It’s been open season on the classics this month: not only did I finish up June ( and take care of July, but I’ve recently advanced into August’s reading, defeating The Three Musketeers, and am about to mount an attack on The Vicar of Wakefield, to start making up for April. Before moving forward, I wanted to wrap up with some comments.
First, on The Sun Also Rises: I read this shortly after A Farewell to Arms, or rather I finished it. I began reading it last year, and had lingered in it halfway through, completely apathetic about the novel’s characters or what happened to them. I still didn’t care when I was finished. They eat, they drink, they go to Spain and fish and watch bullfights, they go home. It must have made some impact in its day to be remembered nearly a century hence, though.
Next up, not a classic, was Star Trek Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel. Admiral Johnathan Archer and his faithful friends, Captains T’Pol and Reed, are working to secure Rigel’s entrance into the Federation despite the resistance of natives who find the idea of becoming part of an alien organization frightening, and the fact that Archer is being framed for attempted murder. Despite that premise and the fact that Bennett’s novels are among my favorite Trek reads, I…didn’t care about the story here. Or the characters.
And lastly, The Three Musketeers, which begins with the promising sight of a young man given three gifts and promptly losing them by getting into a fight with the first person he meets who has an unkind word about his horse — the horse he doesn’t even like. D’Artagnan’s desire is to join the Musketeers, but his youthful bravado gets him into fight after fight — including three duels with men he later learns are musketeers! Although he cannot join the celebrated corps with a broken sword and a lost letter of recommendation, D’Artagnan’s swordplay and loyalty earn him the friendship of the three Musketeers, and with them at his side he stumbles into a kidnapping with kingly importance: there’s a scheme to foment war between France and England afoot, aided and abetted by a murderously charming woman, Milady de Winter. I enjoyed the novel well enough, but it’s…a strange adventure story, where the main character spends a good bit of the time half in love with his adversary and ends up getting promoted by the…..antagonist. Well…OK.