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Read Karen MacPherson's essays, reviews, and interviews with authors.

April 01, 2015

The Lifeboat

Life of Pi by Yann Martel 
reviewed by Subhatra 

Life of Pi is an inspiring story about a young boy named Piscine Patel from Pondicherry who experiences the shipwreck of the Japanese cargo ship carrying his family to Toronto. He is the only survivor, along with a hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, a female orangutan, and a Royal Bengal tiger. His parents, zoo keepers, wanted to sell all their zoo animals and make a new life in Canada.

This is about how Pi Patel survives the shipwreck and makes it to the other side of the world. Sometimes the book gets a little boring when Pi is describing how boring it was for him, doing nothing at sea while hiding from the tiger. This is a very descriptive and slow moving book, so if you are not patient, I would not recommend this.

Pi and the tiger, seem unbelievably real. They undergo miraculous experiences that no one has gone through, yet have many emotions similar to ours.

The story has a flow that is as smooth as a calm sea, rippling, yet comforting. Both girls and boys would like this book. I would not recommend this if you are not fond of reading. I would recommend this book to teenagers.

Posted by library at 03:53 PM   VIEW FULL POST

March 31, 2015

Escaping the Hollowgasts

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 
reviewed by Ayesha 

Children who can float, produce fire from their palms, and see into the future don't exist . . . right?

In one of the best science fiction books I have ever read, Jacob, a seemingly ordinary teenager, discovers the truth behind his grandfather's crazy stories in a trip across the Atlantic to an island near Wales.

Jacob and his family always humored his grandfather whenever he told his stories, but never truly believed him. After all, monsters and enchanted islands don't exist. But when Jacob's grandfather is found in the woods, having been clawed to death, everyone assumes it was an animal, but Jacob knows that it was one of the monsters that his grandfather had always spoken about. Jacob's grandfather's last words lead Jacob to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the true meaning of peculiar.

In an unnatural setting with pictures to match, Ransom Riggs has proven that even horror stories can be very, very interesting.

Librarian's Notes:
This is being filmed now by Tim Burton.
Ransom Riggs wrote a sequel, Hollow City.

Posted by library at 08:53 AM   VIEW FULL POST

March 30, 2015

Teleporting with George

George's Secret Key to The Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking 
reviewed by Lintaro 

George's Secret Key To The Universe is an exhilarating thrill ride through the universe. The book is about a young boy named George who one day meets his strange next door neighbors for the first time. After this, the whole story takes off, with an amazing cast of characters, such as George's friend, Annie, and her super-computer, COSMOS, that can teleport people throughout the universe. It is enthralling, detailed, and a fabulous work of science fiction.

Posted by library at 03:04 PM   VIEW FULL POST

February 28, 2015

Return to Pemberley

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 
reviewed by Anne 

I've been a bookworm for as long as I can remember and Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen, is one of my favorite books.

Austen primarily follows the love story of the lively Elizabeth Bennet and the cold-mannered, arrogant Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.

This novel will appeal to both casual and serious readers, for the characters are varied and real, the dialogue is engaging and sprinkled with comical moments, and the story is intertwined with a message of the follies of pride and (surprise!) prejudice. It is important to note, however, that the novel is likely intended for more advanced readers. All in all, Pride and Prejudice is a witty, pleasant novel that has remained a beloved classic for a reason. Read it!

Librarian's Notes:

Jane Austen was Patrick O'Brian's favorite novelist.
An academic discussion of the relationship
A non-academic take

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
a comment on the series

A documentary on Jane Austen
1995 BBC adaptation of P&P: parts 1 2 3 4 5 6
15 years later, a "making-of": parts 1 2 3 4
Northanger Abbey (but read the book, too much is missing in the video)and Emma. But again, read the book.

Posted by library at 11:46 AM   VIEW FULL POST

February 26, 2015

In den Alpen

Heidi by Johanna Spyri 
reviewed by Lillian 

Does a story about a child from both the city and the country appeal to you? Then you should definitely try out Heidi, by Johanna Spyri. The story is about a young girl named Heidi who travels to the Alm's rugged mountains to stay with her grandfather, also known as the Alm Uncle. From a dull life in a dull city, Heidi is ecstatic about her new friends, the wonderful food, the new bed, and the beautiful view. A

fter staying for a number of winters and summers, Heidi's aunt comes back up the mountains to take her down to another city, this one called Frankfurt, to be a playmate for a rich, lonely, disabled child named Clara. If the Alm is freedom and woods, Frankfurt is the opposite, with stone buildings all around, carriages, and not a blade of grass to be seen. Heidi is lectured with strict rules about how to live among the rich. She becomes great friends with Clara, but begins to drown in an ocean of homesickness for the Alm, and when she finally returns home, she is joyful.

The ending includes Clara coming to visit Heidi on the Alm in hopes of better health, where she fills out, acquires rosy cheeks, and learns to walk with support. Heidi is a truly inspiring, charming, and uplifting tale about a little ray of sunshine.

Librarian's Notes:
Heidi in HTML
Heidi in epub and other formats

Listen to a professional recording of Heidi online via our subscription to the AudioBookCloud Just search for Heidi.


Posted by library at 03:32 PM   VIEW FULL POST

February 24, 2015

Jeeves and Bertie

The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse 
reviewed by Lara 

The Code of the Woosters is an exhilarating and comical book that everyone could enjoy. P.G. Wodehouse transports readers to early 20th Century England where the well-meaning Bertie is stuck in the middle of a web of serious rifts between stubborn aunts, dull friends, and an evil butler. While Bertie is hopelessly lost in a labyrinth of dilemmas, Jeeves, Bertie's butler and true companion, assists him by playing psychological mind tricks on different people.

Jeeves navigates waves of complex situations. Even when things seem they cannot be more daunting, Jeeves alarms you with his creative solutions.

Wodehouse does all this while making you giggle for hours on end, no matter what frame of mind you were in previously.

Librarian's Notes:

Review in The Guardian

A couple of quotes from The Code of the Woosters:

"I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled."

" 'Don’t you ever read the papers? Roderick Spode is the founder and head of the Saviours of Britain, a Fascist organization better known as the Black Shorts. His general idea, if he doesn’t get knocked on the head with a bottle in one of the frequent brawls in which he and his followers indulge, is to make himself a Dictator.’ ‘Well, I’m blowed!’ I was astounded at my keenness of perception. The moment I had set eyes on Spode, if you remember, I had said to myself ‘What ho! A Dictator!’ and a Dictator he had proved to be. I couldn’t have made a better shot, if I had been one of those detectives who see a chap walking along the street and deduce that he is a retired manufacturer of poppet valves named Robinson with rheumatism in one arm, living at Clapham. ‘Well, I’m dashed! I thought he was something of that sort. That chin…Those eyes…And, for the matter of that, that moustache. By the way, when you say “shorts”, you mean “shirts”, of course.’ ‘No. By the time Spode formed his association, there were no shirts left. He and his adherents wear black shorts.’ ‘Footer bags, you mean?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘How perfectly foul.' "

Posted by library at 04:32 PM   VIEW FULL POST