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Old 10-19-2015, 11:25 PM   #1
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October 2015 Discussion: Kidnapped (spoilers)

The time has come to discuss the October 2015 MobileRead Book Club selection, Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. What did you think?

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Old 10-20-2015, 02:09 AM   #2
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I have about 30% left to complete still, but I have enjoyed what I have read so far. It took quite a while for me to get used to the archaic language but now I am enjoying it.

I should have more thoughts when I am done and have time to "digest" it a little.
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Old 10-20-2015, 02:39 AM   #3
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:00 AM   #4
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I thought this would be easier to read than it was, so I waited too long to start. I find I'm constantly having to stop and look up word definitions, sometimes on the Internet because my ereader has no definition for the word in question. Sometimes even the Internet can't help. This book would drive me absolutely bonkers in paper. One nice thing is the links Paul has added in the book to definitions of some of the more archaic words, but I'm still having to look words up on every page. I'm currently little more than halfway through.
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:06 AM   #5
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I'm almost done. I'll just say for now that it's obviously one of those books that's flat-out wonderful if you get to it at the right age. I would have lapped this up at ten or eleven*; it's the kind of book I wouldn't have been able to tear myself from until finished. It makes me wish I were reading buddies with a middle-schooler.

And that's meant as praise, not criticism! I bring different things to it as an adult first-timer, but it's still a great read.

*I think when I was a kid that books, especially the classics, were classed into girls' books and boys' books. Girls were lucky in that we had a little more latitude to stray into the boys' bibliography, but sadly Stevenson, except for the poetry, didn't cross my horizon. But it's more for me to read now; I'm especially enjoying his travelogues.
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:58 AM   #6
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What I love about the book is the relationship between Davie and Alan. And the way they each have their failings, despite also being excellent fellows.

The various film adaptions have never done it justice, I feel. And I'm not sure it's possible for them to do so, it being so much told from Davie's inner point of view.

I'm surprised to find that several people have found the language makes their reading slow. I'd be interested in a list of problematic words/phrases so that I can update my versions with extra glossary items.
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Old 10-21-2015, 05:43 PM   #7
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What I love about the book is the relationship between Davie and Alan. And the way they each have their failings, despite also being excellent fellows.
I agree, their relationship really was what held this story together.
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The various film adaptions have never done it justice, I feel. And I'm not sure it's possible for them to do so, it being so much told from Davie's inner point of view.
I haven't seen the movies and really went into this with a clean slate, which may or may not have been an advantage to me. I agree with issybird that at the right age this could have been the perfect book (at least if the language was easier).
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I'm surprised to find that several people have found the language makes their reading slow. I'd be interested in a list of problematic words/phrases so that I can update my versions with extra glossary items.
I wish I had highlighted some of them as I was going through but I didn't and if I were to go back through it now many of them wouldn't jump out at me again. I suspect it would be easier to follow for someone who has read more books from this time period and location although I may go looking for some non-fiction to help me understand more about what was going on. Being from the USA our history classes were very much limited to what was going on here in the mid 1700s and the rest of the world was pretty much ignored or consisted of "people came to the new world from [places] because [things]..." and had little to no detail.
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Old 10-22-2015, 07:37 AM   #8
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What a glorious adventure story this book is! I absolutely loved it. The characters are astonishingly vivid and memorable--not only David and Alan but even rhose who play a more transient role such as the various individuals the duo meet on their travels. The rugged Scottish Highland landscape is almost a character in itself and plays no small part in the activities and adventures of the pair. Both the kidnap plot and the murder of the Red Fox have roots in actual events but Stevenson has merged them into a magnificent srory. Only the ambiguous ending was a drawback for me, but Stevenson was obviously preparing for a sequel which he wrote a few years later.

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Old 10-22-2015, 09:42 AM   #9
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I thought this would be easier to read than it was, so I waited too long to start. I find I'm constantly having to stop and look up word definitions, sometimes on the Internet because my ereader has no definition for the word in question.
Can you give a few examples of the words that aren't familiar to you? I'd be very interested to know what they are.
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:01 AM   #10
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I agree with everyone that the relationship between Alan and Davie drove the book. I liked how Stevenson was willing to portray them with all their faults, too; it wasn't an idealized relationship with stock characters. Going into it, I expected Alan Breck to be a figure of high romance; instead he was small, pockmarked (and I learned that "breck" means pockmarked) and vain, while Davie was still a boy, with a boy's rush to judgment. Their relationship served as an allegory, perhaps, for how Highlanders and Lowlanders could and should forge a relationship. I know that Breck's being an easy forgetter had a lot in common with Mr. Rankeillor's ability to lose his spectacles! I also love Stevenson's art in describing a landscape; I'm working my way slowly through his travelogues.

The beginning and end dragged a bit. They almost had to, compared to the excitement of the roundhouse battle and the flight through the heather. If I had read it as a kid, I don't think I would have been so impatient for Davie to get a clue about his wicked Uncle Ebenezer. And the wrap-up dragged as they always do, but I think Stevenson made the best of things as it came before the confrontation with Davie's uncle.

I look forward to moving on to Catriona.

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Old 10-23-2015, 12:57 AM   #11
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October 2015 Discussion: Kidnapped (spoilers)

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Can you give a few examples of the words that aren't familiar to you? I'd be very interested to know what they are.

Here are just a few quick ones: jackanapes, siller, clachan, bouman, cushat-dove, nainsel, muirs, possets, gillie, collops, driegh, drammach, braw, brose, and sporran. There are many, many more such examples to be found, including just about all the ones defined by Paul in the appendix.
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Old 10-23-2015, 09:42 AM   #12
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Since I have two sporrans tucked away upstairs (an everyday one and a semi-formal one), it's hard to remember that some people won't know what one is!

But thanks for the list - perhaps I'll find time to revisit my glossary.
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Old 10-23-2015, 10:03 AM   #13
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Here are just a few quick ones: jackanapes, siller, clachan, bouman, cushat-dove, nainsel, muirs, possets, gillie, collops, driegh, drammach, braw, brose, and sporran. There are many, many more such examples to be found, including just about all the ones defined by Paul in the appendix.
OK, so it's mainly Scots dialect words. Understandable that they wouldn't be familiar to you; most of the words on your list wouldn't be understood by the majority of British people, either, although a few would. I'd say that "jackanapes", "gillie", and "sporran" are relatively common words, but the rest assuredly aren't.
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Old 10-23-2015, 10:25 AM   #14
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Since I have two sporrans tucked away upstairs (an everyday one and a semi-formal one), it's hard to remember that some people won't know what one is!
And why is your everyday sporran tucked away upstairs? Aren't you sporting it everyday? Is it big enough for your ereader?
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Old 10-23-2015, 01:24 PM   #15
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And why is your everyday sporran tucked away upstairs? Aren't you sporting it everyday? Is it big enough for your ereader?
Well, it's an 'everyday' sporran in that it's the one I usually wear with my kilt, but I also usually only wear my kilt once a week, and 'everyweek' doesn't sound quite right.

And yes, a sporran is big enough for an ereader, but it normally just has a bit of cash and my car keys.
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