A near-perfect book. Simply told, funny, and loaded with a cast of characters only New York could sustain. The story and writing hold up, even 20 yearA near-perfect book. Simply told, funny, and loaded with a cast of characters only New York could sustain. The story and writing hold up, even 20 years later, and is one of those books that both children AND adults can enjoy....more
While the stories themselves are interesting, and the illustrations very evocative, the collection as a whole does not live up to the theme of "feminiWhile the stories themselves are interesting, and the illustrations very evocative, the collection as a whole does not live up to the theme of "feminist" folk tales. The common theme here are stories featuring females (mostly pretty young ladies). Some are brave, some are resourceful. Nearly ALL of them go through their adventures only to become happily married in the end, forever after.
There's my problem with it. Most of the stories end at the point of joyous marriage, just with all the regular "non-feminist" tales. What's the diff? One exceptional story is "Elsa and the Evil Wizard", in which a young lady ends up forcing a wizard to undo some of his wickedness. Also notable is "The Stars in the Sky", a fanciful tale about reaching the stars.
In my opinion, "The Husband Who Stayed at Home" is the most feminist tale in the book. In it, a man who believes he's getting the short end of the deal, exchanges household duties with his wife, and mayhem ensues. A parable for modern times. I would have liked to have read more stories like these, instead of ones in which women get rescued (by male/paternal characters) and end up married, as if that is really the goal....more
I used to love John Bellairs as a child, and had no idea he'd written so many titles! Until I went to the library boo sale and saw they were clearingI used to love John Bellairs as a child, and had no idea he'd written so many titles! Until I went to the library boo sale and saw they were clearing out his books. why? Not having enough moolah for the entire collection, I shelled out for two of the more promising titles, of which this is one.
Enjoyed it, must say. And though they story winds up with a "typical" happy ending, I sense that our protaganist, Anthoy Monday, will always lead a life of some hardship. Some people are just born into those sorts of families and situations. He's not perfect, of course, so this is also a good classroom / discussion book. Everyone is real enough, except perhaps the antagonist, Hugo Philpotts, who never veers from evil.
This is a good introduction to a great YA writer. And most of his books have covers drawn by Edward Gorey, which are awesome. There is a sequal to this book, which I don't have but will probably read soon....more
The only thing that could have been more amazing about this book is if it came with color illustrations and if my copy was brand new. As it is, this cThe only thing that could have been more amazing about this book is if it came with color illustrations and if my copy was brand new. As it is, this copy has been read quite often and is falling apart. As it should be.
I've never sat down to read any A.A. Milne before, so this was an especial treat. Milne is a poet and storyteller afte my own heart. His characters play nicely and fairly and they trust give and wander around making up songs and eating honey all day. I wish for everyone to have a small patch of the Hundred Acre Wood somewhere in their lives....more
**spoiler alert** I'm the sort of person who will give a book 100 pages before I throw it across the room in disgust. Because this reading was for Boo**spoiler alert** I'm the sort of person who will give a book 100 pages before I throw it across the room in disgust. Because this reading was for Book Group, I gave it 262 pages. I didn't throw it across the room--it wasn't worthy enough. Instead, it was quietly buried beneath other bedside reading.
Although I was intrigued by Death's narration, and thought that his particular style was telling of a more complex character than I got, I think he was not the best narrator for this story. I want to trust him, but I don't. He foretells too much of the essential actions, such that further reading is redundant. His news-flash-y bulletins are sometimes very effective, but mostly as annoying as a news flash bulletin. As far as I could tell, they served no literary purpose.
There are great parts of a book here, bound in a conceited, tiring narrative. Liesel's "story" altogether is great. Her friendships and heartache. All that about family and loss and survival is wonderfully believable.
But Death got in the way for me. It was a time of great business for him, so HOW ON EARTH could he have been on the sidelines, watching, knowing everything about Liesel. Or did he read about it all in Liesel's book? (which I admittedly did not encounter in my reading. I'm sure it comes later--way later.) Or is this some intrinsic quality of Death, that it knows all of our stories?
Our narrator admits that he does not understand all the ways of humans and even so, they fascinate him. Perhaps the bulletins in the narrative are a way for him to relay information that he himself does not understand, or feels unable to communicate to human readers. That is my only explanation for their use.
And because he seems to have a central role in this story, I greatly wanted to come to a better understanding of Death, through his telling of it. Until the point I stopped, I learned that Death synthesizes his experiences as moments of color (and sometimes texture). And that he is haunted by this story.
WHY? Why does he speak of "The Book Thief" as if she were "Billy the Kidd" or some other notorious gangster? How can a thief who steals only three books (I think) be called "prolific"? If he is the one and only Death, why choose this story to tell us, when so many other courageous and illuminating lifestories have also been untold?
AAaargh! The best parts in my reading for me, were two: when Liesel promised not to tell. And when the man with feathers for hair makes a book for her. ...more
Researching Ali, picked up this book at the latest library sale. We used to carry it at the bookstore I worked at. Written by his daughter, who assumeResearching Ali, picked up this book at the latest library sale. We used to carry it at the bookstore I worked at. Written by his daughter, who assumes we know who Ali is, what boxing is (and how it differs from fighting in general) and why his life is so "inspiring".
This book is about as cardboard as the covers binding it. Illustrations, when modeled after photographs, are pale comparison, and when original are vague and half-hearted.
The most redeeming part of this book is the timeline at the end that detail Ali's life 1942-1975.
I would have loved a more personl story, including family photographs. Oh well.
Anticipating this summer's movie version, I decided last week that I was going to read this before seeing the film. So my boyfriend bought me a $2 useAnticipating this summer's movie version, I decided last week that I was going to read this before seeing the film. So my boyfriend bought me a $2 used copy at the local bookstore.
And though I stayed up well through the night reading the entire book in one gulp, it was not because of the usual seductive traps: lyricism ( Ahab's Wife), dramatic passions ( Jane Eyre) or gripping plotlines ( The Golden Compass). Why? I wonder myself why I didn't put it down and get a full night's rest.
Here's the thing: I already know The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and its plotline, having read it once in the 5th grade and then last year watching the film on video. (It does top the old BBC/PBS series of yore, btw.) It had been, until this morning, the only C.S. Lewis book I had read. Not enough for me to have made any conjecture about the author or the series. It seemed everyone I knew loved the books as a child. Had I missed out somehow? I wanted to know what the fuss was about. And unlike the Lord of the Rings series by his colleague J.R.R. Tolkein, Lewis's books seemed lighter fare for the less fantastically leaning reader. And because I'd enjoyed the Harry Potter and His Dark Materials series both, I thought it was a sure bet. Besides, the movie looks pretty awesome.
I was taken somewhat by the opening of the book, in which the narrator gives a few paragraphs backstory and tells us to read the previous book to catch up. He does this a couple other times throughout.
Otherwise, the plot is fairly predictible and the children a bit cardboard. The wild creatures of the forest, even, seem to accept their king as King, simply because one of their cohorts said so. A bit unbelievable for characters in hiding for fear of death, don't you think? I do.
While I accept the mythic Aslan may have special powers and is seen as the Savior of the dark times in Narnia, just how did he convert those of little faith? Because he's a lion? Ferocious?
This here is the author's weak point. A fine example of telling vs. showing. The author relies on the reader's knowledge of the previous story and doesn't show that he cares whether you like his story enough to prove his characters have, well, character.
This is a story that could be wonderfully told. Abandonment, the return of great heros, the coming into one's birthright. All heavy universal themes. And if it wouldn't seem so sacreligious to say so, I'd suggest a better author write the story anew.
Given the darkness of YA books on the shelves these days, the readership ought be trusted with the blood and betrayal and bewilderment of such a journey. I wanted it, and kind of expected it.
It was neat to see themes from this book echoed in others I've read. That the later books were giving a nod to this story (author or series) by reworking them into their own stories.
If you're looking for something to get our preteen to read instead of play video games this summer. Give it a try.
I'm just rambling on now. This is the longest review I've written for a 2-star book and for those who stuck with it, thanks. Your comments would be appreciated.