"Winter" completes the story begun in "Cinder." It tells the tale of Winter, the young beauty hated by her stepmother, the queen. By this book, though"Winter" completes the story begun in "Cinder." It tells the tale of Winter, the young beauty hated by her stepmother, the queen. By this book, though, the action has to be split between all the main characters, so Winter doesn't get as much story-focus as Cinder or Scarlet did. Meyers handles that well in her characterization of Winter. She also brings the story to a satisfying conclusion. Overall, it is a fun series....more
"Cress" continues the story of Cinder, the cyborg princess who is striving to protect the earth from an evil queen. It also brings in the story of Cre"Cress" continues the story of Cinder, the cyborg princess who is striving to protect the earth from an evil queen. It also brings in the story of Cress, a young women who has been imprisoned in a satellite for seven years. Like the books before it, "Cress" is a fun read....more
"Scarlet" continues the story started in "Cinder" while introducing another storyline, that of Scarlet and her effort to rescue her kidnapped grandmot"Scarlet" continues the story started in "Cinder" while introducing another storyline, that of Scarlet and her effort to rescue her kidnapped grandmother. The character Scarlet is an odd combination of uncertainty and anger. She felt like two different characters. Her uncertainty toward Wolf, and at times her grandmother, conflicted with her anger. Still, it is a fun story despite the flaws in Scarlet's character.
Note: Scarlet's character evened out in the third and fourth books. I suspect Meyers was struggling to add romantic tension where it didn't really fit the character....more
I only read J.R.R. Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy-Stories” and not the editor's commentary. Tolkien's essay is quite enjoyable and offers insight into bothI only read J.R.R. Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy-Stories” and not the editor's commentary. Tolkien's essay is quite enjoyable and offers insight into both language and fairy tales.
What are fairy-stories? What is their origin? What is the use of them? are the questions Tolkien considers in his essay. He defines a fairy-story as “one which touches on or uses Faërie, whatever its own main purpose may be: satire, adventure, morality, fantasy. Faërie itself may perhaps most nearly be translated by Magic,” although Tolkien clarifies that this is a creative magic rather than a manipulative magic.
In an insightful section on origins, Tolkien considers how fairy tales, language, and thought all appear to have common origins. As soon as the mind recognizes that grass is green, it creates an adjective describing the grass (language) and the possibility that the grass might not be green (fairy tale). Fairy tales arise as people consider alternative possibilities to the world around them.
The value of fairy stories, in addition to the benefits derived from any story, is the creation of new worlds, the way they help people see the world afresh, the temporary escape they offer from life’s cares, and the “consolation of a happy ending.” It is this last point, the “glimpse of joy,” that Tolkien says makes fairy tales remarkable. He marvels that God appears to have used people’s inclination to create fairy tales to tell the greatest fairy tale, the Christian’s good news of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection. The wonderful news is that God’s fairy tale is true!...more
The experiment C. S. Lewis proposes in "An Experiment in Criticism" is that books be judged by how people read them rather than readers judged by theThe experiment C. S. Lewis proposes in "An Experiment in Criticism" is that books be judged by how people read them rather than readers judged by the books they read. Lewis first groups readers into two groups: the literary and non-literary. Literary readers and non-literary readers approach books in two different ways so it cannot be said that they like books in the same way. Literary readers, as Lewis defines them, are not those who read a lot of books but those with a whole-hearted appreciation of books. Those who appreciate books are comparable to those who appreciate art or music. But, like art and music, some people use books for the sentiments they produce. Such people “use” books rather than “receive” books. They read for the happenings of the story rather than enjoying the clarity of the descriptions or the sound of the words.
Lewis also shares his thoughts on myths and fantasies. Lewis describes myths as simple stories that feel inevitable. Because of their simplicity, the reading of myths can seem non-literary, but Lewis believes it is extra-literary. Fantasies are often dismissed by those who classify readers by the books they read, but Lewis believes that most unliterary readers do not appreciate fantasies because it is more difficult to imagine oneself in the story, thus making the book more difficult to “use.” Lewis saw the tendency of his time to be toward realistic content.
A common mistake of both literary and non-literary readers is to seek news or knowledge from literature. Lewis believes that literature should first be admired for its creation; it should be appreciated as a creative art. So, good reading will receive the book for what it is, enjoying its words and being open to the experience. A good book, then, is a book that can be read well.
Judging books in this way makes it harder to condemn a book because the reports of those who enjoy it must be thoughtfully considered. Still, there will be those who judge books based on their moral merit. Lewis fears that such judgments discourage readers more than protect society. He believes that the good in reading comes from experiencing the creation as another made it, even if we disagree with it.
As usual, Lewis presents a well-thought and well-written argument for his case, but I am not sure that I totally agree with him, but then I am not sure that I match his intended audience. By Lewis’s definition I appear to be more of a non-literary reader than a literary reader! ...more
"The Two Towers" continues the story of Frodo, Sam, Aragorn and the others as they seek to destroy the ring and save Middle Earth. I particularly enjo"The Two Towers" continues the story of Frodo, Sam, Aragorn and the others as they seek to destroy the ring and save Middle Earth. I particularly enjoyed the friendship between Gimli and Legolas, the deliberateness of Treebeard, and the wisdom of Faramir....more
Vinegar Girl is a modern update of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. This seems to me a difficult story to modernize. What would Katherine look likeVinegar Girl is a modern update of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. This seems to me a difficult story to modernize. What would Katherine look like in today's society, and how would one "tame" her? I found the book a quick read but mainly because I was curious to see how Tyler would deal with my questions since I was already familiar with the story (albeit through the musical Kiss Me, Kate more than from Shakespeare himself). I enjoyed her take on the story and the insights Katherine gained. Overall, it was a pleasing story. Caution: some language....more
Cinder is a cyborg in a futuristic New Beijing who finds herself in a situation similar to Cinderella, unloved by her adoptive family but of interestCinder is a cyborg in a futuristic New Beijing who finds herself in a situation similar to Cinderella, unloved by her adoptive family but of interest to the handsome prince. Her story makes for fun, quick reading although the book doesn't come to a tidy ending. Does Cinder end up with the prince? I guess I need to finish the series to find out....more