Tarzan of the Apes

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I have a tip for you.

When you are traveling with a backpack and running through train stations in Europe, it is probably not the best idea to carry a whole stack of books with you.

Your shoulders will get very tired. I promise.

The reason that I know this, is because I did travel through Europe. I did bring my books with me. And I did collect more books while I was there. Yes, I know there is a wonderful invention out there called a kindle, but I am old fashioned, and I like my books made of paper and ink, thank you very much. So I run through train stations with a library in my bag and strain my shoulders.

And that will never change.

One of the books that I lugged along through Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy, was Tarzan of the Apes. I’d never read it before. I hadn’t even brought it initially, confining myself to only three books and a few notebooks for the three week trip. This one turned up on a bookstore shelf in Portugal, right at the beginning of our trip. It was gorgeous, it was one I’d never read before, and I really, really didn’t need it.

So my friend bought it for me for my birthday. I love her.

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Tarzan of the Apes. This book was published in 1912 and has been made into way too many movie adaptions since.

Only two of them are good.

Disney is one of them.

Ehem.

I really enjoyed reading this book. The story was interesting, the idea fabulous, (which is why it has hung around for so long) and the writing was very well done. I enjoyed the chapters about his childhood the most, from the mutiny that stranded John Clayton and his pregnant wife on an unknown beach in the African wilderness, to the life they tried to build there, their child, and subsequent deaths and the baby’s adoption by Kala, a mother ape with a dead baby. The classic Disney feel-good story is nowhere in sight in this book. Among the apes Tazan is a tolerated outsider, occasionally caught in the wild rages of the bulls and cared for by his surrogate mother when his injuries following these altercations are too severe for him to care for himself. The life he lives is a wild, brutal one, and he develops accordingly, although a great deal better than a real child would in such a situation. (We have to have a story after all.)

Edgar Rice Burrough’s vivid descriptions of the deep jungles in the African interior, his larger-than-life character, and his insights on the ways of man make this a story to add to your classic bookshelves! I deeply enjoyed the hours I spent reading it, and will probably pick it up again.

When I don’t have a pile of books taller than I am in my bedroom, waiting to be read.

It has remained for man alone among all creatures kill senselessly and wantonly for the mere pleasure of inflicting suffering and death.

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