Sunday, 28 November 2021
Sunday, 21 November 2021
Friday, 12 November 2021
If you want a great little read with some fantastic characters then this is for you. It is classified as Juvenile fiction but I loved every second of it.
It started a little slow and I found it flicked around the place, from chapter to chapter, and I had to think of where the story was heading but it didn't take long to get the flow things moving along. By the middle of the book I thought we were well on the way of bringing everyone together and hence the ending - so I got a little excited, forming the climax in my head. I was pleasantly surprised when they all did come together and the climax highlighted the source of the story - sorrow.
Sometimes books begin to sound the same, one after another, with the same outcomes. This is one of the first books I've read that bring to play outcomes from hidden sorrow. I found it really interesting and thought it an important concept to be written about and discussed in such a unique way. This is a great way of forming talking points over where sorrow can lead when hidden and allowed to hibernate in our inner being.
It is worthy of reading with our young ones and forming a discussion around.
A young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon must unlock the dangerous magic buried deep inside her in this epic coming-of-age fairy tale from the highly acclaimed author of The Witch's Boy. Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule--but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her--even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she's always known. The acclaimed author of The Witch's Boy has created another epic coming-of-age fairy tale destined to become a modern classic.
Sunday, 7 November 2021
Author: Garth Nix
Read by: Marissa Calin
I don't even how to being explaining the journey I took within these pages. I feel like the writer (Garth Nix) had so many ideas that just had to be put on paper and he bundled them all up and scattered them though out The Left Handed Booksellers of London. It went from one concept to next and I had to constantly try to keep up with all the new ideas.
I really enjoyed it.
I liked the journey through the reality of London on one page, to a fantasy world on the next, and back to London. I didn't find a lot of significance in the importance of the left handed and right handed concept of the novel but it did bring the magical presence into being within the plot. Rather instead, I enjoyed the mystery behind Susan's father and the link to her mother (of whom I would liked to have been developed more rather than the dusting of knowledge we are given about her). Who was her father? Where was her father? And what did this all have to do with everything and everyone? Yes - that's what kept me reading. Splatter in the magical elements of the characters and you have quite a good read.
Even though I found there were a lot of ideas floating within the pages, it pleasantly enjoyable. It's quite good to walk the pages of a novel with the characters, and have no expectancy rather than relaxing and enjoying the story. This was one those books for me. There was just enough crime, mystery, fantasy, joy, heartbreak and reality, to balance the ideas nicely.
A Slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn't get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.
Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.
Susan's search for her father begins with her mother's possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.
Merlin has a request of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan's. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.
Sunday, 31 October 2021
Sophie's World ~ A novel about the history of philosophy
Author Jostein Gaarder
I am left amazed with the information this books carries inside. I was taken on journey through the history of philosophy from the great Myths to the most recent of days. I was continually amazed at what I was reading. I have always enjoyed educational philosophy but cannot say that I have delved deeply into all the philosophers that Jostein Gaardern has presented me with now. I read with a notebook beside me, jotting down all that I wanted to look deeper into. The great minds of the past are interesting, they are people who dared to think! Even more so they dared to speak and write their philosophical ideas to the rest of the world.
Here is a list of some of the chapters....
- Fate - The fortune-teller
- The Middle Ages
- The renaissance
- The Baroque
- The Enlightenment
- The Big Bang
See! A history lesson right inside a 'living book'!
Then to add to the joy of reading about all these philosophies you are given a novel about Sophie, and Hilde comes to the mystery too. Who is Hilde? When you find out you will be questioning who is Sophie. Quite a twist, to say the least 💁
I have only one comment to add. I was expecting more from the ending. I had all these great ideas about how the story was going to end but not the one that it ended on. None the less, I would read it again just for the historical commentary that I journeyed through in reading it.
A page-turning novel that is also an exploration of the great philosophical concepts of Western thought, Sophie's World has fired the imagination of readers all over the world, with more than twenty million copies in print.
One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: Who are you? and Where does the world come from? From that irresistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village. Through those letters, she enrols in a kind of correspondence course, covering Socrates to Sartre, with a mysterious philosopher, while receiving letters addressed to another girl. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up? To unravel this riddle, Sophie must use the philosophy she is learning--but the truth turns out to be far more complicated than she could have imagined.
Friday, 15 October 2021
In just 96 pages George Orwell packs a punch not only at political influences of his time but at people and human nature. I am going to give you the historical information taken from the Benet's Readers Encyclopedia first, so that I respect the writing of George Orwell. Then I am going to give you some of the things that made me stop and think. They aren't political findings - I'm here to encourage you to read and think, not give views religiously or politically. This made me think more about how we as individuals do similar things to each other.
So anyway.... First.... Benet's will inform us:
Orewell, George (Pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, 1903-1950). English Novelist, essayist, and critic. An independent socialist in adult life, Orwell was born in India, where his father was in the civil service. He won a scholarship to Eton but was financially unable to go on to Oxford or Cambridge. Instead he spent five years with the Imperial Police in Burma (1922-27) Much of his early work was at least partly autobiographical. ... After that point, Orwell said that all his writings, both fictional and essays, were directed against totalitarianism in all forms. This commitment is manifested in his two best-known novel, ANIMAL FARM and 1984. Taken from: "Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia, A Completely Revised and Updated Edition of the Classic Encyclopedia of World Literature. 4th Edition. Harper Collins Publishers. pg762"
Now to my thoughts....
Beyond the historical influences.
We start with a little farm. I thought it reminded me of the movie 'Barnyard'. The animals held their meetings and had plenty to say about the farmer. It seemed like a normal sort of farm apart from talking animals.
The animals wanted better. Sounds like most human beings. A "the grass is always greener on the other side scenario.
Then we start to see the animals as they truly are. They think they are better, well some do and some are just following the crowd. They actually had a point.
We all have a point. Our side of the argument. But is it always right? To the individual, most likely yes.
Let's take our ideas now to social media.
Let's make everyone believe our side. After all we can look pretty good on social media. We can tell our side of anything. We can look any way we want.
Now back to the animals. They managed to drag down animals that weren't even there; that couldn't have done what was accused. But everyone believed what they wanted to believe.
Now back to us.
Are you getting idea?
We can be as uplifting or as nasty as we like out there. There are options that were not available in the 1940's, to show what we think and feel about anything. Even things we know nothing about. This story has so many talking points beyond the political. It shows us how one thing leads to the next and how how everything is effecting more than the individual.
Maybe we should all take a minute to little look at our own little world. Maybe even our little 'bubbles' and see just how much we are effecting or influencing each other. Is it for own good or everyone's? Sometimes our intentions are good. I am sure the animals started off with good intentions. Just ensure that 'power' doesn't over take.... I don't know.... ?
I hope you can see that this is a classic that has been reading material in many class rooms over the past decades. We can still ask questions and they can be more than political. We can ask questions of ourselves and how we do life in the 21 century and how we are treating those closest to us.
'All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.'
Revolution is in the air at Manor Farm after of Major, a prize boar, tells the other animals about his dream of freedom and teaches them to sing 'Beasts of England' Mr Jones, the drunken farmer, is deposed and a committee of pigs takes over the running of the farm. The animals are taught to read and write, but the dream turns sour, the puges begin and those in charge come more and more to resemble their oppressors.
Orwell's allegory of the Soviet revolution remains as lucid and compelling as ever. In beautifully clear prose, he gives us a vivid gallery of characters and a fable that conveys the truth about how we are manipulated through language and the impossibility of finding heaven on earth.
Sunday, 10 October 2021
Author: Rachel Caine
The Great Library series, fantastic!
I often avoid trilogies because I get to the third book, find myself side tracked by another 'want to read', and forget to go back to the trilogy. By the time I get back to the third book, I need to re-read the first one, hence I know this about myself and I avoid the problem.
Not the case with this series! I devoured all five of the books. I longed for the next book in the series to be returned to the library so I could have it in my hands. I flicked from page to page as though I was one of the characters needing read on just to save lives and the world. The plot was a climatic page turner and every avenue that could have been turned was turned. Each book continued the plot with ease but remained unique to the previous one, making my need to continue even more necessary.
I could ramble about this series for hours! Honestly! Ask anyone that met me for a coffee or visited while I was taking my journey through these pages. They will tell you the whole story line - without having read a page 😄
So does this series come with my recommendation? You guessed it.... of course it does!
If you want to know a little more about these, rachelcaine.com has done a brilliant job of highlighting her series, including trailers. Well worth taking a look at her site. I will give you the descriptions of each book, and then you can do the rest of the work by exploring the world of The Great Library that lies, awaiting you, in each book.
Ink and Bone
Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library of Alexandria is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly--but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden. Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family. Jess has been sent to be his family's spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library's service. When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe knowledge is more valuable than any human life--and soon both heretics and books will burn..."
Paper and Fire
In Ink and Bone, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine introduced a world where knowledge is power, and power corrupts absolutely. Now she continues the story of those who dare to defy the Great Library--and rewrite history ... With an iron fist, the Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion and in the name of the greater good forbidding the personal ownership of books. Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like what he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower, doomed to a life apart from everything she knows. Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library's deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London. But Jess's home isn't safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon Jess must choose between his friends, his family, and the Library, which is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control
Ash and Quill
Held prisoner by the Burner forces in Philadelphia, Jess and his friends struggle to stay alive in the face of threats from both sides ...but a stunning escape guarantees worse is coming. The Library now means to stop them by any means necessary, and they'll have to make dangerous allies and difficult choices to stay alive. They have only two choices: face the might of the Great Library head on, or be erased from life, and the history of the world, for ever.
Smoke and Iron
Sword and Pen
The corrupt leadership of the Great Library has fallen. But with the Archivist plotting his return to power, and the Library under siege from outside empires and kingdoms, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library...or see everything it stood for crumble.
This was available from: Book Depository
Descriptions taken from: Invercargill City Libraries and Archives (ilibrary.co.nz)
Sunday, 3 October 2021
Author: Melissa Bashardoust
Read by: Jennifer Ikeda
I am finally addicted to the world of audio books. It has taken me long time to learn how to simply listen to the words penetrating my mind via my ears, rather than the busy talk going on in my own mind. I still love to sit down with a book in my hand, but I now see a place in my world for audio books. I am constantly surprised at how much I can achieve while listening to one. I find it a release from the chores needing done; I find it a joy when I go for a walk; I enjoy listening to someone else's voice telling me a story. I have become a better listener to the people around me because I have learnt to listen rather than think about how to answer or give my point of view. In the days that we are living right now, I think it is important to listen to each other and it is just as important to be able to quieten our own thoughts for just a little while. Audio books are a great way to do so.
The good thing about audio books is that they are click away and free when you connect to the library via 'Libby' or 'Borrow box'. You can also access free audio books from 'Librivox'. We have a library of audio books right at fingers so we can learn to listen. We expect our children to listen to the people around them but as adults I think it easy to lose the art. I remember clearly, listening to read-alouds at school and now I find the same pleasure in hearing a good story.
Anyway.... to Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Brilliantly read! I was enticed by Jennifer Ikeda's clarity and voice.
The story line was awesome! Definitely different! And the plot evolved at a continual pace which kept me wanting to know what came next. As I write this I find it really hard to explain my thoughts without adding in 'spoilers'. So, I guess you need to take my word for it and read or listen to a copy.
I have to add in that I enjoyed Nina (step mother) and Lynet. They both carried their own burdens to the degree that I found them quite similar. I friended both of them as I listened to their stories. My heart reached out as I discovered their inner needs that aren't that much different to all of ours. They may have been characters playing their part in a plot, but they had a lot to teach us, especially if you listen to their hearts. Again, if say much more I will need to add in 'spoilers'!
It's like listening to fairy-tales as a child, then listening to one now that I am grown-up. Young adult books are fabulous for enabling us to continue evolving our imaginations. That's the only way I can explain this book and the experience I got from listening to it while I worked my way though my adult chores.
At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone - has never beat at all, in fact, but she'd always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king's heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she'll have to become a stepmother.
Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen's image, at her father's order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do - and who to be - to win back the only mother she's ever known...or else defeat her once and for all.
Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything-unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.
Tuesday, 28 September 2021
Translated by Stanley Lombardo
Introduction by Sheila Murnaghan
Sunday, 5 September 2021
I have been enjoying 'For love of classics' Youtube channel for a while now and I find her very enjoyable to watch. Most of her book hauls and reviews cover classical literature. I like the way that she manages to make 'classics' sound like a new piece of literature. No matter what she is reviewing I always end up thinking, "I must read that".
Well, if that isn't a good enough reason to check out her Youtube channel, then you really need to take a look at this clip. She has two young ladies helping her bring to you some children's books. They do a fantastic job and they made me smile the whole way through. Together they made reading sound like sound so much fun.
These two young ladies might just get to help bring you more children's books in the future if you give them a little support. Lets keep the kids encouraged and take a look in on the choices they have shared.
Great work ladies!
Friday, 27 August 2021
Author: Tania Blanchard
- An ever evolving world war
- Arranged marriages
- Arranged/acceptable occupations
- Family expectations
- The dynamics of the medical system
- No internet - they used written correspondence
In a remote farming village nestled in the mountains that descend into the sparkling Ionian Sea, young and spirited Giulia Tallariti longs for something more. While she loves her home and her lively family, she would much rather follow in her nonna’s footsteps and pursue her dream of becoming a healer.
But as Mussolini’s focus shifts to the war in Europe, civil unrest looms. Whispers of war are at every corner and her beloved village, once safe from the fascist agenda of the North, is now in very real danger.
Caught between her desire to forge her own path and her duty to her family, Giulia must draw on the passion in her heart and the strength of her conviction.
Tuesday, 24 August 2021
We are in lock down again here!
But before lockdown I went on trip to Dunedin with my lovely daughter. We did loads of shopping and I have to admit that she needed to drag me out of Dunedin's University Bookshop, twice! You don't have to be a university student to shop there! Next bonus - they had 15% off everything 😃. This shop is the most beautiful bookshop that I have been into - ever. Yes I have to say - ever. I long to take a stroll around some of the bookshops that I have seen on the internet but that is not going to happen anytime soon (hopefully one day though), so yes, it is I loved every moment of being there. I could have taken up a comfy seat and made myself at home for the day. Of course my daughter probably could have too because in reality she almost out did me shopping wise, I just took longer 😂
So, what did I come home with?
Iliad - Homer
I have been wanting to read this one for a long time. Let's hope that I enjoy it. I am looking at it wondering what I have done! Oh well, I am up to the challenge.
Ex Libris - Michiko Kakutani
I couldn't resist this one. It was the first to be in my arms and it never got put back down. It is a beautiful book. I have no regrets keeping this one.
On writing - Steven King
I picked this one up and then put it back down. Then I picked it back up, second guessed it, and put it back down. Then I saw that it was in Ex Libris and decided I actually 'needed' it, and picked it back up and kept it 😄
How to write like Tolstoy - A journey into the minds of our greatest writers
This one just took my interest. I judged a book by its cover and took it home
~ I also went Young Reflections in Invercargill ~
These ones are for my students to read, analyse, converse over and enjoy:
Little people big dreams - Audrey Hepburn
Written by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Illustrated by Amaia Arrazola
Some of my students have read this one already and it has their approval
The wise little girl
Written by Alexander Afanasyev
Illustrations by Alice Sinkner
A beautiful early reader that had to be added to my collection
Dinostars and the planet plundering pirates - Ben Mantel
How could I not have this in my collection, it makes me smile.
Out of Bubblo
Written by Jill Eggleton
Illustrated by Rod Kiely
Okay, I only got this because of the pictures 😁 I am always drawn in by illustrations! The story is good though and so far my students like it just as much as I do.
And I am done!
Now to go read them. There has to be some benefits to being in lock down.
Sunday, 22 August 2021
Author: Susan Brocker & Raymond McGarth
Who is Mrs Chippy?
Mrs Chippy is Chippy McNeish's tomcat that journeyed on the Endurance with Shackleton and his crew to the Antarctic in 1914. Based on the true story of the expedition, your children will enjoy this picture book as they not only learn about a much loved cat but also they ships experience as it got trapped in the ice of Antarctic.
Not only will they enjoy a lovely story book they will learn a little history. At the back are photos of the real Mrs Chippy and Chippy McNeish and an extra snippet of history.
I have read this now with quite a few of my young students - or rather they have read it to me - and they are so many talking points to encourage the comprehension of the reader. Not only have we read the story, we have had to venture further and look up the ship and the crew to see what else could be found. The avenues for extra learning, from just one little 'picture flat' book, are enormous. The opportunities to stop and talk whilst encouraging the comprehension of the young reader are immense. This book has been a great investment to my reading collection.
I recommend books like this one, simply for the history and extra avenues that you take as your young reader enjoys what they see as a enjoyable little story book.
Mrs Chippy, trotting along the ship's railings, was the first to spot the pack ice. It spread out before the endurance like floating white chunks of a gigantic jigsaw, penguins and seals watched the ship from the ice floes as they sailed by, and whales and orca popped up to spy on them...
This is the tale of Mrs Chippy, a tom cat who was a loyal and loved companion to the crew on Ernest Shackleton's 1914 expedition to the Antarctic aboard the Endurance.
Mrs Chippy was the best mate of the ship's carpenter, Chippy McNeish. A statue of the cat lies on his grave in Karori Cemetery, Wellington.