As You Like It

As You Like It by William Shakespeare
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The pastoral comedy of love that is the play As You Like It, was overall alright. The intermix of songs, mostly for comedic effect, are for the most part alright. There are various couplings that happen throughout the play, though most are in someway connected with Rosalind who by far is the best character in the play. This is the best example (so far) of Shakespeare’s use of the English bar on actresses by having a young man play a woman who plays a young man, thus bringing about the fabulous character of Rosalind. Even with the oft-quoted, “All the world’s a stage” and the following monologue by Jaques, the language in the play doesn’t really stand out compared to previous plays. I’d be interested in seeing this play on stage or an onscreen adaptation.

Equal Rites (Discworld #3, Witches #1)

Equal Rites (Discworld, #3)Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The third book of Discworld introduces the reader the female view of the magic in “Equal Rites” through the unexpected transference of wizard magic to a baby girl named Esk.  Once the story really gets going, Granny Weatherwax takes Esk under her wing to help teach her witchcraft and hoped it would help the little girl figure out how to understand wizard magic.  With all her good intentions, Granny decides Esk needs help from the Unseen University.  The two leave their hometown of Bad Ass and head to Ankh-Morpork leading to very interesting adventures on the way.

Throughout the story, Pratchett gives humor to the various gender roles that Discworld (and ours by extension) assumes exist though in reality they are ridiculous especially when a little girl has wizardry magic.  The pace is slow in a few places, but overall the book is a page turner as you can’t wait to see what happens next and what laugh Pratchett has in store.  I can’t wait to see the next “adventure” Granny gets herself involved with.

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Philip Dru: Administrator

Phillip Dru: AdministratorPhillip Dru: Administrator by Edward Mandell House
My rating: 0.5 of 5 stars

After finishing “Philip Dru: Administrator”, the best thing I can say about it is that author Edward Mandell House might have created a semi-autobiographical character to explain the political boss system the dominated American politics for nearly half a century.  The story of a former West Point graduate who leads a revolution against a corrupt government is not even believable and the 1 million man battle of Elma is laughable.  To call the main characters, Dru and Gloria, flat would be an install to every flat character ever written.  And the dialogue is for the most part preachy, but not even written well.  The novel is just awful and it best to be avoid by anyone wanting to read for literary pleasure.

The edition of the book was printed by the Robert Welch Press, named after the founder of the John Birch Society.  The foreword is written by William Norman Grigg and unfortunately reveals an individual who has conspiracies on the brain.  Many individuals believe this book is a blueprint for the socialism taking over the American government based on the fact that Edward Mandell House was an adviser to President Woodrow Wilson and later President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Individuals like Mr. Grigg point to all the “socialist” things that happened during the Wilson and later FDR as evidence to this conspiracy, unfortunately they ignore the fact that all these supposedly “socialist” things had been in the political landscape for nearly 50-100 years previous to being enacted.  While it was true that House was an adviser to Wilson, the two had a massive falling out during the Versailles Peace Conference, and House never advised really advised FDR and “Philip Dru: Administrator” was just read for possible ideas to help during the Great Depression.

To anyone who believes this book is a blueprint for a socialist conspiracy to topple the American way of life or capitalism, I’m sorry but no.  This is just a awful novel written by a politically connected individual, but not a powerful one.

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The Curse of Chalion (Chalion #1)

The Curse of ChalionThe Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

“The Curse of Chalion”, Lois McMaster Bujold’s first foray into fantasy is a literally one of the best books in the genre I had read.  The story follows Cazaril going from barely above being a vagabond to servicing as secretary and advisor to the young, yet intelligent princess of Chalion.  Then Cazaril is forced to going to the royal court and soon finds that not only is he having to protect his charge and himself from human enemies of all kinds, but also the supernatural due to the actions of the a previous King but Cazaril himself.

The world in which the story takes place is thoroughly thought from the political to the religious, societally from the royal court down to the peasant struggling to survive.  From the start the religious and magical system Bujold built as an integral part of her world just grabs the reader in it’s familiar elements to Christianity and New Age concepts, but also it’s uniqueness and originality.  But when the reader experiences the realm of The Five, Bujold writes it like a mystical experience that it’s hard for a mere mortal to explain in words and the reader experiences that difficulty along with Cazaril.

The sole issue I have with the story is the somewhat creepiness in the relationship between Cazaril and Lady Betriz, and the somewhat annoying trope of men not getting the signals from women that tends to invade many genres.  However, the story isn’t a romance and thus these “issues” don’t really take away from the overall story.

“The Curse of Chalion” is a must read for any fantasy reader, it’s highly recommended and now one of my favorite books.

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The Passionate Pilgrim

The Passionate Pilgrim by William Shakespeare
My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

The collection of poems is a diverse collection, though obviously not all of them are Shakespeare’s. The Venus-Adonis theme is in several of the poems and might be earlier versions by Shakespeare of his bigger work or another poet’s work on the theme, in either case all of them were well done. It’s hard to really review this collection because many of the poem’s writers are anonymous.

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Although he does appear in the play, Julius Caesar is not the main focus of this piece. Marcus Brutus is foremost the main character of this play and it’s tragic figure who is led into a murder of his friend by a supposed friend, Cassius. Through the course of the play, Cassius goes from envious and crafty senator into a dishonorable bribing coward leading to the defeat of his faction. However the best piece of language and speech is by Marcus Antony at Julius Caesar’s funeral followed closely at his eulogy to Brutus at the end of the play and finally the best line of the entire play, “Cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war;” (III, i)