AnthemAnthem by Ayn Rand
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One part 1984, one part Planet of the Apes, one part Farenheit 451. No surprise that those seminal works came after Ayn Rand’s Anthem, an Anglo nightmare that can already be seen in the university of your choice, and any number of bland cubicles a multinational corporation provides for your comfort. The likely reality is that the world will look more like Soylent Green than Oceania. But then, this may not be the world at all. However, if you do see it that way, you could assume that this book would be on the coffee table of our founding fathers, if they were around in body. Certainly, the spirit is alive in this book.

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The Cruise of the Dream Ship

The Cruise of the Dream ShipThe Cruise of the Dream Ship by Stock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book reads like a Ralph Stock diary of sailing the South Seas. That’s because it pretty much was exactly that. What was disappointing was that despite the gushing praise heaped upon this dream ship by Stock, there was little in the way of trial and tribulations at sea, save the occasional comic relief over the little auxiliary engine that couldn’t. Almost the the entirety of the book was the stops they made along the way, interesting at first, but redundant at the end. If you’re interested in that sort of thing; the natives of these South Seas isles, barely touched by civilization, then you’ll be entertained. I was looking more for the man v.s. sea theme, and it wasn’t to be found in this book.

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CandideCandide by Voltaire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The allegorical pinings of the the ostensibly misanthropic Voltaire, with sprinkles of anti-semitism that appeared to drive the point home if you weren’t convinced.

Pangoss had it right; everything was just the way it was supposed to be; that doesn’t mean everything was good, subjectively speaking, except in El Dorado, which presumably is what we all strive for. Well, everyone but Candide, the Spaniards, the Portuguese, and anyone else that saw a diamond flashing in the sun.

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Toilers of the Sea

The Toilers of the SeaThe Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It would not be a stretch to describe this book as an epic tale of bravery, of life, of dreams unfulfilled, and of tragedy. It was the story of the tragic figure named Gilliat, cursed from the beginning, but presented with an opportunity that would require a heroic, Herculean effort to change his fortunes. The picture Victor Hugo paints is as vivid as any artist that holds a brush in their hands.

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Moran Of The Lady Letty

Moran of the Lady LettyMoran of the Lady Letty by Frank Norris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story of one Wilbur Ross, a San Francisco socialite with a penchant for slumming with the natives. It was that penchant that got him into trouble, or what seemed to be trouble at the time. Drugged and shanghaied, he was taken aboard a shark hunting vessel, a la Humphrey from Jack London’s Sea Wolf. The difference between the two was that Humphrey desperately needed testosterone; Ross desperately wanted it. This story could easily have ended within the first 10 pages. All Ross had to do is jump overboard before they ever left San Francisco, and it’s unlikely the brute of a captain (who had just punched him out) would have pursued him. But Ross didn’t jump; he desperately wanted something he didn’t have, and somewhere in recesses of his mind this was the road, or the course if you will. Continue reading Moran Of The Lady Letty