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review 2018-04-19 21:31
Marshall Islands Legends and Stories by Daniel Kelin
Marshall Islands Legends and Stories - Daniel A. Kelin

It’s hard to rate books of folklore; it seems odd to judge another culture’s traditional stories on my standards for literature or entertainment. But I can only rate from my own perspective, which is affected by factors out of the author’s control. One, I’ve read several books of folklore lately, and may have begun to tire of it a bit; I can say this is neither the best nor the worst such book I’ve recently encountered. Perhaps I imbibed too many somewhat similar, very short stories in too little time, and my interest has waned. Two, I had this through Interlibrary Loan on a tight schedule, which left me feeling obligated to pick it up at times I would otherwise have chosen something else.

That said, this is a perfectly readable collection of folklore that made sense to me as a foreign reader. Which makes sense, because the stories were told to a foreign (Hawai’i-based) author/dramaturge who collected them. The book is sized to fit in with textbooks, and has ultra-wide margins in which definitions and pronunciations are sometimes included. But with large font and illustrations, it is still a quick read. It includes brief biographical sketches (and sometimes photographs) of the storytellers, but to me these were too brief: the barest of bare-bones, without room to for the storytellers’ personalities or life experiences to come alive. 

Overall, there’s nothing here that would make me hesitate to recommend the book to those who enjoy folklore. But I prefer books from which I can learn more directly about what people’s lives are like.

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review 2018-04-19 05:23
New beginnings
Four Ways to Forgiveness - Ursula K. Le Guin

These are four loosely connected but independent short stories set at the start of Yeowe's independence from Werel, after 30 years of revolutionary war. They are the stories of people as different as they can possibly come, coming to terms. With loss, with cultural differences, with a place in society, with the past. They are all also big on starting anew. And, of course, feminism. The right to freedom, to a voice, to vote, to an education, to not be raped. These are all discussed and are an important part of the book, given the planet's recent upheaval and it's heavy history of slavery and male-dominated environment.

 

I found it bittersweet and lovely, and ended up with a huge bunch of quotes saved and a lump in my throat that I know not what to do with. There is so much wrong with this planet, so much hurt, and yet... it is so hopeful. I guess forgiveness is a kind of hope. Another chance. Much like love; another thing that permeates the book and is ever-present in every story.

 

I have closed it, as so many stories close, with a joining of two people. What is one man’s and one woman’s love and desire, against the history of two worlds, the great revolutions of our lifetimes, the hope, the unending cruelty of our species? A little thing. But a key is a little thing, next to the door it opens. If you lose the key, the door may never be unlocked. It is in our bodies that we lose or begin our freedom, in our bodies that we accept or end our slavery. So I wrote this book for my friend, with whom I have lived and will die free.

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review 2018-04-18 20:49
Book Review of Little Bear and His Chair by Claressa Swensen & Illustrated by Alena Paklina

 

Book Review of Little Bear and His Chair by Claressa Swensen & Illustrated by Alena Paklina

 

Review 5*

 

This is a wonderfully illustrated story for children aged between 3 and 8. I loved it!

 

I love the colourful illustrations done by Alena Paklina. They bring this short story to life and will engage a child who hasn’t fully grasped how to read yet, but who can follow the story with ease as it's been read to them by their parent. It compliments the short story written by the author so one is transported directly into the tale. Depending on the child’s age and reading ability, the author has written a charming story that is easy enough for a young reader to follow, as she uses simple words that will not confuse a child.

 

The story is a simple but important one about learning to share. Little Bear has a lovely chair but refuses to share it. Because of his selfish behaviour, he has been left out of the fun and become lonely, which is no fun at all. He learns that by sharing, he is included in all the fun and games with his friends. This then translates into teaching the young reader how it is better to share when playing with their friends or siblings. Some adults reading this book may decide that this book is also about bullying as Little Bear is not exactly nice to his friends. However, this is not the impression I found when reading it. I suppose it depends on your upbringing and what your life experiences have made to you as a reader, and how you interpret a book in a certain way. I can only go on my impression of this book and I think it’s a lovely book that can entertain as well as educate. Everyone’s opinion is different, so I will leave you to decide if, after reading the sample, whether you would want your child to either listen to you read it, or they read this book on their own.

 

This book is suitable to read as a bedtime story, or anytime at all, especially if a child has a short attention span. It is a quick read, so even if they haven’t settled down, the lovely pictures will entertain the children.

 

Claressa Swensen is a new author to me, as I have not read her other children’s books. However, I would definitely read more of her books in the future.

 

I highly recommend this book to children aged 3 upwards and to adults looking for a fun but educational read for their children. – Lynn Worton (Book Reviews by Lynn)

 

P.S. This book has not yet been published and will be on Kickstarter for a crowdfunding campaign at the beginning of May. Please consider donating to it. The link to the campaign will follow once it goes live on 1st May 2018.

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text 2018-04-17 18:45
Book Mail! Thanks to Tigus!

 

Many heartfelt THANK YOUS are going out to Tigus today! I was very excited to find a package waiting for me when I got home last night. Here's what was inside! 

2 super cool volumes of short stories by Frederic Brown, author of NIGHTMARES AND GEEZENSTACKS which I read and enjoyed for the first time last year. 

As a bonus, Tigus threw in the graphic novel FISHHEAD which looks like a perfect fit for me, what with it containing a few words from Joe Lansdale and Guillermo del Toro.

 

I could not possibly be more pleased!

 

Thanks again, Tigus! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-04-16 16:43
Great Prequel to The Star-Touched Queen
Death and Night - Roshani Chokshi

Not too much to say here besides how much I loved the beginning to Death and Night or how we know them, Amar and Maya.

 

We read about both of these characters in "The Star-Touched Queen" but we get to read about how they met, how Death courted Night, and how she loved him. We know what will happen next (I read the first full book and only came back to read this prequel now) but it was great to read about how they came to love one another prior to Night choosing to leave him in order to be re-born. 

 

Death is cursed to fall in love with a woman who will leave him. So he decides to just marry, but now love his wife. Until he meets Night and knows that she is the right person for him. They have a great dynamic that consists of challenging each other as well as realizing that the other person is truly who they want to be with.


I did like that we got some backstory on the friendship between Night and Nritti. You get to see why Night loves her so much. She's one of the few who is not afraid of Night. 

 

I also loved how we got to see how playful Gupta was with Death. I maybe laughed at him trying to teach Death how to properly court. 

 

The writing was lyrical and made me laugh at times. You can easily see why Death and Night fell for each other. 

 

"We turned our gaze to the heavens and waited. There was beauty in the night, if you chose to see it. Some did. Some didn’t. For some, night was the time of dreams and rest, of balance reasserting itself. For others, the hours crowded between dusk and dawn belonged to the ghosts. I knew what they feared: the uncertainty of nighttime, the lightlessness of those hours that were not the black comfort of sleep but the shadows at the bottom of a monster’s throat. I glanced at my reflection and saw their fear staring right at me. Why could I not be dreams and nightmares both?"

 

“That I think she would make an excellent consort. I want a companion. She wants recognition. It’s a victory for us both and sound reasoning too.” I started walking toward the door when Gupta jogged up to me. “That will be your opening statement? You need to make a good impression. Bees are drawn to flowers, not rocks, for a reason. And that is a ridiculous number of assumptions about someone you don’t even know.”


We get to see how things go in the Night Bazaar which was fun to follow-up with as a setting in this book.  

 

Not too much more to say since this is a novella, but definitely a welcome addition to "The Star Touched Queen" series. 

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