Thursday, February 26, 2009

The True Game by Sheri Tepper

In a world where psychic abilities run rampant and laws are only rules of the Game that those with psi-talent play for power and advancement using living people as game pieces. A young orphan boy named Peter grows up in the schoolhouse with the children of other Gamelords learning the lists of psi-talents - telepathy, levitation, telekinesis, shape-shifting among others - and their moves in the Game while waiting for his own talent to emerge. But when he is caught in the middle of a game of power that almost kills him, Peter is sent away to study at another schoolhouse only to find himself pursued by those who would use his talent for their own gain.

On route Peter stumbles upon a set of carved game pieces and a book, a long lost treasure that will change his fate, set in motion plans long past laid out and reveal the true history of their world.

In this omnibus of Tepper’s first 3 novels of a series of nine,be prepared for fantasy and science fiction to mix with tremendous results and let the Game begin!

Part of my 100+ book challenge

Monday, February 23, 2009

Rhett Butler's People

Rhett Butler – just the mention of the name triggers a love story set in the deep south amidst the bondage of slavery. But, true to its title, “Rhett Butler’s People” gives the reader an inside glimpse of the other side of the “Gone With the Wind”. Donald McCaig was given special privilege from the Margaret Mitchell estate to write this novel. Of course, Belle Whatling, Ashley Wilkes, Melly and Prissy are part of these people, but Scarlett’s personal maid, Mammy, is rarely mentioned. I guess the author truly wanted this book to be authentically Rhett’s.

I loved this book – especially after the war was over seeing how Rhett made his millions by gambling and owning the Merry Widow as being part of an offshore blockade runner. He is a shrewd businessman, an adventurer, outcast, rebel, dandy, and is heavily in love with the green-eyed beauty Scarlett. I recommend this book to any Scarlett fan.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

In this wonderfully depicted silent graphic novel, Tan conveys the confusing and often bizarre experience of immigrating from the known to the unknown. Using imagery and colouring taken from photos of Ellis Island, picture postcards of New York from the early 1900s and inspirational tales of immigrants themselves, the author weaves the tale of a man leaving his wife, child and country in search of a safer place to bring his family.

The inventive and fantastic buildings, the strange and astonishing food, a whole new alphabet – all of these things give weight to the struggles and triumphs of the man as he navigates through a new way of life.  The absences of words is reflected in the man’s own need to communicate through pictures as he searches for a place to live and a job he understands. 

A wonderful book that will please any age.

Part of my 100+ Book Challenge

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Tiger Rising by Kate Dicamillo

12 year old Rob Horton can hardly believe his eyes when he finds a caged tiger in the woods near the Kentucky Star Motel where he and his father live. That same day a new girl gets on the school bus, a girl by the name of Sistine (as in the chapel) Bailey.

A tenuous friendship grows between the two when Rob tells Sistine about the tiger and she believes him. As the days pass Sistine teaches Rob be honest with her and express his hidden “not-wishes and not-thoughts” about his mother’s death and in doing so comes to terms with her own troubles. The tiger becomes a symbol of liberty and accountability for the two children, as they learn that memories and tigers can not be locked up forever.

This touching short story of friendship and loss conjures up vivid imagery and metaphor is weaved expertly throughout.

Part of my 100+ book challenge

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

March Book Club Book: Three Cups of Tea

From Booklist

On a 1993 expedition to climb K2 in honor of his sister Christa, who had died of epilepsy at 23, Mortenson stumbled upon a remote mountain village in Pakistan. Out of gratitude for the villagers' assistance when he was lost and near death, he vowed to build a school for the children who were scratching lessons in the dirt. Raised by his missionary parents in Tanzania, Mortenson was used to dealing with exotic cultures and developing nations. Still, he faced daunting challenges of raising funds, death threats from enraged mullahs, separation from his family, and a kidnapping to eventually build 55 schools in Taliban territory. Award-winning journalist Relin recounts the slow and arduous task Mortenson set for himself, a one-man mission aimed particularly at bringing education to young girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Readers interested in a fresh perspective on the cultures and development efforts of Central Asia will love this incredible story of a humanitarian endeavor. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Dragon's Keep by Janet Lee Carey

Princess Rosalind is the beautiful descendant of the exiled line of Pendragons, destined to restore her family and end a war, or so Merlin’s prophecy foretells. Her home, Wilde Island is a place ravaged by a dragon and convicts shipped from the mainland. But Rosalind has a dreadful secret that weighs heavy on her, born with a curse – a dragon’s claw upon her left hand, she has kept it hidden by her mother’s ingeniously created fashion for high born women to wear gloves and only show their hands to their husbands.

Desperately the queen searches for a cure, afraid to let her only child get close to anyone lest she reveal the secret and be burned as a witch. But in Rosalind’s 16th year their hopes for a cure are shattered when the dragon, Lord Faul, carries the princess away and sets her foretold destiny in motion.

Narrated by the lyrical and expressive voice of Bianca Amato, this compelling tale, full of magic, wonder and 12th century realities is a delight. The convincing balance of strength and weakness in Rosalind’s character as she grows from child into womanhood, the fanatical drive of the queen to find a cure and the power and compassion of the dragon add up to make a fantastic page turning tale that will enchantment readers of all ages.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Having put off reading this book for sometime, for no particular reason, I finally sat down with it, having nowhere to go while waiting on my car's service. I was surprised by how easy it read, and how short the book was - a scant 100 something pages.

This tragic novella, published in 1937, tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small. George, an ambitious, wiry, sharp-tongued man and Lennie, almost his exact opposite: large and simpleminded but with a good heart and more strength than he knows what to do with. The two friends who, just like people today, are travelling from place to place looking for work, watching out for each other and trying to earn enough money to buy a farm to call home.

When the two find work at a ranch in California it seems that their dream might at last be in reach, but like "the best-laid schemes of mice and men," not even George could perceive the combined danger of a salacious woman and the few lessons Lennie remembers.

The complex relationship between the two men gives strength and pathos to the narrative making the ending even more of a tear-jerker as the reader comes to terms with the tragedy.

To request a copy from the JCLC catalog click here

Part of the 100+ book challenge

Monday, February 2, 2009

Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata

12 year old Sumiko, a Japanese-American girl, lives with her Aunt and Uncle on a little flower farm in Southern California. The only Japanese at her school, Sumiko yearns to belong and have friends, but with the attack on Pearl Harbor all her hopes and dreams are shattered and her family torn apart.
Suspected of being terrorist, Sumiko’s uncle and grandfather are sent away to a prisoner of war camp, and she, her Aunt, two older cousins and brother are sent to a camp in the Arizona desert on the Mohave reservation. The Japanese soon find that they are as unwelcome on the Indian lands as in their homes before. Struggling with depression “the ultimate boredom”, heat and dust storms, Sumiko learns to find friendship in unusual places as she tries to bring meaning to her new life by planting flower seeds from her old life. As Sumiko grows into adulthood she discovers similarities between their treatment and the Mohave tribe and finds rewards in friendship that cross age and racial dividers.
This heart-rending tale of one girl’s plight to fit it in, in a world torn by war and fear is compelling reading, giving us a glimpse into a time little written about in American history. Newbery award winning author Kadohata wonderfully captures Sumiko's pain, her understanding and her joys.

Part of the 100+ book challenge