I always enjoy Lackey's "Elemental Masters" books, and this was no exception. Based slightly on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves," "The Serpent's Sha...moreI always enjoy Lackey's "Elemental Masters" books, and this was no exception. Based slightly on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves," "The Serpent's Shadow" is the story of Maya, an orphaned Indian half-caste woman living in Edwardian London. She has seven pets who are more than they seem, and who help protect her in her work as a physician in the local charity clinics.
Maya is also an untrained, but instinctive, Earth Master -- who is aided and eventually trained by Captain Peter Scott, a retired Naval officer and Water Master -- who uses sympathetic magic for part of her healing.
Maya's enemy? An angry and jealous aunt who is a devotee of Kali the Destroyer. Magic battles abound, intertwined with a well-researched tale about life for women, physicians, and the lower classes in London during the early part of the 20th century. Highly recommended.(less)
If you like urban fantasy, you just can't go wrong with one of Charles deLint's Newford novels. In Newford, you never know what will happen.
Imogene is...moreIf you like urban fantasy, you just can't go wrong with one of Charles deLint's Newford novels. In Newford, you never know what will happen.
Imogene is the new girl at school and something of an outsider. She befriends another outsider, Maxine, who seems to be her polar opposite in temperament (studious, conservative). What the two of them find is that they counterbalance one another in positive ways and they become fast friends.
Imogene discovers that she can see a ghost, Adrian, who has haunted the school for a while. When Adrian tells her that there are fairies living in the school as well, that is a little much for her to believe. So, he asks the fairies to help her believe, and they do.
As is often the case in which the Unseelie agree to do something, things do not go well. The first thing that happens is Imogene's imaginary friend from childhood appears to her ... and the adventures begin.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and did not want to put it down until I finished.(less)
"I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" is the author's fictionalized account of her three-year inpatient treatment for schizophrenia during the early 19...more"I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" is the author's fictionalized account of her three-year inpatient treatment for schizophrenia during the early 1950s. At that time, the mental health industry was not so focused on pharmaceuticals as it is today, so we get an inside look at the therapies employed (ranging from cold pack restraints to talking with a psychiatrist).
In the person of narrator Deborah, Greenberg shows what schizophrenia looks like from the inside, with her clear division of Earth from Yr (her internal landscape, with its own language and social mores) and how her breakdown began. In a time of strong anti-Semitic sentiment, Deborah is often the only Jewish girl in her school, her summer camp, etc. She is pressured by her parents to always be perfect in appearance, manners and intellect ... and eventually has a breakdown that can be directly traced to both of those issues.
We also see other patients in varying degrees of illness. One of the things that Greenberg acknowledges is that her parents were able to pay for the best of care and not all in her circumstances were so fortunate.
With the help of a sympathetic therapist, Greenberg is able to understand how Yr is her coping mechanism for when life in society is too much for her. Ultimately, she is able to reintegrate into society.
For every memoir that talks about the horrors of mental health treatment, there is its opposite number. So much depends upon the fortunes of the patient. This book was quite interesting as a look at the positives of non-pharma treatment.(less)
Had this book not been assigned to me for a course, I most likely would not have picked it up. And that, my friends, would be a sorrow and a pity; I w...moreHad this book not been assigned to me for a course, I most likely would not have picked it up. And that, my friends, would be a sorrow and a pity; I would have missed out on something brilliant.
Author Jane Alison has created one of the most lyrical novels I've ever read. Her book imagines Ovid as he writes his "Medea" (only two lines of which survive), inspired by two women in his life: Xenia and Julia.
One of the things I found most interesting about this book is how little dialogue was used. Alison shows us what the three main characters are thinking and feeling, while creating an impression that they seldom speak about those feelings or the decisions that result from them. From the moment Ovid meets Xenia in the Caucasus to the time that they part company, we have a picture of Ovid's Rome (and Xenia's disturbing visions of its future), with all of the politics and violence that were at play during his time. We also see three people steeped in their own needs and not caring that they use others around them as pawns.
The prose in this book is nothing short of gorgeous. Fans of literary and historical fiction will both find much to like here.(less)
Grandin uses her unique ability as an autistic woman to see things from the perspective of animals. Her humor and knowledge shine through on the page as she talks about how animals learn and what motivates them. Not only does Grandin employ documentable science (the book contains numerous pages of endnotes), but she also shares entertaining anecdotes from her work in agriculture.
I particularly enjoyed the stories of animals who learned things not expected of them, such as Alex the parrot. Alex had an extensive vocabulary, and was being taught the sounds various letters made by his owner. She used magnetic fridge letters in the process and he learned them phonetically. (view spoiler)[One day, when she was showing off his progress, he kept asking for his favored reward but was not receiving it. In frustration, he said "Want nut. Nuh. Uhh. Tuhh." No one expected that he would learn to spell. (hide spoiler)]
Grandin also talks about how animal's different thought processes can apply to people living with autism, such as herself. This book was very insightful on numerous levels and I highly recommend it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It's been a long time since I read a Stephen King novel, and I might not have read this one if it had not turned up on our office's paperback swap she...moreIt's been a long time since I read a Stephen King novel, and I might not have read this one if it had not turned up on our office's paperback swap shelf. I'd already seen the film, despite not being a Tom Hanks fan (so sue me), so I thought I knew the story.
As is so often the case, the book is significantly better than the film. This seems to be particularly true when it comes to Stephen King. There is so much subtle backstory that is lost in translation when creating screen plays.
Anyway, this is a first-person tale told from the perspective of Paul Edgecombe, the supervisor of Cold Mountain Penitentiary's death row in Georgia during the 1930s. He talks not only about his colleagues, but also about some of the prisoners -- John Coffey in particular. John is an African-American man accused of killing two Caucasian girls -- which is pretty much an "open-and-shut" case in the segregated South.
Over the course of time, Paul and his colleagues come to realize that John is more than what he appears to be (to say more would be to deliver spoilers).
This is an entertaining book about redemption, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.(less)