This is probably the first YA book I've ever awarded 5 stars. AMAZING! I mean, it's a Newberry winner, so it should be. I found it superbly inspiring-This is probably the first YA book I've ever awarded 5 stars. AMAZING! I mean, it's a Newberry winner, so it should be. I found it superbly inspiring--a story about a ragtag bunch of down-to-earth, genuinely good people who are trying to do the right things in life... even to the bullies who abandon and abuse them.
The plot follows Hope and her aunt-mother as they relocate from New York City to a small town in Wisconsin, attempting to build a new life in the food-service industry. I can't believe how much I'm obsessed with Hope as a character. She's strong, hilarious... and above all, a survivor. The narrative voice Bauer gives her is honest and poignant.
I hope teenage girls out there pick up books like this. Daily.
"There's a lot of cheese where you're going, Hope. I'm not sure how this affects people long-term. Wear this shirt and remember who you are." (Miriam, as she gives Hope a "New York Forever" t-shirt)
Believe me when I tell you, I know all about survival. I was born too early and much too small (two pounds and five ounces). For the first month of my life I kept gasping for air, like I couldn't get the hang of breathing. I couldn't eat either; couldn't suck a bottle. The doctors didn't think I would make it. Shows what they know. My mother didn't want the responsibility of a baby so she left me with Addie, her older sister, and went off to live her own life. I've seen her exactly three times since I was born--when she visited on my fifth, eighth, and thirteenth birthdays... Each time she told me, "Hon, leaving you with Addie was the best thing I could have done for you. You need constants in your life." She had a different hair color each time she said it.
Enter memories, sweet and sour.
Here's the big concept I was thinking about today. I don't expect life to be easy. It hasn't been yet and I'm not holding out for smooth sailing in the future. Not everyone likes this philosophy, but it makes sense to me because when life hits the skids, I don't have to regroup as much as the people who walk around in a cloud like the world owes them a joyful existence.
Addie examined the dent in the door. "We need to get you something else to hit." Then she hugged me with permanence.
"Hope, I know Gleason Beal did a number on your head. That man took our money and our jobs, but let's not give him anything else. Not our minds, our hearts, our souls. He's not worth it." (Addie)
She told me I looked good, but didn't make eye contact. She told me it's okay I changed my name, but kept calling me Tulip. She told me she loved me and never came back. (Hope, on her birth mother)
It was probably easier in the old days when the bad guys rode into town wearing black capes or whatever bad guys wore, and the milk cows were owned by honest people. Right off the bat, you'd know who you were dealing with. Now everybody dresses alike. That's the problem with progress.
Yuri's cleaning tables like a machine. He looks at me, smiling. "Someday I vote American." "Me, too, Yuri." He takes a book from his pocket, "Moving Toward Citizenship." He opens the book, points to the word "freedom." "Best word," he says with feeling. "The best."
When hope gets released in a place, all kinds of things are possible.
"You tell this town that there's all kinds of things that make us sick. Disease is just one of them." (a townswoman speaking to cancer victim, G.T., when he is criticized for running a mayoral campaign despite his illness)
"If you stick that anger behind you, one day you're going to turn around and find it's gone." (G.T. to Hope)
A fun YA adventure/love story. It doesn't take itself too seriously - Cabot isn't trying to change the world or anything - but it's a breezy, excitingA fun YA adventure/love story. It doesn't take itself too seriously - Cabot isn't trying to change the world or anything - but it's a breezy, exciting read. And I love her turn of phrase. Adolescent, but clever.
The plot follows Ellie and her friends as they unravel the mystery of their teenage, angst-filled lives - discovering they are actually reincarnations of characters from Arthurian legend. Guinevere, Mordred, Lancelot, etc... It's a fun little puzzle. And a couple of Cabot's plot points actually took me by surprise, which is hard to do.
Each chapter begins with a quote from Tennyson's poem "The Lady of Shalot." So as a literary bonus, I found the complete poem online and read it. Which got me on a poetry kick... and now I can't get enough! I swallow a poem or two every day. Delicious! So for that reason alone, I tip my hat to Meg Cabot. She won't win the Pulitzer or anything - but the woman knows how to entertain. I'll definitely be reading more of her in the future.
Nancy practically had kittens right there on the phone.
Stacy: "Wish I had a friend that hot. And nice. And smart. And funny." Liz: "What about me? I'm hot, nice, smart and funny." Stacy: "Yeah, but I don't want to stick my tongue in your mouth."
There was about as much chance of the three of us strutting around in our swimsuits in front of the cheerleading squad as there was of a giant meteorite plummeting from the sky and incinerating them. Not that I was wishing this would happen. Much.
This book freaked. me. out. You know - in that "praying you can forget it long enough to fall asleep" kind of way. Seriously - if Hayden handed the maThis book freaked. me. out. You know - in that "praying you can forget it long enough to fall asleep" kind of way. Seriously - if Hayden handed the manuscript to Stephen King and asked him to make it more disturbing, there wouldn't be a clown-wig-wearing, pig-blood-showering thing he could do about it.
The craziest part is - it isn't a horror book. Well, I guess it sort of is. It's a horror book slash murder mystery with the undertones of a thriller that's driven by the special interest story of a child psychologist teaching elementary school. The only thing that could make it crazier would be if I told you it's a true story.
Also - it's a true story.
The plot follows psychologist Torey Hayden (the author) as she unravels damage done to 7-year-old Jadie, then fights to rescue her from the worst nightmare you can imagine. Best case scenario - she's being sexually abused. Worst case scenario - she's being sexually abused by the members of a Satanic cult (probably her parents), has been forced to ritualistically slaughter animals to drink their blood, and also witnessed the brutal murder of a young girl.
This is the first book I've read in one sitting in YEARS. Mostly because I'm an adult and a parent... so disappearing for 16 hours is generally frowned upon. Besides, I can usually tear myself away with a reminder of my responsibilities. Or if that fails - chocolate.
But I could hardly leave this book to PEE.
At first, it was the other-worldly prose that grabbed me. Hayden would be a gifted writer even if she WASN'T a gifted psychologist. Then I was glued to the book by my concern for Jadie and a desperate need for her to find safety. By about halfway through, I was just SO FREAKED OUT that I thought if I looked away I might find myself face-to-face with Freddy Krueger, Bloody Mary, or their even-more-terrifying illegitimate love child. I figured if I made it to the end, my mind could rest easy in a nice resolution.
BE WARNED NOW: THERE IS NO RESOLUTION. They never find out exactly what happened to the poor kid! So now I just walk through my life terrified that my babies will be kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a Satanic cult.
(SIDE NOTE: The colorful, profanity-ridden comments of 8-year-old Jeremiah are possibly the funniest things I've ever read in my life. The entire read is worth it, just for him.)
Jadie will haunt me until my last breath. Stories like this simply should not be true. EVER. Especially for children. Reading this book has completely disillusioned me on the inherent goodness of human beings. Now I'm terrified the guy in line at the grocery store behind me is a child-abusing Satanist who wants to drink my blood.
I'm putting myself on a strict recovery regimen of picture books and Disney movies.
What was going through my mind as I studied her was that she would have made an archetypal country-western singer. She had about her that powerful aura of hardbitten wisdom, the kind evidenced by women named Lurleen or Loretta...
"Help me," she was saying, almost sighing. "Help me, help me, help me..." Coming nearer and nearer until all that was visible on the screen was a mouth forming the same words over and over again. "Help me, help me, help me..." Then the monitor went blank. (Jadie)
"Sometimes what comes out is anger, because it's frustrating, because something's got to come out, and because feeling angry isn't as scary as feeling afraid." (Torey)
"Like I said, we aren't little girls. We're ghosts... I don't mind when it goes dark... Gotta be dark to be a ghost. But if it goes too dark before you get out, you can't do it. You can't get out of your body and you get shut in." (Jadie)
"I've probably lived a pretty sheltered life... But I can't say I'm not thankful for that. It's easier to believe in the good in people if you don't know all the bad." (Lucy)
"They say hurting's good. You get stronger, when you hurt. They make you strong, so you can kill people. If you don't like someone, they teach you how to make that person die." (Jadie)
"Because she's disturbed. Because I don't want to see a replay of the Salem witch hunt right here on my own turf. That's what that was, wasn't it? Hysterical children accusing innocent adults... These are PEOPLE, Torey. This is a FAMILY we're talking about here, and they're never going to be the same because of this. You and I and the police and everyone, we'll walk out of it. The Ekdahls won't. I'm scared shitless by this talk of witches and Satan and stuff, not because of what it is, but because of what it can do... I'm so frightened we're going to forget these are people and we're destroying them." (Arkie)
Certainly, I realize a clear-cut climax and resolution would make it a much better book. Unfortunately, it would also make it fiction. (Hayden explaining her lack of resolution in the epilogue)
I've learned more about how to improve my writing from this book than from any other reference, workshop or class. The pages drip gold! I particularlyI've learned more about how to improve my writing from this book than from any other reference, workshop or class. The pages drip gold! I particularly love the chapters on Adjectives/Adverbs, Viewpoint, and Showing Not Telling. And his epilogue is so inspiring that you'll want to commit it to memory!
Some examples (or rather "anti-examples" - since most are demonstrations of what NOT to do) are a bit over-the-top... but I've had to hang my head sheepishly more than once when I found a piece of my own writing at least as egregious. Every time I doubt a small bit of Lukeman's advice, I follow it anyway on sheer faith and make the necessary changes, only to find that--voila!--my writing improves. Noah Lukeman is a genius.
My relationship with this book is the most dysfunctional of any I have ever experienced. After the disaster of a film, I couldn't bring myself to pickMy relationship with this book is the most dysfunctional of any I have ever experienced. After the disaster of a film, I couldn't bring myself to pick it up for years. When I finally did, I laughed myself positively to tears--IN PUBLIC--reading chapter 1. I thought, "Gods, there has never been a more ingenious writer than Mr. Adams! He is the pinnacle of brilliance!!! I want to bear his crazy alien children!"
I literally do not remember a more orgasmic read.
Then I pick it up again... I kid you not, 2 days later... and all I can think is "Whaaa?" I keep checking the cover to make sure it's the same book. "Hmm... maybe he's not quite as brilliant as I thought. Uterus closed."
About a week later, I decide to give a try. And... GODLIKE BRILLIANCE!
I still can't explain it. But the cycle repeated itself no less than 15 or so times over the next two weeks. I hesitate to mark 3-stars, because I honestly didn't "like" this book. I love-hated it. So I officially give it 5-1 stars.
Here's how it breaks down to me:
BRILLIANT THINGS: Wit, wit, wit. Funny scientific names for things. Cheekiness. Uncanny ability to exploit the long-running joke. WIT!!!
WHA??? THINGS: Complete lack of plot. Seriously. Not even a through-line. Complete lack of point. Seriously. I dare you to find one.
So... I guess my enjoyment of this book really hinges on my current mood rather than any talent on the writer's part. Do I regret reading it? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Several of those 5-star, baby-bearing moments I will never forget.
Bottom line: READ THIS NOW if you enjoy completely non-sensical, British sci-fi humor (Are you listening, Doctor Whovians?). Side note: You will probably also have a grand time if you own a time machine and/or are currently on mind-altering drugs.
Meanwhile, I'm 95% sure I'm bipolar. Making shrink appointment now.
This planet has--or rather had--a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time... even the ones with digital watches.
He tried to make his eyes blaze fiercely, but they just wouldn't do it.
The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't. (probably my favorite analogy of all time)
The best way to get a drink out of a Vogon is to stick your finger down his throat, and the best way to irritate him is to feed his grandmother to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.
In fact there was only one species on the planet more intelligent than dolphins, and they spent a lot of their time in behavioral-research laboratories running around inside wheels and conducting frighteningly elegant and subtle experiments on man. The fact that once again man completely misinterpreted this relationship was entirely according to these creatures' plans.
"I'd far rather be happy than right any day." (Slartibartfast)
"I only have to talk to somebody and they begin to hate me. Even robots hate me. If you just ignore me I expect I shall probably go away." (Marvin, the chronically depressed robot)
Arthur let out a low groan. He was horrified to discover that the kick through hyperspace hadn't killed him.
An expression of deep worry and concern failed to cross either of Zaphod's faces.
Arthur slapped his arms about himself to try and get his circulation a little more enthusiastic about its job.
His face was thin and distinguished, careworn but not unkind, the sort of face you would happily bank with.
Wow. This book is 100% breathtakingly awesome... as opposed to the HBO series, which is only about 75% breathtakingly awesome. (The other 25% is mostlWow. This book is 100% breathtakingly awesome... as opposed to the HBO series, which is only about 75% breathtakingly awesome. (The other 25% is mostly just an exercise in how much tedious pornography I can stomach.)
I didn't think I liked fantasy, but Martin has proved me wrong (as only Tolkien has before). There are so many things about his style that completely amaze me. His strong, simple ditties are so quotable that I'm having a hard time narrowing down my favorites for the end of this review. He's particularly gifted at dialogue. His characters - especially his women, surprisingly - are pretty much all my best friends or worst enemies now; I know them so well. I also greatly admire his willingness to kill off his characters - even his MAIN characters - in service of the story. (Though if Syrio Forel is really dead, I'm super-pissed!) Above all, like my other favorite authors, he has the skill to be a great big show-off, but instead he chooses to get out of his own way and let the story lead. Which brings me to my burning question...
WHY CAN'T HE DO THAT WITH THE MINI-SERIES?
He's credited as a producer on the HBO series. He obviously knows the precepts of good storytelling. Then why, every time that I am completely engrossed in the world of the characters, aching for the next frame... am I suddenly yanked out by the image of two people going at it like rabbits, loose flesh flailing about? Don't get me wrong - I'm not much of a prude. But it's DISTRACTING... not sexy or engaging. Is it offensive, crude, unnecessary? Sure - but these are all forgivable. The cardinal sin is that it's BORING. It's just bad storytelling.
Somewhere in the second season, it got to be too much for me. I'd be fully invested in the story... then boom! - unnecessary flapping boobies. Usually I just rolled my eyes and went to the refrigerator for a snack... but eventually the snack breaks were occurring so often that I realized I'd either have to give up the series or embrace my impending obesity. I chose the former.
"But, Meg... it's so visceral and REAL. So true to life." I agree! So is watching someone grunt and sweat on the crapper fighting constipation... but I don't want to watch that for 10 hours, either.
Bottom line - read the book! It's all the best parts, minus all the gratuitously ridiculous. And it's storytelling at its finest.
Long live Daenerys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons!
"The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword." (Eddard Stark)
"I vowed to kill Rhaegar for what he did to her." "You did," Ned reminded him. "Only once," Robert said bitterly.
"Let me give you some counsel, bastard. Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you." (Tyrion Lannister)
"King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind... and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge. That's why I read so much." (Tyrion Lannister)
It was no use. He had no choice, he had told her, and then he left, choosing.
Every flight begins with a fall, the crow said.
"You make us look bad," complained Toad. "You looked bad before I ever met you," Jon told him.
"We all need to be mocked from time to time, Lord Mormont, lest we start to take ourselves too seriously." (Tyrion Lannister)
"Know the men who follow you, and let them know you. Don't ask your men to die for a stranger." (Catelyn Stark to her son, Robb)
"I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things." (Tyrion Lannister)
"Only a man who's been burned knows what hell is truly like." (The Hound)
"Every hurt is a lesson, and every lesson makes you better." (Syrio Forel)
"You rule like a man dancing on rotten ice. I daresay you will make a noble splash. I believe I heard the first crack this morning." (Littlefinger to Eddard Stark)
"King Robert is gone. The gods give him rest." "No," Ned answered. "He hated rest. The gods give him love and laughter, and the joy of righteous battle."
"Opening your eyes is all that is needing. The heart lies and the head plays tricks with us, but the eyes see true." (Syrio Forel)
"The man who fears losing has already lost." (Syrio Forel)
"Your father is not fearless. He is brave, but that is very different." (Catelyn Stark to her son, Robb)
"The High Septon once told me that as we sin, so do we suffer. If that's true, Lord Eddard, tell me... why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones?" (Lord Varys)
Some truths did not bear saying, and some lies were necessary.
"What is honor compared to a woman's love?... Wind and words. We are human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy." (Maester Aemon)
"I am the dragon's daughter, and I swear to you, these men will die screaming." (Daenerys Targaryen)
"A man who sees nothing has no use for his eyes. Cut them out and give them to your next outrider. Tell him you hope that four eyes might see better than two... and if not, the man after him will have six." (The Mountain)
"Honor set you on the kingsroad... and honor brought you back." "My friends brought me back," Jon said. "Did I say it was your honor?"
THE OATH OF THE NIGHT'S WATCHMEN (I love the poetry in it!): Hear my words, and bear witness to my vow. Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.
What a fun book! I read this aloud to the kiddos on my 11-year-old son's recommendation. We all had a really good time - male and female, young and olWhat a fun book! I read this aloud to the kiddos on my 11-year-old son's recommendation. We all had a really good time - male and female, young and old. (I just called myself "old." Sad face.)
This is now #2 on my list of "Favorite Adolescent Series." It pulls out decidedly ahead of Percy Jackson... but, of course, inevitably behind the ubiquitous Harry Potter. Evans excels at writing in character voice - believably, and often hilariously, covering every role imaginable from evil mastermind to junior high cheerleader. Even my husband sat in on a few reading sessions, laughing aloud with the rest of us.
I also enjoyed Evans's world of junior high superheroes with electrical powers. Aside from being just a flat-out good time, the series has the virtue of demonstrating admirable characters who are making those everyday heroic decision... like standing up to a bully. Evans moves effortlessly between third-person and first-person viewpoints without seeming choppy or disjointed. And anything that gets my 11-year-old to obsessively read for days on end is always gonna be top-shelf for me, literally and figuratively.
Going through Harry Potter withdrawals? READ THIS.
"Remember, history is made by those willing to tear up the last mapmaker's map. Make history, Michael." (evil Dr. Hatch)
I was filled with gratitude for my unseen friends and I learned that harboring an emotion as powerful as gratitude has power of its own. ...more
Most of you just aren't nerdy enough to love this book as much as I do. (Sorry. And also, congratulations.) Only true bibliophiles get a kick out of rMost of you just aren't nerdy enough to love this book as much as I do. (Sorry. And also, congratulations.) Only true bibliophiles get a kick out of reading books about... reading books.
This entire work is a collection of essays from one author on the art of reading, focused primarily on her individual experiences with books themselves. If walking into Barnes & Noble with money to spend feels better than Christmas morning, if one of your children is named after your favorite Dickens or Austen character, if you've ever read your vacuum cleaner's manual because no other new reading material was available - then you are a true nerd. Like me. And this book is for you!
Fadiman is smart. And I mean WICKED smart. I started a list of words she used that I had no friggin' clue what they meant, and I almost hit 100 by the end of the book. Now I consider myself a fairly well-read little pedant (or at least a pedant-wanna-be), so that's saying something. I mean, try these out for size: ptarmigan, goetic, palimpsests, frisson, fascicles, lucubrations, vinelepty... (I'm kidding about that last one - I actually just made it up myself. But you didn't know that, did you? See! She's wicked smart!) In fact, I made it a life goal to re-read her every few years, just to keep myself humble.
There are actually several reasons to read this book - aside from the vocab lesson. I laughed out loud OFTEN. I didn't even realize I was doing it until my kids kept asking me what was so funny. Mostly, I just felt like I'd found a kindred spirit - particularly when she talked about writing soulless poetry, the inevitability of plagiarism, and her sympathy for those of us who NEED to grammatically correct others ("Alas, there is no twelve-step program for us"). Coursing under every word Fadiman writes is an obsessive, almost-sensual love for words, language, and books themselves. I've never connected with an author so strongly before on a personal level. Fadiman is absolutely my even-more-nerdy-than-I, long-lost sister.
So, if you truly love books (or don't know what the word "soidisant" means), read on! Nerds of the world - UNITE!
This model of readers as consumers - one I have abetted in many a book review myself - neatly omits what I consider the heart of reading: not whether we wish to purchase a new book but how we maintain our connections with our old books, the ones we have lived with for years, the ones whose textures and colors and smells have become as familiar to us as our children's skin.
"I never slept with the boy, but... I've slept with the book many times." (the author's friend, on a past suitor who introduced her to Virgil)
Over the phone, "F" sounds like "S." All Fadimans have therefore learned to say, whenever we order anything, "F as in Frank." However, at least a quarter of the time, people think we have said, "S as in Srank."
When you read silently, only the writer performs. When you read aloud, the performance is collaborative. One partner provides the words, the other the rhythm.
When we started, I felt we were too busy to read Homer. Now I feel we are too busy not to read him.
If you do not sob your eyes out at the end of this book, there is a 70% chance that you don't actually have a soul. I can think of fewer things that IIf you do not sob your eyes out at the end of this book, there is a 70% chance that you don't actually have a soul. I can think of fewer things that I care LESS about than pets in general, dogs specifically, back-hill boyhood adventures, or raccoon hunting... yet Rawls is so amazingly gifted as a writer that I deeply connect with this story on an emotional level that I will never forget. I still don't understand how it happens!
My first tearful experience with this book probably occurred at age 10 - so it's no wonder I was a blubbering fool by the end... but explain to me why, when I finished reading it to my kids last night, I literally had to stop three times in the last two chapters because my tears prevented me from even reading the words. THAT is brilliant writing.
If you've not yet read this book - or if it's been a few years - time to pick it up again. I laughed and cried with Billy from page #1 - as he slaved away in the blackberry patches, desperately trying to earn the money for his hunting hounds... as he fought off bullies who mocked his poverty... as he trained those two sweet pups to become the greatest hunting dogs in all of Texas... as he... well... you remember the ending. If not - grab a box of tissues.
Such simplistic, beautiful, engaging writing! My hats off to Rawls... I will feel like an accomplished human being if I ever feel as passionately about anything as he did about these characters and this story - let alone if I am able to communicate it in mere words.
"Good-bye, old fellow. Good luck, and good hunting!" (Billy to the dog he finds in an alley)
My heart started acting like a drunk grasshopper.
"If a man's word isn't any good, he's no good himself." (Papa)
"People have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. One never knows what they'll do. You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don't. I may be wrong, but I call it love--the deepest kind of love. It's a shame that people all over the world can't have that kind of love in their hearts. There would be no wars, slaughter, or murder; no greed or selfishness. It would be the kind of world that God wants us to have--a wonderful world." (Mr. Kyle)
"It's in his blood, Billy. He's a hunting hound, and the best one I ever saw. He only has two loves--you and hunting. That's all he knows." (Papa, about Old Dan)
"Mama... do you think God made a heaven for all good dogs?... Do you think he made a place for dogs to hunt? You know--just like we have here on our place--with mountains, and sycamore trees, rivers and cornfields, and old rail fences? Do you think He did?" (Billy)...more
The first half of this book is a weak 2 stars - but it picks up to 4+ after that point, so rating it is really confusing. One thing's for sure, thoughThe first half of this book is a weak 2 stars - but it picks up to 4+ after that point, so rating it is really confusing. One thing's for sure, though - Robin Hood is the LEAST interesting character. Not to mention the worst archer in the group. Which is easily one of my favorite parts about it.
To me, the book demonstrates the reality of a legend like Robin. Most iconic characters in both history and fiction owe their legendary status to timing, luck, and a bunch of awesome friends.
This novel is obviously written by a woman, because even the truly awesome male characters are saved by women at one point or another. Maid Marian is certainly three-quarters of the way up the cool-o-meter - but Cecily is tops for me!
Basically, pick this book up about halfway through (right around the archery contest) and you'll thank me. Up until that point it's mostly the day-to-day drudgery of trying to live in a forest... with Robin generally being a fuddy-duddy and worrying over his people like an old woman.
And PLEASE - if you want to read a Robin McKinley - pick up The Blue Sword! It's GOLDEN.
P.S. When did Friar Tuck get so cool???
Let us not gallop to meet future difficulties. A walking pace is enough. (Robin)
I have often been wrong, and whilst the training of the church has taught me to admit it, somehow I have never learnt not to be wrong in the first place. (Tuck)
I knew your father. A good man, as many say – not all, for if all called him good it would not be the truth. (Tuck to Robin)
It was common knowledge when I was a forester that I could hit the broad side of a barn only if it wasn’t walking away too quickly. (Robin)
It is her misfortune not to be stupid, and so her hatred is difficult for her. It twists in her hands and bites her. (Rita on Beatrix)
Tales are as much the necessary fabric of our lives as our bodies are. (Tuck)
Any lone man who can, with little more than stubbornness and a few ragged friends, set so much of my aristocracy in a rage, is a man I wish to put to my purposes. (King Richard)
RAEF'S REVIEW: I like it because there are parts in it that I don't understand. I think that's funny.
RAEF'S FAVORITE QUOTE: The Ares camper and the Hunter were trying to kill each other with a sword and a basketball.
MEG'S RATING: *****
MEG'S REVIEW: Book #3 kicked it up to full throttle again for me. There were lovely twists that I didn't see coming in more than one place - not to mention that the characters of Thalia and Zoe became my favorites of the series. The plot was tighter and the action more exciting than #1 - and, of course, Riordan's goofy wit is a constant.
MEG'S FAVORITE QUOTES:
I didn't know if it was possible to get stampeded underwater, but I didn't really want to find out. "It's cool. No sword. See? No sword. Calm thoughts. Sea grass. Mama cows. Vegetarianism." (Percy)
"Sometimes mortals can be more horrible than monsters." (Zoe)
The cafe windows wrapped all the way around the observation floor, which gave us a beautiful panoramic view of the skeletal army that had come to kill us.
"The most dangerous flaws are those which are good in moderation... Evil is easy to fight. Lack of wisdom... that is very hard indeed." (Athena)
LEAH'S REVIEW (age 6): It's cool because Tyson is always funny and goofy.
LEAH'S FAVORITE QUOTE: "Tantalus made a wild grabLEAH'S RATING (age 6): *****
LEAH'S REVIEW (age 6): It's cool because Tyson is always funny and goofy.
LEAH'S FAVORITE QUOTE: "Tantalus made a wild grab, but the marshmallow committed suicide, diving into the flames."
RAEF'S RATING (age 8): *****
RAEF'S REVIEW: I just like how it's the Greek gods. I think that's cool.
RAEF'S FAVORITE QUOTE: Tyson balled his fists and slammed them into the bull's face. "BAD COW!"
MEG'S RATING: ****
MEG'S REVIEW: I know, I know - I rated the first book in the series a 5-star, but this one is only 4? Paradoxically, it's every bit as good as the first book. It's just more of the same. Poor Riordan - like so many authors, you give me absolute genius from the get-go, and I impossibly expect more the second time around. That being said - this book is engaging and hilarious. I'm in for the long haul.
MEG'S FAVORITE QUOTES:
I could smell... that weird sour body odor only monsters have, like a skunk that's been living off Mexican food.
If I got caught I'd either get in big trouble or be eaten by the harpies.
A minute later Annabeth hit a slippery patch of moss and her foot slipped. Fortunately, she found something else to put it against. Unfortunately, that something was my face.
"Families are messy. Immortal families are eternally messy. Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we're related, for better or worse... and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum." (Hermes)
More of a character sketch than a story, really. Almost devoid of plot, in fact. Kohler's interpretation of Charlotte Bronte's life as she imagines anMore of a character sketch than a story, really. Almost devoid of plot, in fact. Kohler's interpretation of Charlotte Bronte's life as she imagines and writes her classic, Jane Eyre, feels contemplative and genuine. The pacing is somewhat slow, but little jewels here and there ring with whispered truth rather than dramatic impact. I enjoyed the glimpses at Bronte's life and that of her sisters - their struggles with employment (particularly as governesses), the heartbreaking story of caring for their addict brother, frequent disappointments in love and publishing - and how they translated their lives to their craft. In the novel (as in their individual writings), Emily actually grabbed me much more forcefully than her protagonist sister. Overall, this book is worthwhile, but will only receive a 5-star rating from those who are obsessed with either literature/writing in general or Jane Eyre and the Bronte sisters in particular.
He drinks the warmth of his daughter's breath as she leans over him, brushes lightly against his chest, straightens his sheets and blanket. He would like to say: "Lie down beside me. Warm me with your youth. Warm my dry, old flesh and bones."
"But writing cannot be regulated. It is like the cry of the wind or--some sort of electricity." (the Master)
He shines in the family firmament, whereas she glimmers palely, almost invisible, a moon shadow beside him. The moon to his sun, she shines only with his reflected light. (Charlotte of her brother)
Perhaps the best loved always suffers most.
"Read this, It's good news," she manages to say, feeling herself grow old. (Charlotte upon opening the letter that her sisters have been accepted and she rejected)
FAVORITE SECTION (on naming "Jane Eyre"):
It comes to her out of thin air. She is not sure if she has heard such a name. Was there someone she knew with that name? Does it come from the family arms she once saw in a church, or the river she knows well, the beautiful valley of the Ayre? Or is it a name that comes from air, perhaps, or fire? Fire and ire will be in the book: rage at the world as it is. Unfair! Unfair! Ire and eyer: she is the one who now sees in her father's place. She has become the voyeur, the observer. Plain Jane, Emily Jane, her beloved second sister's name, Jane, so close to Joan, brave Joan of Arc, Jane so close to Janet, Jeanette, little Jane. A name that conjures up duty and dullness, childhood and obedience, but also spirit and liberty, a sprite's name, a fairy's name, half spirit, half flesh, light in darkness, truth and hypocrisy, the name of one who sees: Jane Eyre.
LEAH'S REVIEW: I liked the pictures that the author's friend made. There are a little bit of funny parts, but it's a serioLEAH'S RATING (age 5): *****
LEAH'S REVIEW: I liked the pictures that the author's friend made. There are a little bit of funny parts, but it's a serious story.
LEAH'S FAVORITE QUOTE: Love, as we have already discussed, is a powerful, wonderful, ridiculous thing, capable of moving mountains. And spools of thread.
RAEF'S RATING (age 7): *
RAEF'S REVIEW: I didn't like it because I don't like stories like Dumbo and Despereaux where they have big ears when they are born.
RAEF'S FAVORITE QUOTE: Honestly, reader, what do you think the chances are of such a small mouse succeeding in his quest? Zip. Zero. Nada. Goose eggs.
MEG'S RATING: *****
MEG'S REVIEW: I'm not sure what my son has against this story (or, perhaps more disturbingly, against large-eared creatures) - but I found it to be the most charming little fable of a children's story I have ever read. I wonder if Kate DiCamillo is pissed to the nth degree about what a mess they made of her beautiful story when they adapted it for the screen. I would be. Sometimes when you expand a simple, beautiful fable into a film you get a deeper, more meaningful story. Sometimes you just muck it up. To me, the ridiculous movie adaptation clouded over everything DiCamillo said which was honest and touching. (And boy, I'd have paid money to be in on the meeting where the filmmakers decided to create Random Vegetable Man - jiggaWHAT?) But enough of that cinematic mistake... As for the BOOK - other than the fact that it seems inappropriately titled (Despereaux is only one of many characters who bring such color to this story, and actually I found him the least interesting when compared with the jadedly bitter rat Roscuro, the sadly humorous Miggory Sow, and the less-than-perfect Princess Pea who could even see darkness "in her own heart") - OTHER than the title - it is a nearly flawless work of art.
Bottom line - strong and complicated characters, engaging narrative voice, and touching themes all wrapped up in a beautifully simple fable. Other than you avid ear-haters, I just can't think of a single human who wouldn't adore DiCamillo's brilliant tale of light and darkness. And what, dear reader, is "light?" Stories.
I couldn't agree more.
Reader, you must know that an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform.
"Rodents know nothing of honor." (the King)
At least Lester had the decency to weep at his act of perfidy. Reader, do you know what "perfidy" means? I have a feeling you do, based on the little scene that has just unfolded here. But you should look up the word in your dictionary, just to be sure.
"But... I broke the rules for good reasons. Because of music. And because of love." (Despereaux)
Despereaux marveled at his own bravery. He admired his own defiance. And then, reader, he fainted.
"Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light." (Gregory to Despereaux)
There are those hearts, reader, that never mend again once they are broken. Or if they do mend, they heal themselves in a crooked and lopsided way...
"We are all too aware of the fact of what you are. A knife, however, cares nothing for the fact that you are royalty. And you will bleed, I assume, just like any other human." (Roscuro to Princess Pea)
Reader, nothing is sweeter in this sad world than the sound of someone you love calling your name. Nothing.