The Children of Green Knowe

The Children of Green Knowe by L. M. Boston is a classic from the 1950’s. Before reading the book, I had read a few reviews that compared it to The Secret Garden.

This book didn’t do much for me. In fact, it annoyed me greatly.

It was a spooky type fantasy story, with ghosts of children from many years past visiting a child from the present. There were lots of wild animals and birds that came right up to people to be fed (this was the bit that really got to me) and then the story just ended. I didn’t feel as if there was a plot or a satisfactory ending.

Obviously, things have changed over the last 55 years and the kids of today would expect more – not to mention the publishers. I believe this was a good “what not to do” experience.

Clockwork

Yesterday, I started and finished reading Clockwork : Or All Wound Upby Philip Pullman. Sounds like a great feat, doesn’t it? There was only 81 pages so I can’t imagine anyone taking too long to read a book that thin.

This was the typical “Once upon a time…” type story. In fact, that’s exactly how it started. Those words alone told me not to take the story seriously, and although the story was put together well, in my opinion it wasn’t the best book on the face of the earth.

There was a page at the beginning that claimed that the book was based on an old German story. The surprising thing about this book was that, although it was written for children, the main characters were all adults, which is unusual. There were two children in the story who ended up having the roles that “saved the day” but they were really minor roles up till the end.

The other surprising fact about this story was the way the author talked included gory details. Remember, this book is read by children and I thought it was strange that the publishers allowed characters to be splattered, chopped up, sewn together and dead on their feet. It proves that it’s all in the wording and the tone and I felt the way the author did this was acceptable.

My recommendation? Hmmm. I can’t say I recommend it but it was a good distraction for a cold Saturday afternoon.

Update: Drowned Wednesday

Well, what can I say, I’ve outdone myself and managed to read Drowned Wednesday (Keys to the Kingdom, Book 3) in under two weeks. Not often does that happen. 🙂

As I said before, Garth Nix has let his mind run wild with this series but in my opinion it works well. The story is fast paced and fun to read. The entertainment value is high. There was no talking eye brows in this book but I lived, as I’m sure most readers will. Strangely, the very last paragraph didn’t make sense to me. I suppose it was a set up for the next book – Sir Thursday (The Keys To The Kingdom, Book 4) – but maybe I missed something in the storyline – I’m really not sure.

No matter, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to all young at heart readers who enjoy wacky stories.

A Visit to the Library

You may not believe me but this is research. It’s probably going to be a pleasant experience but then I won’t know until I’m finished. 🙂

Today, I visited the library and had to endure suspicious looks from not only little kids, but their parents too. Some kids are ruthless and pushy, but they haven’t dealt with me before and I gave as good as I got…and I won the prize! 😉

Yes, I visited the junior fiction section of the library. I made it out alive and with nine books clasped tightly in my arms. Here’s the list:

The Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede – I realise this is book 2 of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles but the first one wasn’t there and I really felt this would be a book book for my research.

The Plague of Quentaris by Gary Crew – just the mention of “plague” got me interested in this one.

Quentaris in Flames by Michael Pryor – it’s from the same series as the previous book but by a different author. Thought it might show me how this type of thing works.

The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley – judged by the cover alone (we all do it), it reminded me of Harry Potter in a way but the blurb on the back quickly told me that the story will be nothing like the Potter books.

Runestone by Anna Ciddor – haven’t heard of book or author but the blurb tells me that anyone who enjoys a strong story and a richly imagined world is bound to love this book.

School of Wizardry (Circle of Magic, Book 1) by Debra Doyle and James D Macdonald – there are six books to the series and this is the first one. Let’s see if it entices me to get book 2.

Clockwork : Or All Wound Up by Philip Pullman – haven’t read anything by this author before and thought it was time to change that.

Russell Troy, Monster Boy (Magic Shop) by Bruce Coville – looks like it will be a fun read.

The Children of Green Knowe by L M Boston – first published in 1954, I think it’s important to see what makes a story stick around after all these years and compare them to the modern stories.

So there you have it. Nine children’s chapter books. What will I learn from reading them? Time will tell.

Drowned Wednesday

In February, I went to an author reading. The author was Garth Nix and he read Drowned Wednesday (Keys to the Kingdom, Book 3). At the time I also bought the book (and had it autographed 🙂 ) but I never got around to reading it. Until now.

The first two books – Mister Monday and Grim Tuesday – were great. To enjoy the books, the reader must have a vivid imagination (like the author) to accept what is happening. I mean, how often do you see an eyebrow taking an active role in a story. 😉

I’m looking forward to the next adventure of Authur. I’ll let you know what I think when I’m finished (but don’t hold your breath because I read slow and infrequently).

The Little Country

The Little CountryYou would have noticed by the sidebar that I’ve been reading The Little Country by Charles de Lint. Last night I finished it.

What did I think?

It started out really well, very interesting. There are two stories running parallel with each other. At first, I enjoyed one story more than the other but I was eventually taken over into the other story. However, the middle seemed to drag on a bit. By the end it all made sense but I sort of lost a bit of interest – not much, just a bit but I’ve had worries and that could have contributed to this.

The pros for the book was that the author used his imagination and touched on things that I’ve thought about but never said out loud. You’ll have to read the book to know what I’m talking about but the way our memory works was the main thing I found interesting…and the possibility that there is magic in our world, if only we could “see” it.

The cons were that there were several scenes that I felt were there for shock purposes. This book certainly is not recommended to under 18 year olds. Then again, that might be me being a bit of a prude. That aside, there were some awkward sentences that broke the flow and a fair bit of head hopping (which I find annoying).

Overall, this was a good read. I feel that if I had given the book more time and read it quicker then I would have gotten deeper into both stories and would have loved it but time is something I don’t have a lot of so it took me a couple of months to read the 630 pages. It was worth it.

Currently Reading

A few days ago I removed the reading list from the side bar of the website. When I first put the list here it was being powered by All Consuming but they merged with 43 Things and I didn’t like the new format. However, I still wanted to show what I’m currently reading and have included a smaller box with just that.

I’m a slow reader so the contents of that box won’t change that often but if you want to know what I’m reading…just check the sidebar.

Currently, I’m reading The Little Country by Charles de Lint. I’ve been too busy lately to actually sit down and relax but I’ll get around to finishing it one day. 🙂

Lack of Reading

Anyone checking my reading list will see that The Runes of the Earth (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 1) by Stephen Donaldson has been on top of the list for months. I thought I’d better let you know that I finished the book about two months ago, but I haven’t started another novel as yet, so the list remains unchanged.

What did I think of Runes of the Earth, I hear you ask? 🙂

It’s been so long since the last set of books that the author had to do a lot of back story to remind the reader “what had gone before”. Whilst he did well with this, it did become tiresome and after reading 200 pages I was well and truly over it. I didn’t want to know what happen back then, I wanted the now to advance.

Maybe my taste has changed because I loved the first six books, but I found this one to be slow and long winded.

Will I read the next two books?

Good question. I think I’ll wait for the library to get copies and borrow them (which is what I did with this book).

This has proven one thing to me, when a story is over…it’s over! Don’t try to breathe life into old characters and settings because it usually doesn’t work. Let your fans remember them with love instead of ruining that imagine with more adventures that don’t quite move the reader in the same way.