Read about 200 pages before throwing aside in disgust. I started reading this because I had heard good things about Klassen. It started fine but I coulRead about 200 pages before throwing aside in disgust. I started reading this because I had heard good things about Klassen. It started fine but I could see that the romance was not going to please me; before I discarded the book, I checked to confirm what man of the possibilities presented in the beginning the main character chose. Well, I guess the guy she picked went through a major transformation in the latter half because what was presented at the beginning was someone totally unworthy and not at all herolike. I wish I had stopped earlier. ...more
Overall, I really enjoyed it (although I prefer football to the soccer described here!) I will try to summarize it although that may be a little hard.Overall, I really enjoyed it (although I prefer football to the soccer described here!) I will try to summarize it although that may be a little hard. Basically the wizards at the university have to play football in order to continue to receive a bequest. Unfortunately football is currently a dirty unregulated sport but the Tyrant of the city has plans to clean it up through the wizards. Trev Likely, a worker at the U and the son of a football legend, falls in love with Juliet, a gorgeous girl who roots for his team's rival. Glenda tries to look out for Juliet and becomes interested in Trev's mysterious coworker Nutt.
I was excited about the idea of a Romeo/Juliet love story which this isn't so much and I ended up really loving Nutt. He doesn't know exactly what he is (not human, dwarf nor troll) but he's exceeding erudite and polite. The wizards are mad fun and Death even pops by very briefly (wish there had been more of him but then again I didn't want any of the characters to die)
Overall: I would say 4 and say that it reminds me that I need to do a lot more reading of Discworld instead of being distracted by other books....more
This book is taking a closer look at the personal lives of the six most famous founding fathers, in particular their relationships to their wives andThis book is taking a closer look at the personal lives of the six most famous founding fathers, in particular their relationships to their wives and other important women in their lives. I'm not sure why the order of the sections is as it is (I think it should have started with Franklin as the oldest rather than Washington).
1. George Washington: it addresses the rumors of an affair with his friend's wife Sally Fairfax but concludes that GW was very happy with Martha. It was interesting to see how they welcomed all of their assorted relatives to their home and how she worked to maintain a pleasant home for him.
2. Benjamin Franklin: was married by common-law to Deborah (who was actually officially married to another man who had abandoned her) but during his time in London seemed to acquire another woman who acted as wife. I knew Franklin wasn't exactly big on propriety but I didn't realize the full extent of it. I also tend to think of him as an old, gout-ridden man so it was eye-opening to read about his younger self.
3. John Adams: I've always been fond of the Adamses. It was heartwarming to read about her support of him especially considering the tumultous relationships of the couples before and after them in this book. She was so essential to him and they had an amazing relationship sustained over long stretches of separation.
4. Alexander Hamilton: He was a real creep to his wife Elizabeth, what with his affair and subsequent humiliation for her. But after his death she devoted herself to preserving his memory and brilliance.
5. Thomas Jefferson: I was really creeped out by his daughter Martha's devotion to him. She was one of his few remaining relatives but she seemed to want to do everything for him even to the point of alienating her husband and possibly ignoring her children. And I felt too much time was spent on Sally Hemings. At some point, someone with Jefferson DNA raped her and caused her to have children. I don't really care if it was TJ or one of his nephews (as the author claims). There was too much time spent on this speculation for my taste. I also don't really like TJ, with his hypocrisy over liberty/slavery; championing states rights; denigrating the part women should play in politics; depletion of the army/navy under his low taxes so that America was left largely undefended; his insistence on small farmers in an agrarian society (not of course that he was a small farmer) in the face of Hamilton's support for a great industrial power (who won that battle?)
6. James Madison: He had an awesome wife (Dolley!) who was probably the most helpful of all the women mentioned here to helping Madison with his political career. And then after his death, she continued to champion his memory and legacy. She also joined forces with Hamilton's widow to help create the Washington Monument. My favorite part of this though was Madison's statement even as he dies that the Union was made indissoluble; as the writer of the Constitution, it is clear that there is NO basis for secession or the breaking up of the Union. (I'm studying the Civil War this semester so these thoughts are on my mind.)
Overall: 4.5/5 Definitely recommended to those who'd like to see a different side to the Founding Fathers....more
I was so excited about this book because it was set in college, very uncommon in YA. However it was so predictable that I just wanted to shake every cI was so excited about this book because it was set in college, very uncommon in YA. However it was so predictable that I just wanted to shake every character and tell them what was going to happen. Some funny bits though....more
I knew this was a very important book; apocryphally the book written by the little lady who started a big war. I knew it was a response to the (dreadfI knew this was a very important book; apocryphally the book written by the little lady who started a big war. I knew it was a response to the (dreadful) Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and that it sparked increased abolitionist feeling in the North. I knew about Eliza crossing the frozen river (The King and I) and about the evil Simon Legree. But there were still some surprises.
Firstly this is a melodramatic novel featuring very cardboard characters who represent specific types of the period. For example there is the evil slave owner (Legree); there is an angelic little girl (who made me think of Nell from The Old Curiosity Shop which I've never read but I've seen an adaptation); there is a slave owner who is conflicted about the system of slavery; there are Northern anti-slavery people who have slavery brought to their doorstep. Nothing that happens is particularly surprising and none of the characters have any depth or growth.
Secondly I just realized a plot might be helpful. Uncle Tom is a slave on a farm where he is about to be sold because his owner is profligate. A little boy named Harry is also about to be sold away from his mother Eliza. She is terrified about this prospect and so runs away, accumulating family and escaping to Canada along the way. Uncle Tom however submits to his fate and is first bought by an ambivalent slave owner who ends up dying before freeing him, leaving him to be sold to the vile Legree which leads to his death.
Some of the major parts of this book are evangelical fervor; pretty much every page has Christianity references and it can be overwhelming because even modern Christian novels I've read are not so steeped in my opinion. The morality of women and their ability to influence their husbands from their proper domestic sphere also occurs. Stowe's solution for post-abolition seems to be colonization of Liberia using ex-slaves as missionaries to spread Christianity which seems impractical to me and obviously did not end up happening. It is also interesting to look at her racial attitudes which are awful in our times but were actually among the most liberal for the 1850s! I read this for class and my professor called it "romantic racism" where Africans are recognized to have a soul but aren't as good as Anglo-Saxons.
It is also interesting how the use of Uncle Tom has changed. Now he is considered a subservient simpleminded slave but here he is actually very responsible and devoted to his Christian faith. When Legree demands Uncle Tom betray his slaves who have escaped, he refuses and is protected by his faith so that he dies secure in the knowledge of his betrayal. Actually the representation of Uncle Tom as bowing and scraping comes from ministrel shows where Stowe's story was twisted to actually promote slavery.
Overall: I'm very pleased that I've read this very important book now. While there are some crazy coincidences a la Dickens, they come together rather well. The only bad thing was the flowery language which meant I usually could only read one chapter at a time with lots of breaks. So I will rate this 4/5 and recommend it....more
Looks at the Alice who inspired Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland from her childhood playing with him to the family's abrupt separation with him toLooks at the Alice who inspired Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland from her childhood playing with him to the family's abrupt separation with him to her adulthood with marriage and children. The time spent with Carroll hangs over her entire life in this book....more