Tag: stephanie meyer

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
Advertisements

Reading: More L’Engle, Little House, and New Moon

Finished reading:

The Young Unicorns by Madeleine L’Engle – This short novel involves the Austin family, but for once it is not told in first-person by Vicky. Instead, the third-person narrative expands to include others outside of the Austin family in this story about good, evil, technology, and innocence.

The Austin family has made the move to New York for a year for the father to take part in a research project involving the “micro-ray,” a powerful laser that is being used to perform surgeries that previously could not be done. They are living in the same house (in an upstairs wing) as a young prodigious pianist, Emily, who was blinded under mysterious circumstances before the events of this book. Dave, a toughened reformed street hood, is Emily’s friend, but he doesn’t “get” the Austins who seem much too innocent and naive.

This book has a darker tone than previous Austin books, as Dave and the Austins realize that there is a growing threat brewing in the underground of New York City that comes to involve them and those closest to them.

A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle – One of my favorite books, again with Vicky Austin as the narrator and protagonist. After the crazy year in New York, Vicky and her family and spending the rest of the summer with her grandfather (in his cool converted stable) — because he has leukemia and is dying. Meanwhile, Vicky is dealing with three boys this summer; Zachary Gray, who reappears in her life and is his typical difficult self, Leo, the son of a good family friend who died, who would love to be “more than friends,” and the older and hard-to-read Adam (from The Arm of the Starfish) who introduces Vicky to dolphins as part of his research project.

This book is the most sci-fi/fantasy-ish of all the Austin books, as Vicky begins to explore telepathic communication with dolphins. All of this is wrapped up in Vicky’s personal struggles with thinking about her grandfather’s illness and the death and suffering she sees around her.

Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder – I don’t know how many times I’ve read the “Little House” series, but my paperback copies are well worn with the covers just about to fall off. I started reading Little House in the Big Woods this week when I was in between books and making breakfast sausage; I felt it was appropriate to read about “butchering time” and the process of taking a whole pig and using every part of it to make food. I love the detailed depiction of early American wilderness life, and as someone who loves to eat, I absolutely love reading her descriptions of food. In fact, I snacked on some cheese while I was reading about Laura’s mother making cheese. Since I was in a food mood, I of course had to then read Farmer Boy, which has even more food descriptions. Steve teased me because I kept on wanting to read the yummy parts out loud to him.

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer – Hooray! This sequel to Twilight got returned early enough for me to check it out from the library and read it before having to return the third book in the series, Eclipse. This book continues the story of Bella (human) and Edward (vampire) — except that Edward leaves Bella “for her own good,” plunging Bella into a several-month depression which finally lifts when she becomes better friends with Jacob Black. But then Jacob ends up having some significant changes of his own, and Bella finds that the choices she makes could have some deadly results.

I had read the preview chapter of this book already, and for some reason I wasn’t that excited to start it, but once I did, I was immediately drawn into the storyline and had to finish it!

With a bookmark:

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

  • Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
  • 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:

  • Tithe by Holly Black
  • Valiant by Holly Black