry got a parrot from his uncle who passed away and whom he never met. Harry went out with his mom and a robber break in. The robber robs Mad and Harry couldn't find Mad. The parrot flew away from the robber. At last Harry and Mad meet again.
I recommend you read this book because it is incredibly, exciting, and interesting.
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*There Is No Hope in Crime Alley - touching story that revisits his origin. Grade A
*Vow From the Grave - classic macabre 70s story with some nice twists. Grade B
*Night of the Reaper - goes for the ironic 'wronged character out for revenge goes bad' theme. Grade C
*Invader From Hell - Batgirl and Robin team-up against supernatural & Revolutionary War-era villains todefend the Spirit of America. About the only good thing is the way Batgirl is drawn. Grade D
*Marriage:Impossible - Man-Bat in a dull story where the worst thing he does is change his g/f into a Woman-Bat. Dissapointing. Grade D
*From Each Ending...A Beginning - origin of the Huntress. Grade C
*This One'll Kill You, Batman! - the Joker infects the Batman w/ lethal laughing gas and then tries to kill the doctors who can cure him. Grade C+
*Daughter of the Demon - Ra's Al Ghul enlists Batman to find his kidnapped daughter, however the ending concludes elsewhere. Grade D
*Death Flies the Haunted Sky - a 40's looking story slipped in. Grade D-
*Ticket To Tragedy - Batman makes a deal with a doctor to share his new heart transplant technique if he finds the killer of the doctor's friend. Grade C
Regarding short comings of this collection, I would have liked to see the story arc presented in Batman #291-294 where Bat-villains are on trial for the 'murder' of the Batman. One can also argue that it might make more sense to read the Neal Adams stories in their entire runs. Although all of the Adams' Ra's Al Ghul stories have already been compiled in the TPB Tales of the Demon, his other mini-runs would make good TPB collections too (e.g. his Man-Bat run in Detective #400,402,407; his Brave and the Bold run). However, in spite of these criticism, I think the average Bat-fan is still better-off owning a copy of "Batman in the Seventies" than not. The original comics cost a bomb and are in fact quite hard to find. Given that DC (unlike Marvel) appears to have some aversion to reprinting their 1970s material, we should be thankful that they've come up with such a compilation in the first place. Instead of buying mediocre 1990s Batman TPBs, all Bat-Fans should buy this book and experience for themselves what pre-crisis Batman is all about!
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I read it again a few years later. I don't remember what I thought of it. The third time I read it, it was hilarious; parts of it made me laugh out loud! I was amazed at all the puns Melville used, and the crazy characters, and quirky dialog. The fourth or fifth reading, it was finally that adventure story I wanted in the first place. I've read Moby Dick more times than I've counted, more often than any other book. At some point I began to get the symbolism. Somewhere along the line I could see the structure. It's been funny, awesome, exciting, weird, religious, overwhelming and inspiring. It's made my hair stand on end...
Now, when I get near the end I slow down. I go back and reread the chapters about killing the whale, and cutting him up, and boiling him down. Or about the right whale's head versus the sperm whale's. I want to get to The Chase but I want to put it off. I draw Queequeg with his tattoos in the oval of a dollar bill. I take a flask with Starbuck and a Decanter with Flask. Listen to The Symphony and smell The Try-Works. Stubb's Supper on The Cabin Table is a noble dish, but what is a Gam? Heads or Tails, it's a Leg and Arm. I get my Bible and read about Rachel and Jonah. Ahab would Delight in that; he's a wonderful old man. For a Doubloon he'd play King Lear! What if Shakespeare wrote The Tragedy of The Whale? Would Fedallah blind Ishmael with a harpoon, or would The Pequod weave flowers in The Virgin's hair?
Now I know. To say you understand Moby Dick is a lie. It is not a plain thing, but one of the knottiest of all. No one understands it. The best you can hope to do is come to terms with it. Grapple with it. Read it and read it and study the literature around it. Melville didn't understand it. He set out to write another didactic adventure/travelogue with some satire thrown in. He needed another success like Typee or Omoo. He needed some money. He wrote for five or six months and had it nearly finished. And then things began to get strange. A fire deep inside fret his mind like some cosmic boil and came to a head bursting words on the page like splashes of burning metal. He worked with the point of red-hot harpoon and spent a year forging his curious adventure into a bloody ride to hell and back. "...what in the world is equal to it?"
Moby Dick is a masterpiece of literature, the great American novel. Nothing else Melville wrote is even in the water with it, but Steinbeck can't touch it, and no giant's shoulders would let Faulkner wade near it. Melville, The pale Usher, warned the timid: "...don't you read it, ...it is by no means the sort of book for you. ...It is... of the horrible texture of a fabric that should be woven of ships' cables and hausers. A Polar wind blows through it, & birds of prey hover over it. Warn all gentle fastidious people from so much as peeping into the book..." But I say if you've never read it, read it now. If you've read it before, read it again. Think Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Goethe, and The Bible. If you understand it, think again.
Honestly, Moby Dick IS long and looping, shooting off in random digressions as Ishmael waxes philosophical or explains a whale's anatomy or gives the ingredients for Nantucket clam chowder--and that's exactly what I love about it. This is not a neat novel: Melville refused to conform to anyone else's conventions. There is so much in Moby Dick that you can enjoy it on so many completely different levels: you can read it as a Biblical-Shakespearean-level epic tragedy, as a canonical part of 19th Century philosophy, as a gothic whaling adventure story, or almost anything else. Look at all the lowbrow humor. And I'm sorry, but Ishmael is simply one of the most likable and engaging narrators of all time.
A lot of academics love Moby Dick because academics tend to have good taste in literature. But the book itself takes you about as far from academia as any book written--as Ishmael himself says, "A whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard." Take that advice and forget what others say about it, and just experience Moby Dick for yourself.