"Little reads like this lift the heart and bring smiles to one's day. Short tales about cats, many of which belonged to famous people, fit into our busy days. There are cats who travel, get into trouble, save lives, go into space and in other ways become remembered long by their owners and sometimes the public, too. Let me relate some of the tales that I found especially interesting.
Even though Sir Isaac Newton is known for his scientific contributions his cat was responsible for a well used invention that graces many homes - the pet door. His cat interrupted his work to come and go so often that it inspired this invention. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) immortalized the cat of a little girl named Alice for whom the tale, Alice in Wonderland, is written. And, perhaps Edgar Allan Poe's cat helped keep him sane. It certainly comforted his ailing wife. There was a white kitten who charmed Dickens whose favorite pets were birds and dogs. And, there was a cat whose best friend was a gorilla. The gorilla grieved for some time after the cat died.
If you get the change, pick up this little read just for fun. It's endearing. (less)
"A classical read about a world controlled by Big Brother. The story depicts a negative Utopia world spawned by Hitler's approach to the people of Germany and the countries he captured. Can life really be this hopeless? Will people succumb to pressures that dehumanize them? Will love, compassion and such emotions become a thing of the past? Key character of this novel is Winston Smith who deep in his heart believes there can be a better world than the one in which he lives. He falls in love with Julia who has similar beliefs and they have a love affair. Of course, they are caught, suffer torture, demeaning experiences and brainwashing. The negative theme of the book continues to the last page. For me it was a depressing but thought provoking read. Perhaps, we all should read 1984."
"Abhorsen by Garth Nix is a wonderful book - the third in a trilogy that began with Sabriel. I can only say that this a book that is fun for both young adults and adults alike to read. It is exciting, imaginative, and so very creative. The characters and creature take on a reality that thrills the reader. All I can say is put this trilogy on your list to read soon - very soon."
"This is a fascinating tale of the mountain man, thoroughly researched by an author who is equally fascinated with his life. I enjoyed the detail, historical notations, and learning about these men who paved the way to the American West. DeVoto is an excellent writer whose intimate involvement with the topic comes through the pages. One can imagine easily what it would have been like to live this type of life - rugged, challenging, physically demanding and independent. It is a book where one finds oneself reflecting often about the mountain man and the areas in which they traveled and lived."
"What a wonderful story! A 13-year-old girl named Kim travels to Africa with her journalist mother. She has so many questions about her father and her mother's homeland that she feels ready to burst but her mother remains silent about her father. Who was he? What was he like? Would he love her? Why did he never contact her in Canada? She finds the answers to all of these questions as her mother works on her African assignment. Her mother has been estranged from her family and her homeland for so many years that the visit is fraught with stress, pain and uncertainty. All of this was tied up in apartheid and the struggle for equality among the African peoples. This is an outstanding story and I recommend it to those who wish to understand more about such issues. I learned so very much from those who were involved."
"It's a wonderful read. I have put more of this author's work on my TBR as he writes so very well. This is a tale of a shepherd boy named Santiago who wants to travel in spite of his father's wish that he become a priest. The father stakes the boy who buys himself some sheep. He travels throughout Andulasia with his herd, getting to know the land and the people. However, he has a dream that he asks an old woman to interpret and with this interpretation sets off to see the pyramids in Egypt where he is to find treasure and become rich. The key message of the tale is to follow our dreams. Never give up say the people the boy meets and so says the author as well in an interview in the back of the book. It's simple, inspiring and a delight to read so friends read this one and get a new look on your own life in spite of whatever obstacles you encounter and like Santiago you may find your dreams can come true. Above all, don't give up."
"Having read and loved the Mistborn trilogy, I was excited when I saw this one. It's a quick read but a slow starter. Nevertheless, I really liked the protagonist, Wax or Waxillium. He's brave, ethical and a courageous if a foolish risk taker at times. His sidekick, Wayne, is funny and dedicated to his friend. Miles Hundredlives is a good character and I would like to see more of him. He is probably one of the best characters in the novel. I kept wondering how he really became who he was and what his past might have been. The ending was predictable and certainly leaves room for a sequel. Do hope that the author spends more time developing that one. Lovers of the Mistborn series like me know how well this author can write. Yes, I would read the sequel and I just know that it will be much better."
"Just finished this one. It was interesting from a folk tale/magic viewpoint. Couldn't decide if I really liked it. The story moves slowly at times but Card does a very nice job with his characters. I especially liked Arthur Stuart, Verily Cooper, and Calvin, Alvin's brother. If one is reading the series, this one is not to be missed."
"Amandine was sent to a convent as a baby because her mother dallied with a brother of the woman who was mistress to her grandmother's husband. Since her husband and his mistress committed suicide together the grandmother wants to avoid any hint of scandal. Furthermore, the child has a heart condition which gradually heals with time and care.
The baby has no history so she is called Amandine by Solange, the woman engaged to care for her. She grows to be cherished by almost all the sisters who love her unconditionally but when she starts school, the children tease her without mercy. Solange has told her that she has a real mother who loves her. Amandine wonders why she doesn't come see her and where she is.
Longing for her real mother, she dreams of what she looks like and pretends that the beautiful women she sees may be her mother. The other school children taunt her because she has none. She endures the teasing until Mater Paul sends Solange from the dining area ridiculing her before all the sisters. At this point, Amadine rebels and stands firm telling Paul that she is cruel. The students rally behind her. When scarlet fever invades the convent and the school, Amadine is isolated because of her heart condition. She almost dies due to a sister's misguided belief that she must make certain that she does.
Solange and Amandine leave the convent to travel through war torn France to return to Solange's home. For the most part, the war seems removed from their travels. As I read this novel I was reminded of Suite Francaise by Irčne Némirovsky. This book, too, dwells on the people in a country caught in the chaos of war and occupation.
The author provides a good little read but not an outstanding one. However, the characters of Solange and Amandine are well done even if they seem a bit remote and dreamlike from the reader at times."
"When one picks up anthology I believe one is in for a reading treat. This group of short stories about young people from different cultures is quite interesting. The Journey by Duane Big Eagle is the first and one of my favorites. Traveling from Mexico, a sick youngster comes to the U.S. to visit his aunt who he hopes will help cure him. It includes some of the myth and beliefs of Native American culture. The All-American Slurp features a Chinese family adapting to American ways. It's poignant and funny. In No-Guitar Blues, Fausto wants a guitar in the worst way. Sixth Grade gives the reader a glimpse into the life of the young whose families follow the harvests to make a living. The stories are short and give the reader a brief view of what young people from different cultures face in our society."
"This is about Mori (Morwenna), 14, a surviving twin whose mother is an evil witch. Her sister was killed in a battle with their mother and Mori will forever limp because of the car that hit them during the fight. Her father, who abandoned her mother, found her to take care of her and enrolled her in an English boarding school. She dislikes her new school, has few friends, and the food is awful but reading science fiction is her outlet. The book contains dozens of references to her reads and I made a list of those I haven't yet read which will keep me reading for a couple of years!
As Mori tries to understand her father, she discovers that he, too, loves science fiction and they begin to share impressions about books and authors. In an effort to find friends who share her interests, she does magic and creates a karass. She believes it works when she discovers a local science-fiction book club, makes new friends and finds a boyfriend.
When magic is performed, it may backfire and create problems for the person initiating it. Magic may help one change the past to satisfy desires but still be careful not to change what is. If Mori had not created magic to find friends, the book club might not have existed or would it? She turns to the fairies she knows for information.
At times I found myself caught up in the endless lists and comments about the books Mori was reading. O wondered if a 14-year-old possibly read so many books. The endless lists which distracted me from the story is the reason that I gave the book three stars rather than four. Nevertheless, it is a fun read."
"The cover says that this book is about Anil Tissera but I think that it's really about four people - Anil; Sarath, a fellow scientist; Sarath's brother, Gamini, a physician; and Ananda, an artist. The book focuses on how the conflict in Sri Lanka affects these four characters and probably, how Anil's values and beliefs affect the others both directly and indirectly. It's realistic, sad at times and stimulating, too. How do four people deal with such tragedy? Who chooses to challenge the powers in charge? Who wins? Who loses? It's an interesting journey to find the answers."
"A fifteen-year-old doesn't understand his father. Nor does his father understand him. They always seem to be at odds. It is April 19, 1775, and Adam Coooper is about to find his world changing. There is talk of the British bringing an army to their town of Lexington but rumors abound until that is the redcoats really appear.
Adam watches his father shot as the redcoats fire on the men of the town who had hoped to talk first and reason it all out. There is no talk, no reasoning only death. Adam watches his father, Moses, fall and he begins running like so many others who can't believe what is happening.
In this brief encounter with the British Adam begins to grow up and finds himself fighting. The day is long as the colonists hide, shoot, run and hide again. Adam is scared but aren't they all? It's the beginning of a long war because there is no room for talking or reasoning."
"The Archer's Tale by Bernard Cornwell was read for a reading challenge. I truly enjoy books when the author spends time describing the research and/or how the tale is developed. It's fun to get into the author's mind. This book was fun to read and I can see how people get into Cornwell's writing. The battles described in Archer are fantastic and realistic. I felt that I knew the characters in this book and am looking forward to the next volume in this series and seeing what happens to Thomas, the archer in The Vagabond. My recommendation: Take time to read this one."
"This is the story of how one man deals with the death of his wife, Eve, and his struggle to keep his daughter, Zoe, as told through the eyes of his dog, Enzo. Denny is a semi-professional race car driver who excels, of course, at racing in rainy conditions. It is heart-rending to understand how much some will do to tear a family apart. Eve's parents, in their grief, have come to the conclusion that Denny was responsible for Eve not seeking medical attention and is an unfit parent for their granddaughter. The struggle between the three is the key story but details about racing will endear this read to fans. While the ending is hokey the theme of this read is to encourage people to follow their dreams."
"A very good read. The tale is told by different characters but still flows well. Arthur's rise to become High King is difficult as he works to gain the support of all the kings in the kingdom. Battle after battle must be engaged to free the kingdom of invaders and to prove to these kings that he is the leader they need. Even when he attains the crown his support among some is tenuous. The impact of Morgian, her father, and her son Medraut takes its toll on Arthur's supporters. When Arthur and his knights leave the Summer Kingdom to assist Rome, Merlin and Gwenhwyvar, the queen, are captured and held prisoner while most of those he left behind have been murdered and his kingdom pillaged. While I enjoyed this read my favorite in the series is still Merlin."
"What a wonderful read! I have had this one on my shelf for some time but finally picked it up. Fitz is the bastard son of a prince who doesn't remember his mother and doesn't know his father. His grandfather took him to the castle saying it was time his father took care of him. When his father learns of his existence he abdicates his right to the throne and lives a quiet life until someone assassinates him. Fitz's grandfather, the king, mandates that Fitz be adopted into the royal household to be educated as a royal son should be, bastard or no. The master of horse, Burrich, whose bond with Fitz's father is obligated to care for Fitz. His talent for going into the minds of animals makes him unacceptable to any who learn of it, especially Burrich. Encountering the younger princes, Fitz is resented by one and treated gently and respectfully by the other. When Fritz learns he is to be trained to be an assassin, he works hard to meet the expectations of his teacher and the king. Meanwhile the kingdom is threatened by raiders who kidnap residents and turn them into emotionless beings. The only defense the kingdom has is those who have a talent called skilling whereby they can influence the actions of others by entering their minds. The story is complex and fascinating and Fitz escapes death several times as he begins to understand the political impact of what he must do. This is the first of the Farseer trilogy written by Robin Hobb (Margaret Atwood). Next in the series is Royal Assassin."
"In the introduction, the editor recommends remembering that this book is composed of stories that evolved in the oral tradition. As I read them, I imagined that I heard a story teller relating each one and I enjoyed them so much more. As the title states this is a collection of medieval stories - romances, religious tales and other legends, all French in origin. It's a wonderful read. The first, Aucassin & Nicolette, is a classic tale where two young people fall in love. In this one, father of the young man, believes that the young woman is not appropriate choice for his only son because she is of a lower class than his son. The rwo strive to convince the father that their love is just and right but to no avail. Can their love be fulfilled so that they may live out their lives together. There are other romances such as Story of King Flolrus and of the Fair Jehane, Lay of Graevlent, and The Palfrey, each of which has its own plot and ending. Stories of a religious nature include The Lady's Tumbler, A Jew Who Took as Surety the Image of Our Lady, The Knight Who Prayed While Our Lady Tourneyed in His Stead and the The Story of Asenath. Others are about what is just and fair, friendship, and the quirks of life."
"This is the story of the return of Arthur after the death of King Edward, who supposedly commits suicide. It begins with a man named James Arthur Stewart who is working to retain his inheritance, Blair Morven. All looks bleak until he meets Enbries (alias Merlin) whose tale is too strange to believe. James is to be the next king of England! He who cannot even retain his inheritance? Enbries totes out the proof - birth certificate, parents, marriage certificate, and all paperwork pertaining to his past to prove it. Once James believes the fun has only begun. The political wheels turn rapidly to discount the claim and smudge his reputation. James has difficulty coping with all of this but while he is a fair, honest, and courageous man who has the interests of the people foremost in his heart he must prove it to the people of England. Enter the evil Moira (Morgian) his ancient foe in another life who strives to thwart James in his quest to be crowned king. This is quite a good read and if you enjoyed the original story of Arthur, Merlin and Morgian you will find this updated version most entertaining. I did."