The story in this book is excellent - a lad is on trial for his part in a robbery + murder, and we see it through his eyes. Small parts are written li...moreThe story in this book is excellent - a lad is on trial for his part in a robbery + murder, and we see it through his eyes. Small parts are written like a diary, but the majority of the book is written as a movie script that he composes along the way. Making films is something he has been working on at school, and is his passion.
While I have only given it 3 stars, I can see why it won the Printz Award (in 2000). It's hard-hitting in its dealing with truth and lies, and it's very relevant for young people. The format would also be very attractive, I imagine. It's different, and with very little narrative it would be quite easy to read for those who don't particularly like the task of reading. Personally, I didn't enjoy the format - I found it distracting.
Still, I recommend this book for young teens.(less)
This book (on Audio) was my travelling companion while journeying to and from a holiday destination - I listened to the first half and then thirteen d...moreThis book (on Audio) was my travelling companion while journeying to and from a holiday destination - I listened to the first half and then thirteen days later had the second half to accompany me. During the time in between it frequently came to mind, and when I started the homeward trip it felt like I'd only left off the day before. This is, I believe, indicative of how strongly the characters and story are written.
Bethia tells the story in this book. Her grandfather led a group to form a settlement on an island off the coast of Massachusetts, due mostly to disagreements over theological interpretation, especially where it comes to overly zealous punishments for sin. Of course, in the mid-17th century, beliefs were rigid. Bethia's father is the parson to the people, and makes it his goal to "save" as many of the local Indians as he can from their savage spiritual practices. Bethia herself is extremely intelligent, fights a quick temper (a great sin in a female of the time), and strives to make sense of the conflicts between her own experience, what her religion teaches, and what she believes deeply.
This is also a thoroughly researched tale of life in that time, before the large-scale slaughter of the native peoples and when there was still hope that peaceful coexistence might prevail. We see the difference between country life and the town (a disgusting cesspit of a place in this story); we see the appalling conditions that students suffered; we see the loveliness of a simple life and the natural dangers of the time. And this is all within the beautifully told story of families and friendship and love.(less)
I really enjoyed this book. It's fast and punchy - a fun mixture of cops-and-robbers, or rather American-detective, and fantasy, with the Knights Temp...moreI really enjoyed this book. It's fast and punchy - a fun mixture of cops-and-robbers, or rather American-detective, and fantasy, with the Knights Templar in the modern-day, and the eternal battle between good and evil. I really liked the way that the sub-story was worked in with the main plot, and the dead-pan narration is great.(less)
I am so totally embarrassed. I have heard of Katherine Mansfield (of course!, "our" New Zealand author; world-famous) since I was at school, and here...moreI am so totally embarrassed. I have heard of Katherine Mansfield (of course!, "our" New Zealand author; world-famous) since I was at school, and here am I reading her for the first time at age 50!!! (Actually, I'm 51 now, but it has been bedside reading for the last quite-a-few months, so I WAS 50 when I started reading her.)
She deserves all the accolades she gets. She's an absolute master of the English language and of showing people in all their habits and quirks and nicenesses and not. And how she takes us into the feelings of her characters!
I know why I took so long to read her - I envied her madly for her wonderful writing ability. Now I have devoured these stories I envy her even more, but I've added love to that (oh dear, am I sounding like some besotted "convert"?). I think the stories that touched me most were the ones of lonely people. So poignant. But I also loved the many set here in New Zealand, because even though they're a hundred years ago, the physical descriptions of the country and the sea and the wind (in Wellington!) and the plants .... well, I can see the scenes when they're NZ, whereas I can only imagine the English and French and German settings.(less)
The narrative is told by two voices - one is a young boy who becomes a wizard's apprentice, and the other is a demon....moreWhat a lot of fun this book is!
The narrative is told by two voices - one is a young boy who becomes a wizard's apprentice, and the other is a demon. The boy is determined to become a great wizard and, unknown to his master, races ahead with his studies. He also plots revenge.
In this world, wizards learn the rituals and summoning words and get their power by summoning demons to do their bidding, binding them to do so. The demons, of course, try every trickery in the book to befuddle or foil their 'masters' - our one's narrative is very funny. I also enjoyed all the historical references just thrown in - wars, betrayals, etc. which were all the result of demons acting for wizards and/or trying to best each other.
Lots of excitement, lots of laughter, and some intriguing plot arcs that are clearly going to lead into the next in the series. I must bump it well up my to-read list.(less)
My bookshelves have a range from horribly academic (theology, philosophy, literacy) through history, geography, humour, pop psychology, children's edu...moreMy bookshelves have a range from horribly academic (theology, philosophy, literacy) through history, geography, humour, pop psychology, children's education, mythology, craft, novels (literary through to trash), you-name-it, and Science Fiction and Fantasy. The latter two SF&F) also range from almost-literary to nearly-trash. Where does this book fit in?
Well, it's not literary and it wasn't a challenge to read, but it WAS FUN. Of course, I'm a consummate Star Trek fan, and it has to be a really badly written Star Trek novel for me to not enjoy it. This author has the characters done well, and the story has plenty of action and interesting aliens and it fits well with the whole Star Trek Universe.
My son gave me this book for my birthday. I shall have to find the sequel now!(less)
My son gave me this for Christmas a few years ago and I read it then - what a thriller! I'm culling right now, and almost kept it - but who's got time...moreMy son gave me this for Christmas a few years ago and I read it then - what a thriller! I'm culling right now, and almost kept it - but who's got time to read books over again?! So, I've just now glanced at a few pages in the middle and read the last two chapters. Yes! I'm ready for number 2 in the series.(less)
Bill Bryson never fails to entertain. This book is everything it promised to be. What a pleasure to walk with him through the wilds and observe the to...moreBill Bryson never fails to entertain. This book is everything it promised to be. What a pleasure to walk with him through the wilds and observe the towns that live in the wilds.(less)
This book was written 20 years ago (oh, how peculiar that feels to say - my first thought was, "1991 - Oh, that's not long ago!" lol (at least I'm wit...moreThis book was written 20 years ago (oh, how peculiar that feels to say - my first thought was, "1991 - Oh, that's not long ago!" lol (at least I'm with the times in my expression of laughter - NO ONE says Ha Ha Ha anymore)) and it would be interesting to have a flying visit to the places Bryson visits here, just to see if they have further deteriorated or whether some places have pulled their socks up and treasured their archaeology, etc. And of course, in 20 years there have been many changes in the politics of a lot of these places, so we could well find differences.
Anyway, as it's highly unlikely that I'll ever get to Europe, it really doesn't matter if what I'm reading is out of date. Bryson is laugh-out-loud funny, and also makes great social comment. On top of that, his reminiscences along the way, and his wry personal commentary, make great reading.
I finished this book on the train today going to meet a friend for lunch, and immediately loaned it to her. She used to be a Travel Agent. She read a couple of snippets and thought she'd enjoy it greatly. I'm surprised she hadn't read Bryson before, but I'm sure she'll look out some others after this.(less)