Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Number Two

"So, do we go in or do we just stand here reenacting The Little Match Girl?" -Rory

The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen

I don't know if you can really call this one a "book," but it is a work of literature, so for easiness' sake I'm putting all works of literature into the same category. Hans Christian Andersen was Danish, and so wrote in his native language. There are many different translations of his works, but the book Twelve Tales I picked up at the library is a collection of several children's stories written by H.C. Andersen which were selected, translated, and illustrated by Erik Blegvad. If this is the book you look up note that the author is listed as Andersen/Blegvad.

This is an incredibly short story... happy reading!

Your Thoughts!

Hey everyone; I'm not sure how many people are actually reading or following along on the blog yet, but I'd like to encourage your participation! If you do decide to read the books with me, I'd love your input! Use the comment space to post what you thought of each book; I'm curious to read about your experiences!

Please however, try to avoid arguments and basically all things negative directed at other people. It's fine to say why you may not like a book, but if you disagree with what someone else shares, don't attack them for it. We can all be mature adults here and enjoy this project together. Thanks!

*No - we have not had any such comments yet. =)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Book 1 Review - Huckleberry Finn

It took a little longer than I thought (mostly due to procrastination and time and attention devoted to my nieces and nephew), but I finally finished The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn!

On my flight from California to Colorado last week I sat by an older-ish gentleman who was on his way to a conference somewhere in the mid-west. During part of the flight I pulled the novel out of my bag and opened to where I had last left off. Noticing how worn and yellow the pages were, this gentleman asked how old the book was. He didn't ask WHAT the book was (he may have already seen the cover), but rather, how OLD it was. Different. I rattled off that I had no idea - it was from the library, so it probably looked older than it was because of careless handling (not by librarians, of course). He then explained he had shelves full of books in his house, and said that he owned this one too (okay, show off - I'm young, and have plenty of time to buy books). So, sensing that he was just maybe suggesting that those who owned books were somehow better than others I decided to just tell him how it is - I'm unemployed and can't afford books, and the library gives me plenty of opportunity to read for free. Discussion over.

I enjoyed the stories of Huck and the trouble he caused while also remembering scenes from the movie The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993) that I haven't seen in who knows how long. You know - the one where pre-Frodo Elijah Wood plays the role of Huck. I felt as if the focus of the book was on the adventures and the relationship between Huck and Jim; honestly I don't think that the book was meant to promote racism, as some critics have claimed.

I did however feel like the flow and feeling of the book changed in its final chapters after Tom Sawyer shows up again (he's also in the beginning of the book). I found I wasn't enjoying it as much and was really rather annoyed with Tom Sawyer - he already has his own book, why does he have to show up now at what is supposed to be (I think) the climax of the story? Huck is the main character; I don't think he should suddenly share this role with another at the very end.

I did a little research online today and found an article entitled "Mark Twain vs. Tom Sawyer" (found here). In the article are a few quotes from the author of Mark Twain: A Life, Ron Powers, as well as Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway stated: "If you must read it you must stop where...Jim is stolen from the boys [and imprisoned by a slave catcher]. That is the real end. The rest is just cheating," and Powers said "
Huckleberry Finn endures as a consensus masterpiece despite these final chapters." I kind of feel like I agree. Nonetheless, overall I thought it was a fun book to read.

And by the way - the gentleman on the plane wasn't really disagreeable - we spent the last 45 minutes quietly racing to see who could finish their sudoku puzzle in the airline's magazine first!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Announcing Book Number ONE!

"For those of you who have not finished the final chapters of Huckleberry Finn you may use this time to do so. For those of you who have you can start on your essay now. Whichever task you choose, do it silently." -Rory's teacher

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain (whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

This is the first book ever mentioned in the pilot episode of Gilmore Girls - in the only scene where we see Rory sitting in a Stars Hollow High classroom. I felt it was only fitting to read this book first; I can't promise the rest of the books will be in the order they appear in the show. I have read this book before in my early high school days and you probably have too, but it's been so long since I've read it I sure don't remember much.

In the copy I have (which boasts "complete and unabridged text") there are 506 pages. Sound daunting? It shouldn't. It actually looks like a breeze: the book came from the children's fiction section of my library, so the print is quite large. Rough guess - I'll probably read it within a week. Enjoy!

Today's The Day!

Yes! That's right folks... my library books are due today (I finished the 3rd one last night!), and I'm headed out to find my first Gilmore books! I have FOUR options from the first episode of season one, and according to the library catalog online all should be available at my library. I've packed up my mail that has proof of my new address, as well as my passport and driver's licence to prove I'm me, so hopefully the library will be kind today and let me get my own library card (I checked out my last books with my brother's card - and he's at work today...)!

I'll let you know later today what book I choose to be the lucky number one! Wish me luck!