Book Review: The Spy by James Fenimore Cooper (Three Stars)


Book Review: The Spy: A Tale of the Neutral Ground by James Fenimore Cooper

(Three Stars)

“The law was momentarily extinct … and justice was administered subject to the bias of personal interests.”

Wonderful Romantic adventure “inspired by a true story” during the American Revolutionary War. Well-developed plot. Cooper’s first “hit.”

“The heart which has not become callous, soon sickens with the glory that has been purchased with a waste of human life.”

So, why hasn’t it more famous, and why wasn’t it made into a movie? Why only three stars? Because, being a very early work, it lacks the stirring storytelling for his later works. In fact, it’s awful. Twenty-five years later he was “compelled to admit there are faults so interwoven with the structure of the tale … it would cost less to Continue reading

Book Review: The White Hart by Nancy Springer (Three Stars)


Book Review: The White Hart (The Book of Isle #1) by Nancy Springer

(Three Stars)

“Pel shall pay the long-kept score/When the White Hart goes to war.”

Quaint. When published in 1979, this would have been a major accomplishment in epic fantasy, though its borrowings from The Lord of the Rings are many and obvious. It owes as much to nineteenth-century English romanticism and Celtic mythology. Springer did her homework. Still, not a compelling read by today’s standards.

“At the very worst, it will make a fine song.” “May the Mothers grant us life to hear it.”

A pleasant story, well-written, it nevertheless is predictable and syrupy. The plot opens with a strong, believable female lead, then abandons her partway through to follow the story of two men. Disappointing.

“Great is your gift of love … and great will be your pain in it.”

And The East German Judge . . .

No event should be included in the Olympics which is scored by a judge. If finishing order or a clock or a tape measure is insufficient proof of who won, relying on the eyes and judgment of mere mortals moves the event from sport into art. I’m okay with art; I fancy myself an artist. I’m happy to have my work judged; I’m even happier to win. But that’s art–subjective. Sports should objective. Judges aren’t; can’t be.

Having said that, we enjoyed the Ice Dancing finals Monday night. I’m prejudiced (yes, me, too–we all are one way or the other) in favor of skaters who wore classical costumes and skated to Romantic (as opposed to romantic, and certainly Modern and modern) music.

The biggest problem with supposedly impartial judging is not political (like the infamous East German judge), but Continue reading