Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I Am David by Anne Holm

This is a short historical novel that takes place during WWII and starts at a concentration camp somewhere in Eastern Europe. David has lived in the camp since he was an infant. There is a prison guard who seems to hate him but makes sure he is well cared for. There was Johannes who was appointed his guardian by the guard. When Johannes died David was 12 and the guard told him how to escape, told him to go to Denmark. What if you were like David and suddenly found yourself free after never being free before. What if you had never heard music, seen a real bed, seen a book, green pastures, mountains, the ocean, seen a church, a town, bought anything in a store, could you manage? He slowly makes his way to the ocean, to a cargo ship going to Italy. Then makes his way through Italy, Switzerland, Germany. He learns much along the way like how to smile, laugh, earn a little money, hitch a ride. He never really trusts the people he meets, would they turn him in to the police? Send him back to camp where people arrived looking clean and healthy but soon became dirty, weak, despaired, and died. He hopes to find goodhearted people who will preserve his freedom and teach him to all the things he needed to know and would love him.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Life of Pi By: Yann Martel

This novel starts out slow moving, and ends up so exciting. The action takes place in a lifeboat, where we have one human, and three animals. trying to survive a ship wreck four days out of the port of Manila, Philippines. It is quite an ordeal to read, and feel the way Pi the main character is able to manage his food, and water intake. Pi resorts to eating fish, and even turtle meat. The three animals on board the small lifeboat
are a zebra, hyena, and a bengal tiger. Imagine being capsized in the Pacific Ocean for more than six months
without being rescued by another ship, or any other rescue vehicle.

One's imagination runs wild when exposed to the open sea. This situation is desperate day after day. You begin to see visions, and things that come to your mind of hope, and belief, that really is not there. You dream of things that are not realistic. In the end, the lifeboat lands on land, and the animals are dead, but the human Pi, survives the whole experience.

This is an excellent book for teens, and adults.


Monday, December 13, 2004

Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales - Various Authors

Having only heard of three of the ten authors and having read only one of the ten authors I didn't know what to expect. I kept an open mind about these short stories and enjoyed all of them except the first short story Lungewater by Joan Aiken. It is about a messenger boy delivering notes to a woman his master is attracted to. The boy dies in the river, and the brother takes it upon himself to deliver the final letter. The style of the story along with the time placement (not set in the present, more like the early 1900's) made this one unenjoyable. I knew what was going to happen half way through the story. The other nine short stories were a great read. All of the authors drew upon the Victorian style of writing done by Mary Shelly and Edgar Allen Poe. They were also set in the modern times, which makes them more appealing to teens, and the main character is a teenager. Overall this was a good read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes dark tales, Poe, or Mary Shelly.

The authors of the short stories in this collection are Joan Aiken, M.T. Anderson, Neil Gaiman, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Gregory Maguire, Garth Nix, Celia Rees, Janni Lee Simner, Vivian Vande Velde, and Barry Yourgrau

Tom Burnham

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

Frey, a one time drug addict relates his struggle to quit using. He went from alcohol to crack to meth and more. He used to the brink of death. His memoir is a very gritty relating of the bad old days. He tells it straight and hard. Of all the men in rehab with him only one besides himself still lives. Eleven men and one woman he called friends have died, many times theirs were horrible violent deaths. The other survivor is in prison - for life. Frey makes it clear that it was his decision alone, no one made him, to use - and his decision to recover. Highly recommended, especially if you have already begun to use-recreationally.
Buggy Lady