# 44. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court by Mark Twain (Catharina)

I had never heard of this book before I saw it in the book store and was even more surprised that Mark Twain wrote it and I didn’t hear about it. He apparently wrote it after having a dream in which he was a knight and thought the armor was in the way. In essence a Yankee engineer travels in time and ends up at King Arthurs court. Somehow he manages to convince the court that he is a magician and in the end by using his modern day knowledge he can perform some more “real” magic.

After a few years though he is sent out on a quest, because that is what one does. Hereafter follows a hilarious account and humorous approach to what it might have been like to be a knight, including the knight meeting a girl that speaks without taking breaks. At one point she recited what I believe is probably the longest sentence in the world. He saves pigs that are claimed to be gentlemen and establishes the first phone line amongst others. There is something going on constantly and there is a lot of humor involved. Its not a thin book but it is still quick to read.

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# 43. Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope (Catharina)

Supposedly this is thought to be Anthony Trollope’s masterpiece by many. I was pretty bored most of the time. It deals with the political ins and outs of the clergy in the town Barchester. The intrigues suffered to get one step further up the ladder and the role women play in it. I don’t think I will read anything else by Trollope, he is clearly not my type of author but I am happy that I read this one at least.

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# 42. The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley (Catharina)

This book has a pretty fantastic and original world created in it. The Reverend Charles Kingsley is rumored to have honestly believed in fairies and things such as the water babies described in this book. He believed that you could not claim that something was not there just because you could not see it and this is evident in the book. He was also a staunch supporter of Charles Darwin, especially the Origin of Species and it is supposedly written to support it. That connection I get, as there are at least some focus evolving in the book. It is also a critique of child labor as the main character Tom is a chimney sweep and deplorable conditions he lives and work in are described.

One of those books that you rarely hear about nowadays but it is certainly worth a read. Especially by the younger audience but I still found it interesting and quite original.

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# 41. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome (Catharina)

This is a wonderful book, it is witty, and have good descriptions of the scenery as well containing some more serious sections. It follows three men taking a boating trip with Montmorency the dog. I think the dog adds just that little bit of extra twist to the story as his antics and his behaviour is described in a very funny manner. It has very good descriptions of all the landmarks they pass full on with anecdotal stories relating to them and a lot of anecdotal stories surrounding activities you might want to do whilst boating (such as fishing). Apparently this was first meant to be a guidebook but ended up being what it is today as the humorous passages were too many. Apparently all the pubs and inn’s named are still there and open and most of the route is still open if you sometime feel like recreating it.

So far this is probably at the top of the list of funny books I’ve read during this challenge. Part of the charm is probably how the characters react to the adverse things that happen to them. They don’t really get frustrated or annoyed but treat it with humour and sarcasm. Things like running out of food is not necessarily something of concern, rather everything they can find is thrown into a pot, making what I can imagine is the worst tasting Irish stew ever. The description of how cheese are advantageous as travelling companions is probably one of my favourites, personally I love cheese, but after reading this anecdotal story I can fully see why maybe some people would object to bringing a cheese along on a journey.

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# 40. Dubliners by James Joyce (Catharina)

Dubliners is a collection of short stories. They in essence give you a view of the life in Dublin by the middleclass in the early 20th century. I found this a very interesting way of depicting it, rather than just picking one character and showing how life in Dublin might have been like for that specific person, several people are used. There are stories with children, adolescents, adults, women and men. It gives a nuanced view; there are insights into the life of an alcoholic, maids, and a mother trying to marry off her daughter, con men as well as a college student and a young boy encountering death.

I am not sure if I liked the book more because I have lived in Dublin. There are frequent references to fairly well known locations in Dublin and it is nice to have an idea of what the scene the story unfolds to actually looks like. It is also very easy to get attached to all the characters, Joyce have a way of writing that makes you immediately able to sympathise with and feel a connection with the characters despite the stories not being very long. The different stories do have a stylistic difference at times; normally the stylistic change makes it fit that particular story or character better. I think its nice to be allowed to partake of this authors ability to master several different writing styles and techniques rather than just sticking to one the whole time he is able to adjust his style whenever he feels the need.

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# 39. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (Catharina)

It’s taken me quite a bit of effort to write this review, I don’t know why. I guess I don’t really know what I think of the book. Maybe I think it’s a bit odd? If you read some other reviews and articles about this book then a number of people seem to think that it is quite racist, whilst others argue that it is just portraying how things were viewed in those times. The reason that certain people think it is racist it due to view it gives and gave of Africa and the people living there. In the book Africa is portrayed as wild, dark and uncivilized place. The local inhabitants are portrayed as savages, cannibalistic and primitive. In a sense I can understand both viewpoints.

Joseph Conrad went to Africa himself so to a high degree the book is probably based on his own experiences and viewpoints. The book also explores the odd relationship that the main character has to Mr Kurtz, for the majority of the book Mr Kurtz is just stories and related information to the main character. He builds up a view and what he thinks of this person based on other people’s experiences. At the same time I get the impression that he is curious and want to meet this person, I presume to see if he meets the expectations. I think this is probably quite common in society; people are often judged based heresy and what information other people pass on. I try not to, at least when people pass on negative information about other people. I might get a weary if I deem it to be justified, but very often I find that when people pass on very negative information it is not justified. The information is tainted and exaggerated to try and make the person that passes it on to look better. I like making up my own mind about people, I’m not sure I always get the same favor back but in the end of the day I am responsible only for my own actions (and if somebody judges me without actually knowing me I guess that tells me a lot about them!).

Enough about whatever digression the book led me into. This is not a very long book, so it is a quick read. I guess it gives some interesting perspectives on human nature and interactions between people so it is certainly worth a read for that reason.

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# 38. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (Catharina)

This was an interesting book to read, partly because I chose to read the vivid reading edition. In essence it means that there was little cartoon movies and pictures here and there in the book. I am not sure it is something I would choose again, it was nice to try but I am not sure that it enhanced my reading experience.

I think this books deals with quite an interesting concept, as usual with H. G. Wells, what happens if you go invisible? The descriptions of everyday things in this book, which are hard to do for an invisible person I think, are what partly make this book. How do you buy food when people can’t see you? If people can’t see you and panic if they realize that you are see through then how can you live a normal life? Do you even want to live a normal life? Being invisible can probably have it advantages at some points but in the end of the day I think it mainly would be a horrible thing. Maybe because in reality we are quite a sight orientated society in a way? Colors and patterns matter a lot to at least me, even if I could still see these things (a thing which I believe H. G. Wells covers fairly well, because in reality if you are invisible how can you see as your eyes can’t capture the light waves emitted and captured from your surroundings) I think I would feel pretty horrible about the shape and pattern of me being gone. In this book the main character that goes invisible is portrayed as going power mad, I think that could be quite a normal reaction from somebody that has gone invisible, a lot of people strive for power and success and maybe the wish to have that is in reality the only thing that make him not go under completely. He might have seen his own salvation in gaining a lot of power.

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