Having finished reading Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes”, I’ve just begun his anthology “Summer Morning, Summer Night”. This set of stories contains one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever had the good fortune to read – “All On A Summer’s Night“. It seems quite autobiographical in nature when set against the interviews with Ray Bradbury that I’ve watched and read recently. Young Douglas Spaulding , who lives at his grandmother’s house with a varied set of boarders, makes a touching gesture to local librarian (and also another boarder) Miss Eleanora Welkes who mistakes the gesture for a romantic one from one of the male boarders. Everything about the story is delightful.
This is it (The Left Hand of Darkness), the book I’ve been waiting to read and the book generally regarded as “Ursula Le Guin’s masterpiece” – Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels. I bought it today in Foyles, Bristol along with Carlo Rovelli’s “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics“. It was on the shelves at Waterstones too but I couldn’t find the Rovelli book there and wanted both. I know, I could have bought each from different stores but that would be alien to me. UKLG books are a puzzle, they seem to be either in all book shops at any given moment or in none at all in another given moment. I keep eyeing up Melvyn Peake’s “The Gormenghast Trilogy” but I’m too mean to pay the £18 cover price.
Looking forward to reading these – I may have to go to bed super-early!!
I finished reading the second of Jenny Nimmo’s “Snow Spider” trilogy mid week. “Emlyn’s Moon” turned out to be a well told and plotted novel, much darker and creepy than the “Snow Spider” novel itself. It helps that it has a female protagonist – Nia and the story is told very much from her point of view (but in the third person). The final book of the trilogy “The Chestnut Soldier” is even darker and more menacing. Nina is once again the main character and Gwyn (from the first book) takes very much a back seat.For me it’s suitable for children a little older than the other two novels although I’m sure that my ‘adult’ reading of elements of the plot would go over the head of most child readers. Again, I’m looking forward to seeing how the plot resolves itself.
I’m currently reading the second book of the “Snow Spider” trilogy – “Emlyn’s Moon”. It’s a great read. It’s more about the character Nia than the titular Emlyn at the moment. There are some truly effective passages that I know I’ll use in the future with my class(es) as exemplar of descriptive writing. There’s a kind of spiritual awakening for the main character Nia through the book and I’m looking forward to reading the resolution of her personal problems. The book is much more about the characters than the first in the trilogy. The narrative is less linear than “The Snow Spider” too.
Apologies for my ‘lumpy’ expressions in this post but it’s difficult to express my enthusiasm for this book in the trilogy.
Edit: just to explain and to clear up any misunderstanding, I love this book!
I’m currently reading Jenny Nimmo’s “Snow Spider Trilogy” and I’m part way through “Emlyn’s Moon“. A change from Joan Aiken and “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” sequence. It’s a very enjoyable piece of fantasy and well told. It’s very “Welsh” in character as are many of Jenny’s books. More of a children’s novel than the Joan Aiken and Ursula K LeGuin novels I have grown to love so much. It’s more linear in plot and less ‘themed’ than those novels. I’d be more likely to use the trilogy as class readers than the ‘chronicles’ of Dido and Sparrowhawk. Indeed I have used Jenny Nimmo’s “Griffin’s Castle” as a class reader and topic theme for school work.
I’m looking forward to reading how Gwyn’s story pans out and getting back to some Dido Twite.
A recommended set of novels for children and parents alike.
I finally finished Joan Aiken’s “Limbo Lodge” last night. It’s a great adventure with Dido Twite at the ‘helm’.
So many ideas again, this time about respecting cultures and ways of life. About making decisions as individuals and living in harmony with the environment.
And again, Joan Aiken does not shy away from killing off a character that we have grown to like during the narrative. This time, a character who had the potential to make changes that would have benefitted others.
I have to take a break from Joan Aiken for a while but will be back to read “The Cuckoo Tree” and “Dido and Pa” when I have located copies.
Essential reading. You owe it to yourself to give the books in the “Wolves of Willoughby Chase” sequence time if you haven’t already read them.
I finished reading the Joan Aiken book “Midnight is a Place’ this morning. It’s an absolutely brilliant book, teeming with ideas about freewill, social pressure and individual morality. It instantly became my favourite Joan Aiken book, which is some achievement because it is in such quality company. The power of great children’s fiction. For me, these books are just as inspirational as books on spirituality or biographies.