Saturday, May 3, 2014

April 2014 Book Reports

1. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
Dad got to chapter 11 and I got to chapter 31 before we couldn't take it anymore. It started out with so much promise - a guy from late 19th century Connecticut finds himself in King Arthur's Court and uses his knowledge to first save himself from being executed and then to try to improve the lives of the common people. If it had stayed a funny fish-out-of-water story with Twain's wonderful characterizations, I would have kept reading. HOWEVER, the more I read, the more it felt like I was standing beneath a soap box listening to Mark Twain beat a dead horse. And the people from Camelot spoke in a dialect that I could barely understand. After all that work, I would at least like a laugh, please. 

I didn't want to find out what happens in the end bad enough to keep reading, but I did make the effort to find a snarky review of Connecticut Yankee. Turns out there is a terrible, gory, over-the-top killing scene in the last 50 pages. I made the right call. Wade through all that nonsense just to be assaulted by a massive killing scene? I think not. 

Dad and I have both moved on. It's better this way.

2. Emperor Mollusk Versus The Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez
My audio book last month was this one. Have you seen "Monsters Vs Aliens"? It's a favorite around here. Even the Halloween special makes me laugh (B.O.B: "What is happening right now?") Emperor Mollusk Versus The Sinister Brain sounds like the bad guy from that movie and what his life might be like. He even destroys his own planet. Emperor Mollusk is retiring from being The Worst, but he's got one last job to finish. He runs into his own evil creations and has to defeat each of them before he can fold up his tent and move to Florida.

The reading was fantastic. Really one of the best I've heard. I have to say, though, that this genre is not my thing. At all. I know it was supposed to be funny, but it wasn't to me. I'm such a fun hater. Every time I try to read a book where it's a fictional universe with fictional life forms and new rules, I start shutting down. I can barely keep track of all the rules in this universe. I'm the kind of reader who dog-ears the page where each character is introduced so that I can refer back to that page to figure out who they're talking about 20 chapters later. So this book was pretty stressful for me. Also, I was listening to it at the gym where I get interrupted with Emil and Colin's Bathroom Adventures several times in a 50 minute period. So many excuses. Whatever. This book is for boys, I think.

3. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
Bridget and I read this together. It is perfect for her reading level and her age. Edward is a snobby, porcelain rabbit (not a bunny) who is owned by a sweet little girl. She dresses him in fine clothes and takes good care of him, but he doesn't even listen to anything she says. The little girl goes on a big trip to Europe and takes Edward with her. Some mean boys end up throwing Edward overboard and Edward's miraculous journey begins.

Edward spends time at the bottom of the ocean. A lot of good "thinking" time. After being face down on the bottom of the ocean floor, everything else is a cakewalk. Edward learns to love several owners and realizes what he had in his first owner. Just when Edward feels like giving up and never loving another child or person, the most miraculous part of his journey happens.

I really loved reading this with Bridget. I wanted to know what was going to happen so much, sometimes, that I almost sneaked-read it without her. I'm glad I didn't, though. We finished it sitting on a blanket in the shade and I cried. Bridget looked concerned, but it was a happy cry. DiCamillo did an amazing job of not talking down to children, but still writing in a way they can understand. This is my favorite that Bridget and I have read together so far.  

1 comment:

melissa said...

I LOVE Kate DiCamillo's books. I haven't heard of this one and am so excited to have something to recommend to Chloe. Thanks for the warning about the Mark Twain book. We drove through Hannibal, Missouri a couple of weeks ago and there's the biggest, ugliest statue of him, ever. I'll send it to you.