A few hours after nine-year-old Garnet Linden finds a silver thimble in the dried-up riverbed, on her family’s Wisconsin farm, the rains come and end the long drought on the farm. The rains bring safety for the crops and the livestock and money for Garnet’s father. Garnet’s good luck continues throughout the summer and she’s convinced its because of her lucky thimble. Though not a long book, it is easy for the reader to picture Garnet’s family farm, their small town and the close-knit farming community. Garnet clearly loves the farm, but her older brother is determined to never be a farmer as he watches their father struggle to pay the bills. He realizes the famiy income is based on the weather and things beyond his control no matter how hard dad works. But through the eyes of a stranger and Garnet he also grows to appreciate the benefits of farm life.
The two volumes of “Crossovers” are a fascinating and highly enjoyable read for anyone interested in the interactions between various pulp, mystery, adventure, and science fiction characters with each other and real people throughout history. The premise of the book was inspired by SF writer Philip José Farmer’s “Wold Newton” concept which he developed in the 1970s: a “radioactive” meteorite crashed near Wold Newton, England, in 1795 and affected several carriages full of people who were passing by. Their descendants became highly intelligent and powerful heroes (or villains) such as Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty, Dr. Fu Manchu, Doc Savage, Lord Greystoke (Tarzan), and many more. Farmer wrote popular and detailed biographies of Tarzan and Doc Savage in which he explored the family trees of many “Wold Newton Family” characters. Over time, the concept has been expanded and continued by Win Scott Eckert and others to become the “Crossover Universe.” Mr. Eckert has done a fantastic job of compiling references to literary heroes who have met each other (or “crossed over”) and had adventures together, and thus co-exist in the same fictional universe. Volume 1 covers the dawn of time up through 1939, and Volume 2 covers 1940 into the far future. (Mr. Spock himself claimed Sherlock Holmes as an ancestor of his!) There are 2000 entries in this chronology and 300 illustrations. Reading these two books is fun and will send you scurrying to find many of the stories and books that are referenced.
Alice meets zombies in this fun mashup. This book follows the Alice in Wonderland story pretty well it just adds zombies to the mix. In fact, Alice herself becomes a zombie after falling down the rat hole and starts craving meat. While the book isn’t stellar it is a fun read. I really enjoyed how the author integrated zombies into every little bit of the Alice story.
The two volumes of this book are a fascinating and highly enjoyable read for anyone interested in the interactions between various pulp, mystery, adventure, and science fiction characters with real people throughout history. The premise of this book is inspired by SF writer Philip José Farmer’s “Wold Newton” concept which he developed in the 1970s: a “radioactive” meteorite crashed near Wold Newton, England in 1795 and affected several carriages full of people who were passing by. Their descendants became highly intelligent and powerful heroes (or villains) such as Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty, Dr. Fu Manchu, Doc Savage, Lord Greystoke (aka Tarzan), and many more. Farmer wrote popular and detailed biographies of Tarzan and Doc Savage in which he detailed the family trees of many “Wold Newton Family” characters. Over time, the concept has been expanded and continued by others into the Crossover Universe. Win Scott Eckert has done a fantastic job of compiling references to literary heroes who have met each other (or “crossed over”) and had adventures together, and thus co-exist in the same fictional universe. Volume 1 covers the dawn of time up through 1939, and Volume 2 covers 1940 into the far future. Reading these two books is a fun and highly addictive experience!
Undoubtedly, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ most famous literary creation is Tarzan, John Clayton, Earl Greystoke. As a teenager, I became obsessed with the many adventures of this hero. I collected an entire paperback set, and even reproduced the cover art from one as a pencil project when I was taking art lessons.
This is my first revisiting of the original tale in nearly two decades, and although it’s still a wonderfully pulpy read, my ability to overlook its faults has waned. Racially and sexually, Tarzan’s adventure has its share of swooning women and “noble savages.” Luckily, it also has adventure on a grand scale, and a wonderful sense of humor as balance. This classic is far removed from the various filmed versions attempted over the decades, and worth a look as the origin of an iconic figure.
Omri gets a plastic Indian from his friend Patrick for his birthday; he also gets and old cupboard from his brother and a key from his mom. Together these items make magic. When Omri puts the Indian in the cupboard and locks it the Indian comes alive. Suddenly he finds himself in possession of Little Bear an Iroquois brave who wants things had has to be taken care of. When Patrick finds out about Little Bear he wants his own and chaos ensues. Soon the boys realize that they have real people who were sucked from their real lives not toys in their possession. They realize the best thing to do is to send them back through the cupboard.
This little book was a fun read. It doesn’t really seem dated at all even though it is over 30 years old. Omri and Patrick act like real little boys who want what they want no matter the consequences. Their adventures with Little Bear and Boone are a little dangerous and a lot exciting. I really enjoyed how the boys differed in their reactions to the toys coming to life. Omri accepted the responsibility and Patrick was less cautious and more reckless with them. But in the end the boys make the right decision for everyone even if it isn’t the easiest.
A new translation of the alliterative poem written in Middle English around 1400 AD originally known as The Alliterative Morte Arthure. Simon Armitage who recently received acclaim for his translation of the classic alliterative poem, Sir Gawain and The Green Knight turns his talent to this classic. He follows King Arthur’s bloody conquests across Europe until his bloody fall, with many of his loyal knights, through a poignantly described burial scene. The language is still lyrical and moving in spite of being a translation.
Miyax/Julie is torn between living the eskimo way and living the white man “gussak” way. She has been torn from her father and forced to live with others. She marries Daniel and eventually runs away after he tries to force himself on her. In the Alaskan wilderness she bonds with a wolf pack and is accepted as one of them. The alpha wolf, Amaraq, teaches her how to survive and speak with the wolves. They become the family she no longer has.
Julie is a very strong, independent girl who has a fascinating story. At times I did find her voice a little preachy when she was talking about the eskimo way of life and the wolves. However, her relationship with the wolves was fascinating. I am not so sure about the end of the book. I haven’t read the sequel so I don’t know how George resolves this, but the end was a little unsatisfying. I have to admit that I had tears in my eyes when Amaraq gets killed, which is a sure sign of a good book!
No classic story is complete until you’ve read it in stickman form. Just sayin’.
Really, this is a hilarious volume that makes the Odyssey entertaining for any age. Follow Zozimos on his adventures after he is banished from Sticatha. You’ll meet golems, smart ladies, sailors and so much more. All in stickman form! Now I need to track down the next volume (aaaaand…ordered).
Such a fun book. This book was just as fun to read as an adult as it was as a kid. I love all the puns and the silliness of the world Juster has created and I imagine kids today enjoy it just as much as they did when I was a wee lass. This is such a clever book but it is written so that the cleverness does not go over the heads of the intended audience. I love the Milo has to find Rhyme and Reason because the land is just not the same without them. I loved all his adventures. This is truly a timeless classic.
I am not sure how I went through childhood not reading this book since it seems like it is such a classic coming of age ritual now, but somehow I did. I kind of wish I would have read it as a 10 or 12 year old. I think Margaret’s story, while a little dated, has such universal appeal that all young girls can relate to it. I can see why it has become the classic it has.
Margaret is just like every tween girl I have ever known or was. She is worried about growing up, school, boys, friends, her body. The unique thing about Margaret is that she wonders about religion. She comes from a mixed religion family: her mom is Christian her dad is Jewish but really they don’t practice any religion. Her parents are going to let her decide what she wants to believe when she is old enough. Margaret talks to God all the time but she doesn’t have a religion.
I really enjoyed Margaret’s story and her journey. I think her her struggles are ones that all young girls can identify with. Who didn’t worry about getting boobs or what your friends were wearing or what boys were cute? I understand putting the period in a positive light but I am not sure I know of any girls who actually looked forward to getting their period or were that excited about it. That might have been the only part I found the least bit unrealistic. The rest of the book seems like a look at a typical 6th grader. Sure it was a bit dated in parts, but that added to the charm. I think it definitely stands the test of time.
The Moonflower Vine was a beautiful book. The opening chapter is about three grown daughters coming home to the Ozarks to visit their elderly folks. What seems at first blush a nostalgia piece about skinny dipping, peach ice cream, and afternoon picnics delves into each of the family member’s lives as the book progresses. There are love affairs, secrets, vices, jealousies, and all the small dramas that make up the realities of life. Would I have loved this book if I were not an Ozark native who has watched the moonflowers open and heard the killdeers cry in the meadows? I think that I would but that the story has such a personal connection to me and my heritage assuredly endears it to me. In the foreword the Pulitzer winning author Janet Smiley who included The Moonflower Vine in her Thirteen Ways to Look at a Novel, a study of 100 great novel, places The Moonflower Vine with To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison as the rare great single novel. I completely agree. Upon finishing, I wanted to know if Mary Jo ever found love, if Soames got to fly, if Callie and Matthew lived the to see 80, 90, 100. And was saddened that I will never know. I suppose that is the sign of a truly great novel, that long after the last word you wonder and worry about the characters as if they were real people who you might meet going down the road, an Ozark gravel road with wild honeysuckle in the ditch.