Top 25: Literature

This list has been critiziced as pointlessly long. I can see that, but I say that I like books so much that I am going to bore you all to death with the list anyway! hahaha! The list really represents a larger part of what I have read than you may think. I will give a simple summary of each plot, list one film version, and then add my comments. If you think in retrospect (or forespect) that I blew it, go ahead and say so.

Moby-Dick by Hermann Melville
Simple Summary: An old whaling captain is obsessed with killing an albino(?) whale which inadverdantly caused the amputation of his leg.
My Comments: This book is one of the most famous in American lit. I read it only because of that. It is far more tedious than no. 25 for being 3x longer. I feel lucky to have sped through it in three days. I could not analyze it if I wanted to, though.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Simple Summary: In the 1930s An African-American man is wrongly accused of a henious crime. The town lawyer strives to save him.
My Comments: If you think this sounds boring, I agree, mostly. But there is something about the story that gave me a reason to feel proud of having read it. It's one of those books that just affects you after the final line, however momentary the feeling is.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Simple Summary: A guy who's proud and a girl who's prejudiced against him just for that end up married.
My comments: First off, if you think I read this because I am insane, go ahead. Think so, but blame 'someone else'. The Proud and the Prejudiced could be pushovers, just as they thought of each other, but the ridiculous behavior of them and various others made this actually kind of fun to read...:)

Tarzan of the Apes by E.R. Burroughs

Simple Summary: A British noble orphaned at only days old grows to the peak of athletic ability due to being raised by apes.
My Comments: Be warned: Burroughs work has evident rascist tilts. Despite that, though, it is a fun story to read. The end includes one of the most comedic reactions to a MC I've seen...:)

No. 21.
Uncle Tom's Cabin by H.B. Stowe

Simple Summary: A highly competent slave is taken from the mid-South to the Deep South, meeting progressively harsher masters.
My Comments: UTC is another of those books that leaves you affected for having read it. Tom himself is probably one of the most memorable characters ever written. It has some semi-subtle humor, but in general, this is a serious book that is read primarily if one is out looking for the classics.

No. 20
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis

Simple Summary: Six of the books follow the adventures of three parties of children from 'our world', who generally relied on to save a land called 'Narnia' The exception is the 4th book, in which Narnia is saved by Narnians.
My Comments: If you are a book person, the Chronicles are some of the books you read, perhaps several times. There are many elements that can be interpreted as Christian allegory, whether that was intentional or not. In my opinion, the best is #2, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques

Simple Summary: A modern elaboration on an old legend, the Castaways trilogy follows a tragically cursed boy and dog as they travel the world, forever young, in search of those in need of aid.
My Comments: First off, Ben and Ned, the MCs, are laugh out loud funny throughout the books. Second off, I think this is the only series in which I prefer the middle (The Angel's Command) to the end (Voyage of Slaves). The premise could've kept this series going for who knows how long.

No. 18
Rob Roy by Walter Scott

Simple Summary: A British merchant is sent to live with his rustic uncle and cousins. The only smart one, sent as his replacement, embezzles all his father's money and flees, prompting the MC to call on the aid of the legendary Scottish outlaw Rob Roy.
My Comments: This book is a fun read, especially if you are 'into' the Scottish, or their landscape, at all, as I am. It would have placed higher on this list had the blurb on the back not revealed the whole plot.

No. 17
The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher  Paoloni

Simple Summary: A boy raises a dragon and discovers that the two of them are the last hope of their people
My Comments: The series borrows  extensively and evidently (per appearances) from the greatest quest series, LOTR. (Not surprising; the author was my age when first published). The series got better as he got older, but I'm afraid the final book will be full of conflict-wrap cliches. I will read it just to find out.:D

No. 16
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Simple Summary: A poor girl is raised by her rich cousins. She makes friends, everyone falls in love.
My Comments: I actually enjoyed this book once I got started. The end bothered me a bit though. See no. 21 for the rest.

No. 15
Around The World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Simple Summary: In the 1800s, a wealthy man wagers against his friends that he can successfully circumnavigate the globe in 80 days.
My Comments: 80 days is one of the most fun books I have read. It is riddled with ironic comic relief, and is, as you can see, my favorite work by Verne (due to the humor)

No. 14
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

Simple Summary: A generous English noble and his followers rescue French nobles from the French Riegn of Terror
My comments: This book is similar to The Three Musketters in notable ways. It is a lot of fun and sometimes very funny.

No. 13
The Three Musketteers  triolgy by Alexandre Dumas

Simple Summary: Four great swordsmen of the king's guard must foil the plans of the corrupt, worldly, Cardinal.
My Comments: The best part is the interaction between the musketeers. My personal favorite is Porthos. The other books are Twenty Years After and The Man In the Iron Mask.

No. 12
The Waverley novels by Walter Scott

Simple Summary: During the Jacobite rebellions, a sympathetic British noble fights alongside the Scots.
My Comments: Though tedious in parts, Waverley is actually an excellent story. The climax and wrap-up have great similarity to Braveheart, and are better.

No. 11
The Leatherstocking Tales by James. F. Cooper

Simple Summary: A backswoodsman and his two Indian friends battle enemies and guide friends during the earliest period of American expansion.
My Comments: Any stereotype of the 'noble savage' was perpetuated and perhaps begun by these books. LOM is another book that leaves you depressed at a sad ending. In fact, the closing pages of LOM are indelible. Excellent adventure stories.

No. 10
The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Simple Summary: A man wrongly imprisoned for fourteen years gains a vast fortune and uses it for revenge.
My Comments: Though I enjoy the story (the MC is still likeable at the end, in a sad way), I never realized just how tedious it was to read aloud until I began doing so. As I said before, do not read the complete novel unless you hate plot twists. (btw, the full version could be rated R)

No. 9
Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace

Simple Summary: In the time of Christ, a Jewish merchant is struck with terrible misfortunes until he truly accepts Christ.
My Comments: I saw the film first, so I remember that better, but was excited to discover how accurate it turned out to be. Descriptions in the book can be tedious, though.

Ivanhoe by Walter Scott

Simple Summary: A knight returns from the Crusades in the time of king John to champion justice and find love.
My Comments: Ivanhoe is the medieival adventure story. Many memorable parts make it timeless. Richard III, Robin Hood, nefarious nobles, and both tragic and heroic heroes all in one story. One of the most fun ever.
The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Simple Summary: A man wrongly imprisoned for fourteen years gains a vast fortune and uses it for revenge.
My Comments: Though I enjoy the story (the MC is still likeable at the end, in a sad way), I never realized just how tedious it was to read aloud until I began doing so. As I said before, do not read the complete novel unless you hate plot twists. (btw, the full version could be rated R)

The Master And Commander series by Partick O'Brian

Simple Summary: The series follows the adventures of a British naval officer (Jack Aubrey) and his friend, the ship's surgeon, (Stephen Maturin) who is really a spy for naval inteligence) during the time of Napoleon.
My Comments: The series in general is excellent, but there are reasons why they are adult books instead of YA. The best book is the first (Master & Commander), the worst probably The Far Side of the World ( which is, ironically, the one made into a film...)

No. 6
Gods & Generals/The Killer Angels/The Last Full Measure by Michael & Jeff Sharra

Simple Summary: Tells the story of the American Civil War, beginning before the beginning and ending after the end, from inside the heads of USA and CSA officers who were really present.
My Comments: The best historical fiction I have read, far and away. In fact, they are so believeable that I was continually citing them as if they were really, undeniably, true as written. :D

No. 5
Redwall by Brian Jacques

Simple Summary: A mouse must search for a legendary sword to save his home from an evil rat warlord.
My Comments: 1. You think I'm crazy, don't you? 2. Having read that these were my favorite books from age 9-15, you think you underestimated my insanity.:D 3. The hares are rofl funny, the badgers are awesome (and suicidal), the best villians are the last and the first, the plots are all the same, I have Redwall posters on my wall, and you still think I'm crazy. :D

No. 4
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Simple Summary: In a place called Middle-Earth, a being known as a hobbit joins 13 dwarves and a wizard on a quest to slay a dragon.
My Comments: This book is hilarious throughout. The opening especially puts me in stitches. A must - read

No. 3
The Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov

Simple Summary: 3000 years in the future, a man establishes a new civilization destined to save the galaxy fron barbarism.
My Comments: If you enjoy sci-fi, these books are absolute must reads. I have never read such brilliantly twisty books. My mistake, there are actually 7 books, 4 of which I was not aware of until recently.

No. 2
Les Miserable by Victor Hugo

Simple Summary: This book is kind of hard to summarize in a line or two. 1000 pages of two entirely seperate (until the conclusion) and equally well-written story-lines. Involves a reformed convict millionare and a late-blooming Bonapartist (not the same generation) who meet over a girl.
My comments: I could hardly put this story down. Everyone was interesting. It was very satisfying. I liked how each of the enormous chapters was sub-divided for easier pausing.
No. 1!
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Simple Summary: With the help of various races of Middle-Earth, a nephew of #3's MC must travel to the center of the empire of the Dark Lord Sauron to destroy his power once and for all.
My Comments: Simply. Insanely. Awesome.

"Ride now to ruin and the world's ending!"-Eomer, ROTK
All book cover images found on Google.
I challenge each of my followers to make a favorites list of real books they have read, as long as possible up to 25! They'll be awesome to see!


Books Meme

Imogen tagged me with this meme. (I still don't get why it's called that). It's all about literature! Which is great! 'Cause I'm addicted to reading! :D. Anyway, here are my answers:

Novels I'm Currently Reading
The Count Of Monte Cristo (abridged) by Alexandre Dumas*
note: I suggest that you NOT read the complete version of the above novel. I have it, and it is twice as long and often anti-climactic as concerns twists...

Novels I've Enjoyed Recently
The Gettysburg trilogy: (for lack of  a better name) Gods And Generals, The Killer Angels, and The Last Full Measure by Michael & Jeff Sharra
The Foundation trilogy: Foundation, Foundation And Empire, and Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Novels I'd Like To Read
The rest of the Austen canon
Inheritance by Christopher Paoloni (only because I read the first three)
Almost anything else if people don't mind leaving suggestions

My Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Sci-fi

My Favorite Authors
J.R.R Tolkien, Brian Jacques, Alexandre Dumas, Walter Scott, Patrick O'Brian

My Favorite Series
The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Redwall by Brian Jacques
The Master & Commander series by Patrick O'Brian
The Three Musketteers trilogy by Alexandre Dumas
The Inheritance cycle by Christopher Paoloni

My Favorite Novels
The Count Of Monte Cristo by Dumas
Ivanhoe by Walter Scott
The Hobbit by Tolkien
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baronness Orczy

*Books and authors are listed in descending order of likedness. This is the seventh time I have read The Count Of Monte Cristo
Stay tuned for my list of the 25 favorite/best literature I've read!


Inside Their Heads: My Characters, part 2

Due to how much farther along we are in the story, I decided it was time to dive inside the heads of a couple of the newer characters. Their bios are actually pretty simple...

King Torlan of Gairbairia
Torlan is powerful, stubborn, and more than a little, shall we say, 'egotistical'. He rules the people with a benevolent iron fist, and, not surprisingly, commands their total loyalty. He is nearing 50 years of age, having ruled since he was as young as king Valun (25). Ten years prior to the related events, he lead a short war against his Eastern neighbors, primarily to capture the border city of Trepalenmar.He strives for personal honor above all things and believes that if one can not win, one must die in battle. He has a son, who has moderate physical deformites. For this, Torlan secretely moved the boy elsewhere and decreed that his daughter was his heir. (He no longer wonders about his son at all). Pardon me for not imagining him. Ther best model for Torlan is Theoden.

Railon is an athletically fit knight of Gairbairia who has a rather wide adventurous streak. Due to this streak, he has traveled extensively, especially in the East. He joined particular sides in various wars (always in aide of the just right) and proved to be a formidable commander and fighter. In his travels, he was given the epitats 'the golden man' , '(the supreme being)'s strong right arm' , and by enemies, '(the supreme being)'s vengeful golden messenger' As shown, he will take risks where he can get them. He thinks like Richard of Corridane, enjoying fun and flair but serious when necessary. He is in his mid-thirties. He, also, plaes great store on honor, but has more sense than...spoiler alert if you haven't met him yet...Torlan. Railon is Torlan's younger brother.


A Trailer Video

The video above is from The Scarlet Pimpernel. He is more desperate for people to spread this video than I was for people to read my story...:D. I know most of you already follow his movie blog, but in case you haven't seen it already, he is calling on everyone to turn this into a viral video... haha. And that means embedding on your blogs so your followers see it too. And of course he'd appreciate it if you were also to link back to his site and then ask your followers to pass it on... (We hope to see it turn up in Austrailia soon...:D)



As of now, there is a large fire burning just over the mountains south of us. We personally are in no danger yet. It has been reported to be 3500 acres wide. If you want to find it, Google Earth 'Tehachapi' and move about 2 miles or so south.  That's the news from fire country.


A Non-Update

This is a reverse update to inform anyone, especially my listed followers, who reads this post, if anyone cares, that I expect to be very inactive in the blogosphere for an indefinate amount of time. This is due to my needing to buckle down to my homework and stay focused. Alright, the followers have spoken, or have remained silent, which applies better to my point. I believe that you are busy, and I don't hope to see you returning to the site every two days to see if anything is new... haha. But when I see that JT's Tales has gradually lost all it's readers, except for The Scarlet Pimpernel, who, being a good friend of mine, is probably still reading partly because of that, it tells me that I don't write an interesting, or entertaining, story. Therefore, I am suspending JT's Tales, and will not post the rest of the story, while still completing it, until further notice. I am writing the story as a hobby, but saw no reason to write it if no one was going to read it. Thus, I started JT's Tales, for the eventual purpose of posting The Price Of A Throne. But now I am freezing it, unless someone besides the Pimpernel comments to the contrary. Thank you everyone. May you reign long and well.

Strengh! Wisdom! Justice!

p.s. I am working on an x-number best books list, which I will post when I have it in order.