It’s time for a literary/fun post.

First, as I’ve mentioned before, my friend Julie has been reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin on her podcast, Forgotten Classics.  She has completed the novel, and you can find every episode here.  I talked before about how human, how moving, and how engrossing the story is.  I am nearing the end of it, and I’ve only become more engrossed in it.  We’re now at Simon LeGree’s plantation, which is hell on earth.  We’re witnessing what happens to human beings when they are pushed to the farthest brinks of despair, steeped in evil and injustice, seemingly forsaken even by God.  In particular, we will see what happens to Uncle Tom, whose powerful faith has been relentless and seen him through so much loss and tragedy already.  What will happen to him now?  Will his soul too be crushed and his faith be in vain?  It is not looking good at all.

Anyway, I highly, highly, highly recommend that you listen in over at Forgotten Classics.  Or read the book.  It remains a very important and relevant book today.  For my part, it is inspiring me to make a greater stand against what I consider today’s greatest injustice–and a legal one, as we know: abortion.  I wish Harriet Beecher Stowe could tell us what she thinks about that.  I also wish I could write half as compellingly and as boldly as she did against the injustices of society.

For my fun reading (whenever I get a chance), I have at long last taken the many, many recommendations and exhortations I have received to begin Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series, beginning with Master and Commander.  I resisted for a long time.  I thought, “Really, now, how entertaining can a nautical story be?”  And, as I found out from page 1, the answer is: “Pretty darn entertaining!”

I am almost finished with M&C, and I have to say that I still don’t get a lot of the nautical stuff–although seeing the excellent film version did help bring the setting to life.  Even so, the characters, the dialogue, and O’Brian’s masterful command of the English language have been more than enough to keep me turning those pages!  Central, of course, is the unlikely friendship between Capt. Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin.  These guys are about as different as can be, save their mutual love of listening to and playing music.  But as I’ve found out in my own life, such unlikely friendships can often be the strongest and truest.

Somebody on YouTube called “swisskun” made some cute little cartoons that provide a loose summary of the novel.  Emphasis on “loose.”  I think they do a pretty good job of capturing the “spirit” of the story, particularly the characters and the humor.  Here are the first two parts.  The first is a bit fuzzy, but you get the point.  The second uses some of the great music from the film.

Part 1: 

Part 2:

There is a third part, as well as some miscellaneous little “Jack and Stephen” vignettes, which you can find here.