The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult – A Discussion

20130421_171805_resizedI received this book as a birthday present.   It really isn’t a book I would choose to buy.  I have only read two of Jodi Picoult‘s books – The Pact and My Sister’s Keeper.  I enjoyed both but found them quite depressing.  I prefer made up ghosts and killers rather than the horrors of real life.  That said, I did find The Storyteller a good read and would recommend it.

NOTES:

* I liked how Picoult spilt the book up into different parts.  Each separate yet intertwined plot was engaging with interesting characters.

* I liked the addition of the Upior (the story within the story).   The supernatural parts were particularly interesting to me as that is what kind of stories I typically enjoy.

* The tale of Minka and her terrible experiences in the concentration camps etc were confronting and obviously based on real life events.  Although terrible to read and think about, I appreciated that Picoult did not avoid writing about such horrible things just to make the reader feel more comfortable.

* The relationship between Sage and Leo was a nice addition to the story – throughout most of the story I was hoping that they would get together.

* The themes of the novel were hard hitting – redemption, justice, forgiveness.  While reading I was often put into the shoes of the characters and had to ask myself what I would do if faced the same situations.

QUOTES

* ‘History isn’t about dates and places and wars. It’s about the people who fill the spaces between them.’

* ‘Good people are good people; religion has nothing to do with it.’

* ‘People have to experience things that terrify them. If they don’t, how will they ever come to appreciate safety?’

* ‘My brother believed in all sorts of mythical creatures: pixies, dragons, werewolves, honest men.’

* ‘That’s why we read fiction, isn’t it? To remind us that whatever we suffer, we’re not the only ones?’

Favourite Enid Blyton Characters!

Original Budget Books cover of The Magic Faraw...

Original Budget Books cover of The Magic Faraway Tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cover of "Five on a Treasure Island (Famo...

Cover of Five on a Treasure Island (Famous Five)

Some of my favourite Enid Blyton Characters;

Moonface (The Magic Faraway Tree Series) – His cute little round house, the slippery slip and his brave and to the point demeanour make him the perfect character.

Julian (The Famous Five Series) – I am aways partial to characters that are leaders.  Julian is the oldest of the group and is responsible and intelligent.

Janet (The Secret Seven Series) – She is second-in-command and a lot more headstrong than the other girls in the group.  While the other girls sometimes get quiet silly she is brave and quite sensible.

Susie – (The Secret Seven Series) – A younger sister of Jack who is in the Secret Seven.  Susie wants to be in the group but is always refused.  It is entertaining to read about all of the antics she creates  to annoy the Secret Seven.

Chinky (The Wishing Chair Series) – A kind hearted cheeky pixie who brings his magical world to the playroom of Mollie and Peter.

Games by Robin Klein – A Discussion

20130406_121159_resized 20130406_121225_resizedI came across this book while sorting through my collections and decided to give it another read.  Robin Klein was one of my favourite Australian authors growing up.  I especially loved Came Back to Show You I Could Fly.  

Games is a teenage ghost story that is actually quite scary.  I wont spoil the ending for anyone that may want to read or re-read it but I will say that Klein builds suspense nicely and gives you little frights at the perfect moments.  The story is about three girls who stay at one of their Aunt’s place while she is away without permission.  Strange things start to happen. Some can be explained by the girls themselves but there is definitely something or someone in the house with them.  The story ties up any loose ends and is very plausible which I respect as an avid ghost story reader.

I also really like the references to Melbourne – the setting, places that are familiar to me and the specific Australian slang.

Some Quotes to entice future readers;

* ‘Then froze, staring at a pair of feet shod in white, which were standing quite still, waiting, on the very top step.’

* ”Geelong somewhere! Am I supposed to ring every Geelong number in the phone book then?  Strewth, who let you out?”

* ‘And something else, a long, cold white hand, reaching in through that dark space.’

* ‘She stood frozen, until the thought of those pale, dead fingers reaching up in the dark to encircle her ankle sent her leaping for the switch near the door.’

The Enid Blyton Collection

DSC_0276This is my largest collection and the one I am most proud of.  I have loved Enid Blyton’s stories since my grade four teacher read The Magic Faraway Tree to the whole class.  She had such an amazing range of story ideas.  My favourite had to be the Famous Five Mystery series – I have many that are earlier copies (the red covers).  The idea of teenage siblings/cousins solving mysteries together with minimal parental supervision made for very interesting reading.

DSC_0278I also loved The Secret Seven stories, The Magic Faraway Tree Stories, The Wishing Chair and her short story compilations particularly those about Toy Land.

DSC_0283DSC_0280I am not even close to having her entire collection, she wrote over 800 books, but one day I hope to have them all.DSC_0277

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The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis – A Discussion (contains spoilers)

English: Map of Narnian world as described in ...

English: Map of Narnian world as described in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have come to the end of my  Narnia journey.  It is pleasing to know that I can still read the whole series as an adult and still appreciate Lewis’s wondrous characters and settings.  The last book in the series I have to say is probably my least favourite maybe its because I know that it is the end Narnia – or is it?

NOTES:

* I enjoyed how the Ape (Shift) tricked poor Puzzle the Donkey into wearing the lion skin and pretend that he was Aslan.  However, I didn’t really like the character of the Shift (not that I am supposed to because he is the villain) but there just hasn’t been any mention of apes as characters throughout the chronicles so I found it a little odd.  I think it would have been better if the last villain of Narnia was yet another evil queen.

* The last King of Narnia, Tirian (a descendant of Caspian) and his unicorn Jewel are fitting heroes for the last book.

* I did like the fact that most of the characters from previous books came back (Peter, Edmund, Lucy, Reepicheep, Puddlegum, Aravis, Corin, Tumnus, Polly, Digory – to name a few), however Susan was not included as she had lost her faith in Narnia which I found a bit confusing as I don’t think her character reflects this.

* The ending is slightly far fetched, they die in a train accident (yes all of them) in the real world, Narnia has been destroyed and they are all going to live happily ever after in Aslan’s country.

* The absence of Susan was disappointing.  I don’t understand why she was not included in the book and Lewis never explained what happened to her.  Did she loose her whole family in the train crash? If so what a depressing life she shall now lead.

QUOTES:

* “They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.”

* “One always feel better when one has made up one’s mind.”

* “Yes,” said Mr. Tumnus, “like an onion: except that as you continue to go in and in, each circle is larger than the last.”

Book Collections…Little Golden Books

Another collection from my childhood.

I have about 30 Little Golden Books from the 80s/90s.

Favourites include:

* Alice in Wonderland

* Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree

* Cinderella

* Mickey Mouse‘s Picnic

* Winnie the Pooh meets Gopher

I loved the illustrations and the Disney stories when I was a kid.  It was great watching the movies then reading the books.

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The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis – A Discussion (may contain spoilers)

20130403_171602_resized 20130403_171629_resizedWhen I was a child I watched a remake of this story and suffice to say it scared me to the point where I no longer wanted to read the book.  Luckily I have managed to put any fears I once had aside because like the Magicians Nephew, this story is highly under rated.

NOTES:

* Again Lewis takes slightly longer to get his characters into Narnia because yet again we have another new character, Jill.  I liked the background story about the school and its bullies.  It is interesting that bullying is still as relevant today as it was in 1953 when the book was first published.

* I really enjoyed Aslan‘s tasks that Jill was supposed to follow.  It made the story more quest like.  It reminds me of The Wizard of Oz as the travellers had to take a long and interesting journey with plenty of obstacles on the way.

* I find it very sad that Eustace does not get to see Prince Caspian before he sails away & also that Caspian is now old and on his death bed.  Happily, at the end of the book Caspian somehow comes back to life and is his young and vibrant self once more.

* I love the character of Puddleglum.  His negativity is hilarious.

* The giants creeped my out a little, especially when it is revealed that Jill, Eustace and Puddleglum were to become their dinner.

* Another queen as the evil villain fits nicely within the chronicles.  As usual they are always beautiful but very deadly.  The Queen of the Underland is no different.

* Prince Rilian‘s curse is an interesting plot twist and it is a tense moment when the heroes have to either believe that he is a friend of Aslan and release him or risk him turning into a serpent.

QUOTES

* ‘I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,’ said the Lion.  It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry.  It just said it.’

* “You’ve got to learn that life isn’t all fricasseed frogs and eel pie.”

* ‘But as the chair broke, there came from it a bright flash, a sound like small thunder, and (for one moment) a loathsome smell.’

* “And there’s one thing about this underground work, we shan’t get any rain.”

* “When you meet me here again, you will have come to stay. But not now. You must go back to your own world for a while.”