Monday, April 20, 2009

Treasure Island

Ex queried in the previous comments section, having noted it in my "Currently Reading" on the sidebar, as to what had inspired me to read Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

My father died in 1960 and left me, among other things, a great many books. Among them were 4 collections of 10 volumes each by Stevenson, Edgar Allen Poe, Rudyard Kipling and Charles Dickens. The years have passed, some have been read, many not. I was looking it over the other day and thought, "Damn me, I've never read Treasure Island". So I picked it up, started reading and was immediately mesmerized. I don't see how anybody would fail to enjoy it but, understand this, as a wee lad I was enchanted by any tales of high seas and great adventure. It was an abysmal failure on my part not to have read it back in the day. That said, there are aspects of it that I was able to enjoy more now than I would have back then.

Those of us who take great pleasure in literature should definitely work a classic in to our schedule from time to time. I finished Treasure Island and moved right on to some Dickens that I missed out on - David Copperfield. Fortunately, I never even saw any cinematic version of it, so it will be entirely new to me (unlike Treasure Island). Hell, I've never even seen his magic...


Sarge said...

Welcome aboard, mate!

You might enjoy an 'aftermarket' book called 'Long John Silver' by Denis Judd. Tells about John Silver's younger days, continues the flavor of Stevenson's narrative, very satisfying.

John Evo said...

I'm wondering why Stevenson, or someone, never followed-up. Some treasure (the silver) was left on the island. And Long John made his escape when they hit port. Seems like a natural. Had I seen that in a movie, I would have walked out saying "Part 2 coming".

Maybe I'll check out the prequel.

Sarge said...

Judd wrote two books about it, I've only been able to find the one, but it was enjoyable.

I really enjoyed Charleton Heston's portrayal of Silver best of all of them. Plus, the Chieftans can'rt be beat for music!

yunshui said...

I loved Treasure Island when I was a kid. If adventures on the high seas are your thing, you might also enjoy Ballantyne's Coral Island, I remember reading that at about the same time.

Sarge said...

Story telling, in print or voice, is a real knack.

Stevenson, Kipling, Dickens, they had it.

Ballard, Judd, George MacDonald Frasier, and Pratchett are among people who have (and lately, had) that knack and that I keep going back to.

Ian Hogg has a turn of phrase I enjoy as well.

John Evo said...

Any thoughts on David Copperfield? I'm about half way through the first volume (of 3. Damn it's a long book!) and it is awesome so far. Another reminder of what a great author Dickens was.

yunshui said...

Yeah, Exterminator made Dickens convert of me (or at least a non-Dickens-hater) by getting me to read Bleak House a few months ago. He is a masterful author (Dickens, that is, not Ex - well, I guess Ex was pretty talented too, in a not-quite-so-Victorian, more-internet-based kind of way).

I've not read David Copperfield - let me know if you like it, won't you?

John Evo said...

Ex WAS a great writer?

Have we rolled the stone across the tomb? If so, expect a resurrection.

Sarge said...

Copperfield was pretty good, I thought.

Dickens actually passed through this area, and mentioned our inclined plane by which canal boats were pulled over mountains.
This was one of the parts of the area that impressed him favorably.

It was quite a technological wonder, and a lot of famous travellers commented on it.

When I was a teenager I read an old book written in the 1850's, the sub title was, "A Tale of New York: It's Upper Hundred and Lower Millions"
It was NOT what you would think of as a Victorian book, and kept my attention from first to last.

Vitamin R said...

I got a bunch of old-school adventure books when I was ten--my school was getting rid of them and some teacher or other figured she'd let me have my pick.

I got some Jules Verne (loved). HG Wells (loved, even though I couldn't follow all of it then). And Treasure Island. Couldn't get into it.

A couple years later, I read Jekyll and Hyde, went nuts in a way I wouldn't until I really got into Poe. But I never went back to Treasure Island. I think I'll give it a try, now.

Damn you, and your peer pressuring! But I will not go smoking with you in the boys' room! I have drawn a line in the sand!

Have you ever read any of the Gormenghast books?

John Evo said...

VitaR - glad I got you to think about giving Treasure Island a second look. Now, if I can just get you to smoke in the bathroom...

And, no, I'm not familiar with the Gormenghast books. Have you exposed a character flaw in me?

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

I tried the Gormenghast books, indeed we had to read them for a uni course that I did - couldn't get into them.

I have recently been enjoying the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, so much so that I might pick up Jane Austen.

John Evo said...

Sean, if you do, let me know how you like it. I've never read Jane.