Saturday, September 27, 2008

School Book: Abel's Island

For Contemporary Children's Literature, I had to read Abel's Island by William Steig. It is a fun little story about a mouse who gets marooned on an island and is trapped there for over a year, trying to survive and escape.
Looking at it from the perspective of the class, I can see how Abel's Island would be attractive to children. It is a chapter book, but definitely not a difficult read. It has lots of adventure, and a fun character. But I have to say it wasn't my favouritest book. I didn't like the way it felt like the author was talking down to me the whole way through the book (I am more of a fan of The Wind in the Willows style writing, where the book is written in a more mature fashion). The back of the book compares Abel's Island to Charlotte's Web, which I also don't agree with (and I think that children agree with me on this one, as Charlotte's Web is still widely read while I have never heard of Abel's Island before this class. But I could definitely be wrong on this point).
All in all, this was an okay read. Not the best book in the world, but definitely not the worst.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Library Break: Batman: Knightfall

I have read parts 1 and 2 of the Knightfall series. And I have to say, I absolutely loved Part1: Broken Bat! Bane released all of the villians from Arkham Assylum, using them to wear out the Dark Knight. Batman, who was already in rough shape from the previous few weeks, is slowly but surely worn down as he goes after the escaped villians. He has no time to rest, even though his body desperately needs it. There were many fights when Batman should have been able to take out the thugs no problem, but he was only able to by using the last of his strength. Depleated, there were many images of him hiding in the shadows, exhausted. Yet he always managed to find the strength to continue as there was no one else.

It was the strangest story to read: with Batman barely managing to remain on his feet. And finally, when Bane struck, Batman was at his weakest, and he lost! Bane attacked Batman at home, when the Dark Knight was mentally and physically exhausted. Batman tried to fight back, but there was no strength left in him. And so Broken Bat left me with this image: Bane literally breaking Batman! It is a sad and terrifying image: no one should be able to break Batman!

So of course I had to start reading the second graphic novel in the series: Who Rules the Night. It starts out where Broken Bat left off, with Bane gloating over the fallen Knight. And so there is a desperate attempt on the parts of Tim (Robin) and Alfred to save Batman from being paralyzed for life. Fighting the clock, they manage to get the medicine they need, the only one that can help heal a broken back.
But now Gotham is in ruins. News that Batman has fallen bursts open the flood gates. Crime skyrockets. With no one to stop them, criminals everywhere try to carve a piece out of the city. And Bane lords over everyone, proclaiming the city his.
Into this dreary night comes Batman's chosen successor, Jean Paul. Jean Paul takes up the mantle of Batman with the help of Robin, but quickly proves to be a much darker Knight than that of the real Batman. He slowly decides to disobey Bruce's command not to engage Bane directly, deciding that taking down Bane will be the best way to stem the tide of chaos that has taken over Gotham. He modifies his costume, and becomes increasingly violent. Robin desperately tries to reign him in, but Jean Paul will not listen.
Jean Paul fights Bane twice. He injures Bane a lot, but almost dies in the process. For this reason he modifies his costume again, needing more than just the claws he had made the first time. It is during his second encounter that Jean Paul manages to bring Bane down. At the last moment, he decides not to kill Bane, but instead leaves him broken, much like how Bane left Batman.
It was a great story, and I can't wait to get a hold of part 3. But I definitely didn't like part 2 as much as part 1. There wasn't enough Bruce Wayne in part 2 for starters, which, although understandable, still made me sad. And I think I liked reading the downfall of Batman rather more than the aftermath. Jean Paul seemed rather unstable, and also kind of scary. I know Batman is not made of teddy bears and gum drops or anything, but he does have his code, and it never seemed like Jean Paul held up to it. (I know, that was the point, but I didn't like it).
Finally, I now have a reason to hate "Batman and Robin" even more. They totally butchered the character of Bane!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

School Books: Romantic Comedies (First Impressions)

I have decided to review the first couple of school readings together: dramatic romantic comedies. For my 16th Century Drama class, we are reading John Lyly's "Gallathea" and William Shakespeare's "As You Like It." I am going to call these "first impressions" because this is the first time I have read the two of them. (I will be rereading them for this class at least once more).

I found "Gallathea" extremely strange. It was rather hard to follow, with scenes and characters seeming to come randomly. The main plot, of Gallathea and Phillida having to disguise themselves as boys to avoid being sacrificed and falling in love with one another was rather funny. But I didn't like the happenings of the Dryads and Cupid. It seemed unnecessary filler. And the brothers who were looking to find someone to apprentice them, that also seemed like unnecessary filler.

On the other hand, I thought "As You Like It" was great! The play was well written (of course! It's Shakespeare!) and the plot was extremely entertaining. Everything seemed to have a purpose - nothing came across as unnecessary filler. The whole story came together beautifully in the end.

That was what I thought of the two romantic comedies. If the professor gives me any neat tidbits, I will post about them later on here. I will also be watching a few film versions of "As You Like It" by the professor's suggestion. I will probably be reviewing them on Shauna's World once I do.

The Boy from the Sun

I absolutely love this book! I think it is an extremely fun, rather trippy book that is about the power and fun of the imagination. I recommend it to everyone who has children, or takes care of children. It is simple, but it is fun.
It has also won the Governor General's Award, as well as a second award where children were the jury (I am blanking on the name). That means that both adults and children loved the book!
I first heard about the book last year in my second year Children's Lit class (I am now in the 3rd year class). Our professor read it to us one day when we were covering picture books. I fell in love with the book then! So I was extremely excited to find it on this year's course list - it meant I would be able to own a copy! :)
Duncan Weller came to my Children's Lit class today to talk about all three of his published books ("Night Wall" and "Space Snake" as well as "The Boy From the Sun"). He was a lot of fun listening to. He's worked incredibly hard on all of his books, and I really wish him all the best with his future endevors! (I'm also hoping to pick up copies of his other work when I can!)
Check out his website here!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Gypsy Morph pg 285

Alright, after asking around a little bit, it appears that all of the copies of The Gypsy Morph cut out randomly on page 285. Brooks' official website says that the chapter was planned that way - the character doesn't make it, and ends mid thought. I'm of the opinion that it should have ended with a dash then, to signify that the thought was cut off. But if that was the way it was planned, then so be it! (I just think the way it is it looks like the printers made a mistake or something!)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

School Books

As I mentioned in my Library Breaks post, I am going to be reviewing everything that I read on this blog. As school is starting up again, I think it is only fair to include School Books, especially since I am taking english classes and many of the books I will be reading will not be text books in the traditional sense. I may not review everything, but I will definitely be posting on some of my favourites (stay tuned for Duncan Weller's The Boy from the Sun!)

The List Update

And with the conclusion of The Gypsy Morph, that brings the List total down to 89 books!!!! I've really read a lot of books over the summer, and even with the library books that I have read, I've managed to make a bit of a dent in the List so I am happy! :) I won't be able to read as many List books over the next few months due to school, but I may be able to knock off an anthology or two.

The Gypsy Morph

This one took me a little longer to read; I've been extremely busy all week, and wasn't able to read the way I did last weekend.
The Gypsy Morph picks up at the end of The Elves of Cintra. Angel Perez has helped the elves Kirisin and Simralin find the Loden Elfstone. Yet Angel was badly wounded, so in it up to Logan Tom to help the Elves save their city and the Ellcrys.
Meanwhile, the Gypsy Morph is getting as many people together as possible so that he can lead them to a place of safety against the coming destruction. He knows with certainty that everything that has happened to date will pale in comparison to the coming storm. He knows what he has to do, but he is operating almost solely on instinct, which is making people question him. But he is the world's only hope for a future.
The demons and their army of once-men lie in wait for the activation of the Loden, and also ready to chase Kirisin wherever he may go. Logan Tom has to help everyone, and hopes that the Word's promise of revenge will be fulfilled. And Angel Perez, now healed with the help of an elf, helps lead the children and protect the Gypsy Morph. The final book of Terry Brooks' Genesis of Shannara series brings everyone together, sometimes in very surprising ways! I enjoyed reading it, but overall I think my favourite of this series was The Elves of Cintra.
Oh, as an afterword, my copy of The Gypsy Morph has chapter 25 ending abruptly. The last sentence ends in the middle of a word! I'm not entirely sure if this was a printing error or what, but I have asked around on the internet for what page 285 is supposed to say. When I find out, I will let you know!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Elves of Cintra

Yes, I know. I read this book in just over 24 hours. I started reading The Elves of Cintra almost right after I finished Armageddon's Children at just before midnight last night. And I finished it about two minutes ago.
The Elves of Cintra picks up right where Armageddon's Children left off. Logan Tom has found the Gypsy Morph, but almost immediately lost him. Yet there is no time to worry about it right now; an army of demons and once men have appeared and are attacking the city. Logan has to fight his way free and help the Morph's family get away as well.
But as the title of the book suggests, most of its story is more concerned with Angel Perez, charged with helping the Elves save the Ellcrys. She has joined forces with a couple of Elves while the rest of the Elven nation tries to thwart their efforts by order of their King. With no one to turn to for help, and hunted by demons, they set out on their own to find the mysterious talisman that will save the Elven nation from destruction by the demons.
The Elves of Cintra continues the masterfully told blending of two of Terry Brooks' epic series. I cannot wait to see how everything ends with The Gypsy Morph!