The Children of the New Forest: A Brief Review

I recently read The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat. It is a very nice piece of literature.

Set during the English Civil War (mid-17th century), the events unfold amidst the conflict between the Royalist Cavaliers and the Parliamentarian Roundheads. No, LeBron James doesn’t make an appearance for the Cavaliers. He was not alive in the 17th-century. “But Grant, people call him King James, and the King James Bible was published in the 17th-century LOL!!” Also, Yul Brenner does not make an appearance for the Roundheads.

Beautiful woodland in the New Forest. Photo courtesy:

Anyway, readers follow the plight of four children whose lives are uprooted due to their father’s unpopular loyalties. They nearly die when an angry opposition mob burns down their house, but, owing to Providence, they are saved and whisked away to live in the New Forest. There, they learn all kinds of lessons about surviving in the wild.

Forests aren’t just trees. Check out this beautiful vista from the New Forest. Photo courtesy:

The boys learn to hunt, trap, farm, and build things. The girls learn how to……cook. And keep house.

A book influenced by feminism this is not.

Deer in the New Forest. Photo courtesy:

This would be a good time for me to go ahead and say that, if thou art the kind of person that can’t handle Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, and various other stories written nearly two centuries ago (or well over two centuries ago) because they contain elements that may not comport with modern culture, then this book will probably drive thee crazy.

Is that heathland? I think it is! Photo courtesy:

However, for anyone who understands that old books might possibly contain old, unpopular cultural elements and can look past said cultural elements to enjoy the story; and, for anyone who enjoys exciting, living-in-the-wild types of works, this certainly delivers.

Those trees in the background are foreboding. Photo courtesy:

Of course, no book is flawless, and if I had to identify a negative it would be that the characters are fairly one-dimensional (they’re very archetypal). Thankfully, that doesn’t detract from the overall appeal.

Can I just go ahead and buy this pond? Photo courtesy:

As for the positives, the overall plot/theme is interesting, and the language is quite rich (it was published in 1847, so there is much verbiage not found in modern books). Also, the narrative has a nice flow that pulled me through the story easily. Not all books can do that, so that makes this one special.

Overall, if thou art a person who enjoys survival stories, rich old language, and smooth narratives, then thou wilt love this book.

NOTE: this book doesn’t feature the use of “thou” or “thee;” I just like to use those words because they’re correct.


Bill Badger and the Wandering Wind: A Short Review

OKLAHOMA CITY – It cracks me up that I’m writing a review of a book called Bill Badger and the Wandering Wind. It is just a tad ridiculous. But, it is a book I read (somewhat) recently, and I wish to convey my thoughts.

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The Island of Doctor Moreau: A Prodigious Review


This thrift edition costs like $3.

OKLAHOMA CITY – If you want to be creeped out by a really good book, read H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau. Talk about dark! Published in 1896, the novel is rather short but still manages to deliver an intense and troubling adventure story of a man stranded on an island of vivisection.

Yes, an island of vivisection.
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Journey to the Center of the Earth: A Chimerical Review of a Book Wonderful for Both Bibliomaniacs and Non-bibliomaniacs Alike

613P1PSfQMLOKLAHOMA CITY – Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth is a great book. Quick and charming, the third entry in Verne’s Extraordinary Voyages manages to convey an exciting story with scientific elements that, while being quite out-of-date, manage to provide a wonderful scholarly spice.
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The Dark Frigate: A Roystering and Recherche Review

The Dark Frigate coverOKLAHOMA CITY – I recently completed Charles Boardman Hawes’ 1924 Newbery Award winning novel, The Dark Frigate. If you enjoy brisk, swashbuckling, well-written young adult adventures, then I recommend it. If thou dislike ye olde archaic Englishe, mayhap thou wouldst discover thyself served better if thou didst peruse some alternate volume. More on this later.
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The Greatest Review of “Gulliver’s Travels” EVER

I finally finished Gulliver’s Travels. Here’s the thing – I know it’s a renowned work of tremendous historical significance, but golly gosh is it boring. That’s why it took me nearly two months to get through it. Two months!! It’s a 226-page book and it took me two months! I usually knock those back in a matter of days. Whatever.

In the end, should you read it? Should you slog through Jonathan Swift’s masterpiece, culturing yourself up? Those are great questions; I’m glad I asked them. In an effort to be balanced and equitable, I’ve developed several arguments for reading it and several arguments against reading it and arranged said arguments into two lists. I’m pretty sure these lists will completely and definitively solve the question of should you or should you not read Gulliver’s Travels, and you’re welcome. Here they are:
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The Prisoner of Zenda: A Zendariffic Review


Have you heard of Francois Brunelle? He is a French-Canadian photographer best known for his ongoing project, ‘I’m Not A Look-Alike.’ The photojournal consists of pairs of completely unrelated strangers who look strikingly similar, in some cases almost as alike as twins. It is really quite remarkable.  NOTE: My current doppelgänger seems to be Oklahoma City Thunder player Steven Adams. At least, that’s what people say. Anyway, if not for my familiarity with Brunelle’s work, I might find the premise of The Prisoner of Zenda to be completely fantastic and improbable. Instead, I come away from the book with a rather fond opinion; indeed, it’s one of my favorite reads in a long time. Continue reading