The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber Review

“If a four-letter man marries a five-letter woman, he was thinking, what number of letters would their children be?”

 

shorthappy

 

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber is of Ernest Hemingway’s most celebrated short stories. It uses thematic elements better than almost any story I’ve ever found jealousy, fear, courage, and contempt are all present in this fine work. With his visceral simplicity, Hemingway examines what makes a man and the constraints of the individual from their social structure.

This story follows the titular character on his first safari. He is put in a dangerous situation and proves himself a coward. After facing the scorn of his guide and the fellow hunters, he resends whilst on another hunt. He rises to the occasion and grows as a person saving one of his peer’s life. His wife feels her power over him leaving and then kills him. The relationship between the guide, Wilson and Francis is examined in detail. The victim is painted as neither the wife nor Francis, but as the Francis.

The depths of the interpersonal relationships in this story are fabulous. The tangled net that is the Francis, his wife and Wilson shows the growth of the main character and the flaws of the others involved. The author poured himself into the story and it provides another example of the intensity with which Hemingway writes.

 

shorthappy2

 

“Macomber opened the breech of his rifle and saw had metal-cased bullets, shut the bolt and put the rifle on safety. He saw his hand was trembling”

 

 

 

bslogo

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

Advertisements

Old Man at the Bridge Review

“‘Did you leave the dove cage unlocked?’” I asked.
‘Yes.’
‘Then they’ll fly.’
‘Yes, certainly, they’ll fly.’”

 

oldman

Old Man at the Bridge is one of shortest works by Ernest Hemingway. Originally published in 1938 in Ken Magazine and republished in the collection The First Forty Nine Stories.  Often noted for the economical use of character development and the overall theme of what constitutes duty.

Written during his coverage of the Spanish Civil War, it tells the story of an old man fleeing his home town during artillery fire. Upon seeing the old man laying on a bridge the author asks about his well being. The exasperated old man tells about how he was responsible for the taking care of the animals after the town is evacuated.  He feels guilty about abandoning his duties and fleeing the twelve kilometers that have left him in his current state. The author encourages him to relocate to where the buses can take him to safety and the man reluctantly contemplates this. In the end, the writer observes that the animals may have survived, but the old man probably will not.

Sad irony and humanizing the victims of war reverberate throughout this text. You can feel Hemingway’s empathy for the old man. He doesn’t wish poorly upon him, but he cannot help seeing the situation as it is. A dark, humorous tale of survival and duty. Hemingway signature candor carries a depressing story and forces the reader to think.

 

oldman2

 

“It was Easter Sunday and the fascists were advancing towards Ebro.”

 

bslogo

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook. 

Reviewing The Watchmen

“Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense.”

 

watchmen2

The Watchmen is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the comic book art form. Alan Moore writes and Dave Gibbons illustrates this dark and dynamic story following a group of retired superheroes. Taking place in an alternate time line, this story highlights and amplifies the cold war paranoia of America in the mid-eighties as World War Three seems to be growing ever closer. This comic examines the lives and moral struggles of a group of former superheroes when one of their own dies.

Full disclosure, I think this is one of the greatest books ever written. I have read it a number of times and find the somber subject matter fascinating. It is superheroes that are not the paragons of justice. It is masked heroes at their most human, their most selfish,most inconsiderate and most violent. It is a character study of those looked upon when the villains rise to challenge the helpless. This book has no clear cut protagonist, as it is written it show highlights the ambiguity that exists within us all.

Moore’s creation has been represented in a number other mediums. A 2009 Film, that was met with mixed reviews,a pretty stellar motion comic and a long rumored animated series and/or movie. This work has been universally praised as one of the greatest of all time. Gibbons’ art is highly regarded as it works so well with the ominous nature of the text. It blends and flows so well, it is marvelous. The Watchmen has the best implementation of the ‘story within a story’ concept I’ve ever read, with The Tales of The Black Freighter being smooth and easy to follow.

This book is well worth your time. Over and over again it is worth the effort. Even if you’re not a comic reader or if you weren’t wowed by Zach Snyder’s Film adaptation, I recommend it. This is truly one of the great pieces of American art. With a diverse cast of characters and a intriguing plot, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to give it a read.  See a sample of the graphic novel here or go here to watch the motion comic.

watchmen

“It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us.”

 

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook. 

 

bslogo

Reviewing The Celebrated Jumping Frog Of Caleveras County

jumpfrog3

Mark Twain is one of the most enjoyable writers to ever bless the art of literature. His unique wit and unmistakable style make some of the most fun reading. His use of language celebrates the everyman in a way that few other writers have been able to. Already being a fan, I knew I would enjoy this story. This is the story that put Mark Twain on the map. This is The Celebrated Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County.

The most relevant thing I can relay to any potential readers of this story is the substance is the least important part. This tale is all about the journey and far less about the destination. It follows the narrator, who is a western mining town for the first time. At the request of a friend, he meets a man named Leonidas W. Smiley. As opposed to giving the narrator the information he needs, Smiley weaves this overblown tale about a frog jumping contest.

The narrator suffers through the long winded tale of Smiley and interjects his opinions about it along the way. Presented in a clever way, Twain manages to capture the humor and suffering experienced when someone just won’t stop talking. Being a victim of your own courtesy can trap you in the wake of a windbag. The ending really makes this story and without ruining it, I must insist you take the time to read it. A short read, this provides a good escape and can easily be completed during a lunch break. I feel this is a great introduction to Mark Twain for new readers and a fantastic time killer for old fans. Enjoy this story here.

jumpfrog2

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

bslogo

Sabres Of Infinity Review

sabres2

Do you want to play a game and read a book at the same time? Would you like to explore a fictional world that involves gunpowder and sorcery? Do you want something that is well written and original all at the same time? If so, Sabres of Infinity is the experience for you.

The creator, Paul Wong weaves a unique setting that has the player assume the role of a member of an aristocratic family who in deeply indebted. In order to relieve the debt, your family has sent the playable character to serve in the military. Through a series of options, you are allowed to chose the stats and characteristics of your character.

The story follows the character as they complete their training and interact with several of their peers. By selecting certain actions, your peers either become allies or rivals. After completing training and being assigned to active action you really get to see what an interesting setting the game provides.

The thing that really impressed me with this game was the writing. I found that I really began to care about the main character and his plight as he navigated the effects of battle. You find yourself dealing with hostile natives and questioning the motives of the war itself along with the manner in which your countrymen conduct themselves. It pushes the player to ask some deep questions whilst allowing you to immerse yourself in the character and the world presented.

I feel this game provides a great deal of replayability and I cannot wait to play it again and see what other options are available. I cannot wait to play the sequel Guns of Infinity and I feel that for the purchase price was well worth the price. All in all, this is worth the time and if you need a unique game with a great setting this is your choice. Check it out here.

 

sabres3

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

bslogo

A Haunted House Review

“Nearer they come; cease at the doorway. The wind falls, the rain slides silver down the glass. Our eyes darken; we hear no steps beside us; we see no lady spread her ghostly cloak.”

hauntedhouse3

 

Virginia Woolf’s A Haunted House is the perfect holiday short story. Being the time of the year for warm fuzzies and loving family, this one will surprise you with the way the story flows. I believe that this work would fall into the realm of unconventional Christmas fiction. So if you are a Die Hard and A Nightmare Before Christmas as holiday material kind of person, I think this would be a good choice for you.

I thought this was an excellent jump off point to Virginia Woolf’s writing and if you find yourself enjoying this you will enjoy Mrs. Dalloway or The Waves. This work follows a narrator who resides in a haunted house in which two ghosts are searching for something. As the story progresses, the author discovers what the two spirits are looking for. The imagery used is both hauntingly playful and ends on an upbeat note.

Overall, this is a good way to spend thirty minutes. A quick paced, upbeat story that finds a way to both be eerie and uplifting. The author leaves the reader in an era of suspense throughout. In a world saturated by the same Christmas stories, I think this would be an excellent addition.  This is most certainly worth your time. Read it for free here.

“Death was the glass; death was between us;”

hauntedhouse2

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

bslogo

Reviewing War Is a Racket

“Three steps must be taken to smash the war racket. 1) We must take the profit out of war. 2) We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide whether or not there should be war. 3) We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.”

 

racket1

Major General Smedley Butler wrote this work in 1935 after retiring from the United States Marine Corps. It is an expansion of a speech of the same title. Butler, a career military officer served from 1898 until 1931. During his tenure, he received two Medals of Honor, A Marine Corps Brevet Star, an Order of the Black Star and twelve other awards or medals. He was highly praised during his career and upon retiring he became an outspoken critic of the military system.

I am so glad that I was turned onto this book. Having someone so decisively and drastically critique their entire profession is astounding. He examines the way in which the United States wages war and breaks it down into five easy to follow sections. His sarcastic demeanor really adds some personality to this work. His heart is truly in the pages of this book. He sees war as a crime that is paid for by innocents in lives lost and money taken, as the title suggests he compares the war system to organized crime. He is brutally critical of the ‘military-industrial complex’ in a enlightened and refreshing way.  These were some of the best fourteen pages I’ve ever set my eyes on.

This book should be read in every history class. While some of the solutions presented are not the most practical or realistic, it could open a dialogue that could lead to some true answers. I believe that Butler’s wit and candor would really push even the most staunch military supports to reexamine the way in which foreign entanglements are conducted. This work reached fame when published in the Reader’s Digest in the thirties. I would really like to see another major publication take a chance and reprint this. I hope that all my readers will take a minute to enjoy this, I’ve included a link to the PDF here.

 

racket2

 

“In the World War, we used propaganda to make the boys accept conscription. They were made to feel ashamed if they didn’t join the army.”

 

 

bslogo

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.