The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

I saw this book earlier this summer at Hastings Book Store in Richmond, IN, and instantly grabbed it up. In fact, I had to pick only ONE of Mo Willems’ Pigeon books to buy as well, instead of two, because I refused to put this one down. It was just too beautiful and written by one of my favorite children’s authors to boot.

Mr. Morris Lessmore is a man whose life revolves around books – the collecting of them, the reading of them, and the writing of his own book, which he adds to daily. One day, though a massive storm rips its way into his life, scattering his town, his house, and (gasp!) his books. Poor Morris then sets out into the world, with his own book and one other survivor at his side, walking upright on stout little legs with its pages open to a smiling picture of our dear old friend Humpty Dumpty.

Lost an unsure, Morris walks on until he is met by a beautiful spectacle, a woman being born aloft by a flock of books. Hmm, what would we call that exactly? Geese are a gaggle, crows are a murder, sheep are a flock, cats are a clowder, Cardinals are a cascade (or so “The Borgias” tells me)…but what lovely alliterative nuance can we apply to books? A blockade…a barrage…a barrel…a bank…a batch…a battery…a bevy…a bundle…? Hmm. I think I like “a bank of books”. Since a bank is where you place things of value and books are of INFINITE value. There.

So the lady was being carried along through the air by a flying bank of books and she gives Morris some help. Vague help but help nonetheless. Soon Morris arrives in a WONDERFUL place. A place full of his dearest love: books. And they are all so very happy to see him. In a word: Heaven.

This book gave me more joy in the 10 minutes it took me to read it than any amount sense I can hope to make in trying to explain it. It is beautifully written and illustrated and I believe Joyce to be well-awarded with the transference of this beauty from a book into an animated short film as well, its accolades and acclaim well-earned. If you are looking for a lovely little book to remind us of just how beautiful it is to learn a love of reading, run out to your nearest bookstore or library and pick up The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

The Silver Blade by Sally Gardener

It’s that time of year again! Scholastic Book Fair. I had to be picky with my choices this year, as I could not afford $357.00 worth of books this year (or ever, I’m pretty sure, at one go). So I cut it down to half but the one book that bought wholly for myself and not my students was The Silver Blade by Sally Gardener. It is the sequel to The Red Necklace, which I reviewed here:

I’m very excited because I didn’t know that Gardener was actually going to write a sequel to the book, or, if I knew, I just forgot over the course of the year. So, yes, this book was wholly for me and not my students; though they got the rest of the $186.00 that I did end up spending at the Book Fair this year. And there’s always the spring one with two-for-one books. ^_~

In case you were wondering, I have a problem, and, no, I don’t want help. ^_^

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I started this book before the end of last school year and quickly became distracted with the end-of-year goings on and then summer. I have picked it up again at the behest of some of my new students and I am very much enjoying it.

I am currently finishing up the Tribute Interviews and I think that I am falling in love with Cinna, Katniss’s stylist for the Games. She notes that, unlike almost everyone else in the Capitol, he seems to be normal. I like his quiet demeanor, there’s almost a charm in it that I am fast coming to like. I like Katniss, too, with her “sullen and hostile” nature; who wouldn’t be in a case like this?

Collins is painting her world very well and I’m dying to know what happens next! 🙂

I am glad that my students are urging me to read this book, this series, since the last book in the trilogy comes out in three days. So…why am I still on here? My book is waiting for me!

Finished, 8/20/2010: DONE! I loved the story and all its pain and planning and difficulty. I cannot wait to pick up Catching Fire tomorrow and Mockingjay next week. 🙂

Contest Link:

The Captive Queen by Alison Weir

Having adored Alison’s portrayal of one of the most underwritten young women of the Tudor Era, Jane Grey, I was very excited when I saw Captive Queen on the shelves at Target.  I grabbed it up immediately and began reading as soon as we got back to the car.

You are launched into the thick of things in Eleanor’s 29th year and at the end of her marriage to King Louis VII. Eleanor is passionate – emotionally, physically, mentally – and, at first, you think she is making the worst mistake of her life when she spies Henry FitzEmpress, Duke of the Normans, and falls instantly in lust with him, regardless of the fact that she had a quick and torrid affair with his father several months before.

As the story progresses, we see Eleanor’s court of Poitiers as the birthplace of the idea of the troubadour and courtly love, much to Henry’s chagrin but it is most interest to see and hear defenses made for the tradition.

I am enjoying this book thus far and will hopefully finish it before school begins and starts cutting into my time again. ^_^

Finished, 8/18/2010: I truly enjoyed this book. There was so much turmoil and emotion and at times you cannot believe that things could be as hard and sad as they were for Eleanor at times but the triumph of her spirit is amazing.

Weir certainly triumphed with this book and I take my hat off to her once again.

A Favorite: The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott

My mother bought me this book around the age of 14 or 15. I had fallen in love with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women at age 12 and adored her prose, her beautiful stories. Mom had also begun buying me the collections of Alcott’s sensation stories and was very excited when she found this on a vacation with her friends. It’s beautiful, beautiful little book.  Written at sixteen, it is quite a romantic little tale, though the characters rather 1-dimensional and archetypal. Still it’s very prettily written.

I read this book whenever I need a sweet little story to raise my spirits, thus why I picked it up off my shelf last night. It was a very rough night for me so i picked up The Inheritance and lost myself in the rich descriptions of the first three or four chapters. It settled my spirit and calmed my mind and I was able to drift off to sleep with a measure of peace.

Alcott’s story revolves around a beautiful, dark-haired, liquid-eyed young woman named Edith Adelon. Orphaned, poor, and friendless, Edit has spent half of her life as companion and governess to young Amy Hamilton, daughter off highborn Lady Hamilton and loving sister to young Lord Arthur Hamilton. Edith is the very model of purity, kindness, love, and endurance. All she desires in life is love and friendship. Riches and rank are not in her scope of vision, unlike Lady Ida Clare, cousin to the young Hamiltons. That is all she desires and despises young Edith for the friends that she wins, thinking that they only like the young woman because she is beautiful. So when handsome, highborn, and wealthy Lord Percy comes to visit for the summer, Ida quickly and clearly sets her cap for him. Will she win the pure-hearted nobleman?

As I said, the characters are a bit 1-dimensional and archetypal but very gorgeously written. I enjoy this book and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Author Spotlight: Emma Donoghue

I own four of Emma Donoghue’s books: Slammerkin, Life Mask, Kissing A Witch, and The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits. Donoghue’s writing is rich and rife with emotions and portraits of people who we quickly become obsessed with. She is well-versed in her history and fashion and her descriptions are so rich as to draw the reader into the world she is working with. You do not read Donoghue’s work, you inhabit it.

Her imagination is also to be lauded. As a lesbian writer, Donogue manages to infuse the lifestyle into the very fabric of the story, weaving it almost seamlessly, complete with all the joys and consequences of the taboo. In her book Kissing The Witch: Old Stories in New Skins, Donoghue rewrites the best known fairytales of our time, connecting them one with the other and changing the ending slightly. Rapunzel does not find her Prince but weeps over the fallen Witch and asks, “Who were you before you bought me for a handful of radishes? And she said, Will I tell you my own story? It is the tale of a brother.” And those lines lead us into the next story, that of the Snow Queen. It is artful the way that she ties each story the one before it and the one after it. I adore fairytales and I adore this book.

Donoghue is an excellent writer with an imagination of color and characters who, even centuries old, happily and willingly become all her own.

Legacy by Cayla Kluver

A new publishing by a 16-hyear-old, the style of the book’s cover is what capture me when I saw in in Meijer, I must confess. I’ve read the first chapter and found Kluver’s writing to be interesting. I am not yet impressed but her descriptions are rather nice. ^_^ We shall see how it goes, no?

Update, 6/8/2010: I handed this book over to one of my students this school year and she greatly enjoyed it and it waiting most impatiently for the sequel. So, Ms. Kluver, wherever you are, I can tell you that you have at least one loyal fan awaiting more from you. 🙂

So many books, so little time

So, Dear Readers, I find myself conflicted. I have so very many books to read, all screaming for my attention and taunting me with their promises of amazing adventures. Unfortunately, I find myself unable to concentrate for too very long. The end of the school year fast approaches and there is yet much to be done with my students, not to mention taking care of a husband with a healing broken bone.

So things are bit busy. Therefore, I apologize for the long time between updates. Is there any way you can ever forgive me?

I shall do my best to be back with reviews and excitement soon, dears. I promise.

Spring is upon us!

Two more days, my dear ones. Two more days and then Spring will be here officially. YAY! Unfortunately, I have not had much time lately to read, because of life issues. I am hoping, with the end of school and spring/summer vacation, that I will be able to bury myself in books and read until my bibliophile heart’s content.

I am very, very much looking forward to that! ^_^

The Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale

I was amazed and delighted to find out last year that Shannon Hale had rewritten the Grimm’s fairy tale  The Goose Girl. I loved the story of Isi and her adventures in Bayern, far away from her kingdom of Kildenree. I loved the book and Hale’s re-imagining of the characters and events; she drew you in with Isi and Falada and all that they endured on the road to and in Bayern to return Isi to her rightful place.

The second book in the series is called Enna Burning, which follows a character introduced in The Goose Girl. The best part? This book has been a pain in the rear to find in the bookstore. I have been able to find the other two books in the series but never, ever this one. I mentioned this to a student whom I saw reading the book and the next day, she gave it to me, citing that she never re-reads her books. I was very, very excited, to say the least. YAY!!