5 Books for $1

Yes, they were cheap. Yes, they are secondhand. Yes, they are children’s or young adult books. Yes, I’ll read them all.

My family laughed at me when I came home with these five books. My 21 year old son, Daniel, gave me a “You’re old, and you’re reading kids books” look. G just shook his head and continued with what he was doing. And Daniel’s girlfriend just outright laughed her head off. How rude! 😉

At least I’ll actually get through these books. Adult books take too much time, and are too complex for my injured mind. I need something light and entertaining. I love reading “kids” books.

Here’s a list of the books I bought. They are old, but does that really matter?

The Time Tree by Enid Richemont – The tall tree in the park is Rachel and Joanna’s special place. It’s Anne’s too. So it hardly seems surprising that the three girls meet up there – except for the fact that Anne was born over four hundred years ago!

Elidor by Alan Garner – A street map, a deserted demolition site, a football and a church in ruins … four ordinary things which lead Richard, Helen, Nicholas and David into a twilight world almost destroyed by fear and darkness – Elidor.

Ellie and the Hagwitch by Helen Cresswell – “Ellie stood helplessly watching the snow fall. She tried to conjure up the roses in bloom beyond, the trees in full summer leaf, the long grasses. She clung desperately to this picture, as if by thinking of it long enough, she could actually re-make it, could halt that cold relentless fall.” But the darkness grew. The snow thickened and Ellie knew that the hagwitch had begun her attack. First there had been the cats, then Ellie’s mother and father had disappeared and now the snow had come. As this enthralling fantasy unfolds, the hagwitch tries to lure Ellie to her, knowing that with the girl in her grasp her power will be complete…

Crime in the Picture by Emily Rodda – Searching for a lost parrot isn’t Nick’s idea of proper detective work. Surely Teen Power Inc. can find something more important to do? Anyway, the gang’s busy – working for the zany Madame Clarice as well as getting ready for the Raven Hill Fair and Art Show to raise money for a local swimming pool. But Percy’s no ordinary parrot, as Nick soon discovers. The hunt leads the gang straight into a million-dollar mystery – one the whole of Raven Hill is going to know about.

Green for Danger by Emily Rodda – Minding a luxurious house seemed like fun to the Teen Power gang at first. But now Nick is feeling more and more uncomfortable. Suddenly the house has started to seem like a prison. Or a tomb. Perhaps it’s the white marble everwhere. Or the sealed windows and doors. Or the aquarium fish, silently swimming in their endless circles. Or maybe it’s just that a fortune in emeralds was stolen from this house, ruining its owner, and disappearing without trace! Nick tells himself to stay cool. There’s nothing to fear. After all, there’s no-one in the house but him and his friends. Is there?

And my decision is: Elidor by Alan Garner. This is the book I’ll read first.

Reading Update

Bellwether by Connie Willis just wasn’t doing it for me. This author is brilliant, but I just can’t get into this novel. I think it’s meant to be humorous, but I’m not in the mood for that right now. So, I’ve decided to discard this book. However, this is only temporary. I’ll try reading it again when I get my mind back.

Yesterday, we visited the library and they had heaps of books on sale, cheap. Most of them were reference books, which G was pleased to go through. There were only a few adult novels, I think we came upon the sale after the bargains had already been snapped up. But…there were lots of children’s and young adult books. I found five that looked interesting and grabbed those. The total cost was a massive $1 for all five books. What a deal!

Now I just have to decide which one to read first. I’ll give a list of the books and my decision later 😀

Isaac Asimov: The Legacy of Wine

Short stories have never been a passion of mine – to read or write. However, I have written a few of them over the past few years, but I don’t think they are great or anything. There’s the problem. If I don’t think they are great, why on earth would anyone (meaning an editor) want to publish them? They wouldn’t, so I’ve been thinking that I need to “fix” those few short stories…and make them great.

Also, for research purposes – and the fact that I can’t concentrate long enough to read novels at the moment – I made a decision to buy an old copy of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which has evolved into Asimov’s Science Fiction. This copy of the magazine/book (whatever you might want to call it, I’ll call it a book because it doesn’t resemble a magazine to me) is dated July 1991. It includes an article written by Orson Scott Card, and numerous short stories.

I plan on reading it from cover to cover and seeing if it helps me to write better short stories. Maybe I’ll recognise something that I’m doing wrong. Maybe there will be some tricks that I haven’t been aware of before now. I’m not sure how I’ll go, but even if I just enjoy the stories, it will be $2 well spent.

My Thoughts on “Bellwether”

An image of the cover of Bellwether has been in the sidebar for some time already, however, I only started reading the book last week. My thoughts so far? Slow. Very, very slow.

I’m actually struggling to continue reading, because I have no idea what the plot is about yet and my interest is started to wane. I’ve read about 60 pages and, in my opinion, should have an idea by now. In fact, if the book had been written by anyone else I would have put it aside. Connie Willis is one of my favourite authors, and it’s for this reason only that I’m pushing myself on.

I think the main problem I have with this storyline, apart from not knowing what’s happening, is that it feels like the author has used different characters in the same building she used for Passage (or vice versa; I don’t know which book was written first). I keep expecting those characters (their names escape me at the moment) to make an appearance and that’s distracting too.

I’ll press on for a couple more chapters, but if there’s still no hint of a plot (and I acknowledge that perhaps it’s just me not getting it) then I’ll have to give up on this book. Strangely, I don’t feel good with this decision. Maybe I’m reading the book at the wrong time, but I think I’ll be avoiding reading altogether if I have to continue to force myself to read the book and I don’t want that (it’s starting to happen already).

The City of Ember

The City of EmberThe City of Ember (The First Book of Ember) by Jeanne DuPrau is a young adult novel. It could be a prediction for today’s world, and this book is set in the future. It’s not science fiction and it’s not fantasy, it’s a story that is engaging and well thought out.

It’s about a city built beneath the ground by The Builders. We are not told why, but we can guess. The story picks up many hundreds of years after the people are left in the city of darkness. The generator is beginning to fail. The food is starting to dwindle. The people are beginning to lose hope. How can anyone leave the city where light bulbs light their way and walk into the darkness when there is no such thing as a hand-held light. What will the people of Ember do when the generator stops and will not start up again? Read the book to find out. You won’t be disappointed. I enjoyed it. Thank you for the recommendation, Sherry.

The next book on my reading list is Bellwether by Connie Willis. I love this author’s previous writing, so I’m hoping this story will be as good. The cover and the blurb are not something that would normally attract me to a book. I’ve decided to read the book for no other reason than I like the author.

Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism

Molly MoonIt took me long enough to read this book, but that’s not a reflection on the story, the writing or the author. As you know, I’ve had personal issues to deal with, which stopped me from reading for quite some time.

Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgia Byng is a children’s book that breaks all the rules. When an agent or a publisher tells a writer that they cannot write about people smoking, or about children doing naughty things (like stealing and running away)…don’t listen to them, because this book has all these things and more.

The author tells an interesting story about an orphan girl who finds an old book on Hypnotism in the local library. The girl’s name is Molly Moon and she discovers that if she puts the lessons from the book into action, she can literally get anything she wants. She uses this art to better herself, in quite a selfish way, and at the expense of others. However, all the “bad” things she does lead to a lesson to be learned and I felt the author tackled these issues quite well.

The story is humorous, unusual and well written. It’s an adventure with loads of twists and turns, which are neatly brought together for a satisfactory ending. There are two other books in the series – Molly Moon Stops the World and Molly Moon’s Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure.

What am I reading next? The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. Recommended to me, some months ago, by Sherry Ramsey.

Book Review: To Say Nothing of the Dog

to say nothing of the dogWritten by Connie Willis, To Say Nothing of the Dog is “related” to Doomsday Book. I say related because the two stories are set in the future, and involve time travel, but the characters are different. Whilst Doomsday Book is set in medieval times – in the middle of the plague – To Say Nothing of the Dog is set in 1888 (mostly).

The author is talented in many ways. Her strengths are developing complex characters, who make you feel for them; settings that are so realistic, you feel like you are actually there; accurate details when it comes to historic information; so many twists and turns, that you never quite know where the story will go next; and, of course, bringing everything to a nice, tidy close.

To Say Nothing of the Dog is a prime example of all these things. This book had lots of humour in it too, which even I found amusing (and I’m a grumpy old woman; well, I’m not that old, but I am grumpy, you can ask my sons). Honestly, if you haven’t read this book, or this author, you should.

Now, here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

Ned is suffering disorientation, maudlin sentimentality and a tendency to beocme distracted by irrelevancies: classic syptoms of excessive time travel. And no wonder. Oxford’s history department has just pulled him out of World War II and Ned’s barely had time to wash off the gunpowder when he has a straw boater shoved on his head, a carpetbag in his hand and is thrown straight into Victorian England. For a holiday.

But an impossible accident makes it hard to relax. Ned’s holiday becomes a mad struggle to put together a historical jigsaw puzzle involving a cat, a diary, young lovers and the mysterious bishop’s bird stump. If he can’t make all the pieces fit it could mean the end of history itself.

Shimmer

I started reading Shimmer by Kathryn Deans. She’s an Australian writer (by night) and works in a bank by day. Now, this is no reflection on the writer or the book, but…I stopped reading it. I’m not all that keen on trolls, ogres, dwarves, elves – and this story has all of them. I only read the first 20 pages and I found that my mind kept wondering. I just wasn’t in the mood. I can tell you that the author writes with a humourous flow, which I liked, and the main character was well crafted. I’ll put the book back on the shelf and will come back to it at a later date. It’s also been taken out of my sidebar and replaced with another book I’ve started reading instead.