Riggs – Hollow City

“The second novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children” – as written  on the cover of the novel.  Written by Ransom Riggs and published by Quirk Books.  Copyright 2014 .  The copy I have is a paperback of trade size and 396 pages of story followed by Acknowledgements(I don’t read those usually) and a section called A Conversation with Ransom Riggs.  The book is rounded out by an excerpt from the third novel in the series.

The first novel of this series was made into a movie, and it was almost as peculiar as the book. I’d like to see this one also made into a movie, but I haven’t seen anything to suggest it will.  A great many people don’t enjoy the peculiar.  It makes them uncomfortable.  I don’t mind as long as the peculiarity is done correctly and not used to simply make a joke.  Those types of jokes are horrible to me – my first thought was obscene but upon reflection, I think that word is a bit harsh.

The book itself was wonderful, well written and quite moving at times.  The author portrays the reality of war while throwing in the oddness of the children as a way of throwing you off the harshness of the reality.  Children do die, people and animals do die in this book but not for nothing.  The story moves on, motivates our cast of children, and we go on with them.

This is not a happy story though there are parts that are relatively sweet and lovely.  Some scenes touch on the idyllic.  Still, this is not a happy story nor is it meant to be.  It’s a story of a group of special people trying to survive while another group of people attempt to either imprison them or destroy them.  This is a story of survival and at times, it gets a bit grim.  Still, it has its merits, and I think it’s a very good read.

I would suggest reading it, especially if you have seen the movie or read the first book – or both.  It has a nice twist in it as well as some new peculiar children you didn’t meet in the first novel.  I’m looking forward to reading the third book – our young hero, Jacob, is becoming quite an interesting fellow.

Well my friends, I’ll see you on the flipside and don’t forget to bring your towel and sonic screwdriver – things might get a bit….peculiar.

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Hemingway – For Whom the Bell Tolls – a Reprise

I just finished reading the entire novel.  My copy was printed by Scribner.  It’s a 471 page paperback book of the usual proportions.  I took a day off from reading to work on some other projects I have going and then, last night, I completed the book while listening to Areosmith and Rammstein. Great coupling it turned out to be.

This story is about Robert Jordan, an American professor of Spanish who takes a sabbatical in Spain and gets involved in the revolution as Franco tries to take over Spain for the Communists.  I don’t know much about that war because it was in the late 30s – the US had not become involved in WW II at that time.

Robert Jordan is used as a “dynamiter” – he blows things up.  Things like bridges and trains that are useful to the Communist but not to the revolution.  He is quite successful until he joins up with a group of guerillas in the mountains.  He is sent there to blow up a bridge – nothing more.  He meets a girl, he meets a coward, and he meets people determined to win the war.

Hemingway wrote a powerful story.  His words were fairly minimal when he describes people and places, but he fills them out using the characters – how they feel and behave and think about who and what is around them.

There is a lot of emotion in this book, bravery, cowardice, stress, sorrow and much more, twined around the scenes of action that are caught in vignettes.  These short scenes are more than a drawn out scene would be – in my humble opinion.

This story is more than just about the war, more than just about Robert Jordan and his exploits, and Hemingway shows us all these things with style and wit and grace; he doesn’t shove ideals or morals or anything else down our throats.  He lets us come away with what we want.

The end of the story is something else.  I look forward to reading more of Hemingway’s novels.  I can’t say this novel ended in true Hemingway style because I don’t know what his style of ending is yet.

I recommend this book to anyone who has ever read his short works and wants to see enjoy a longer piece.  He remains, a master of prose, even in this venue.

That’s all folks, see you on the flipside.  Don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!

Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls

This is actually the first novel of the great writer’s that I have read. I have only read his essays before.  I am still not finished with the book to be honest, but I felt I needed to comment on it anyway.

I don’t usually read books about war, but this was about so much more than just war.  This was a slice of life that was happening in the midst of the war and shown from the side of those not in service.  These were Spanish peasants who were fighting a revolution, and the American who was a part of that fight.

The words Hemingway uses are so wonderful and so descriptive.  I don’t know if they actually spoke the way he portrays them, but I’m amused by how he leaves out the cursing by using the word “obscenity” are variations thereof.  It lends a bit of levity in an otherwise very emotional and/or dramatic scene.

The characters are fleshed out so well you would swear you knew someone just like them some time in your life.  He doesn’t go into detail about how they look, it’s how they act and how others treat them, that shows you who they are.

If you can’t already tell, I’m enjoying this story more than I thought I would.  I’m about halfway through it and just started it this morning.  I have read many others, and I will tell you about them, from my point of view, later.

On a personal note: I didn’t pass my training with a high enough grade so, I am back to looking for work again. I am also back on the boat I was on before, in a cramped space, feeling sorry for myself and being utterly miserable.  However, I am making the best of it I can, and I will continue on as best I can looking for work and trying not to be too miserable.

Cheers, and I’ll see you on the flipside.   Don’t forget your towel and your sonic screwdriver.  Oh yes, and don’t feed the cat.  He tends to bite.