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review 2018-10-27 18:25
Since I'm not reading for spirituality's sake
The Divine Comedy - Eugenio Montale,Sandro Botticelli,Peter Armour,Dante Alighieri,Allen Mandelbaum

Done! *cheers* (and an abrupt end it was)

 

I confess I started to loose my enthusiasm by Purgatory, and Paradiso veritably dragged for me.

 

Inferno is indeed the most interesting, likely because it concentrates more on describing the poetic (and in many cases gruesome) justice inflicted there.

 

Purgatory gets a bit wishy washy because we are even more deluged with contemporary examples, which was exhausting from a "pausing to research WTF" whenever I needed context to understand the grade, and felt like self indulgent page bloating when I didn't. And then we get to Eden, pretty cavalcade of symbolism lead by the still much discussed mystery that is Matilda, and meet Beatriz. Ahhhh, the lady herself, that symbolizes theology. Maybe it is no wonder I found her supercilious and overly jealous.

 

I have to praise Dante's balls: first he aligns himself equal among Homer, Ovid and Virgil in that Limbo chat, and here he places his lady love highly enthroned in the Empireum, representing the Dogma by which he knows God.

 

If I could leave Paradiso just taking away that love has been his salvation and his way to heaven, we'd be good. But no, he had to insist on hammering until rigid conformity to scripture was reached. Thorough what felt like endless proselytizing (hey, I know it is my fault, because what was I expecting, right?) and pointing fingers of doom everywhere (the amount of eggs thrown the church's way! And his political enemies... you bet this got him the exile prophesied to him here).

 

Also, even considering some pretty descriptions, the spheres felt lame and boring reward (and here I'm reminded of Huxley calling happiness undramatic and boring, and Le Guin criticizing those that think "Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting"). Where is the imaginative poetic justice of the first third? Methinks Dante got too tangled in the discussion of virtues and splitting hairs on their display levels. So yeah, I get the whole "watching god and feeling his light is rapture beyond comprehension", I'm still contending that the theological got in the way of the literary, and there goes one star. Sue me.

 

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review 2018-09-11 11:16
Gorgeous and Flavourful
Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor

This one was fast fun and a different flavour on the usual tropes of it's genre. Big on representation, feminism, and an interesting peek into a rich and varied culture and myth set that I confess I know nothing about.

 

The kids feel a bit older than they are (might be a cultural thing), and this thing of putting the end of the world responsibilities onto the children's shoulders is one that constantly sticks in my craw now that I'm older, but I happen to know it was the bomb when I was a kid (Harry Potter, I'm looking at you) so the one star demoted might be an "unintended audience" thing.

 

Wondering what else I can get my hands on from the area, which this book's popularity might make easier, so kudos too for broadening horizons and opening markets.

 

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review 2018-08-24 22:03
POV's and unheard voices
The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood

For such a short thing, it certainly packed a punch.

 

Between the unreliable but scathing narrator and the creepy chorus, I found myself running the whole gamut of reactions, from laughter to shudders.

 

It was an interesting way of taking a stab at all the bits of the Odyssey that make you look askance and wonder.

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review 2018-06-23 19:31
Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent by Bill Peet
Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent - Bill Peet

Title:  Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent

Author:  Bill Peet

Genre:  Animals / Children's / Sea / Adventure / Pirates / Traveling


Year Published: 1975


Year Read:  1994

Publisher:  
Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 7+  (Some Intense Scenes)

 

 

Sea

“Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” is an adventurous book from Bill Peet about how a friendly sea serpent who at first wanted to wreck a ship to have fun, ends up trying to protect a ship full of passengers looking for a new land. “Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” may be tough for smaller children to read but older children would most likely enjoy the adventurous scenes contained in this book. 

Bill Peet’s writing is extremely inventive and exciting as he writes the story about a sea serpent that is willing to risk his life to protect the people on a voyage for a new life. Bill Peet is extremely inventive whenever he uses various words such as “doldrums” and “bedraggled” to make the story more clever and dramatic. Also, the idea that Cyrus is more like a friendly sea serpent rather than a vicious one makes the story more creative as people usually believe that sea monsters are meant to be scary. Bill Peet’s illustrations are beautiful and colorful, especially of the scenes where he illustrates the sea as a calm ocean for the water is beautifully blue and during the storm scenes, he makes the sky dark and the ocean smashing viciously at the Primrose. 

Sea

Parents should know that there are many advanced words in this book and that this book may be a bit too long for younger children to handle. Some of the advanced words mentioned are “pilings,” “doldrums,” and “bedraggled” and young children may not understand what those words mean. Parents should write down the advanced words down on a piece of paper and define them so that the younger children would understand what the word means and therefore, it would make it easier for them to read this book. Also, the length of this book is a bit too long than any normal children’s book and that may be a bit too tiresome for some small children to handle, so parents should read at least a few pages a day so that children would not get too tired of this book. 

“Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” is a wonderful story about the power of friendship and how it is better to help people rather than be cruel towards them and children would easily enjoy this book for ages. I would recommend this book to children ages seven and up since the advanced words and the length of the book may be a bit too challenging for smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2018-06-23 18:53
Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales and Other Stories: Thumbelina, The Talking Eggs, The Fisherman and His Wife, The Emperor and the Nightingale
Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales and Other Stories: Thumbelina, The Talking Eggs, The Fisherman and His Wife, The Emperor and the Nightingale - Rabbit Ears,Glenn Close,Jodie Foster,Sissy Spacek

Title:  Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales and Other Stories: Thumbelina, the Talking Eggs, The Fisherman and His Wife, the Emperor and the Nightingale

Author:  Rabbit Ears

Genre:  China / Fairy Tale / Folktale / Magic / Animals


Year Published: 2006

Year Read: 2009

Series: Rabbit Ears Treasury

Publisher:  Listening Library (Audio)

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Some Rude Behavior and Intense Moments)

 

 

Thumbelina

When I first heard that Rabbit Ears was finally releasing their classic stories on audio CDs, I was so excited and happy because not only will I have the pleasure of listening to these fantastic classics over and over again, but now everyone will have a chance to listen to this fantastic series! “Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales” is an audio cd that is full of various fairy tales created by Rabbit Ears and with a vast array of famous celebrities along with engaging music for each story, this audio cd is a delightful treat for both children and adults!

Since I have reviewed half of these stories already, I am just going to briefly summarize each story on this audio cd:

The Fisherman and his Wife 
Told by: Jodie Foster
Music by: Van Dyke Parks

In this Brothers Grimm tale, a meek fisherman stumbles upon a magical flounder who promises the poor fisherman that he will grant him several wishes if he frees him. When the Fisherman told his wife about this, his wife suddenly gets greedy and she starts wishing like crazy.

The Talking Eggs
Told by: Sissy Spacek
Music by: Micheal Doucet dit Beausoleil

A kind girl named Blanchett learns about the importance of being kind towards other and how it brings its own rewards.

Thumbelina
Told by: Kelly McGillis
Music by: Mark Isham

A tiny little girl named Thumbelina, who is no bigger than a thumb goes on a wild adventure in the outside world that changes her life forever.

The Emperor and the Nightingale
Told by: Glenn Close
Music by: Mark Isham

An Emperor learns about the importance of the real thing when the real nightingale has to save the Emperor from a horrible fate.


Emperor

Oh my goodness!! Never would I have thought that I would enjoy this series now as much as I did as a child! Every narrator on this audio CD has greatly contributed enough excitement and tenderness to each of these stories that will have any child and adult listening to this series over and over again! Out of all four of these stories presented in this audio cd, my favorites were “The Talking Eggs” and “The Emperor and the Nightingale.” In “The Talking Eggs” Sissy Spacek has indeed done an excellent job at narrating this story as she provides a Southern flair to the story and actually puts so much emotion in her narration whenever she is enacting a character yelling or being soft-hearted. Micheal Doucet dit Beausoleil’s music is clearly catchy and inspiring as it has a slight country theme that will have many children toe-tapping to the music until the very end of the story! In “The Emperor and the Nightingale,” Glenn Close does a splendid job at narrating this story as she sounds extremely tender and soothing and Mark Isham’s music provides a magnificent presentation of Chinese inspired music that will have everyone be mesmerized by the music.

The only problem I had with this audio CD was that it did not come with a book or in this case, books, to accompany each story. For anyone who has grown up with the Rabbit Ears series since they were children might possibly be disappointed in not receiving a book to go with each story. However, because the celebrities’ narrations are so effective and creative, this audio cd is still a treat to listen to. 

Overall “Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales” is a fantastic audio cd for both children and adults who love reading old classics and fairytales and will be an instant treat for many years!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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