Thoughts on H.G. Wells

You know when you’re reading a book and it references another book you’ve read and you want to go back and re-read the referenced book? That happened to me while reading Felix J. Palma’s The Map of Time and The Map of the Sky; based on H. G. Wells’ books, The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds respectively. Having enjoyed both of Palma’s books, I wanted to catch up with the classics. The last time I remember reading Wells’s books was high school, so naturally I was curious to see what I would think of the stories now. As it turns out, as an adult, I’m not a fan of Wells. I have fond memories of these stories, of being fascinated by the books, but no longer. What didn’t I like? Nothing specific about the stories themselves — the premises are wonderful — but it was the inconsiderate, uncaring, and obnoxious actions of the male characters. And, whenever (infrequently too) a woman shows up in the story, she’s relegated to being a slight character with no real value to the plot or the male characters. I know, that’s not a new revelation, but I was surprised by my immediate and intense reaction to it.

Before I turn what is supposed to be two short reviews into a rant, let’s get to the reviews themselves. I give you, The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds.

The Time MachineThe Time Machine

After settling in with The Time Machine, I soon realized I didn’t really remember much about this book. Or, at least my memories were fuzzy. I decided about half way through that I had a very big dislike of the Time Traveller. He was arrogant, uncaring, and prejudice. I get the arrogance, he wouldn’t have invented time travel without it, but the rest I could have done without.

We begin with a lecture of sorts where the Time Traveller shows his guests a small device that he claims can travel in time. He also claims to have built a larger functioning device that he plans to use to travel in time. Which he apparently does, meeting with two vastly different groups of humans — the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Eloi are a group of people so simple that he can’t believe this is what has become of the human race. In this same time, he also comes in contact with the Morlocks; a species that lives underground in dark tunnels. He does his best to categorize the humans he’s met but is disgusted when he figures out the relationship between the Eloi and Morlocks. When he’s able to escape and travels to his own place in time, he regales his contemporaries with stories of his travels.

There are so many fascinating aspects to this story. Time travel! But, Wells drove me crazy with his ideas of the human race. The pervasive idea that the Time Traveller was so much smarter, better shall we say, than the people he encountered was repulsive. It ruined this book for me. I can dislike a character and still enjoy a book but not in this case. I tried to become fascinated by the time travel but I was too far gone to get any enjoyment out of it.

The War of the WorldsThe War of the Worlds

When an unidentified object lands just south of London, residents are left dumbfounded. Could it really be aliens from Mars? When actual aliens emerge from the pods, all of London is left  running for its collective life as the aliens begin a methodical destruction of the planet. We follow the narrator as he makes his way back to his wife, suffering under the trampling of the Martians and witnessing horrors he never imagined possible.

The War of the Worlds is written as if it were a factual account of the narrator’s experiences. I liked that. It takes what could be a basic story and makes it feel very visceral. It did annoy me that I knew absolutely nothing about the narrator beside the fact that he was a scientist and was married. He does recount one part of the story as a second hand account from his brother but that’s all you get to know about him. I found that frustrating.

I did find this story much more interesting than The Time Machine and I think that had to do with the fact that there was a lot more action. In parts of The Time Machine, it felt as if little was happening but in The War of the Worlds, it was all action all the time. I do wish, and this goes for both books, that Wells had taken a few minutes to name his narrators; a pet peeve of mine. The intense dislike I had for The Time Machine didn’t appear when reading The War of the Worlds, in fact, I liked it better but if I had put this book down at any point, the possibly that I wouldn’t have picked it back up was there.

So, this brings me back to the start again. I’m not a Wells fan. Should I be? Anything I should consider?

The Time Machine
H.G. Wells
Atria Books
eISBN: 978145165886

The War of the Worlds
By H.G. Wells
Atria Books
eISBN: 9781451687989

The Sunday Salon – Falling for Fall

I’ve yet to step outside but from what I can tell, it’s shaping up to be a lovely fall-like day. I can only say fall-like because it’s probably go to end up in the 80s today and that’s not fall-like at all. Either way, I’m going to make a good attempt at enjoying today’s sun and cool breeze.

All last week, after reading two books that were good (actually, one was very weird but interesting enough to keep reading) what I really wanted to read were two books that featured heavily in other books I’ve been reading — The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds both by H.G. Wells. I finished up The Map of the Sky by Felix J. Palma last week and enjoyed it, as I did his first book, The Map of Time. Both books feature the works of H.G. Wells, and after finishing up the second of Palma’s books, I wanted to go back and read Wells’s books so guess what I’m reading this week. As a side note, I’m reviewing The Map of the Sky tomorrow if you’re interested.

Back to the fall theme, I confess that I’m hoarding books, beyond my regular book hoarding habits. I’m now hoarding special books to read during October — thrillers, horror, mystery. I have a list and will probably make a stop at the library to pick up a few Agatha Christie books too. I’m so looking forward to October. Normally I don’t plan my reading, even when I try it never works out, but I always manage to set aside time in the fall to read books like this. I don’t know what it is but it just makes it so much more fun.

Well, The Time Machine is waiting for me and I think I may have talked my husband into shoe shopping with me this afternoon. I need to take advantage of that offer while I still can. Happy Sunday and enjoy your books today fellow readers.

The Sunday Salon – An Addiction to Series Book

I spent a good portion of this Sunday eating pancakes and sitting on my couch reading Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I haven’t read this book since I was a child and it’s refreshing to know I still remember much of it. My opinion of some of the characters has changed but it’s a relaxing and comforting re-read and the book I needed today.

It got me thinking about the rest of the books in the series, and while I’m pretty sure I won’t be re-reading the other books this time around, I was glad to know they would be there when I needed another dose of the Prairie. And then I started to think about series books and how often I get myself mixed up with a series and can’t back away until I’ve read every book available to me. Looking over my list, I’ve read a lot of series books this year and started a few last year that I need to get back to.

Here’s what I’m following now:

The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger — I’ve read all five books this year and am sad there will be no more but the series was so good I’ll be reading them again so I’m not all that sad. For the curious, the books are: Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless.

Gentleman Bastards series by Scott Lynch — I started this series as part of a read along because the first book, The Lies of Locke Lamora, was on my list. Can I tell you how awesome these books are?! No really, they are that good. I finished the second book, Red Seas Under Red Skies, and can’t wait for the next book which I think comes out this fall.

The Dark Tower series by Stephen King — A co-worker gave me five books in the series and I made it through the first one, The Gunslinger, which sadly was a bit slow for me. I think I was expecting something very different and I’m not sure about the series but since I have the books I’ll probably continue. I’ve been told they do get better.

The King Killer Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss — I finished The Name of the Wind and can’t wait to get A Wise Man’s Fear. If you like fantasy, you should be reading these books. All I’m going to say.

The Taker Trilogy by Alma Katsu — I finished the second book in the series, The Reckoning, a month or so ago and it was good. I’m looking forward to the third book. I was a little apprehensive at first because I wasn’t sure where the series would go after the first book, The Taker, but I’m happy to say I’m enjoying it.

All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness — A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night were fun reads and now I’m waiting to see how it’s going to end. It might be a long wait for book three.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin — Book five, A Dance with Dragons, is waiting patiently but I haven’t started it yet. Not one of the 1,100 pages has been read yet but I will find time for this one soon.

The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell — I started this series last year and read the first two books, The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman, but sort of fell off and I need to pick it back up. I love the blood and gore of these books and I don’t think anyone delivers quite like Cornwell.

The Magicians & Mrs. Quent series by Galen Beckett — I actually finished this series last month. It took me a while to finish the last book and while I wasn’t completely wowed, I was satisfied. The books in the series are: The Magicians and Mrs. Quent, The House on Durrow Street, and The Master of Heathcrest Hall.

The Merlin Series by Mary Stewart — I started this series two years ago and then never went any further than The Crystal Cave. No real reason, I even have the books in my house; I just need to read them. I will admit to overdosing on Arthurian legend a while back though and needed some time off. This year may be the year.

There are more but I’m going to stop there. Really, looking at the list it’s sort of crazy I started all these. I need some help me thinks.

Do you have a favorite series? Let me know. There’s a good chance I’ll be adding it to the list. I can’t help myself.

Happy Sunday.

Today’s Book…is more than a book

It’s a soundtrack too.  Did you see this article in The New York Times about ebooks?  Part of me knows this is about sales and appealing to a large mass of people who may not read often.  And publishing is a business which means exploring possible revenue sources with new technologies.  I’m not against a concept like this and props to the person who came up with the idea for this company but why can’t books be books?  Why do they have to be and do something more?

My Nook Arrived!

Yeah, my birthday present has finally arrived! My birthday was in the beginning of December so I’ve been waiting a while and not always patiently. 🙂

After spending an inordinate amount of time trying to get the thing out of it’s packaging (Hi, Barnes & Noble, do you need to make it so difficult? You know that some of us just want to read right?) and letting it charge, I spent some good quality time with my little Nook. Until my husband, (who admitted that my birthday present was a bit of a ruse since it was him that really wanted one of these things, although to be fair, it didn’t take much to convince me) got home and completely took it over.

We got it registered (Again, Barnes & Noble, why so many steps?) and ordered two books — True Compass by Ted Kennedy for him and Noah’s Compass by Anne Tyler for me. No, the compass theme was not planned, we did that separately. I didn’t add any additional books last night since I want to take a look at my list to see what I really want. When I finish a book on it, I plan to do a longer review to let you all know how I like it.