Book Review: Return to the Hundred Acre Wood

I always take a rather dim view of new authors writing sequels to classic fiction. Sometimes it works, but I’m always suspicious—so Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus proved to be a pleasant surprise.

It might have helped a great deal that he began with an Exposition, a kind of foreword, of the author speaking to the characters about the possibility of a new story (Eeyore is sure it will all turn out wrong). The author concludes that he can really only guess and hope that he will guess right–and the characters promise faithfully to help him get it right.  And this at least makes me feel that he has a good firm grasp of the size of the shoes he is attempting to fill, which makes me feel much better on the whole subject. Continue reading

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You Can Get a FREE Copy of The Wanderers!

Wanderers 8 - Small CopyIt’s not a contest…and there’s no limit to the number of copies available!

For two days, my novel The Wanderers is free as a Kindle download on Amazon!  The promotion only runs from July 27th-28th, so get your copy now.

If you already bought a copy…well, that moves you automatically into my “awesome person” category :)  And you can be awesome to someone else by telling a friend about the offer!  I’ll even pre-shorten the URL for you to use on Facebook or Twitter: http://amzn.to/1nz0fyt

If you’re not already won over by the cat on the cover, find out more about The Wanderers–and you also may be interested in the companion novel that will be out in October!

 

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Blog Hop: Holiday Books

book blogger hopThis week’s Book Blogger Hop question: Do you like to read books with a theme such as Halloween, Christmas, etc?

I definitely d0–in theory, but I don’t think I’m all that good at actually reading themed-books at the relevant time!  For example, I spent most of spring listening to the audiobooks of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  Never occurred to me that maybe four books set over four summers would make sense as summer reading… ;)  Maybe next time!

I think I focus themes more when I reread books.  I don’t pay all that much attention to themes/seasons when I pick a new book up, but if I read it and observe the theme, I’m more likely to reread it during the proper time of year.  I read Mischief of the Mistletoe for the first time in spring (although that was because of a long hold list at the library…) but now I try to reread it near Christmas.  Valente’s Fairyland series feel like very autumnal books to me (the main character is named September!) so even once they’re all out and I’m not rereading in anticipation of October release dates, I could see myself rereading them in the fall.

I tend to do better on holidays/themes with movies.  I like to watch Mr. Smith Goes to Washington for the Fourth of July, I try to always watch V for Vendetta on Guy Fawkes Day, and I have several favorite Christmas movies.

Do you read many theme books?  Do you have particular ones you reread in certain seasons or for certain holidays?

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Book Review: To Hold the Sun

To Hold the SunWhen I started reading To Hold the Sun by Chas Watkins, I have to admit I wasn’t quite sure if it was memoir, self-help, or fiction.  But the copyright page tells me “this is a work of fiction.  Any resemblance…” etc, so technically it’s a novel.  But I found I liked it much better viewed as self-help, or perhaps philosophy.

The plot is essentially the old fable, a student goes to the master and says, “Teach me your wisdom.”  This particular students is an investigative journalist who is vaguely dissatisfied with his life, sent on an assignment to the Caribbean island of Roatan, there to interview Paul, a practitioner of “the art of happiness,” as well as of handstands. Continue reading

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Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

If you’re around here a lot, you may have noticed that I have a thing for stories about people who are rejected, not for their deeds, but because they are somehow different.  The Phantom of the Opera, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the Creature of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

I can’t remember the last time I read Frankenstein…college, maybe?  Not as an assignment, just around that time.  My chief memory was that I enjoyed the book, but I hated Victor.  I recently reread the book, and…yeah.  Really good book.  Hated Victor.

Victor Frankenstein, already a dying man as the story opens, imparts to the reader the tale of what laid him low.  After an idyllic childhood in his native Geneva, he went off to college and pursued an obsession with the “natural sciences.”  This culminated in an experiment in which he successfully gave life to a creature he fashioned.  Victor is horrified by the Creature’s ugliness the moment he comes to life, and flees the laboratory.  The Creature disappears and Victor, with a shudder, goes about his life–until his young brother is murdered, and Victor realizes the Creature is to blame.  More tragedies later, Creature and creator confront one another at last, and in an extended story-within-the-story, the Creature relates his experiences.  (Unlike the movie version, he’s extremely eloquent.)  He sought acceptance and instead was met with rejection, until at last he turned with rage upon his creator.  And from there we enter what could almost be a Shakespearean tragedy, with the body count rising and the “hero” falling apart in mind and body. Continue reading

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