The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

136538I have often heard of The Little Prince, so when I decided to increase the number of “translated” books I own. I thought i’d give this one a try. Yet as I worked my way through the story I found myself asking what the heck is this about, It read like a kids book, with matching pictures and i had trouble connecting with it as such.Some crazy trip to different planets with bizarre and weird occupants, was very reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson.

After finishing it i was still at a loss to describe the book, i have never had to delve deeply to discover what a book was about. In general a book conveys a story but this story didn’t make sense, so i reached out online to try and find help in understanding this story. I remember i used to mock my Shakespeare obsessed, socially quirky English teacher back in high school because she was always trying to over-analysis a story by asking what did the author mean, what concepts was he/she trying to convey. I was like chill Miss he just wrote an entertaining story about adventure why ruin it by over-analysis. But now with this book i needed that over-analysis to figure out what was going on.

I had found a place to discuss this book but before i could even start, The first thing i read was by a woman who wrote, (SPOILER ALERT) firstly are you aware the little prince dies at the end? I mocked her to myself and thought no he didn’t he goes home. But then she goes on to say to reread the book but with the eyes and mind of an adult.

As i begun this second read through, it occurs to me that since i initial thought it was a child’s story i read it as such. So as instructed i approached it differently and it was as if the curtains had been pulled down from my eyes. It was as if the story was like one of those crazy 3D images where on the top is one picture but if you look hard underneath is another. This book is like that, on the surface its a child like bedtime story but if you look through the narrative you see a cleverly crafted world beneath trying to teach a lesson.

Every planet The Little Prince visits has its own Moral, it shows just how weird adults and their behaviours can be to a child. The lamplighter, who follows his orders to the letter without question giving him only 1 minute of free time a day, The business man, so busy counting stars he fails to live his life, or the drunkard who drinks to forget the shame of drinking. Such behaviours to a child come off strange and weird and yet to an adult they are somewhat familiar.As adults we can sometimes get so caught up in what society expects, we forget to think about what we want or whats truly important.

Then we come to the fox, how can a child’s story have such a profound impact on an adult. but yet here i am reading of a fox who tells me that true beauty is invisible to the eyes. Society drills into us so much that looks and appearance are all that matters but when you come to the heart of it that’s all bullshit, its whats underneath that’s truly important

Now i come to the sad part, originally sad because i thought the story was over and the Little Prince goes home but really its much worse than that. The Snake is society, the little prince a child. Society promises the world to a child and in the case of the book, the snake tells the prince i’ll help you get home. But in reality, all society does is kill off the innocence and purity of a child. The Death of the Little Prince corresponds to the death of the child in each of us. We become mindless automatons in society lacking imagination and focus on materialistic things rather than fun. We do things because they are expected of us or because we “have to” not because we want too.

This isn’t really a children’s book, its for us adults who still can remember being a child and have that knowledge that we can never really go back to that time of innocence and youth. This book tells us its important to hold onto that memory and that we don’t have to listen to the Snake. There are still parts of the book i cant quite understand or determine the morals and perhaps that is because society hasn’t fully changed me and i still have a little bit of my inner child still alive in me….

 

The works of J.R.R. Tolkien

The works of J.R.R. Tolkien
A long time ago when i first got interested in books, my dad gave me his copy of the hobbit to read, I never even finished it. As a teen i was insulted by the writing style, this is a kids book i said to him and that was that. Our family played alot of board games and every so often my dad would bring out his Lord of the Rings game and naturally i got quite interested as the board was the map of middle earth.  The game was Riddle of the Ring if your interested http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2157/riddle-ring
I bought myself a copy of Lord of the Rings back in ’99 and was quickly drawn into the world of middle earth and as such i have read it every year since
The movies came out and i found myself fielding questions from friends about plots and events. Occasionally something would stump me so i began to delve into more works. And bought every single book my Tolkien or his son. (i have 31 at the moment)
So now every year i read the entire epic of Middle Earth. I start with the Sillmarillion, then hit up the Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings and finish up with Unfinished Tales
Tolkien’s works have really set the standard for fantasy novels for me, i wont touch any unless it has a similar sense of depth and history. To this day the only other fantasy works i have read is a Song of Ice and Fire.
Even with the vast array of works i still find myself with unanswered questions and a desire for more.  Sadly this cant be, Tolkien died along time ago and his son has extensively gone through all his fathers notes to find as many stories as possible.  Alot has been published posthumously
The saga of middle earth would have to be my favorite book(s) and yet each time i read it i still discover more. Just this time it clicked as i was reading some of the genealogies in the appendices that Galadriel is Elrond’s mother in law.
Anytime i meet someone who hasn’t read it, i slowly coerce them to get it but it is a lot to take on, so i work it back wards from how i read them. I get them to read Lord of the Rings, in it it mentions a lot about the hobbit. So after Lord of the Rings they get curious so then i give them the Hobbit which explains a few things for them but then if still curious i give them the Sillmarillion ,it is probably the hardest of his works to swallow because it is  a collection of stories about the forming if the world. Coming of elves and men and of the first dark lord  (Saurons boss Morgoth) if only somehow Peter Jackson could make a Sillmarillion movie, armies of dragons and Balrogs oh what a sight. The Unfinished Tales is more like a giant appendices, it contains some expanded stories mentioned in the Silmarillion but it also has some good parts like, More information about the 5 wizards and the start of the abandoned sequel to Lord of the Rings.
Needless to say Tolkien has a shelf all to his own and i will continue to read these stories year after year until my eyesight fails me.

Dinotopia

Dinotopia

I remember many years ago when i was first given a copy of the original Dinotopia. I was perhaps 10 or 11 and as many kids are at that age crazy about dinosaurs. I can still remember that the hardcover book came with a bookmark which had the Dinotopian alphabet on it. Which i used to decifer the many messages and signs through the book in the amazing illustrations  I’m sure my parents had seen my love of dinosaurs and probably just threw anything dinosaur related at me.  I remember them also giving me at least 2 dinotopia short novels as well, although i’m not sure what became of them. I never knew there were more books in that series. So a few months ago when looking online for a present for my nephew i stumbled upon a  Dinotopia book  “journey to Chandra” much like the one i already had it was a large hardcover book. a quick search on Google told me it was in fact the 4th book in series.

The little kid in me was excited so i jumped onto Bookdepository.com and searched for it/ ( pretty much where i buy all my books from these days – i love free shipping) Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and i didn’t just buy them then and there i just added them to my wishlist. One of the features i love about that site (granted it isn’t a new feature many sites have it) is the wishlist function. Anytime i see or hear of a book i might like, boom i add it to my wishlist. and pretty much every week i buy one book from my wishlist. My wishlist normally has reached as high as around 80 or so books. but thanks to a healthy tax refund it has dropped down to around 50. Part of the 20 or so books i ordered with my tax money was the 3 dinotopia books

Now ill admit yes these are for kids essentially, as you can pretty much read it in about 30 mins but i think the appeal to me aside from the fact that i still am fascinated about dinosaurs is the story still resonates with the little boy in me.

The first book Dinotopia: A land apart from time. Deals with Arthur Denison and his son Will being shipwrecked on a strange island in the 1860’s, which they shortly discover is inhabited by dinosaurs and humans! The story flows from here as the Denison’s are introduced and integrated into Dinotopian society, and is pretty much an amazing journey of discovery. The story then ends with Arthur’s emergence from his brief visit to the world beneath

Book 2 Dinotopia: The World beneath is about a planned returned expedition to the world beneath. Originally a mythical place where the dinosaurs lived out the extinction level event of 65 million years ago, which Arthur briefly visited in the first book proving its not a myth after all. The book pretty much tries to explain how the dinosaurs come to be living in the modern (relatively) world

Book 3 Dinotopia: First Flight this in my opinion is the weakest and i’ll go as far as to say the Worst book of the series. I cant help but think of this as Police academy 7, a poor attempt at milking a franchise for some more money. Personally my issue with this book wasn’t so much as it was a flashback but more the introduction of a sort of steam punk technology. I just felt this wasn’t what the story of Dinotopia was about, it was suppose to be about people in harmony with nature.

Thankfully Book 4 Dinotopia: Journey to Chandra returned the series to what made it great a big sense of adventure. The story returns to Arthur Denison who receives and invite to come visit the far off and secretive city of Chandra. The story retains that sense of wonder from the first book as he makes his way across the island of Dinotopia  to Chandra

Reading these books has taken me back to the days as a boy when i first read the Dinotopia. The illustrations which the author James gurney does himself are just fantastic and the accuracy of the dinosaur species is to be commended. While for the purposes of this Odyssey i will class these all as just one book. I highly recommend these books not just to anyone who has children but to adults wanting a chance to relive a little bit of their youth.