I can feel a homeschooling project coming on, based around this book. Not that we have any of the grand old architecture here in New Zealand (being aI can feel a homeschooling project coming on, based around this book. Not that we have any of the grand old architecture here in New Zealand (being a country with less than 200 years of European habitation). Mind you, there's lots in this book to translate across, and the book doesn't miss out on the buildings of ordinary people or of cultures other than European.
So the grandchildren and I are going to look at building materials, and roof shapes, and windows, and doors, and colours and how they fit with the environment and change with the seasons and time of day, and what all these things about a building say to the people.
I've known of this book for ages but it never got onto my reading list. Last week, however, I was picking through some Reading Copies at work and deciI've known of this book for ages but it never got onto my reading list. Last week, however, I was picking through some Reading Copies at work and decided it was time. What a great story!
As the title suggests, this is about a night race to an island in the Auckland Harbour - "there's no wind so it'll be easy," says Dad. Right from the beginning the scene and the characters are setting the story up for disaster: Dad manipulates - he tells the children about the night race before he suggests it to Mum; the older girl (Sam, aged 12) is getting to that critical age and finds fault with her mother all the time; Terry, the adult who crews with them, doesn't arrive (and Dad gets manipulative again). And there are the intimations that are ignored. So we, the readers, know that something bad is going to happen.
Excellent characters, excellent plot. I'm not sure that I'd have enjoyed it so much if I hadn't known a little bit about sailing... well, if I hadn't experienced quite a few summers on my boyfriend's family's yacht (way back in the 70s), though I'd have to have a conversation with somebody who is more ignorant than me and has read the book to see if that might matter. Certainly, everything is described really well, and perfectly within context (unlike another book I tried recently, but that's another story).
As an aside, this is historical fiction for today's kids. Published in 1982 it's before mobile phones - I do think the time setting needs to be highlighted in new publications, otherwise young readers will spend half their time getting frustrated that no-one bothers to use their phones....more
I picked this off the shelf in the library the other day, when we were taking the kids on a 3-library trip (just for fun). I've occasionally toyed witI picked this off the shelf in the library the other day, when we were taking the kids on a 3-library trip (just for fun). I've occasionally toyed with the thought that I might learn Latin again when I retire (having done 4 years of it at school - way back), and that's exactly what this author did!
Ann Patty was an editor and publisher in her working life, and was a driven character. So when she retired she feared herself in danger of extreme boredom. What better thing to do than to take up Latin?! In this entertaining account she describes her learning the language, the people she learns with, and she ponders over her relationship with her mother.
It's a book that gives a lot of detail about the Latin but also ranges widely. I enjoyed it very much....more
I have read other accounts of what life was really like in convents so I wasn't surprised at anything in this 100-year-old autobiography. However, I wI have read other accounts of what life was really like in convents so I wasn't surprised at anything in this 100-year-old autobiography. However, I was still appalled by it. The author added her name to those attempting to have convents inspected by the government, and I imagine her book had some effect, though I'd have to research that properly.
Nowadays conditions are far better, though I don't doubt that the same petty stuff goes on. I studied with a nun not so long ago, and she let slip a few things about people in the community she was living in. I've also been deeply involved in church life and personally know the unscrupulous things others will do to get their own way. People are people. And unfortunately, a large majority of those who profess themselves 'followers of Christ', whether Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, etc. are as determined as any in the secular world to have their own agenda take precedence over what their spiritual beliefs encourage. I'm quite sure the same applies for any religions active in the world today.
And again I say . . . SO clever. And poignant. But that's part of Pratchett's cleverness - he mixes humour, the ridiculous, amazing scenic descriptionAnd again I say . . . SO clever. And poignant. But that's part of Pratchett's cleverness - he mixes humour, the ridiculous, amazing scenic descriptions, and pathos. Others have tried, but nobody does it as well as he.
Oh yes, this another online short short story....more
I grabbed this book off the Reading Copies shelf at work and didn't notice till just now that the author is the same who writes the Wings & Co serI grabbed this book off the Reading Copies shelf at work and didn't notice till just now that the author is the same who writes the Wings & Co series (Operation Bunny etc.). I've read only one of them so far but thought it was great. As also do I think this teen novel is.
AJ and his friends are teens in London. They've just finished their exams and AJ passed only one subject. But then he never attends school if he can help it. His mates Slim and Leon are both labelled as no-hopers and, as they say, have joined the lines of unemployables. AJ calls his mother the Red Reptile, she calls him 'a bloody waste of space'. You get the picture. But then AJ's mother gets him a job interview with a legal firm.
No, this book is not about a job in a legal firm - it's about youths making stupid mistakes, it's abut murder in the past, it's about greed, and most especially it's about time travel. Because AJ is told where to find a door that will take him from present-day London to 1830, and he's told that he must find the key and lock the door.
This has a great combination of modern issues and an excellent look at life nearly 200 years ago. I loved it....more
I noticed this book when doing a bit of a stocktake at the shop and it sounded quite interesting. But I got to 1/3 of the way through and still nothinI noticed this book when doing a bit of a stocktake at the shop and it sounded quite interesting. But I got to 1/3 of the way through and still nothing had happened. The blurb promises a shadowy stranger - there's an odd hint; the text suggests a sad past - no idea yet quite why it prompted a trip around Europe. These things haven't been part of the plot development, in fact there has been no plot development. It reads like someone's diary, that's all.
Also, the writing style is amateur - the sentences are really simple, like they're written for foreigners reading English. I used to teach English as a Second Language, and this is the style of the readers I'd give my students. There are proofing errors - 'complimented with a glass of red wine' instead of 'complemented'.
I was persevering, thinking there might possibly yet be something exciting happen with the 'shadowy figure', but gave up when I read this paragraph:
I enjoyed practising languages but it could be a bit confusing at ties. One day, we had been in Germany, the next in Switzerland and then in Italy. That was a lot of languages to remember even if it was only a few words. The other tricky part was that some of the word were quite similar in the different countries. Nevertheless this did not stop em trying. We licked our ice creams all the way back to the coach.
Okay, they had previously bought gelato, but that final sentence is not only completely unnecessary, but does not belong in that paragraph. Basic beginner's writing lessons cover paragraphing....more