D'Artagnan, son of a musketeer, leaves home for Paris, to join the King's royal guards, the Musketeers of the Guard. There he meets Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and learns their unforgettable motto, "all for one, one for all." He also meets the beautiful Constance, who enlists their help to thwart a plot by the evil cardinal Richelieu and treacherous Milady to create a scandal involving the Queen and a fabulous diamond necklace.There have been movies made about the Musketeers since 1909. The most popular have been:
The other touching aspect of the novel are all of the dead characters. How many of us have lost someone, and wished or wondered if there was some sort of existence, similar to their living one, that might continue? Bod gets to know people from many different eras in his town's history. He gets a built-in history lesson as well as the reassurance that death is not final. He learns not to fear death or endings.
[Scarlett] is caught between what her mother taught her, which point-for-point is to be subservient to men but rule the roost—just never let the man know. In essence, as Rhett referes to her, a lovely little hypocrite. But Scarlett's true nature is to be the absolute opposite of everything her mother taught her. Scarlett owns and manages property (Tara, Frank Kennedy's store, and the saw mill). Scarlett drinks secretly, sometimes to the point of getting drunk. Scarlett is always outspoken, and she is never kind, gracious or forgiving. But she is in no way masculine or trying to take on the role of a man in Southern society. Her simple, direct mind just sees that she is as smart as any man, so why shouldn't she do as she pleases? She certainly never intends to wait patiently for anyone else to do it for her. She is a pragmatic feminist, but she would be horrified if that fact was pointed out to her (if she could even understand it), as she holds on to her persistent self-delusion that she is still a Southern belle, modeling herself after her mother.Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel - This is an amazing book, beautifully written. Mantel makes history come alive, and not just the Tudor story we have all heard before, but the man behind the throne. She makes Thomas Cromwell as compelling, if not more so, than his boss, Henry VIII.
How a blacksmith's son could travel the world, learn law, multiple languages and manage to carve out for himself a dynasty back in England is made utterly believable. But Cromwell remains a puzzle to those who surround him. "A man's power is in the half-light, in the half-seen movements of his hand and the unguessed-at expression of his face. It is the absence of facts that frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires." Mantel brings history to life with her Cromwell, a modern man, forward-thinking and always on the alert for advancement. Anne Boleyn could never have become queen and Henry would never have become the head of the Church of England if not for Cromwell.
The Chelsea Hotel was their Montmartre, their source and hotbed of creativity. For every young artist, young person, there is a time and place that is almost sacred. It’s where and when they found their true peers, had their first deep personal and artistic experiences, were independent. For Patti it was the Chelsea Hotel. While she lived there with Robert she met her idols (Janis Joplin, William S. Burroughs), contemporaries (Sam Shepherd, Todd Rundgren) and really felt a part of something. She watched from afar so many of her idols die—Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison. No matter how many deaths of young artists send her in a tailspin and reminded her of her hero Rimbaud, she and Robert never considered it could happen to one of them.Galore, by Michael Crummey - This is the first book I reviewed from an outside source, a publisher, that just knocked my socks off. It's crazy, compelling and impossible to put down, about a part of the world I knew little about, but now am dying to visit.
Michael Crummey’s Galore is a magical roundelay of stories and characters, historical and fantastical. It opens with a mysterious man found in the belly of a whale, and goes full-speed from there, sketching the harsh life to be had from trying to make a living from the sea. Life and death viscerally cycles round and round, with echoes biblical and poetic through the rest of the book. The novel is set in a wild, cold Newfoundland, where it never seems to be summer, the temperature always cold and wet, with snow on the ground, a fireplace burning, ice on the water nearby.
“What I’ve learnt — to my cost — on several occasions in my life, is that people will put up with all manner of bad behaviour so long as you’re giving them what they want. They’ll laugh and get into it and enjoy the anecdotes and the craziness and the mayhem as long as you’re going your job well, but the minute you’re not, you’re fucked. They’ll wipe their hands of you without a second glance.”
Ain’t that the truth. Brand is funny, bratty, got a way with words, and always seems honest. A very entertaining read.Life, by Keith Richards - Keith Richards is knowledgeable about the blues, guitar and rock music and has some really great stories, all no surprise. He is also extremely articulate and a man who has seemingly forgotten nothing, no matter what his illicit substance intake. I actually want to "read" this again, but this time the audio version, narrated by Johnny Depp and Richards.
Jagger is mostly in the background throughout the 547 page book, until the penultimate chapter, which begins, “It was the beginning of the ’80s when Mick started to become unbearable.” The rest of the book is occasionally peppered with his irritation with his “best mate,” … Do you know Mick Jagger? …Yeah, which one? He’s a nice bunch of guys.” At times their rivalry got downright juvenile, but then, they were boys together. Richards can’t resist a jibe about a retaliatory fling he had with Jagger’s long-time girlfriend Marianne Faithfull, “While you were doing that, I was knocking Marianne, man. While you’re missing it, I’m kissing it.” Funny for a 60-something year-old man to still feel hurt and pissed enough about Jagger sleeping with his “old lady” Pallenberg in 1968. Tell us how you really feel, Keef.
Martin creates a world, with a complicated history. The geography of Westeros is extremely well depicted. As much as there are the inevitable comparisons to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, one of the sore points for me while reading those books was that for all of Tolkien’s endless descriptive prose about the places the Fellowship was walking through, I never felt the reality of the geography. I never “saw” it. Martin’s Westeros not only feels like a real country, but from Martin’s descriptions of terrain, from The Wall to Winterfell to King’s Landing to the Eyrie to Vas Dothraek, I had a real feel of the land. The mysterious creatures that live in these places seemed real as well.A Storm of Swords, by George R. R. Martin - This is the third book in the series, and also my favorite. It moves so quickly and so unrelentingly that some of the plot developments will literally take your breath away.
A Storm of Swords is the third book, and as brilliant as the first two were, this one is even better. Martin manages to foreshadow without being obvious, so even if you guess an upcoming plot twist correctly, you don’t feel superior or bored, but just caught up in the overwhelming inevitability of how his characters’ lives and fates are intertwined. Throughout the book Martin has readers on their toes. Not knowing what is coming on the next page, he is daring you to turn it, even if you are afraid that a favorite character might do something stupid or die. But the story and the compelling characters are irresistible, even when you know that in Westeros and in Martin’s books no one is safe.On Writing, by Stephen King - I haven't read a lot of Stephen King, but what I have read, I've really liked. This book was so written so clearly and concisely that I have literally thought about about some of the things he has said time and time again while writing my own stuff. He effortlessly mixes autobiographical and elements of style. A real pleasure to read, although being Stephen King, he can't help but throw in a scary twist at the end, as he relates in detail when he was seriously injured by being hit by a car in 1999.
As he outlines what he thinks all writers should do — devote hours every day to their craft (his daily quota is 2000 words, but that might be difficult for those of us with day jobs), read, read, and read some more (he doesn’t watch much television and reads a lot), and not worry too much about the critics:
“I spent a good many years since — too many, I think – being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction and poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.”