w. w. jacobs

Booking Through Thursday: School Books

This week’s Booking Through Thursday asks two questions:

“We all had to read things in school that we didn’t like … but what about something you read for a class that you ended up liking (or loving)? An author you discovered that you might not have found? A genre you hadn’t thought about?”

Well, I would really like take a different route about this. I am not going to talk about a book but an essay that I loved. While at school I read an essay called Reading for Pleasure by English author L.A.G.Strong. The essay was basically about why people should read what they like and only what they like. No one should force anyone to read anything. He then goes on to illustrate the point by recounting his own experiences with books while growing up. Strong’s language was so simple yet pleasant. I remember being so surprised to find that a grown up was telling us to read for our own pleasure and that too on a school textbook! I took Strong’s lesson to heart that reading should be a passion, not a chore. Also, I have been tracking down all the authors and books mentioned in the essay as being his favourites. It is through this essay that I came to know of W.W.Jacobs and of Under the Red Robe by Stanley J. Weyman, one of my favourite reads from 2009. Strong’s views helped shape my attitude towards reading. It also introduced me to authors I would have otherwise known nothing about. So, I can say the essay Reading for Pleasure is something I read for school but ended up loving.

Victorian Literature Challenge 2011 – Completion

For the past six or so months I haver been slowly inching towards finishing the Victorian Literature Challenge 2011. I was participating under the “Great Expectations” participation level of  where the challenge was to read five-nine books from the Victorian era. The first six books I finished with extreme swiftness but the last three took more time than I had anticipated because of my new job and everything else.

Anyhow, I have finally managed to finish the challenge. Thanks to Bethany of Subtle Melodrama for hosting this challenge! I enjoyed participating in it very much!

Books Completed:

1. Under the Red Robe. Stanley J. Weyman.

2.  The Diary of a Nobody. George Grossmith.

3. The Country of the Pointed Firs. Sarah Orne Jewett.

4. Mrs Lirriper’s Lodgings. Charles Dickens.

5.  Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy. Charles Dickens.

6. Sailors Knots. W. W. Jacobs.

7. The Phantom Coach and Other Stories. Amelia B. Edwards.

8. Spinning-Wheel Stories. Louisa May Alcott. 

9. Barchester Towers. Anthony Trollope.

Sailor’s Knots by W. W. Jacobs

W. W. Jacobs (1863 – 1943) was an English short story writer & novelist. He mainly wrote stories about sailors and the marine life. Humour was his favoured genre. But his most renowned story remains the macabre horror story The Monkey’s Paw.

I finished the short story collection Sailor’s Knots by Jacobs a while ago. I read another one of his short story collections, The Lady of the Barge and Other Stories, last year. It had the horror classic, The Monkey’s Paw in it. I had quite enjoyed The Lady of the Barge and Other Stories. I picked up Sailor’s Knots because it contains another one of Jacobs’ famous horror short stories, The Toll-House, in it.

Sailor’s Knots was published in 1909. This collection includes twelve short stories, Deserted, Homeward Bound, Self-help, Sentence Deferred, Matrimonial Openings, Odd Man Out, The Toll-House, Peter’s Pence, The Head of the Family, Prize Money, Double Dealing and Keeping Up Appearances. All of the stories, except for The Toll-House, are light-hearted and humorous in nature.

Most of the stories in Sailor’s Knots feature accounts of the village life, sailors and life at the sea.

I’m sadly disappointed at this collection. Sentence Deferred was the only story that I found to be clever and funny. Odd Man Out, Peter’s Pence and Keeping Up Appearances were okay. The horror story The Toll-House was only mildly scary.

On the bright side, this is an extremely short book. The short stories are truly short. Most of them don’t go beyond even ten pages.

Overall, Sailor’s Knots is not as enjoyable as I thought it would be. A rather unsatisfactory collection of stories.

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