Reading: Eclipse, Holly Black, and Mary Poppins

Finished reading:

Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer – The third book about a high school girl named Bella and her vampire boyfriend, Edward. They’re back together, but there are some strange murders going on in nearby Seattle which could have implications for Bella’s safety. Meanwhile, Bella, who has been wanting to become a vampire herself so that she and Edward can be together forever, gets several chances to consider the implications of her desire/decision. We get to get a bit more background on some of the members of Edward’s “family,” as well.

This is the last book for now; Meyer is working on one more sequel and another one that will retell Twilight from Edward’s point of view. While I’ve generally enjoyed these books, an email conversation with Britt enlightened me as to why I wouldn’t list the so-far-trilogy as among my “favorites.” The relationship between Bella and Edward, in my opinion, doesn’t seem to have much of a foundation; it’s obvious that Bella thinks Edward is gorgeous, but their relationship seems to mostly involve saving each other’s lives (at times) and kissing (most of the time), and it’s not entirely clear why Edward would want to be with Bella. In contrast, the books show Bella and Jacob’s friendship develop much more naturally and thoroughly.

Anyway. The books are a fun read, so don’t let my niggling criticisms keep you from reading them!

Tithe and Valiant by Holly Black – ClickerTrainer recommended Tithe in a comment. Not really knowing what to expect, I was, shall we say, not immediately enthralled by the book. Marketed as “young adult fantasy,” the subtitles of these books are “a modern faerie tale,” by which I take it to mean that pixies, fairies, monsters, trolls, etc. intersect subtly with the current modern world of cars, televisions, cell phones, etc. The world that these teenagers live in is harsh and edgy; fairyland is even harsher (although that’s not as much of a surprise). If this were a movie, I would rate these books “R” for language, sexual content, and other adult themes including drug use — so, I don’t recommend these to my nephews and nieces.

I think Tithe was a shock to my system and I really hated it for a few chapters but kept on reading. Valiant wasn’t as much of a shock and I liked it a bit better. (It’s best to read Tithe first, as you’ll understand some of the fairyland politics better in Valiant if you do so.) Both manage to be love stories by the end, but I was never able to fully relate with any of the characters or the poor lifestyle choices they made.

Both books have been very well acclaimed, however, even by some of my favorite authors, so it could just be that I have stiff sensibilities and you shouldn’t trust my taste. 🙂 (And ClickerTrainer – I’d love to hear your thoughts about why you liked Tithe; maybe it will help me appreciate it more!)

By the way — I’m always open to trying books that are recommended by others and I always appreciate the recommendation even if I don’t enjoy the book. So if you’ve read something recently that you liked, please feel welcome to leave a comment and tell me about the book and why you enjoyed it and I’ll see if my local library has it available!

Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins in the Park by P.L. Travers – I needed some wholesome fare after Holly Black and went to my bookshelf to start reading through the four Mary Poppins books that I have (yes, it was a book BEFORE the movie). The literary Mary Poppins is a lot more snobby, tart, and vain than Julie Andrews’ warm and friendly Disney rendition, but the stories are magical, and if you like the movie you’ll have fun picking out the different parts of the stories that went into the movie. Mary Poppins in the Park isn’t really a true sequel; it has different stories that supposedly happen during the course of the other three books, so if you’re uninitiated I would read that one last (after Mary Poppins Comes Back and Mary Poppins Opens the Door). These would be great read-aloud books for families… or people who are young at heart.

With a bookmark:

(Books I just started reading, or books I’ve been “reading” for ages. Most recent first.)

  • Body, Soul, and Baby by Tracy Gaudet
  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, and Sandee Hathaway
  • The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson

In the library book box:

  • White Noise by Don Delillo
  • The Highly Effective Detective by Richard Yancey

4 thoughts on “Reading: Eclipse, Holly Black, and Mary Poppins

  1. Let’s see, Twilight vs Tithe

    I felt Twilight’s main character was a bit of a drip. I, too, could not see what Edward saw in her. And why the heck is she always dizzy? That made no sense. Summary: the story was just okay, the writing average, not one I’d recommend.

    What I like about Tithe: real-world characters making poorly-thought-out choices they have to live with. Yes, the world isn’t friendly, but then, the world isn’t. Imaginative writing style, and imaginative story. I am not sure I would recommend it to my friends kids unless the kids were older teens, as some parents are more restrictive in their child’s reading than mine were.

    (In seventh grade, I read “Clockwork Orange”, “Stranger in a Strange Land”, “Heart of Darkness”, and “All Quiet on the Western Front”. Somehow I ended up mentally stable. “All Quiet on the Western Front” was the only one I found disturbing.)

    Tithe was the best of the three, IMO. Valiant was okay, and Ironside was kind of a letdown, somehow I wanted a better ending to the story. I have not read Spiderwick Chronicles — although the librarians here at work think a great deal of it.

  2. PS Finally just finished “Everything is Miscellaneous”. Easily the best non-fiction book I have read in the past few years. Next up: “A Year without ‘Made in China'”.

  3. ClickerTrainer – Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’m impressed by your 7th grade reading choices. I think I was into Agatha Christie then. (Sadly, neither of the two books you mentioned are at my local library… I’ll have to write them down and wait!)

  4. Corrie,

    I’m having trouble locating “A Year without ‘Made in China'”. Not in the library. (my fav online used bookstore), has it used at a higher price than Amazon has it for new! I may have to raid my stash of “to-be-read-somedays” for something else.

    If you also have a stash, I’d love to know what’s in it!

    Splash’s mom

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