In this volume:
The battle with the Adversary heats up (literally). Bigby is tracked by Mowgli and begged to return to Snow and the kids. The kids are growing fast and trying to control their shape-shifting abilities, otherwise they’ll never be allowed to leave the farm. Finally, a compromise is reached wherein Bigby may be able to live with his family after all.
This volume does feel really short compared to previous deluxe editions, but it’s a fantastic installment just the same.
In this volume:
When Sybella first arrived at the convent, she was a traumatized young girl. After four years of training, Sybella can now truly serve as one of St. Mortain’s handmaidens. Those who train in the convent become expert assassins and Sybella is no exception. When our story begins, Sybella is undercover at the D’Albret estate. More specifically, Sybella is undercover in her own childhood home. She’s been sent there by the abbess to gain valuable intel on D’Albret’s treasonous plans to either marry or assassinate the young duchess who is struggling to keep Brittany independent of the French. D’Albret’s treachery and brutality know no bounds and Sybella is painfully aware of just how far he is capable of going. When Sybella manages to get the duchess out of a secret attack, one of the duchess’s fighters – a knight known as the infamous Beast of Waroch – is taken prisoner by D’Albret and sent to the dungeons. Sybella is then tasked with freeing him so that he can get back to fight for the duchess against the French and the country’s own treasonous troops. What was meant to be a simple rescue mission turns into a full-fledged journey and Sybella find her plans to kill D’Albret thwarted once again. What’s more, she can no longer return now that the Beast is missing too. Instead, Sybella must deviate from her own mission of vengeance in order to help keep her country out of the hands of both D’Albret and the French. Oh, and she’s got some pretty dark secrets that could potentially change everything.
Every bit as intriguing as the first book in the series, Dark Triumph is a pleasure to read. Readers will come to root for Sybella as she faces trial after trial. The Beast is a fantastic character and a wonderful foil to Sybella. I kind of wished I could have seen more of Ismae in this one, but I do recall being very curious about Sybella, so it was interesting to have her perspective. I look forward to seeing what Annith will be up to in the next book.
With the financial world in more turmoil than it’s ever been, this graphic novel economics primer seems especially timely. Michael Goodwin is out to show readers that the economy can be understood, even by non-economists. He goes back in time to show how our current economic structure evolved and the theories it was built upon. While there’s a lot to take in, Goodwin does an excellent job of simplifying the seemingly obtuse mechanisms that make our economy work (or not). We can easily see where our theoretical foundations lie and where they have deviated from what was originally envisioned. We can also see just how inextricably linked money is with our history and future. It’s simultaneously educational and chilling, but ultimately, knowledge is power (though honestly, money is still likely more powerful) and this knowledge is not nearly as inaccessible as the powers that be would have us believe.
Goodwin makes attempts to keep politics out of the picture, but admits that, when it comes to our current economic climate, it is nearly impossible to be apolitical. Fiscal conservatives will likely feel that Goodwin is being too liberal with in his estimation of the these power structures, but I personally felt that this was an excellent introduction to a very hotly debated topic.
Viola lives with her mother and young brother in war-torn Sudan. All the men are either dead or fighting and soldiers prowl throughout the town, taking whatever they wish. After Viola is raped by one of these soldiers, the family decides to attempt a move to America. First they must travel out of Sudan and into Egypt, where they live in a refugee camp while waiting for the appropriate documents. It takes many long months to get the paperwork in order, but they are finally able to travel to America. Viola and her mother move to Portland, Maine, where a large Sudanese population has already been established. There, Viola attempts to piece her life back together while trying to balance life as both a girl from Juba and her new life as an American teen.
Told entirely in spare, lyrical verse, this novel is lovely addition to the immigrant-story genre. Viola’s experiences are painful, but her hope is palpable. This story sheds light on a part of the world that many American teens spend little time thinking about. The trajectory that Viola’s life takes is breathtaking, realistic and honest. We, as Americans, are so used to thinking about a country’s borders as something writ in stone, however, the borders of many countries in Africa are more or less arbitrary and were imposed largely by Western colonialist powers. Thus, when civil war breaks out, it is not necessarily because the country is divided, more that the country was never exactly unified in the first place. In fact, this story takes place shortly before South Sudan gains its independence. Readers will feel for Viola as she struggles not only to survive the journey out of Sudan but as she attempts to reconcile the cultural differences she must face as a new American. A moving and memorable read.
In spite of this being titled “Kick-Ass 2″, this is really the third trade paperback in the sequence. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to catch up. In this volume, the Red Mist has turned bad and is proving to be Kick-Ass’s nemesis. He’s also amassing an army of costumed warriors intent upon putting the heroes out of commission. In the meantime, Hit Girl is trying very, very hard to be a normal girl while living with her mother and stepfather (who happens to be on the force and completely aware of Hit Girl’s past). She’s doing OK until the fight starts to get out of hand and she feels compelled to join in.
Every bit as action-packed as the earlier books in the series.
This is going to be a difficult review for me to write as I am extremely conflicted regarding my feelings about this book. First things first: I’m a huge fan of Walter Moers and I’ve read everything of his that’s been translated into English. This is the sequel to City of Dreaming Books, which I adored. Needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to this one ever since I found out that it even existed (and then I had to wait for the translation). So, there’s all that. When last we left our protagonist, Optimus Yarnspinner, he had been to Bookholm, become imbued with “orm” and had battled all manner of evils in the labyrinth only to see the city go up in flames along with the mythical Shadow King. Our story now picks up 200 year later (Lindworms like Yarnspinner evidently live very, very long lives). Yarnspinner has been resting on the laurels of his best-selling status for some time now. He’s churned out countless works, making him one of the most well-known authors in all of Zamonia. Thing is, the “orm” has left him and his works aren’t getting the reviews they once did. Yarnspinner could hang up his hat and live out the rest of his days in comfort, but he receives a most curious letter written in a style that could best be summed up as “pre-orm Yarnspinner-esque”. Yarnspinner realizes that while he didn’t write the letter, someone has gone to great lengths to get his attention, particularly because of the very last sentence: “The Shadow King lives”.
Yarnspinner heads back to Bookholm and runs into a couple of his old friends who have apparently conspired in some way to bring him back to the bookish city. So that’s the first few chapters. The rest? Yarnspinner’s musings and digressions on the “modern” Bookholm. Seriously, that’s pretty much it. Not that it isn’t entertaining to read, because it is. It’s really clever; almost painfully so. Observant readers may note that the names of all the authors, composers and artists mentioned are anagrams for real world counterparts (and yes, it all works in context as well). I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure them all out, not to mention the fact that I pestered my co-workers for days to get help on some of the trickier ones. I *did* feel pretty smart when I figured them out though. A bit exhausting though. And takes one out of the narrative, particularly when there’s a whole string of anagrams. There’s also a very “meta” feel to the whole thing as Yarnspinner revisits his experiences and engages in new experiences like puppetism. Yarnspinner even watches an entire puppet play of “City of Dreaming Books”, which is described in great detail.
The kicker, though, is at the end where Moer’s “translator’s” note indicates that he had to split the sequel into two halves (a la “Kill Bill”) because it would have been unwieldy otherwise. So, evidently, the rest of the plot will be happening in the third book. Which probably won’t be translated for another couple of years. All I can say is that it better be worth the effort of reading Labyrinth of Dreaming Books. Who am I kidding? I’ll totally read it either way.
Here’s one that’s a must-read for more mature fans of fairy tales. Koertge takes well-known stories from the fairy tale cannon and turns them completely on their heads. In poetry form. Which is totally awesome. Many authors have difficulty getting their point across in 400 pages. Ron Koertge can tell a complete story in a single poem. And this book has tons of them! I loved these post-modern renditions; they feel simultaneously both truer to their original forms than many other modern adaptations and feel more contemporary than ever before. A fun, thought-provoking and fast read.
Stephen has been trekking back and forth across the United States with his father and grandfather for several years. They work their way north and south, depending on the season, to trade salvage for food and supplies. The United States has completely collapsed after a war with China led to an outbreak of an extremely virulent P-11 flu virus which has become known as the Eleventh Plague. The vast majority of the population has fallen prey to the virus and civilization has collapsed. Stephen was born after the Collapse, so their nomadic lifestyle is normal to him. Then his ex-military grandfather dies, taking his strict rules regarding interacting with other people. Stephen and his father begin to move on, but quickly encounter some vicious slavers along the way. In an attempt to rescue some captives and flee the slavers, Stephen’s father falls into a gorge, causing a traumatic head injury. Helpless to do anything, Stephen stays with his father until a group of men and boys come into the woods. Finally accepting that these new people are not slavers, Stephen lets them take him and his father back to their community where Stephen’s father can get medical attention. The community turns out to be the remains of a secluded gated community, largely untouched by the looting that had followed the Collapse. The residents there live a relatively normal life, but Stephen has difficulty adjusting to being around other people. Things only get worse when Stephen gets involved with his host family’s adopted daughter, Jenny, who is Chinese and puts the rest of the town on edge. She’s a bit of a rebel and manages to get Stephen (and the rest of the community) into serious trouble in next to no time. Not that she’s a bad person, she just really doesn’t like her status quo.
Not a particularly groundbreaking post-apocalyptic novel, but it does blend the dystopia with survivalism pretty well.
Death, destruction, brutality, fear, hunger, disease…in other words, things are as normal as they can be in the FAYZ. When the countdown begins this time, one word sums it up: endgame. The gaiaphage has a body. Little Pete is disembodied. The barrier is transparent and the rest of the world can see what is happening in the fishbowl that is the FAYZ. The public is shocked at Sam’s actions involving Penny and the baby Gaia; video has circulated around the globe painting him as a killer. Sam’s mother, Connie, knows that if or when the kids make it out, someone will be made to pay for the numerous crimes committed in the FAYZ. The kids inside are getting hungrier as more and more of them gather at the barrier to look out at the world they haven’t seen in nearly a year. Few seem to be willing to work and starvation is imminent if something isn’t done. As if these circumstances aren’t bad enough, the gaiaphage, in its human body, is on the loose and seeking total destruction. Our heroes are at first concerned about the “after”, the time when they are able to emerge from their prison. They quickly realize that they have far more important issues at hand that will make the very concept of “after” completely uncertain. The only thing that is certain is that not everyone will make it out alive. Those that do will never be the same.
I’ve been waiting for this book for a full year now. I’ve read each book as they came out and have grown to love, admire, hate and respect the various characters. Finishing this book was like attempting to pull myself out of the FAYZ. It didn’t really feel like the world should even still be turning. Michael Grant pulled no punches here. This book is every bit as exhilarating and compulsively readable as all its predecessors. The ending is as epic as one might expect and just about every question gets answered. An electric ending to one of my favorite series. It may have been a rough and disturbing ride, but I’m sad to see it end just the same.
Radley is in Haiti when the American People’s Party takes control of the US government. When the president is assassinated and martial law invoked, Radley decides she needs to return home to be with her parents. She arrives in the US with only her backpack. Her parents are nowhere to be seen. The banks are closed; her debit card useless. She has no cash, no charger for her dead cell phone and no means of getting home. Radley begins to walk.
When she does finally get to her house, she finds it completely empty. There are no signs of her family anywhere, but news reports indicate massive numbers of citizens imprisoned and/or fleeing the country. Radley has no idea what happened to her parents, but hopes that they got out of the country. With this in mind, Radley begins an even longer trek to Canada. Along the way, she meets another girl traveling with her dog. The girl, Celia, is desperately sick and Radley nurses her back to health before the two move on. Over time, Radley and Celia learn more about each other’s past as they struggle to create a home for themselves in a ramshackle abandoned schoolhouse just past the border of Canada. They can’t survive in the schoolhouse forever though, even with the frequent gifts of kindness left by a local woman. Radley, tired of waiting for her parents to appear, leaves for home as soon as news arrives that indicates an end to martial law in the US. Sometimes, though, you can never really go home.
Interspersed with photos taken by the author (though presented as photos taken by Radley’s mother), this is an interesting take on a possible future. This book does not focus on the political machinations that took place, nor does it linger on the state of affairs in the rest of the world. This story is almost purely character-driven. Radley is saved mostly by the strength she learned in Haiti, living with the poorest of the poor children. Celia is an interesting character and only becomes more intriguing as her story progresses. Many of Radley’s motives are unclear, which makes the story frustrating at times. I kept wanting to know more about how the US had gotten to the state that it is in by the time Radley leaves Haiti, but since the whole martial-law thing is more a framing mechanism than anything else, world building is kept to a minimum. The writing is spare yet fluid and a few tragic turns near the end will add to the emotional weight of the book.
In this edition: Witness Jack’s rise to fame as he moves to Hollywood to produce an epic trilogy: his own story. Mowgli makes his return to Fabletown. Boy Blue confronts the Adversary in the Homelands and proves himself to be quite the fighter. The Eastern Fables’ land is invaded and envoys are sent to Fabletown, making for a rather interesting cultural clash.
In this volume: Elections are held. King Cole is out of office and Prince Charming is the new mayor of Fabletown. Snow and Bigby briefly revel in the birth of their litter before Snow is forced to take her kids to the farm. Being banned from the farm, Bigby wanders off on his own. Beast takes Bigby’s place as the new sheriff, with Beauty taking on Snow’s former role as the mayor’s assistant. Growing pains are inevitable. It doesn’t help that Charming has made promises that are impossible to keep.
In the meantime, Boy Blue has left Fabletown with several important magical items. His journey is one of revenge against the Adversary.
Ben Bright is about to graduate from high school. He’s an accomplished student, a talented actor/singer, dedicated boyfriend and brother. He’s got everything going for him, except for the fact that he has yet to explain to all his loved ones that he’s about enlist in the US Army.
Boot camp gives way to deployment, everyone’s worst fear. While on a routine mission, Ben’s vehicle rolls over an IED, leaving all of its passengers with life-threatening injuries. Ben receives a massive brain injury that essentially re-wires his entire brain. Everything must be relearned. Ben doesn’t remember or recognize anyone from his past, making his homecoming more bitter than sweet. Hope seems elusive until Ben finally recognizes someone: his autistic brother, Chris.
This is an extremely fast-paced read. Ben is not the typical soldier type. He’s really altruistic about the whole enlisting thing and genuinely believes he can make a difference. His best friend and girlfriend take a considerable amount of convincing before they feel they can support his decision. Ben’s brother, Chris, is underdeveloped in the first half of the book, but makes more of a showing post-deployment. I can’t help but feel that more development of Chris’s character would have greatly benefited the trajectory of the story. We see very little of Chris and Ben interacting before Ben leaves. A lot of focus is placed on Ben’s best friend, Niko, and his girlfriend, Ariela. All three of the older kids are too good to be true and come across as a bit two-dimensional. The issues, however, are very timely, which makes this a good choice for book discussions, particularly where reluctant readers are involved.
Lady Ava Averley, her sister and father are all finally returning to England after living in India for years. While Ava looks forward to seeing her beloved Somerton again, she is worried about reentering society in the aftermath of a rumored scandal involving their father. Ava doesn’t believe the rumors, but is beginning to realize that life in society may not be the right thing for her, in spite of the fact that her season is about to begin. It’s time for her to find a respectable husband. Unfortunately, marriage conflicts with her true wishes. She has dreams of going to Oxford to study and is starting to fall head over heels for a young Indian man who is also on his way to England.
Rose Cliffe has been working for the Averley family for as long as she can remember. Her mother has always been in the employ of the family and Rose was brought up within Somerton’s walls. As a child, she had played with Ava and her sister, but now worries whether societal strictures will prevent them from being friends. Rose is a diligent employee, yet still has to fight the desire to “rise above” her place.
Things are complicated enough with the family returning after such a long absence, but an announcement arrives just days before the family is due to return: Sir Averley is getting remarried to a wealthy widowed socialite. A socialite whose daughter is also set to come out to society and is none too happy to have Ava around.
Here’s a novel for those who couldn’t get enough of Downton Abbey or the Luxe series by Anna Godberson. The setting is very, very similar to that of Downton Abbey and the machinations of some of the characters are reminiscent of those in the Luxe books. Love, politics, manners and wealth collide in this society drama. It’s not nearly as addictive or memorable as either of the afore-mentioned series, but it’s an entertaining, if predictable, romp all the same
Juliet Moreau has been working as a maid and living rather humbly after the scandal that rocked her family’s world. Her father, the infamous Henri Moreau, managed to escape London rather than facing jail time and left Juliet and her mother destitute. After her mother died, Juliet was left to fend for herself. After intruding on a late-night vivisection, Juliet finds a diagram being used by the medical students that was drawn by her own father. A bit of investigation and the desire to see if her father was indeed still alive leads her to an apartment where she runs into her father’s former servant, Montgomery and a hairy, malformed man called Balthazar. Montgomery and Balthazar are in England to pick up supplies for Juliet’s father and agree to take her with them to the isolated island off the coast of Australia. They set sail on a rather sketchy vessel and pick up a castaway named Edward along the way. Edward is full of secrets and refuses to discuss any of the details of his former life. Montgomery grudgingly agrees to allow Edward to join the small group.
Juliet is shocked to find that her father doesn’t seem in the least bit surprised to see her setting foot on the island. She’s also shocked when her father shoves Edward into the water and stands aside to watch him sink. Montgomery saves Edward at Juliet’s behest and, after a private conference with the doctor, Edward is allowed to stay on the island until the next ship passes by to pick him up.
Juliet finds her father to be cold, arrogant and largely dismissive of anyone else. He locks himself into his laboratory night after night, confirming the rumors that had been circulating around London. Meanwhile, Juliet tries desperately to get used to the odd appearance of the islanders, all of whom seem to regard her father as a god. Juliet discovers that a series of murders have been plaguing the islanders and Juliet suspects that her father’s experiments might be even worse than she ever thought possible. Oh, and she might just be falling in love with both Montgomery and Edward, neither of whom seem to particularly like each other.
Based on the Jules Verne classic, The Island of Dr. Moreau, this story asks the question: if Moreau had a daughter, what would her relationship with her father be like? There are also a whole host of other issues at the heart of the story, for instance, what makes humans human? A fast-paced and absorbing tale. Readers don’t necessarily need to have read the original to understand this tale, but it might help. I have not read the original, but am familiar with the plot. I would be interested to hear what a fan of the original would have to save about the points where this new version diverges from Vernes’.
This series never fails to impress and delight. In this volume, Mayor Hundred goes to Rome for a chat with the Pope but forces are at work to turn his visit into an assassination. Can the Great Machine actually be hacked?
This volume isn’t the most exciting of the series, but still gets the job done.
Concludes with an interesting story featuring the author and illustrator, which is always fun to me. Love it when the fourth wall is breached.
Marcus “M1k3y” Yallow’s story continues two years after the events in Little Brother. We catch up to him at Burning Man where he is attempting to show off his 3d printer with the aid of his girlfriend, Ange. Regrettably, the playa dust is causing some technical difficulties, so Marcus and Ange have given up and moved on to enjoy the Burning Man scene. Imagine Marcus’s surprise when he encounters a face from his not-too-distant past: Masha. Masha has tracked Marcus down to deliver a USB drive with thousands of incendiary documents from various government and corporate entities. He is told to release him if he hears about Masha being captured.
As soon as Marcus returns home, he is thrilled to discover a job waiting for him with a local independent politician who is impressed with Marcus’s technological acumen. Desperate to keep the first job he’s had in years, Marcus holds back on releasing the documents until he can find a way to distribute them to maximum effect with minimum connection to him. This is obviously going to take a little help from his friends. Good thing he’s still got them. Only problem is that Marcus is not nearly as anonymous as he used to be and he still has enemies who have left Homeland Security to go into private mercenary work (which is even more intimidating due to the complete lack of oversight).
Scary and exhilarating all at once, Homeland is a thrilling read. As always with Cory Docotorow’s works, I’m left both smarter and more paranoid than ever. The technologies discussed are never entirely fabricated; some may still be in their infancy, but the implications are played out so well. This is the type of book that makes one realize how important a free and open internet is, how corrupt the laws governing the transmission of digital information can be and what we, as citizens, can do to move towards a better future.
Mac and her family have just moved into the Coronado, an aging LA hotel-turned-apartment building. Mac is not particularly thrilled about it. The move was precipitated by the death of her little brother and Mac’s not ready to let him go yet. This unwillingness to let him go is beginning to severely interfere with her secret job as a Keeper for the Archive. The Archive isn’t an ordinary repository; it is a place where the lives of the dead are stored. These are called Histories. Each History has his or her own coffin-shaped shelf. Each History is physically similar to its former living state. Trained by her late grandfather, Mac was the youngest Keeper in history. Most Histories are calm and remain in the Archives, but a few “wake up” and escape into a sort-of-purgatory called the Narrows. It is here that Mac must apprehend these escaped Histories, who typically become increasingly distressed and violent the longer they are “awake”, and return them to the Archive. Mac’s pretty good at her job, but things start going awry shortly after her arrival at the Coronado. For one thing, there’s another Keeper on the premises. And Mac might have a tiny crush on him. This, however, becomes eclipsed by the volume of work skyrocketing to unprecedented levels. It’s normal for a few Histories to wake up now and then, but multiple instances every day? And then there’s the strange boy lurking in the Narrows whose presence makes no sense. And the mysteries of the hotel itself….Mac’s got her plate pretty full. Assuming she survives her work.
Fascinating concept, but not as well-realized as I had hoped. This is, however, the first book in a series, so there’s necessarily a lot of world-building going on. Very little of the book takes place outside the Coronado, so it begins to feel a little limited at times in spite of the “real world” setting. Still an interesting examination of the nature of death and grief with a distinctly supernatural twist.
Nalia has spent the better part of her 16 years preparing to become the Queen of her country. Shortly after her 16th birthday, she is informed that, due to an ominous prophecy, she was switched at birth and is, in fact, a false princess. The real princess has been living in a convent and is equally clueless as to her own identity. The prophecy only indicated death for the princess prior to her turning sixteen, so now that the deadline has passed, the real princess can be crowned. Nalia, now called Sinda, is sent to her aunt’s cottage in a country village. After failing at the wool dyeing trade and accidentally discovering that she possesses magic, Sinda decided to head back to the capitol. An attempt to join the Wizardry school fails on account of her “common” ancestry and Sinda finds herself being taken under the wing of an eccentric witch who offers to teach her control in exchange for scribe work. In the capitol, Sinda uncovers evidence that may suggest there is more to the official royal story than anyone suspects, even the royal family. In order to figure out her place in the world, Sinda feels compelled to set everything straight in spite of the danger it may cause her.
This is a lovely stand-alone fantasy. The plot moves exceedingly fast and covers a lot of ground, something that seems rare in a publishing world focused on series. Sinda feels like a genuine person; she is flawed, she second-guesses herself, she works hard to figure out who she is and how she fits into things. The concept of a character being forced to completely redefine themselves is fascinating. The use of magic in the book adds to the overall flavor without being the centerpiece of the action. Elements of faith, trust, corruption, love and friendship round out this story that is largely appropriate for all ages.
How much do I love Terry Pratchett? I can’t even think of the correct quantitative word to answer that question. Dodger might just be his best yet. Dodger is an orphan who has spent most of his life on London’s streets. He makes ends meet by toshing (collecting coins, etc. from the sewers) and is notorious among those that inhabit the workhouses, sewers and streets. He’s most emphatically not a thief (but, if something is just lying around, well then…); he’s the Dodger. Here one moment and gone the next. Things might have continued on like that if it weren’t for Dodger’s admirable sense of chivalry. He hears a scream and finds himself rescuing a girl from two very nasty thugs. Shortly after, he comes across another well-known London-ite with good intentions, a Mr. Charlie Dickens. Dickens finds a safe place for the strange woman (who has yet to tell anyone about herself or her provenance). With the young lady, dubbed “Simplicity” by her caretakers, safety in hiding, Dodger becomes determined to see those guilty for Simplicity’s beating held responsible for their actions. Dodger’s mystery takes him all over London, meeting some very historically important personages and finding a bit out about himself as he goes along. In spite of his lack of education, Dodger proves himself to be, at all times, completely capable of handling any situation he finds himself in.
It took me a long time to read this one. Over a week, even. It took so long not because the pacing is slow, but because there’s so much detail and so many delicious puns that I didn’t want to miss a thing and frequently found myself going back over various paragraphs to make sure not a single joke was missed. Pratchett’s attention to detail is stunning. The city is as much a character as any of the human variety; the smells are palpable and the fog stings your eyes. The slang took some getting used to, but ultimately excelled in giving me a sense of place and time. I love the characters in this book so much; the real and imaginary (and canine…Onan, you stinky, lovable rascal). What’s even better is that, while there is a definite plot with a definite trajectory, there are themes and messages in this book that make its story timeless. Dodger’s era was one of tremendous change and each and every character seems to find themselves on the verge of potentially altering the course of history, if they haven’t already. This book has everything and then some going for it. I highly recommend Dodger to anyone who enjoys history, word play and good literature.