Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Fond Farewell

Anbolyn is now hosting her own blog. Please visit her at A World in Themselves.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

This was my book club book for October, but I've taken a while to post about it because I'm having a hard time writing about it. I've heard for many years how wonderful this book is and so I was anticipating an amazing read. Though I admired it and thought it was mentally stimulating, I was a tad let down. It's written by Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist who was incarcerated in four different concentration camps during World War II. The first half of the book gives an account of his experiences and observation of life in a camp and how this experience effects human behavior. The second half of the book talks about his theories of psychology and how we can apply them to our lives. I feel almost blasphemous saying this, but I thought the book, especially the second half, was boring! I did glean some wheat from the chaff, but overall I didn't really enjoy reading this.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Booker Monday 10/18/10

I'm about half-way through Heat and Dust. It is a very easy, enjoyable, yet complex read. 

Here are some quotes from the author, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala:

"[India] is not a place that one can pick up and put down again as if nothing had happened. In a way it's not so much a country as an experience, and whether it turns out to be a good or bad one depends, I suppose, on oneself." 

"It was very easy to be a writer," Jhabvala says of her life as a housewife. "I'd think what to eat for the day, then tell the cook. I didn't like interruptions, but it didn't bother me having children around. It makes it easier when nothing's expected of you; you're just doing your 'hobby'." 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Kindle

I've had my Kindle for almost three weeks now and I'm very pleased with it. I like reading on it - the screen is glare-free and clear and I am glad to be able to adjust the font as I am growing blind and need a larger font these days. It is so amazing to have 30 books on one slim little device that fits in your purse with ease. I have downloaded quite a few classics that I've always wanted to read - they are free if published pre-1923 - and have gotten pretty far along in Middlemarch. I see myself finishing it before the end of the year! The brilliance, for me, of reading thick classics on the Kindle is that you have no sense of how much text you have left to read. The Kindle does give page numbers and a percentage of how far along you are, but I am able to block that out and just enjoy the story. Therefore, I don't feel daunted with the length of the book and give up out of frustration as I tend to do with print novels. It took me a few months to decide to buy the Kindle and I am glad I purchased it. It is an ingenious little machine that might put me out of a job one day, but we can't stop progress can we?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz

At work we've embarked on a little project to read 8-10 books that are candidates for the Caldecott, Newbery and Printz prizes, which are awarded by the American Library Association in January. The Night Fairy is one of the books that is on our Newbery list.
This is a charming and simple tale of a night fairy named Flory who is forced to become a day fairy when her wings are damaged. She encounters animals and birds she normally wouldn't meet, such as squirrels and hummingbirds, and embarks on several dangerous adventures that test her fortitude and lead her to adapt her lifestyle to her new situation. She is a sassy little creature and though not fearless, she stands up for herself despite her trepidation. I really liked that the author worked facts about animals and the natural world into the story and I also enjoyed the flowing, yet simple, language and the direct dialogue. Though I'm not sure it will win the Newbery award, it will probably win over the hearts of many young girls who are enchanted with fairies.

Other reviews:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Booker Monday

I had to start a different Booker book this week as The Siege of Krishnapur had a hold on it at the library(can you imagine?) and we only have one copy in the system. I had to relinquish it. So, I started Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. This novel won the Booker Prize in 1975, and like The Siege of Krishnapur, is set in India. By the way, the Man Booker Prize for 2010 will be awarded tomorrow.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Booker Monday

I'm still reading The Siege of Krishnapur. I'm about partway through and the sepoys have attacked the English. There's lots of descriptions of how to fire a cannon and men getting their heads blown off with muskets. It is beautifully written and subtly humorous.