I went back to the sale pile to see if I missed anything and found another 4 books. This is making up for all of those sales where I walk away with nothing.
Zorba is another one of those titles from my teen years while Railway is one of those childhood classics that I never read (that I can remember). Three Men in a Boat I chose because the name rang a bell (lol, it came through on BL feed).
The Borges I chose with mixed emotions. Reading it English is a sign of defeat, a sign that I have given up on trying to read it in Spanish. But, I want to read those stories, so time to stop procastinating and just get it done!
May I also please note that I am thrilled that George Guidall reads two of the 8 titles and Grover Gardner another. It always makes it so much easier to choose when one of my favorite narrators is at the microphone. At least I know that I won't be yelling at the book to pronounce things properly or complaining about the voicing of a particular character; these two always get it right.
Twenty five years ago, the last woman on earth gave birth. There have been no births since…
Sci-fi writer Brian Aldiss once came up with a phrase: “A Cosy Catastrophe” – a world where disaster has struck, but where the characters still have a decent quality of life. The world is ending, but the milk still comes daily and there are clean plates for crumpets and tea.
The Children of Men is a lot like that. The world is in slow, ageing decline after a worldwide loss of fertility. The playgrounds stand empty and silent, and the schools are closed. Yet our main character can go round to his ex-wife for tea and biscuits without it turning into a shouting match. It’s a very British end of the world. There’s a sense of a nation saying, “Oh, well”, shrugging it shoulders and carrying on as normal.
Yet under it, we see glimpses of humanity winding down into its old age: the roads are crumbling, the loss of power and lighting is starting to shrink communities. There are empty homes and silent, silent streets and countryside. There are government organised mass suicides.
All this atmosphere is wonderful. It’s just what I look for in an apocalyptic end of the world story. It’s the only reason this book rates two stars and not one.
Personally, I couldn’t help but comparing it to Day of The Triffids. Both have a similar 1950s feel to them, even though this was written in the 1990s. But whereas Triffids kicks into high gear immediately, CoM takes forty of its first 288 pages in back story and exposition before the plot arrives.
And there’s the biggest problem with the story: The pacing. James spends paragraphs lovingly writing about how Theo, the main character, lights a fire in a woodshed, or explains in long detail about his childhood summers spent with his cousin, the dictator now ruling England.
The book doesn’t pick up steam until the second half, when Theo goes on the run with a heavily pregnant woman. All the back story of the first half could have been woven in here and made more of an interesting time of it.
Don’t tell me about how much Theo loved his room when he visited his cousin. I came here for the bleakness of a coastal town where the elderly come to commit suicide – whether they want to or not. I came here for the absolute silence of a shrinking world when Theo gets out of the car in the middle of the night.
I came here for the end of the world.
Do yourself a favour: Read Day of The Triffids instead.
The Misadventures of Michael McMichaels book is about another moral lesson that we need to teach lesson. This story about an borrowed bracelet but do your children or child know the different between borrowing and stealing?
This story plot put Michael in a predicament. Does he know the different or not? You will see that he does something he thinks is justified as he not harming anyone one and has learned lesson about what did in book one. If you have not that is a good book to read a well and is the beginning of the series.
Tony Penn does a good job with this moral lesson and bringing it out for children to learn and understand the concept. He also does it where young children can learn and enjoy the book. This is a good book for parents as well as young children and readers.
The picture are done well. I do enjoy the misadventures that the young Michael goes though. I can see young children learning from this book and the moral lesson behind the book.
[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley. ]
This started as a bit of an annoying read, due to the ‘child voice’ narrating it—it wasn’t so easy for me to get into it. Jesika is a difficult narrator to contend with, in that, on top of being unreliable because she sees the world through her own filters, those filters are very much naïve and different from an adult’s. The way she perceives and interprets events wasn’t always easy to follow, and the fact that the words she used weren’t necessarily the right ones didn’t help. However, after the first couple of chapters, I got used to her voice, and I didn’t notice its ‘quirks’ anymore, or at least not in a way that disrupted my reading. Which was, of course, a good thing.
The story itself deals with difficult themes, too, that aren’t completely visible at first due to the aforementioned filters. But don’t mistake those for callousness: because Jesika seems ‘remote’, this actually makes events more… raw, in a way, in the absence of adult filtering. The reader soon gets to realise the issues Jesika’s family is facing: poverty… but not enough to really get help; having to contend with shady people; illness, probably due to their dire living conditions; and, of course, what comes later, once Jesika meets Paige and starts to wonder if what’s happening at her home is normal or naughty, and if she should tell her mother Tina, and won’t her mother stop loving her if she does that? (And that’s the biggest fear for her child: being rejected by their parents…)
Although the novel never veers into sordid (I don’t want to say that Jesika’s narration revealed Paige’s secret in a ‘cute’ way, because it’s not cute, it’s never cute, it’s creepy AF and no child, well actually no one, should ever have to go through that—but it did soften the blows in a certain way), it wasn’t exactly an easy read. Jesika and Paige are both so very young and vulnerable, all the more when one remembers that getting through the regular babble of children at such a young age can be exhausting, and doesn’t leave much room for actually listening, really listening to them when they try to convey something serious. I did enjoy the grown-ups’ reactions around Jesika, though, since they did take things seriously. There was a particular moment, for instance, when Tina could’ve done the coward thing, could’ve chosen to ignore the signals, because acknowledging them sort of put her at risk, too. There are so many stories, so many happening in real life, too, when unfortunately people close their eyes on the obvious and choose the easy way out.
At the same time, the circumstances Jesika, her mother and her baby brother have to face aren’t all in shades of black only. There are people around who’re ready to help them, and once Tina manages to get past her pride and accept those outstretched hands, she realises that friendship and trust are things you can find even when everything looks bleak. There could have been darker consequences, and in fact, it’s good there weren’t, considering the story’s themes are already dark enough as it is.
Conclusion: 3.5 / 4 stars.