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review 2017-12-19 03:27
Revisiting an old favorite + the movie is coming out next year
Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet Box Set (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters) by Madeleine L'Engle (2001-09-11) - Madeleine L'Engle

For many years, when people would ask me about my favorite book I would promptly say that it was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. Recently, I started to wonder if my love for the novel had stood the test of time so I picked up the 4 book series entitled the Time Quartet (I have the box set that I got years ago) from my shelf and dove in headfirst. Reading the first book in the series, A Wrinkle in Time, completely transported me back to middle school when I first discovered the delightful writing of L'Engle. The book was just as fantastic as I remembered but with the passing of time I see more clearly the overt references to Christianity which were lost on me as a child. (She's a bit like C.S. Lewis in the way that she writes for children about Christianity but instead of fantasy devices she uses science fiction and fantasy.) This literary device would increase as the series continued and in a lot of ways it took away some of the enjoyment of the books for me. One of the bonuses of L'Engle's writing is that it is never 'dumbed down' for her child audience. She uses technical terminology and speaks of scientific endeavors as if the reader should already be aware of them. When I first read that book, this was a foreign concept to me as I didn't think I was any good at the sciences when I was in school. (Now look at how many scientific books I've read and reviewed!)


The main character in the first book is Meg, eldest sister of the Murry clan, and we see everything from her point of view. A large portion of why I loved this book was that Meg wasn't a typical girl of her age and I strongly identified with her (and I had a crush on Calvin).  A Wrinkle in Time focuses on Meg's relationship with herself, her family, and her peers (especially Calvin). She sees herself as 'other' except when she's with Charles Wallace or her mother (or Calvin...yes, I'm enjoying myself). It doesn't help that their father has been missing for so long that the postman in town has started asking impertinent questions. (The whole town is gossiping or so it seems.) While Meg plays a large role in A Wind in the Door, the main part of the plot is written with Charles Wallace (youngest Murry son) as the main character. Both books are full of adventure and self-discovery. Both Murry children come into their own and use their unique strengths to help them accomplish their goals. The stakes are always set extremely high and the pace is alternately rushed no-holds-barred action and so lackadaisical as to seem stagnant. (Note: If you don't enjoy books with a lot of descriptions and copious amounts of symbolism then I'm afraid this isn't the series for you.) By A Swiftly Tilting Planet, I felt almost overwhelmed by the underlying religious messages and the conclusion, Many Waters, which focuses on the twins, Sandy and Dennis, was so far-fetched as to be ridiculous. (Books 3 and 4 are so convoluted that I don't feel like I can talk about them in detail other than to say they are out there.) Part of me wishes that I had stopped reading at A Wrinkle in Time (as I had done for so many years) so as to not shatter the illusion of what this series meant to me but part of the reason I started this blog was to explore new books and to give as honest a review as possible. The hope is that even if I don't enjoy a book it might interest someone else. With that being said, A Wrinkle in Time remains in my top 50 all-time faves but the others...not so much. 9/10 for book 1 and a 3/10 for the series overall.


A/N: I just did a little Google search and discovered that although I have the box set which is called the Time Quartet there was actually a fifth book written called An Acceptable Time and which called for a new set to be created, the Time Quintet. I feel like I've been hoodwinked! Does this mean I need to find a copy of this book to complete the experience?! (Spoiler alert: I am probably not going to do this.)


Here's the complete set. [Source: Barnes & Noble]



What's Up Next: Grendel by John Gardner


What I'm Currently Reading: Scythe by Neal Shusterman (been reading it for weeks because I've reached the end-of-year reading slowdown)


Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-12-07 04:24
A Wind in the Door - Madeleine L'Engle

I read this one in less than a day when home sick from work.


I was unimpressed. I don't know if I read this before or not, but I'm personally not a fan of metaphysics


...allow me to explain. I consider myself a scientist. I understand science. I consider myself a spiritual person. I understand spiritual questing. I do not, however, think that scientific principles can be applied (especially by non-scientists) to spiritual matters. What you get is nonsense and mumbo-jumbo.


And THIS book was mumbo-jumbo.


Neither the science nor the spiritual questing in this book was believable to me. L'Engle managed to miss on both accounts.


Anyways, I'm beating a dead horse. I found the story contrived, dense, and trippy for trippiness' sake.I'm reading the next book, though, because I'm no quitter... (=

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review 2016-03-21 23:59
A Wind In The Door
A Wind in the Door - Madeleine L'Engle

I try to be kind and balanced in my reviews, but I struggled with this one. A Wind in the Door is honestly one of the most irritating children’s books I’ve ever encountered. I understand that it’s a beloved classic, but I just . . . couldn’t deal with it.


The book starts out in a promising way. Six-year-old Charles Wallace has started first grade. He gets bullied by his classmates every day, and the school doesn’t know how to handle his unusual intelligence. To make things worse, he’s been feeling sick lately. Then, one day, he sees a bunch of dragons in his brothers’ vegetable garden. After that, things just get bizarre.


I recently heard this novel described as “The Christian Magic School Bus on LSD.” That description actually sums up the book nicely.


I appreciate that the author tries to blend science and faith, but this book has very little real science, and “God’s Plan” can’t fill gaping plot holes. I don’t mind weirdness in a book—especially a children’s book—but I want some logic and explanation behind the weirdness. This book just gave me tedious conversations and a lot of heavy-handed metaphysical morals.


My biggest frustration with this book is its repetitiveness. The characters go to a setting; have a long, circular, whiney conversation that solves nothing; then they go to a different setting; have another long-winded conversation; go to another setting; have another conversation . . . .


I wanted the characters to do something. Charles Wallace is dying. You’d think this would give the characters some agency, but they mostly stand around talking about philosophy and trying to turn everything into a deep life lesson. I don’t get it. Save Charles Wallace first and discuss what you learned afterward. Or, better yet, save Charles Wallace and trust that the readers are smart enough to figure out the lessons for themselves.


This book was just not for me . . . .

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review 2015-12-15 00:00
A Wind in the Door
A Wind in the Door - Madeleine L'Engle So this series is one of the books that I love reading again and again. Reading as a kid is definitely different than one reads a child. To me when I was a child, it seemed highly plausible that one could travel within one's brother and heal them. As an adult, it took a little more getting use to.

The second book in the Time Quintet series finds Meg and Calvin doing whatever they can to rescue Meg's brother Charles Wallace. Meg and Calvin are literally fighting against nothingness in order to save Charles Wallace.

So Meg has always been my favorite. A girl who wants to be beautiful like her mother, but who is ridiculously smart and loves her little brother. I also love the character of Calvin and how much he loves Meg and her family and I ached for him because of the neglect that was going on in his own home. I always found Charles Wallace a bit too much for me. He seemed like a wise Buddha in the first book and in this one as well. I still like the character, but Meg has always been the heart of the books for me from the first.

The main plot is a bit much for a kid to work their head around I think. I remember reading this as a kid and saying echo what? The heck. But I love the tie in that L'Engle did in this books with science and religion. She was always able to show a wonderful harmony between reason and faith that I wish I saw in more books today. To have the fate of Charles Wallace to also be tied up into what was going on in the universe was clever.

The writing is superb and I got teary eyed in parts as a kid and did so again as an adult.

“Progo,' Meg asked. 'You memorized the names of all the stars - how many are there?'
How many? Great heavens, earthling. I haven't the faintest idea.'
But you said your last assignment was to memorize the names of all of them.'
I did. All the stars in all the galaxies. And that's a great many.'
But how many?'
What difference does it make? I know their names. I don't know how many there are. It's their names that matter.

The flow was no problem and I really didn't have any problems while reading this now. I think as a kid I stumbled over a lot of the words and went to the family dictionary to look them up. Of course some of them didn't show up so I remember just thinking that "echthroi" was just another name for IT (A Wrinkle in Time, Quintet Book #1) and left it at that. I did find "mitochondria" though and I did spend a fun afternoon reading about them. Of course I can't recall much except that once I read the dictionary definition, I went to the family Encyclopedia (remember those) and looked at the images and history behind the word.

The ending was great and I thought was a nice segue to the third book, A Swifing Tilting Planet (Time Quintet #3).
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text 2015-03-25 18:27
Top Ten Books from My Childhood/Teen Years I'd Like to Revisit
Pippi Longstocking - Florence Lamborn,Nancy Seligsohn,Astrid Lindgren
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle
A Wind in the Door - Madeleine L'Engle
The Borrowers - Mary Norton,Beth Krush,Joe Krush
Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
Nancy Drew: #1-6 [Box Set] - Carolyn Keene
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (Macmillan Master Guides) - Hilda D. Spear

It's Tuesday and that means it's Top Ten day over at The Broke and the Bookish! Head over there and join in on the fun. I love top ten lists and used to do my own Tuesday list, even before this meme began, but I haven't had enough time to participate lately, so I'm enjoying this today.

Today's topic is Top Ten Books from my Childhood/Teen Years I'd Like to Revisit. Great! I loved reading when I was a kid. Only one problem: I have already revisited almost all of my childhood favorites as an adult, many of them to share with my own two sons.

So, I am splitting my list into two parts - first, those old favorites that I have already reread and then a shorter list of those I still want to revisit:

Childhood Books I Have Enjoyed Revisiting:

  • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren - one of my all-time favorites when I was a kid. Who didn't want to be Pippi? I read it aloud to my sons who loved it just as much as I had.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - My 2nd grade teacher read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe aloud to us, and I was hooked - I ran to the school library and read all the rest of the series! As soon as my boys were old enough, my husband and I read the entire series out loud to them, and of course, they loved it!
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - my all-time most favorite childhood book. I read it over and over again and even starred as Meg when our 4th grade class put on a play of the story. I was so excited to read this to my sons that I started too young, and they got scared, but a few years later, they each read it and loved it and read the rest of the series (all of which I still have!)
  • The Borrowers by Mary Norton - Again, what kid didn't want to be a Borrower? I also read this one aloud to my sons, and they liked it just as much.
  • Harriet the Spy by Louis Fitzhugh - another favorite of mine when I was in elementary school, but when I excitedly read it to my sons, they didn't like it much. They thought Harriet was mean to her classmates, which just goes to show they are much better people than I was at their age!
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - No, I didn't read this one to my sons! But I loved it as a teen and re-read it a few years ago, after March by Geraldine Brooks peaked my interest. Just as good as I remembered.


Childhood/Teen Books I Would Like to Revisit:

  • Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene - oh, the hours I wiled away with Nancy, Bess, and George! It's been decades since I've read one and would love to revisit them. I have a few here somewhere. My youngest son loved to read the Hardy Boys and developed a serious obsession with the 70's Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys TV show!
  • The Rest of the Series That Starts with A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - as I mentioned above, I read the whole series when I was a kid, as did my oldest son years later. I still have all the books on my shelf and would love to revisit the rest of the story.
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - This was my first Dickens' novel, read for 9th grade English, and I remember enjoying it but only vaguely remember the plot and details.
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Read for my 10th grade English class, with one of my favorite teachers. I remember I loved it and have been meaning to reread it - again, it's right upstairs on my shelf!

How about you? What books from your childhood or teen years would like to revisit or have you enjoyed rereading?

Source: bookbybook.blogspot.com/2015/03/top-ten-books-from-my-childhoodteen.html
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