Fellowship of the Ring

I finished both the book and the movie and I think Jackson was more true to the book with this movie than he was with The Hobbit movie. He put the death of Boromir at the end of this story rather than at the first of the next one like the book, which is really where it belongs or fits the best and he presented the passing of Boromir more poetically than Tolkien, so I liked this movie as much as the book which is different for me. 🙂 Now I’m reading The Two Towers which I remember little about.

¡Pura Vida!

Old Enough to Read Fairytales

The WingFeather Saga

You may not know that my favorite kind of books or stories are the ones written partly for children or maybe it is “the young at heart!” JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and JK Rowling. I was about to start re-reading Tolkien (the most difficult of the above) when through the sharing of friends in the Goodreads club/blog I discovered The WingFeather Saga (link to author’s description of the books). They are children’s books in this general fantasy/adventure style of the above three mentioned authors, with it quickly obvious that the author, Andrew Peterson, admires CS Lewis the most and would like to create a Narnia.

The 4 Books of The Wingfeather Saga

My Review of Sorts . . .

Continue reading “Old Enough to Read Fairytales”

Books I Read in 2020

Thanks to Goodreads that provided me with the above images and the list of books I reported to them as having read during 2020, most with a book review. I thought that by the time this blog post was scheduled, I would have finished my current book by Barack Obama, A Promised Land, that is not among the above images, but I was too busy at Arenal to read as much as I expected, meaning it will go down as a January book. And then there are others I’m “working on.” 🙂

I’m not a heavy reader because I tend to be a “doer” of adventures more a reader of adventures, plus I have a sometimes uncontrollable urges to “to create,” mainly with my photos. But I still love to read and no longer go to movies or watch TV. I currently have Netflix Costa Rica mainly for the documentaries and occasionally an old movie, though not as many titles available here as in the states, thus watch just occasionally. I no longer subscribe to any cable TV. So, when not photographing or creating something with my photos, I like to read Agatha Christie mysteries and select non-fiction books such as the Obama book.

Here’s a slide show of the book covers followed by a list of titles and authors. And note that in 2021 I plan to finish the entire series of Hercule Poirot mysteries with just 2 more to go! 🙂

My 12 Books This Year

Assuming I finish the Obama book which I’m sure I will. These are not in any particular order and I don’t remember exactly what order I read them, but most were good books. The sitting kills book was weak I thought and I was disappointed in the book on knowing God. The other 10 I recommend! The first 6 are non-fiction and the last 6 fiction – half and half! 🙂

  1. The Adventurer’s Son by Roman Dial
  2. How the South Won the Civil War by Heather Cox Richardson
  3. The Future We Choose – Surviving the Climate Crises, Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac
  4. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
  5. Sitting Kills – Moving Heals by Joan Vernikos
  6. Knowing God by J. I. Packer
  7. Heaven Adjacent by Catherine Ryan Hyde
  8. Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie
  9. Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie
  10. The Clocks by Agatha Christie
  11. Third Girl by Agatha Christie
  12. Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie

Numbers 3 & 4 are my two favorite books this year with #7 my favorite fiction.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”

– George R.R. Martin

¡Pura Vida!

Life-changing Reads

Back in 2015 in a Post titled My Library I told you a tiny bit about the life-changing book I had just read titled Pay It Forward, by Catherine Ryan Hyde, about a little boy’s school project to change the world that actually did. And it was made into a movie that I cannot get here. If you have never read it, I encourage you to! I had learned about it from reading another book by her titled Electric God which was very good, just not as great at Pay It Forward!  

Well, recently I have finished two more books by Catherine Ryan Hyde that also can be life changing for some people: Stay, about another boy, age 14, who helped three people in his life not commit suicide and thus changed his world, their world and the world of hundreds of other people.

Then tonight I finished my 4th book by her titled Heaven Adjacent. It is about a workaholic, divorced attorney woman whose best friend was also a workaholic saving for a “good retirement” when she suddenly dies of a stroke. Rosie realizes in the loss of her friend that money is not what was needed for real life. She then does an irrational thing, telling no one, she walks away from her law firm, driving to a tiny rural area in an adjacent state, buys a tiny little farm house, planning to live the rest of her life in quiet solitude away from the mad rush of the city, work, family and search for money. (Kind of like me coming to Costa Rica.) But you could never imagine the life-changing adventure her bizarre action creates. You have to read it to see!   🙂

Catherine Ryan Hyde novels are too emotionally moving for me to read any more for awhile. But I will eventually read more.

Now back to escape novels by Agatha Christie (I’m working on completing all the Poirot mysteries now) and then I have pre-ordered the book coming out next month The Adventurer’s Son, a memoir about the National Geographic Explorer’s son who came to Costa Rica after me as a college-age young man and hiked alone into the magnificent Corcovado National Park (one of my favorite places here) never to be seen again. I read news reports for a short time, then nothing. Now I will get the full story or as much as his father knows. Another possible life-changing book and very close to home for me!  🙂   Much better than TV!

 

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¡Pura Vida!

Two Books Finished – Many More Waiting!

I finally finished reading Oliver Twist and I must say that it is a very good book even if too long, with a whole lot more to it than the familiar story of Oliver from several movies. There are so many undercurrent stories of the adults involved in Oliver’s life that the movies barely touch and for good reason since it would make the movie too long AND too boring in lots of spots. It was a “slow read” for me; definitely not a “page turner.” But I got through it and glad I read all of it and learned more about Monk, Nancy, and well all of the adults. Charles Dickens is a very detailed and descriptive writer.

Oliver was the first of three books in the Charles Dickens Collection Volume One. That means I still have Great Expectations and Bleak House to read if I finish the big volume.

I will intersperse it with my quicker reading like the Agatha Christie book I just quickly read, Lord Edgware Dies. All of her books/stories/mysteries are nice length “page turners” that are hard to put down until finished and I have almost completely quit trying to seriously figure out “Whodunit,” since I seldom have the correct person and that is what makes her books fun and surprising! I am currently working on the list of her Hercule Poirot mysteries and when those are finished I will complete the few Miss Marple books I haven’t already read. Again with other books interspersed between them for variety.

Next is a new writer for me, Graham Greene, and his book praised by John Updike in New York Times, The Power and the Glory, a novel of a fugitive priest in Mexico that Updike called “Graham Greene’s Masterpiece.” I will later let you know if I agree. It was written the year I was born, 1940.   🙂

I belong to the free online group called Goodreads that I think is somehow connected to Amazon.com and have friends there who share their readings as I do and I frequently get ideas for future reads from them. I used to love reading good books about Jesus, God or spiritual things in general, but the last few I have tried were not worth the time I spent on them and I don’t try for such as much now, though I read my Bible twice a day and I am working on one daily devotional book that is just okay – not great.  Am I getting cynical?

To me, most of television is not worth watching, other than the news which I like only small doses of to help supplement my electronic Washington Post subscription.

I still have the Costa Rica version of Netflix but not really many good choices for me. They cut me off from the U.S. version which has more choices, saying that the VPN I was using was illegal. So I cancelled the VPN. Most recent movies are not licensed in Hollywood to be shown online in Costa Rica. Tough luck! 🙂 One of the things about living in another country that can be seen as good, since I now read more! 🙂 Current blockbuster movies are shown in the big theaters in San Jose and Alajuela and I occasionally catch one of them, but most are too violent for me as is the whole American culture now. Sorry!

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”
— Neil Gaiman

Happy reading to you!   ¡Pura Vida!

Reading

 

Just finished this book. Very good!

There are usually 2 or more books on my Kindle that I am working on, more if you count some I have started and will probably never finish. I have to “enjoy” or “get something out of” a book to continue reading it to the finish.

My favorite “little” books that I enjoy reading for pure fun are Agatha Christie mysteries. I’m now focused on finishing all the Hercule Poirot series in the recommended order of happening which is important only because some of the stories refer back to earlier stories that even figure into the details of the mystery. Then I will finish all the Miss Marple books not already read. I like her books because she is a very good storyteller with very entertaining stories that often have the element of surprise. Plus they are shorter than most “classic” books with shorter chapters, making them easier to read. Next up from her is Lord Edgware Dies. 

In addition I am trying to continue adding more of the “classics” which sometimes bore me or they are just too long, but often are the best writing. I currently have volume 1 of The Charles Dickens Collection which is just 3 books, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and Bleak House. I am currently almost bogged down in Oliver Twist which is a longer/bigger book than I realized, having seen at least 2 of the 4 movies made from it. And as usual a lot is left out of the movies! I remember the 2005 and 1968 movies and so decided to try the B&W 1948 movie online. I quit after 40 minutes. It is just not as complete a story or as good as reading the book, though a slow read. I intend to finish reading the real story and then may retry one or both of the more modern movie versions. We will see. I have already interrupted Oliver with one Poirot story and may do so again before finishing. Dickens is an excellent descriptive writer, almost too descriptive so that I get bogged down or bored with too much detail. But still better than that ’48 movie!  🙂

I used to read a lot of inspirational books but have found the last few I tried not so inspirational and not something I need as much now. Plus the politics of so many Christian writers now has turned me off reading anything they say. I now stick with reading the Bible every day and a few writers like C.S. Lewis or Richard Foster whom I know I can trust.

Most of my “real” or paper books are reference books on birds and other nature subjects and of course a collection of my own travel photos in little books. They are on my coffee table and something visitors can thumb through if bored.

Somehow I have not seen my reading as something to write about in the blog and that may be good because it could get bogged down in mystery plots and minutia. But reading is what I do instead of watching TV at night plus I can also read a chapter on the bus ride to Alajuela or while eating a meal, so Kindle is a travel and dining companion of sorts!  🙂  And of course I will never get through all the classics! After Dickens I may go back for more of Hemingway. I love his writing.

Books are a uniquely portable magic.
–Stephen King
Charlie Doggett
Retired (and reading) in Costa Rica
¡Pura Vida!

Robinson Crusoe I’m Not, But . . .

Cover Plates of the first edition in 1719.

As much as I might like to compare my adventures in this tropical rainforest to a story like The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, possibly the first English novel, my modern conveniences and friendly natives are a completely different world than the one Daniel Defoe described on the little island near Trinidad & Tobago for Robinson’s unique adventures of surviving on the island for 28 years before rescue in the 1600’s supposedly. But I too “came to the woods” just for a different purpose.

I just read it almost as a parallel to my last year’s reading of Don Quixote, the first Spanish novel. Though lacking in many modern writing skills, it is a simple and hardy adventure story that is easy to read, with fewer boring moments than Don Quixote. Here is a good synopsis or description of the book found on Wikipedia:

Robinson Crusoe[a] /ˌrɒbɪnsən ˈkrs/ is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published on 25 April 1719. The first edition credited the work’s protagonist Robinson Crusoe as its author, leading many readers to believe he was a real person and the book a travelogue of true incidents.[2]     

Epistolaryconfessional, and didactic in form, the book is presented as an autobiography of the title character (whose birth name is Robinson Kreutznaer)—a castaway who spends twenty-eight years on a remote tropical desert island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers, before ultimately being rescued.

The story has since been thought to be based on the life of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived for four years on a Pacific island called “Más a Tierra”, now part of Chile, which was renamed Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966,[3] but various literary sources have also been suggested.

Despite its simple narrative style, Robinson Crusoe was well received in the literary world and is often credited as marking the beginning of realistic fiction as a literary genre. It is generally seen as a contender for the first English novel.[4] Before the end of 1719, the book had already run through four editions, and it has gone on to become one of the most widely published books in history, spawning numerous imitations in film, television and radio that its name was used to define a genre, Robinsonade.

One of many illustrations from
many editions of the book.
Here he saves Friday’s life from
the cannibals & gains a servant.

I went on to begin reading Defoe’s sequel to his very popular book, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. In short, not as good! (As most sequels!) He tries to take Robinson back to the island and populate it and much is an unrealistic stretch that is more boring and less adventure than the first book. I put it down and have not finished reading it, which came as a bonus with my Amazon digital copy of the original book.

But I hardily recommend the primary book as a classic representation of adventurous & religious men of the 1600’s! To be honest, I liked it better than Don Quixote, maybe because it was shorter and easier to read and less complicated development of characters. Devout Christians will like the ultimate confessional and faith elements included in Crusoe’s story.

And how cool is it to have read the first English novel AND the first Spanish novel?!   History!  Life insights!  Fun!

The more I read, the more complete my life feels!    🙂

¡Pura Vida!   . . . Loving Life!


We come to the woods for many reasons!
See the cool video Save the Americans  and go “full screen” 


Reading the Classics

Montage of “Overlooked Classics” from Christianity Today
One of the things I am doing as a retiree in Costa Rica is reading more than maybe ever before and adding the old classics to my list. To me this goes along with walking for my healthy lifestyle and sure beats anything I can find on TV! 
I am currently reading Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe which is a great adventure as well as an experience in history and geography. Of course it is a novel, but they sailed down the African coast right by The Gambia where I spent 3 years of my life, and after his time in Brazil where I’ve been on a mission trip, he was on a ship that crashed on a little island somewhere near Trinidad and Tobago in the south Caribbean, where my first tropical adventure outside Mexico took place as a Brotherhood Commission Consultant starting Royal Ambassador work on that tropical island with a missionary. 
Reading excites your imagination and helps you relive real life experiences while giving knowledge, adventure, entertainment and a vision for creativity. I love it! Already downloaded for more Kindle reading are Steinbeck, Plato, and another Agatha Christie! (Maybe I will eventually read all of her mysteries!) 
Living in a rainforest small town doesn’t have to be boring! (Unfortunately a few American expats find it so.) And reading is as much of an adventure as the trips I make! Which, by the way, my next trip is to the base of Volcano Turrialba for birding at Rancho Naturalista, the first week of July as my birthday trip!  ¡Pura Vida!      ~The happiest retiree in the world!  🙂