Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wow. I've just read The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchet, and I'm alive to write about. With the explosively good writing in there, I almost didn't make it! The storyline was superb and the hilarious twists make me constantly rolling in the aisles. Definitely a completely satisfactory read. A connection I had to it? Well. Throughout the book Twoflower, the first tourist on The Continent is noted to have certain technology people who live on The Continent have never heard of. One of them is a camera. Owning a camera myself I can understand more about it. This in part shows that it is a Just Right book. Most words, ideas, and actions I understand (when intended to, this a very weird book) but some, such as the word skewbald, I did not understand. A friend has enlightened me, telling me that skewbald is a color of horse with chestnut and white patches on coat, mane and tail.

Well, I know for a start that Rincewind the (totally failed) magician changed. In the start he was a pretty down to earth, realistic person, who knew that adventures were not fun and that his life was probably more important than gold. Being a coward as well, he was of the opinion that it was more important than anyone else's. But as the story progresses, first with meeting Twoflower with his magic box, then being hired as his guide in the money of Twoflower's country, the pure, solid, epic gold the rhinu. Twoflower on his continent is middle class. On The Continent, he's as rich as a king. Rincewind, sustained on this phenominal money, leads Twoflower far and wide, more and more becoming daring and brave. He almost uses the one spell he knew, which was powerful beyond imagining, ingrained in his brain by a magical force, on an evil demon who nearly destroyed them and the barbarian who started to accompany them. Then they pretty much become friends and sail of into distant oceans together, where they get captured by the Krulls and very narrowly escape, but then it ends. They are tragically separated, Rincewind sailing of the Edge of the World and fall onto a toe of the Great Turtle A'tuin the planet rests on. Then Death comes for him, an evil presence walking towards him who throws back his hood and reveals... Scrofula. The scourge of almost nothing in the Discworld. Rincewind protests, saying he didn't even have scrofula but it's too late. Rincewind is thrown into the sky, out of the Universe, and, in a final act of tremendous bravery that brings us to the end of the book, jumps back in.

If there was something I could change, I would change the part in Shal-Shamaroth's temple. The evil demon dies from a single syllable of Rincewind's terrible (and only) spell, which I find rather inconsistent. When he accidentally slipped out a syllable on the inverted mountain of Dragonwyrm, only an insubstantial dragon or two died. Hardly the same effect. It might have been the huge magical field in the Dragonwyrm, but there was an octaring field over at Shal-Shamaroth's. Still, I really liked it. It really showed me transitions of people to radically different things and that people can change. What a stellar book!

~Condensed tale 3

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizibeth Goerge Speare

Matt has been left with a big job: taking care of the cabin while his dad gets Mom, the new baby, and Matt's little sister. This historical fiction novel starts off with slightly resigned goodbye when Matt's dad leaves Matt with two gifts: a rifle, that gets stolen by a stranger after Matt's dad leaves, and a watch. When a bear steals Matt's honey maybe two weeks after the parting, Matt climbs a bee-tree and gets stung, only to be saved from drowning in a pond by an Native American, an old man who makes a deal with Matt in return for saving him. Matt teaches the man's grandson who is around the same age as Matt how to read English! They don't really become friends until Matt saves the dog that Attean (the boy) owns, winning Attean's grandmother's respect too, but they go hunting and learning (on Matt's part) together. But then they part for a time while Attean goes out to find his "manitou", the spirit that comes to inhabit him to make him a man and a hunter that Attean believes in.

But the worst is when they say they have to leave. Matt is so sad he almost accepts they're offer to come with and be a brother of Attean, an honor so high for a white boy he can barely believe it, but he has faith that his family will come, so he has to stay. His strength paid off when his family really does come back, minus the baby. It died three days into the journey.

I think this is kind of a morbid ending but it all pretty much ends well, with Matt's family back, and I think the tribe will eventually check on Matt, perhaps three months after the book ends. The entire book spanned for a little less than a year, but three months seems pretty much like when they would come. I just feel like that tribe really is sort of the kind of tribe that would do that.

~Condensed story 2

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleishman

The Whipping Boy starts off with Prince Horace, fairly aliased 'Prince Brat' by by almost everyone in the kingdom, gluing the wigs of many different nobles to the backs of their chairs. This act prompted the 'whipping boy' to be sent in, a boy who, because it was illegal to whip a prince, got whipped instead. Many months later, the prince, this rebel who is truly a brat, decides to run away. He takes the Whipping boy with him. When they get caught by cutthroats, Jemmy-from-the-streets, the whipping boy, saves both of them. When they escape to the town and go down to the sewers, Jemmy leads the prince. The first time, Prince Brat doesn't even say thanks. But by the escape to the sewers, they are almost friends. Both of them change, both for the better. And though this is kind of cliched, yes, they lived happily ever after.

~Condensed tale 1.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Fledgling

Reading The Fledgling has been a great experience. The characters are deep, believable and quirky and the settings are beautiful and rich. Jane Langton did a great job. I have a definite connection to a character in the story, Georgie: I've always wanted to fly like a bird too. I know this is a Just Right book because I got some of the deepest connections, but I don't think all, though I wouldn't know 'cause I haven't gotten them! Also, there was one word I didn't know, "piebald" which I now know and have mastered use of via the all-powerful college dictionary.

The book starts out with Goergie trying to fly down the stairs. She, in the beginning of the story, can only think about one thing. I think she is a very straight-minded and a "one thing at a time that should be at this time now" kind of person. She really is very delicate but her wanting to fly really over-powers how serious she takes things. Then she meets the mysterious goose who can talk to her. In exchange for friendship, she starts flying, leaving out the window every night and flying with what she calls the "Goose Prince." He (I can't say it) is a really nice person and she learns a lot from him. He is very special to her and she becomes more happy since she really wished she could fly and found she couldn't. But now, she learns how to fly from him. But the plot twisted here. Two specific neighbors are getting suspicious. They are Madam Prawn and her boss, Mr. Preek. The devout and hard-working Prawn thinks she is either a devil or a saint, and is always cautious but trying to find out which, and Preek, only seeing her at night while flying, thinks she is a duck. Eventually he injures her arm with birdshot and her family makes sure that she is not going to go out flying again. Then something terrible happens that changes Goergie completely. Mr. Preek the bank manager kills the Goose Prince. The only thing left to Goergie is a little glittering thing. And she loses it in the confusion.

The solution of this story takes place in a bush. Actually, I find this setting quite satisfying, because in fact she first saw the geese in this very same bush. While playing dols in the little hollow area under the bush she finds a little glittering ball. She immediately knows it's the Goose's 'present' that she never got to see very clearly before. Then at night she looks at it and it turns into a little image of the earth. The book ends with Goergie remembering the last words of the dying Goose Prince. I think I should end my reading response with them too.
"Take care of it..."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Book Bytes October 2009

Here is my book talk video.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Charlie Bone

October 8, 2009
Charlie Bone and the Time-Twister is probably one of my favorite books. It is written by Jenny Nimmo. It made me feel like I was in the story and I always got lost in the book as soon as I looked at it. The characters were deep and when one of them was sad, I was sad, when they were angry, I was angry. It is an amazing book. One of my connections to it was that I have been in a place as freaky and foreboding as Bloor's Academy, so I know what it feels like. It's a Just Right book because I can understand pretty much all of it but it always makes me stop and think. The descriptions of everything are very good.

Charlie Bone is a skinny, black-haired kid with a strange talent. He can talk to- and sometimes go into- photos and paintings. His evil aunts send him to Bloor's academy, a big hulking castle of a school where other people have magical talents too. Some are nice but a lot of people, like Manfred Bloor, are as sweet and loving as Charlie's aunts. Not nice at all. In the beginning Charlie is very unwilling to use his talent and avoids looking at paintings and photos. But more and more throughout the story as he tries to help Henry, the time-traveler who was sent to this time by Ezekiel Bone - Henry's malicious brother and Charlie's grandfather, - as he saves Emma Ingledew, etc. etc. he finds himself more and more attracted to jumping into photos and paintings, mostly for help and guidance.

The problem of the story was mainly trying to get Henry to safety, out of the way of the Bloors and the Yewbeams. Intertwined was the problem of getting away to send mysterious Black Lady back five years before, before her injuries and subsequent loss of everything she owned because she played the violin, which is tough with a paralyzed, ruined hand. If they did not show her they could she wouldn't help them get Henry to safety. In the end they retrieved the Time-Twister that sent Henry there, sent the black Lady back with it after she showed them a way to magically transport Henry to Charlie's uncle's acquaintance Christoppher, and so ended the conflict and the story.