SchomeBase Litererature Discussion Group Meeting 3 Book Choices Kickaha Wolfenhaut

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Ludo and the Star Horse by Mary Stewart

First off, I have to admit this is a book I've only read once. My "dog-eared" version is actually on audio cassette (and read SUPERBLY by Paul Eddington) given to me when I was five or six years old.

It's the story of a eleven-year-old Bavarian lad called Ludwig and his faithful horse Renti. While being far from "true life drama" it's just the thing to put that storm-damaged palm-leaf shelter in perspective. Give me a desert island over a snow drift any day! I can't say much more without spoiling the story, but the imagery and dialogue have remained with me for over thirty years. It's a lovely tale of fantastic adventure, love and friendship which still has a message whether you're as young as I was or as old as I am(!) It speaks of courage, bullying, danger, lust, loyalty and greed. Add to that themes on euthanasia, family, animal welfare, poverty, etc. and what looks like a kid's book at the first page will stay with you long after you finish the last.

Utopia by Thomas More

I haven't read this book for many years but I remember thinking "why yes!" every few paragraphs. It's basically a prescription for a happy land, thinly disguised, I recall, as a story of chance meeting. Sort of an opposite to the Ancient Mariner! The word "utopia" seems to be only used in a derogatory fashion these days, as if to strive for a better world is somehow silly. But many of More's ideas (eg: those on health care) are so "obvious" it's staggering that their implementation still eludes us today, despite their value being appreciated. I'm sure that not every idea in the book has stood the test of time, but if any castaways are washed up with me, we could do worse than refer to Utopia when we build our island society.

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome

This is a relatively new discovery for me, having only arrived on my book shelf about two years ago. It's an account of some late-Nineteenth Century layabouts messing about out of their depth on a boat trip from Kingston to Oxford. Unlike most of my favourite books, it's not been reread. Not once. There are two reasons. First is superstition; I enjoyed reading it so much that I fear revisiting it now may dilute its effects one day when I really need them, such as when I'm a bit down-in-the-dumps about being marooned on a desert island. The second and main reason is that my health isn't what it once was. I did try to reread Three Men in a Boat once, and had it confiscated by my wife when my laughter actually turned to choking. THIS IS THE FUNNIEST THING I HAVE EVER READ and coming from a lifelong Douglas Adams fan, that's one helluva endorsement.

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