"The Handmaid's Tale" is a very chilling book about a dystopian society. If we look back at the atrocities and genocides that have happened in reality"The Handmaid's Tale" is a very chilling book about a dystopian society. If we look back at the atrocities and genocides that have happened in reality, Margaret Atwood's novel has a scary ring of truth to it. It was hard to get into the book at first, but then I could not put it down as she drew me in....more
At the annual ceremony, in a fictional community in the future, each twelve year old is given a life assignment by the Elders. Jonas is given a speciaAt the annual ceremony, in a fictional community in the future, each twelve year old is given a life assignment by the Elders. Jonas is given a special assignment to be trained by the Giver to be the new Receiver of memories, both good and bad, for the community so that everyone else lives in a calm environment.
He finds out dark secrets about his idealized community that lead him to make a difficult decision about his life where he shows true caring for someone else.
This is a wonderfully written book for young adults, a Newbery Award winner, that also can be enjoyed by adults. There is a lot of food for thought in this book which could lead to good discussions in the classroom....more
Shelley, a young widow devastated by her husband's death, gets a surprise one morning. Paolo, a man resembling her husband Max, shows up at her door aShelley, a young widow devastated by her husband's death, gets a surprise one morning. Paolo, a man resembling her husband Max, shows up at her door and claims to be Max's grandson. He also says that Max is alive. He shows her pictures of Max, a man who never seemed to age through Paolo's childhood.
Shelley and Paolo jet across the world to the Phillipines to find Max. During the flight, Shelley tells Paolo the stories told to her by Max during a European tour that he led, and begins to realize why Max has such an intimate knowledge of events that happened through the centuries.
The book is a mixture of romance, history, adventure, fables, and magic. The story started out a little slowly, but then became very creative and magical. It leaves us with the question of whether immortality and eternal love exist....more
Chip Linton was piloting a commercial plane in Vermont when both his engines failed, forcing him to make an emergency landing on Lake Champlain. MonthChip Linton was piloting a commercial plane in Vermont when both his engines failed, forcing him to make an emergency landing on Lake Champlain. Months later, his wife and twin daughters move with Chip to an islolated, old, Victorian house in New Hampshire, hoping a new locale will help Chip recover from the post traumatic stress of the disastrous landing.
The small town has many herbalists that seem very interested in the family, especially the twin girls. They bring the family desserts filled with unknown herbs. Are they friendly neighbors or are they witches? Chip seems to be acting stranger and scarier every day.
The book starts out a little slowly. Then the psychological thriller picks up pace in the second half, and ties up the story threads in an ending that was a bit unexpected....more
A child makes some wishes that end in tragic events, and reacts by keeping people at an emotional distance. As a young woman, she again makes a wish wA child makes some wishes that end in tragic events, and reacts by keeping people at an emotional distance. As a young woman, she again makes a wish without really thinking about it, and she is struck by lightening in Florida. She feels icy inside and out, and everything that should be red is colorless. She meets another survivor of a lightening strike who is her complete opposite. He can set things on fire, and she can be burned by his touch. They each learn each other's secrets, and help each other move on emotionally.
Meanwhile, her brother Ned is hiding his own secret. As she helps him and her sister-in-law, the woman's icy interior melts while their bonds grow. This book is about magic, passion, and family bonds. The author expertly weaves reality and magic together to create an unusual, imaginative story....more
The Night Circus tells of the competition between two illusionists who have been trained to compete in a match where they don't know the rules or theThe Night Circus tells of the competition between two illusionists who have been trained to compete in a match where they don't know the rules or the outcome. When I turned through the first few pages of illustrations and saw that I was looking through the top of a black and white striped tent and seeing the night stars, I suspected this would be a special book. Le Cirque des Reves, the circus of dreams, is a magical place that arrives in a town without warning and operates during the night hours. The descriptions of the magical circus involve all the senses and transport the reader to an enchanted place.
The young illusionists, Marco and Celia, are used in a game of power between the two master magicians who trained them. But Marco and Celia complement each other so well that they fall in love as they grow older. They also discover that they are involved in a challenge to the death of the loser.
Except for a few instances when the author gets bogged down with description, the story line moved along. Erin Morgenstern was a fascinating storyteller, and I was sorry to leave this enchanted circus at the end of the book....more
The inept fairy Lucinda visited the crying baby, Ella, and her parents. Trying to help, she gave Ella the "gift" of obedience, and ordered her to stopThe inept fairy Lucinda visited the crying baby, Ella, and her parents. Trying to help, she gave Ella the "gift" of obedience, and ordered her to stop crying. The gift turned into a curse for Ella since anyone can give her an order and she would automatically obey it. This is a retelling of the Cinderella story with the wicked stepsisters, and a prince nicknamed Char. Ella is a humorous, spirited young girl who will keep the reader laughing, especially when she's "getting finished" at Finishing School or trying to outwit the stepsisters. It's no wonder Char found her entertaining and delightful. This is a charming, funny story for older children and young adults....more
I enjoyed this imaginative science fiction book written at a level for older children or young adults. It had a wonderful adventure through the galaxiI enjoyed this imaginative science fiction book written at a level for older children or young adults. It had a wonderful adventure through the galaxies and time, fighting against the forces of evil and conformity in favor of love and uniqueness....more
This enchanting book was one of my favorites from 2012 so I was happy to read it again for a book discussion. The Snow Child is a delightful combinatiThis enchanting book was one of my favorites from 2012 so I was happy to read it again for a book discussion. The Snow Child is a delightful combination of hard reality with the magic of a Russian folktale. Jack and Mabel are childless, older homesteaders in Alaska in 1920. The life is harder than they had visioned with the long, dark winters and short summers. But they have good, helpful neighbors and a deep love for each other that helps them through their first year in Alaska. When the snow first falls, they play in the snow like children, building a snow child which they decorate with a red scarf and gloves, and yellowed grass for the hair. In the morning, the show child is gone. But they occasionally see a little blond girl with a red hat and gloves lurking behind the trees in the following weeks. The illustrator, Alessandro Gottardo, has beautifully pictured her on the cover. She is a child of the wilderness that Jack and Mabel soon love like a daughter. Is she a real girl, or is she an imagined child that brings great joy to this childless couple? This is a beautiful tale about love, children, nature, resilience, helping others, and magic.
Cloud Atlas is a wonderfully creative book with six stories nested within each other like a group of nested Russian dolls. There are interconnectionsCloud Atlas is a wonderfully creative book with six stories nested within each other like a group of nested Russian dolls. There are interconnections between the stories, such as a character in one story reading a journal or letters written by a character in another story, or a birthmark in the same location on both characters. The stories take place in six different times from several hundred years in the past to hundred years in the future, then back again from the future to the past. Each story is told in a distinct voice, in a different style of writing, and occurs in a different setting. One character, Robert Frobisher, is a musician who composed "a sextet for overlapping soloists" which he named the "Cloud Atlas Sextet." The style of the musical composition parallels the way the six stories are intertwined.
A dominating theme in the book is the way the strong take advantage of the weak. Henry Goose, a charlatan posing as a doctor, said his law of survival was, "The weak are meat the strong do eat." But eventually greed, consumerism, and pollution change the world as we know it, and the world reverts to a pre-civilization society in the post-apocalyptic tale told by Zachery.
The book has a large cast of characters filling out the six stories so I would recommend reading it over a fairly short time frame so the reader does not forget the characters. Although I especially enjoyed the futuristic dystopian world of Sonmi-451 that the author created, I found that each story was impressive in its own way. Each story had an idealistic main character that was trying to fight against the way society preyed upon the disadvantaged. Reading Cloud Atlas was a unique and rewarding experience....more
This delightful book is narrated by Budo, the imaginary friend of Max Delaney. Eight-year-old Max has a hard time interacting with other people sinceThis delightful book is narrated by Budo, the imaginary friend of Max Delaney. Eight-year-old Max has a hard time interacting with other people since he's on the autistic spectrum, but he's helped by Budo's good advice and love. Budo is a very observant, smart imaginary friend who has plenty of time to watch humans interact since he doesn't have to sleep. When Max has to escape from a frightful situation, Budo rises to the occasion to help Max figure out what to do.
I enjoyed this engaging book. The pages are filled with wisdom about human nature, childhood, courage, and caring for others....more
This is a wonderful fantasy involving a strange bookstore in San Francisco that has almost no customers. Clay Jannon, an out-of-work web designer, getThis is a wonderful fantasy involving a strange bookstore in San Francisco that has almost no customers. Clay Jannon, an out-of-work web designer, gets hired by Mr Penumbra as a night clerk. The same few people frequent the store repeatedly searching out strange books. Clay and his friends are intrigued by the secret behind Mr Penumbra's bookstore.
The book is an intersection between Google decoders in the new world of Information Technology, and the old world of Fifteenth Century printmaking. It's a story about friendship, creativity, challenges, and goals. Best of all, the book is a lot of geeky fun!...more