Books

Book 583: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Fantastic Beasts #2) – J.K. Rowling

Of course I was going to read this. It actually arrived in my mailbox the same day we saw the film (the first time :-D). If I’m honest, I’m impressed I only saw it twice AND it took me this long to read it. There was a lot to take in and with so much dialogue, reading this sooner would’ve helped A LOT.

With this being a screenplay, I can totally cop-out and say read this review of the film: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald’: Beasts? Check. Crimes? Check. Fantastic? Not Quite., from NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour blog because Glen Weldon NAILS it.

I’m not planning to go into the major spoilers of the franchise so you should be okay to read as long as you don’t highlight the closing line of the book, but if you don’t want to know ANYTHING, then don’t read this! You’ve been warned.

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Books, The Classics Club

Book 426: Many Waters (Time Quintet #4) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - Many Waters (Time Quintet #4)L’Engle went right past allegory and straight up tells a biblical tale, the tale of Noah and the ark, in this book.  Duh, I mean look at the cover, why I didn’t make that connection when I started re-reading or remember it is beyond me. Strangely enough, I didn’t mind the story at all. I think it’s because “god”/”El” took a back seat and it focused more on the people in the story rather than the morals of the story.

I also need to say I have to eat my words for the abrupt ending this time. L’Engle did it again with less than five pages left she completely wrapped everything up, but this time it made sense. A lot of the story began wrapping up well before the last few pages, but the ultimate story and the return to modern-day happened over three pages max. The abruptness of it was necessary in that is how the twins experienced it and it’s only fair we the reader do so as well. Kudos to you L’Engle for keeping me on my toes.

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Books, The Classics Club

Book 425: A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Time Quintet #3) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Time Quintet #3)It’s very fitting this is published on February 29. This book is all about time and leaping backward and forward in time. Four year’s isn’t a lot of time the older you get so they seem to happen much more frequently, but growing up four years was a LONG time to wait for something as exciting as an extra day of the year. Okay, on to the book.

I’m sure you’re all tired of me saying it, but I had to put it at the front this time because it’s really driving me crazy! After three books: the denouement needs to be longer! UGH! Invariably, L’Engle wraps up the entire story in less than ten pages with a bit of a and this and this and this type narrative. It’s not bad, it’s just frustrating. I want the details. I want to know why things happened. I want to know how they happened and not just the hints that she leaves. It’s a little too deus ex machina for me.

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Books, The Classics Club

Book 424: A Wind In The Door (Time Quintet #2) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - A Wind in the Door (Time Quintet #2)Picking up not long after A Wrinkle in Time, this book starts off with just as much intrigue and mystery as the first! If I would’ve remembered how easy these were to read and how entertaining they were, I would’ve re-read these a long time ago. Seriously, I’m devouring them and loving every minute of it. This will count for the 47th book of my Classic’s Club list!

Although powerful, this one didn’t quite stack up to the first in the series. I think it’s a combination of parts of it taking place in such a foreign setting and that about half-way through I once again had the thought about how good versus evil as an archetype isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can get a bit exhausting if you read too many in a row. This series, like many others, at heart deals with dark versus light/good versus evil/heaven versus hell. There are dozens I’ve read on this blog that deal with this from young adult to classic literature. Where they separate themselves is the story they tell and how they chose to portray the battle this time.

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Books, The Classics Club

Book 423: A Wrinkle In Time (Time Quintet #1) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - A Wrinkle In Time (Time Quintet #1)Let’s add this to the “How have I only ever read this once over a decade ago pile.” (That list gets longer and longer every time I look.) I’ve had these books since high school and only ever read them once. I’m so glad I added them on my Classic’s Club, the 46th book read, and am REALLY looking forward to reading the rest.

I somehow missed the fifth book, An Acceptable Time, when I read them the first time so that one will be completely new to me which is very exciting! I’m now torn on whether I should hold on to my copies or donate them so someone else can have the great joy of experiencing L’Engle’s incredible genius.

Aside from L’Engle using the maligned “It was a dark and stormy night.” to open the novel (buck those trends!), I think what really impressed me re-reading this work was L’Engle’s language. I know many authors do this, but I appreciate that fantasy/science fiction writers who write to young adults in particular (like Rachel Hartman) don’t dumb down their language. Not only does L’Engle write about incredibly complex scientific principles, but she uses language that a family as smart as the Wallace’s would use! It was refreshing to read such high language written so easily.

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Books

Book 336: A Cold Legacy (The Madman’s Daughter #3) – Megan Shepherd

Shepherd, Megan - A Cold LegacyI’m still torn on this novel. It’s been almost a week since I finished it. The response was delayed due to not knowing how to respond to the novel, but also my having to fly down to NC for family matters. On the plus side I got to visit Highland Books again, which the author’s parents own and run. If you check out the website, you can see her signing books in the shop.

I found it frustrating and satisfying. Most of this had nothing to do with the novel itself, but with the time between this novel and Her Dark Curiosity. I loved it and The Madman’s Daughter when I first read them, but I couldn’t remember enough of the details to truly enjoy this novel. Maybe this just means I’m getting old, but I’ve avoided starting any new series until it is either completely finished or it’s a long enough series I can re-read.
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Book Group, Books

Book 88: Lost Horizon – James Hilton

I read this book for our library book group, Books into Films. I just finished watching the film and as usual, the book was much better. I think you could say the film is ‘loosely’ – if even that – based on the book. There were so many additions that I was rather confused throughout.

The novel, however, was well written and interesting enough if you can get past the first somewhat rather dull ‘old boys club’ sitting around a table rehashing their youth bit. If you make it past this bit, you see experience the (after the publication of this novel) legendary Shangri-La.

As I read the novel I wondered where the legend of Shangri-La originated and according to Encyclopedia Britannica the meaning of it as a “remote, utopian land” derives from this novel. However, the novel isn’t really about Shangri-La, it’s about the search for greater truth, the search for what was lost. The four main characters are kidnapped and taken to Shangri-La, located in the valley of the Blue Moon, under mysterious circumstances, and each has their own ah-ha moment.

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