Sunday, January 28, 2018

Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey is by Jane Austen. The classic work of historical fiction by arguably one of the greatest writers of all time. The story of young Catherine who travels to Bath with friends of her family. She is an avid reader, especially of Gothic mysteries like those by Ann Radcliffe. When she meets the Tilney's and is invited to visit them at Northanger Abbey she begins to impart the sinister goings on of her books to the real life General Tilney. She falls in love, learns about the true meaning of friendship, and becomes wiser in the ways of the world. A classic Austen read!

Ratings: 10th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Tao of Pooh

The Tao of Pooh is by Benjamin Hoff. A charming look at Taoist philosophy as represented by everyone's favorite bear. Well written and easy to read, this book gives you much to ponder. A great book for lovers of Pooh who don't read much nonfiction.

Ratings: 8 out of 10 - 9th grade.

The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind is by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The first book in the historical fiction series The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Wow! What a great book; the translation is beautifully done. Set during the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, a young bookseller's son is taken by his father to the secret Cemetery of Forgotten Books and allowed to choose a book for himself. He chooses a book called The Shadow of the Wind by the mysterious author Julian Carax. Soon he discovers someone is systematically locating every book Carax wrote and destroying them. Daniel sets out to discover the truth about his favorite author and protect his book. His search sets in motion a series of events that will change Daniel's life forever. A wonderful book! It is beautifully written, full of suspense, a book lover's delight.

Ratings: 11th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - V (violence).

Mostly Harmless

Mostly Harmless is by Douglas Adams. The fifth installment of the classic science fiction series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The end has come for Arthur Dent and his traveling buddies. Arthur discovers he has a daughter and when she returns to Earth, he follows her there. Soon all of his friends are there and disaster is at hand. The ending is abrupt and somewhat disappointing and nihilistic, but fans should enjoy it.

Ratings: 9th grade - P (profanity).

Monday, January 15, 2018

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish is by Douglas Adams. The fourth book in the classic science fiction series: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Arthur Dent finds himself back on Earth, which wasn't destroyed after all, only all the dolphins are gone. While trying to find answers he meets a girl who also remembers the destruction of the planet. He and Fenchurch (his girlfriend) seek for answers and ultimately, with Zaphod and Marvin, discover "God's Final Message to His Creation." The plot is weak, but fans should enjoy it.

Ratings: 9th grade - 6 out of 10.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Smoke

Smoke is by Dan Vyleta. A strange work of fantasy with an interesting premise. Set in Victorian England where sin results in visible smoke, naturally the aristocracy don't smoke. Thomas and Charlie, both members of the elite class, become friends at boarding school. Together with Livia, an aristocrat whose family is involved in strange experiments with Smoke, the boys learn the true nature of Smoke and become involved in a battle between rival political factions.

Ratings: 10th grade - 7 out of 10.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Obsidian Chamber

The Obsidian Chamber is by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. The sixteenth installment in the Pendergast series. Pendergast is believed to be dead, but is he? Constance returns to Riverside Drive, only to find Diogenes (who was also thought to be dead) waiting there for her. Proctor observes Constance being kidnapped by Diogenes and sets out to rescue her, and finds himself across the world and in danger. Another fascinating novel in this series, complete with all the usual twists and turns - fans won't be disappointed.

Ratings: Adult - 9 out of 10 - P (profanity) - V (violence) - AC (mature thematic content).