Tom’s Midnight Garden

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce has been on my TBR list for a while. After I read The Secret Garden I have had a thing for hidden garden books.

Tom is sent away to stay with an aunt and uncle while his brother recovers from the mumps. FYI this was written in 1958 and won the Carnegie Medal from the Library Association. The house that Tom’s aunt and uncle live in has been converted into flats and there is not a garden to play in.

This is a time slip book there Tom can slip back in time to play in the original garden and meet the a few of the people who live there. It is cute, a bit preachy, and very much has the ideas of the 1950’s written into the book . I borrowed this one from the library and did not take a picture of it before I took it back.

I would get this book for a small child my son would have read it in first grade, however it is written for someone with a 5th grade reading level.

Plain Jane’s and Plain Jane’s In Love

These are the two books that I picked for the shorter reads for the readathon. Both Plain Jane’s and Plain Jane’s In Love were written by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg.

There is  Jane, Theater Jane, Brain Jane, and Polly Jane.  These books are about a group of high school students who plain and carry out “art attacks” on the town. Jane has a motive for doing this she survived something terrible and her mother has become a recluse because of that. This is her way of trying to heal her mother.

Each book is short, sweet and made me wish that I had been in that group at school. Just go and read them.

The Devil You Know

This is a blog post for a book I read for the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathion.

Mike Carey wrote the Lucifer and Unwritten comic also wrote The Devil You Know.  This book is about Felix Castor or Fix as he is known to his friends. Fix is an exorcist an unofficial exorcist, the official ones are with the church. He takes on what should be the simple job of removing a ghost from an archive. If it were simple this would not have been a book.

What I most enjoyed about this book is the world building.  The setting was the modern world but one where ghosts have come back to haunt or not haunt the world. I love the explanation of what a Loup-Garou was and why they used the French term for the phenomenon. It is one that I hope that Mr. Carey keeps writing in.

The reason I picked this one to read is that if you were to go on my Goodreads books to read list you would see over 200 books. So my goal when I am not reading a book a round the world I plan on trying to get through this list. However, today I added another book. Shush it looks good.

Dewey’s Wrap up Post

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? To be honest this time it was all of them I blame it on the pneumonia.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a reader engaged for next year? Alys by Kiri Callaghan , Anything by Charles de Lint
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season? Can really answer I mostly just read books.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Again I did not participate much, it was difficult to multi-task this year.
5. How many books did you read? 4
6. What were the names of the books you read? The Devil You Know, Plain Jane’s, Tom’s Midnight Garden, and Jane’s in Love.
7. Which book did you enjoy most? I enjoyed the Jane books they were cute and I wanted to be in P.L.A.I.N
8. Which did you enjoy least? Tom’s Midnight Garden it was not the story it was that I could “see” the prejudice of the author. It was written in the 1950’s though so not a big surprise.
9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? It is already on my calendar! I would be interested in donating a prize, if someone would contact me about that.

Dewey’s Readathon

Today is the April Dewey’s readathon, it is also International Table Top Gaming day, and my cousins birthday. This is my third year of doing the readathon and I am a bit out of it. On Thursday it was discovered that I have pneumonia.

The last few time I have done the readathon I have kept up every hour on the hour. This time sitting up is wearing me down. This will be a post that I add to as the day goes on. Right now I am reading The Devil You Know by Mike Carey. I should have it done in a few more hours.

But first a mini challange this one is run by Bart over at Bart’s Bookshelf. This is called Show Us the Weather.

DSCF7953.JPG I am taking a short break from reading, So far today I have read. Plain Jane’s, Jane’s in Love, Tom’s Midnight Garden, and The Devil You Know. My next book is going to be In the Sanctuary of Outcasts a non fiction one. I am hoping to get through this tonight then I will only have 2 books from the library left to read. Not to worry, I do plan on writing reviews for each of these books.

This next challenge is by Reading Women, they also run a wonderful podcast about women authors and their books. Meet Dobby my German Shepard and Alys by Kiri Callaghan. DSCF7963.JPG

Just got done watching Doctor Who, and I don’t know if I should keep going or go to bed. Having pneumonia is awful. My brain is screaming at me “DO ALL THE THINGS!” however, after getting up off the couch to get some water all I want is a nap.

The Dream of Death (Azerbaijan)

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I finally got a copy of this book! It has only taken 4 months to get one and that is ok. In fact when I went to Powell’s where I get my books from and got this one from it was gone. There is not a link for it.

The Dream of Death by Vagif Sultanly is a short book that deals with death, but not in the way that one would think.

The book starts out with a man on a bulldozer building a road. As he follows his path he realizes that it goes right through a graveyard. He is haunted, torn and conflicted by what he has to do here.  The people of the town are given leave by the government to relocate the graves of their loved and unloved ones. In moving the graves we read of the secrets of the village. There is old Halima, who’s son buried by the government finds something that breaks her mind. Alish, who was resurrected. Yolchu and Pari and the second loss of the baby. Then there is the dog, who in grieving moves the only person who loved him.

The language of this book is lyrical and yet to the point. It is not dreams that this book focuses on but death. Death is a character that effects everyone and everything in here. I would like to know what was going on in Mr. Sultanly’s life at the time he wrote this.

QUOTES

“He doesn’t know that each creature has only one way directed to the grave; and each persons last address is a cemetery.”

“In any case life is a lie and falsehood for many people.”

“She felt sunset in her spirit, watching the daybreak.”

Hillbilly Elegy

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Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance is the book that my book club decided to read this month. The wait list for this at the library was astronomical; I think I was number 456 for the book, and 594 for the audio version. The subtitle for this is “A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis”. That should give you a hint that this is going to be about a life story, with a bit of the culture of that family tossed in. Nope.

There was passing mention of his family and life as a child/teen/young adult, but most of this was a socio-economic commentary on the state of what he called working-class whites. His writing primarily focuses on the steel mills, and those who worked there. Statistics abound in this book, there are several reference notes for each chapter.

This is not what I think of when I think of a memoir, I think of the stories that people tell when they go home for Christmas. Most of them start with “remember when”, or “tell me about the time”. There were a few of those in this book but not a lot and for myself I would rather have more of the story than of the basis of the facts.

One thing that made me angry about this book was when he partially blamed his grandfather’s alcoholism on his grandmother’s behavior. Could that have been a factor on why the man drank? Maybe, however, that is not always the case nor it is always a deciding factor.

If you are looking for facts on Hillbillies read this book; if you want to know about a young hillbilly’s life, look for another one.

Read-a-Thon

For a few years now I have been participating in the Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon. This past year I have been unable to participate because I lacked the technology to. This April however I am once again able to read for a day.

There is a lot of prep as a reader that takes place before the event. First a reader has to sign up, that is the easy part. There is a group on Goodreads for Dewey, and there is a thread where a person can share where and how they are going to share what is going on that day.

One thing that I do as well as others is create a TBR pile. A list of books that I hope to read or start reading on that day. Sometimes I stick with that and other times I do not, it all depends on my mood.

I can say that I will have plenty of coffee and snacks on hand for the day. This is one of the days where I block out the time and just read. I do take breaks as getting up and moving is important. If you want to know more or join here is the link for Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon. 

Journey to the Center of the Earth

I read this book a long time ago and then watched all the movies. I had forgotten how much of a  difference there was in the movies compared to the book.  I will admit that I audio read this book; I have a 30 to 40 minute commute and I have found that listening to books or podcasts makes the drive much more tolerable. I am not going to put a link to this book up because this is one book that is easy to find everywhere.

The version that I had borrowed from the library was read by Simon Prebble and even he had a bit of difficulty with the Icelandic names. When Jules Vern wrote his 54 Extraordinary Voyages he tried to be as accurate as possible  on the scientific theories of the day, keeping in mind that this book was written in the 1860’s. That means that much of the science is no longer accurate, and in many cases it has been disproven.

There are three characters in this book: Axel, Professor Liedenbrock and Hans.  Axel is the one who tells the story of this adventure, Prof. Liedenbrock is his uncle, the one who instigates the travel, and Hans is just someone they pick up in Iceland as a guide.

Reading this today I had forgotten how class and privilege were all-prevailing. The two women mentioned in the book stay home and take care of the house, and Hans is seen as nothing more than a servant because he is not of good German stock. I know that 153 years ago the outlook was different on women and on people who were not “their” people. I had just forgotten how much of it there was, how blatant this could be, and how subtle as well.

It is slow to start, the place where there is the most action is brief. I would recommend reading this to see what was popular in sci-fi 150 years ago. However, if you want this to be an action thriller, stick with one of the movies.

Good Omens The Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnes Nutter

Confession time everyone ready? I do not like Neil Gaiman books. I know I can hear the screaming now. In another honest confession I audio read this book. I think if I were to have tried to read it myself I would have ended up abandoning it.  I do not know when Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with I am sure that is was after this book was written but I could be wrong.

Now before we go on I will say that I have tried to read several of Mr. Gaiman’s books. I tried American Gods, one about people living underground in London, and the one I did manage to finish was about a boy living in a cemetery.

On to Good Omens The Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnes Nutter but Mr. Pratchett and Mr. Gaiman. Because I read this while driving, I do not have quotes to attach to this post for that I am sorry, there were a few good lines in there.

It is the end of the world or is it? Armageddon is coming, and there is no stopping it. At least according to the Powers that be. That is it, that is what the book is about. I wish that the authors would have spent more time on Agnes Nutter and on the demon Crowley they are the two who seemed to me to have the most promise and depth.

For being a Pratchett book I only laughed out loud twice. I don’t really have more to say about this book.