Definitely one of the most challenging books I've read. I actually didn't understand all of it. Incredibly interesting stuff, though, and I learned aDefinitely one of the most challenging books I've read. I actually didn't understand all of it. Incredibly interesting stuff, though, and I learned a lot. (Hello, Mr. Emerson! Hello, Oliver Wendell Holmes!) And of course I love this pa...rt: "(Jane) Addams was a devotee of the most transcendental of the American Transcendentalists. (She is supposed to have competed for the privilege of scraping the mud off Bronson Alcott's boots when he visited . . . .)"...more
The Penderwick series keeps getting better. Point Mouette is the best yet. So much to like. The whole book is summer, free summer. My favorite scene iThe Penderwick series keeps getting better. Point Mouette is the best yet. So much to like. The whole book is summer, free summer. My favorite scene is the marshmallow roast on the beach. Could anything be more summerish than that?
And, ah, the characters. The Penderwick girls are refreshingly bright. They have interests, which is a quality I admire in anyone, fictional or not. Skye has her soccer and the universe. She thinks of black holes, black holes when her duties get too overwhelming. Jane is, of course, a kindred spirit with her books and daydreams. And the Firegod. Batty has her music and her Hound. Rosalind is off-stage for most of this installment, but the scene at the very end where Rosalind and Batty reunite is so wonderful (I cried).
The setting is strong throughout the story, the middle is good for lots of laughs, and the end brings the (happy) tears.
We all know of my major crush on one Mr. Holmes. And, after reading the first two collections of the original Doyle mysteries, the crush remains. TheWe all know of my major crush on one Mr. Holmes. And, after reading the first two collections of the original Doyle mysteries, the crush remains. The Holmes I love, though, is Laurie R. King's, where he is an older man in Sussex, dealing with WWI and the changes of the 1920s, as well as falling in love with his young assistant. I also know Holmes as the much older brother of Enola, in Nancy Springer's brilliant Enola Holmes mystery series.
Because I've read so much King and Springer, I was apprehensive about reading the "originals." What if I didn't like them? What if I found them dry? Well, I'm happy to report that they are not dry at all. They're terrific.
The world is a better place with Sherlock Holmes in it. At the end of "The Final Problem," Watson describes Holmes as, ". . . the best and the wisest man whom I have ever known." I'm most impressed with Holmes's sense of right and wrong and how he always carries the day.
Everything you hear about the Holmes stories is here: hansom cabs, London, fog, cozy Baker Street rooms. Ah, love it! My favorite story is "The Speckled Band." Creepy stuff. Definitely gothic.
All in all, excellent reading. Terrific plots, classic characters, and an all-time great setting. What makes it interesting, and in its way, better than King or Springer is that the Holmes stories were written in "real time." That was real life back then. Ah, back then. Just so....more
In her introduction Joan Aiken's daughter, Lizza, says, "Thanks to an extraordinarily wide range of reading in her early years, and her belief in theIn her introduction Joan Aiken's daughter, Lizza, says, "Thanks to an extraordinarily wide range of reading in her early years, and her belief in the benefits of a powerful imagination, Joan was prepared for almost anything. Brought up on a diet of Dickens, Dumas, Austen, and the Brontes, Kipling, Stevenson, Nesbitt, Trollope, Scott, Victor Hugo, and many, many more, she was equipped, like the hero of a myth, with the tools, or in her case, the imaginative power, to meet any contingency . . . ."
INDEED! I read several of these stories at nightfall. I'd finish a story, look up, and *poof* it would be dark outside. Each time, I'd get so engrossed in the story that time passed unnoticed. These stories are THAT good.
Although I really, really like them all, two stories are my special favorites. One is the title story: "The Serial Garden." Oh! The ending! The other is "The Ghostly Governess," where Harriet discovers Miss Allison, a Victorian era governess, haunting the house the Armitage family had taken "for August." The idea--a Victorian era governess teaching modern children Latin prepositions in the middle of the night--just thrills me.
The first Armitage story, "Yes, but Today is Tuesday" was sold to the BBC Children's Hour programme in 1944. All of the stories here have that 1940s-50s feel to them, and they are all splendid...more
Is Among Others my favorite book? Well, not sure about that--but it certainly is a contender. The narrator, Mori, is the kind of girl I am now. She'sIs Among Others my favorite book? Well, not sure about that--but it certainly is a contender. The narrator, Mori, is the kind of girl I am now. She's the kind of girl I wish I could have been back when I was 15--if I'd have had more guts. Mori says, "I normally read now in the early morning if I wake before the bell, for the three hours of compulsory games, during any boring classes, in prep after I've finished my prep, in the half-hour free time after prep, and for the half hour we're allowed in bed before lights out. So I'm getting through a couple of books most days." Now, that's good stuff.
Among Others also raises what I see as important questions about magic. I'm honestly not sure if magic is out there in the world. You know, it just might be. Did Mori use magic to make a karass? I think she did. But, I think all close relationships have a little magic sprinkled on them. How else is it even possible that people fall in "like" with each other. Even if Mori created the book club as a karass, who is to say that all relationships don't have a touch of magic in them. You're going about your life, then one day, one moment--enter stage left--is this person. This person, your close friend. And, really, if that isn't magic, what is?...more