Tom Brown’s Schooldays (Thomas Hughes)

book-coverUnless you’re an Anglophile, you might prefer watching one of the dramatizations of this story. The films tend to have more plot than the book, which is more a series of chronological anecdotes set amidst statements of philosophy than it is a novel. “Character” and “fair play” are much emphasized but remain fuzzy concepts, which rather deflates its moral purpose. Jolly great fun is had by chucking stones at Irish labourers and otherwise tormenting the lower classes. “Fagging”–the practice of young boys having to fetch and carry for the older boys (and yes, that’s where the word comes from)– is an accepted and honoured institution.  [Read more…]

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The Lonesome Gods (Louis L’Amour)

1983thelonesomegodspb1984Quintessential “guy-lit” (or whatever is the opposite of “chick-lit”). This is a long book for L’Amour. He spends some time getting philosophical – a boy on his own living in the desert, communing with nature, learning and such.  This is a book about being a man. And becoming a man. All those things a man gotta do. The main theme is Self Reliance. There are also some great descriptions of the California/Arizona desert around the time of the Gold Rush. [Read more…]

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