Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book The Graveyard Book. By Neil Gaiman. Middle Grade, 2008.

My review/summary
Neil Gaiman is a superb writer for both children and adults. What better way to prepare for Halloween than by enjoying his modern classic, Newbery award-winning The Graveyard Book? The plot is simple enough for children, but the characters and the many cultural/symbolic references are enjoyable for adults too. After they have finished the book, readers should further research events, themes and symbols found in this book, including the "Danse Macabre" (or "macabray"), the Sleer and the Hounds of God.

Readers can also enjoy listening to Neil Gaiman read this book himself on his website Mouse Circus.

Neil Gaiman fans will also enjoy the following Youtube clips.

Jian Ghomeshi interviews Neil Gaiman for QTV (affiliated with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJ08G6fQEkU

The Graveyard Book trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_UUVwTaemk

Follow Neil Gaiman on October 25th, as he appears on the TV show Arthur.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones

Book Information
Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones. HarperCollinsCanada, 2010.

My Summary and Review
Diana Wynne Jones has done it again! She continues to write gripping fantasy novels! Her latest is "Enchanted Glass", in which Andrew inherits his granfather's magical field-of-care. After mysterious young Aidan suddenly appears one day, both must combine their magical abilities to ward off otherworldly, sinister beings. It's particularly enjoyable to see how Wynne Jones weaves fantasy, magic and Shakespearean fairies into an enchanting plot!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The Uncommon Reader [UNCOMMON READER 3D]Book Information:
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. Isis, 2010.

My Review and Summary

If you were Queen for a day, what would you do? Travel the world? Make a large donation to the charity of your choice? Take a trip to... the library? The LIBRARY! For a Queen, after all, reading is a luxury as she always busy with public duties... And can one stop reading easily after just one book?? Alan Bennett's "The Uncommon Reader" is a lighthearted, fun story of a Queen like Queen Elizabeth who is addicted to reading. It's a relatively fast read as it is quite short, and can be finished in a couple of sittings.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life

Book Information
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Brian Lee O'Malley. Oni Press, 2004.

My Summary and Review
By playing in a rock band and dating a cute girl, Scott Pilgrim leads an ideal life for a twentysomething artist. Then, along comes Ramona Flowers (and her evil ex) whom Scott must defeat if he wants to date Ramona.

If readers are looking for complex characters, they will not find any here. "Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life" offers readers a fast read that leaves them hungry for more and eager to see Scott develop, mature, and find creative ways of defeating Ramona's exes. The real highlight of this book is the musical rock band climax, where Scott and one of Ramona's exes "duke it out" comically in song. Canadians will also enjoy seeing Toronto's skyline prominently drawn on one of the pages.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest)

Millennium Trilogy Book Information

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Penguin Canada, 2009.

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson. Penguin Canada, 2010.

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson. Viking Canada, 2010.

My Summary and Review

In an isolated area of Sweden, Mikael Blomkvist, a high ranking investigative journalist, teams up with a stubborn, secretive, and socially awkward computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander, to solve an old case of a missing teenager from an elite Swedish family. As the series progresses, dangerous individuals from Salander's past start to emerge, and terrifying events from Salander's past must be resolved.

Stieg Larsson has created a resourceful, tattooed, anti-heroine in Lisbeth Salander. Characterized by silence, secrecy, and a horrifying childhood, Lisbeth Salander often seems to be a real paradox, and her action/decisionmaking processes are gripping. 

Larsson draws on a wealth of experience in journalism in the character of Mikael Blomkvist. Though Blomkvist is never settled in his intimate relationships with women, his unflagging support for Salander, his keen mind for research, and his perceptive abilities add to this series' general appeal.

My Notes

This is one of the rare ocasions where I actually bought the second book in the series to read while waiting for the third, since I just couldn't wait! It's easy to see why the books in this series are bestsellers. I recommend this series highly, even though the first book takes a while to get started. I also advise that these books contain mature subject matter in the form of explicit sexual abuse. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha. Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2010.

My Summary And Review

How often do you find yourself caught up in a busy day? You know the type of day: everything should have been done yesterday. Your manager/collleagues/clients are looking at you to get that project/presentation/product completed. Or, if you are a stay-at-home parent, a day of a neverending chores list to finish in between driving the kids/aging parents to various activities and appointments.

And then, there's that moment of quiet. That "regrouping" moment that happens after a major task has been completed. That fifteen minute coffee break. Those precious moments where you have arrived at your child's session/lesson a few minutes early. Those moments where you can quickly read a page from a new book or a new blog post (ideally by Neil Pasricha) and just enjoy the moment.

That moment to read... that time away from the chaos...


My Notes
I waited for months for this to come in at my library, as I'd heard about it on the radio. And was skeptical at first. But after paging through several awesome thoughts, I began to enjoy reading and reflecting on small bursts of awesome moments.