Time for the second installment of holiday reading! This is what else I read over the Christmas/New Year break. Yes, I'm totally cheating with this challenge and reading as many of my short books as possible >:)
GTTBRPU200 #17: The Call Of The Wild, by Jack London
I must say, my first impression after reading this book is that it's nowhere near as cutsie as I expected. Yay :) For those of you who, like me, have managed to remain ignorant of the plotline of this classic tale, it follows the (mis)adventures of Buck, a beautiful hulk of a furry dog, stolen from his owner and sold into life as a sled dog in the harsh wilderness of Alaska. Can I just say - yay dogs that act like dogs! London gives them all unique and realistic personalities, and it's obvious that he understands how dog society works - and he respects the animals enough to give it as it is, without glossing over some of the more vicious aspects. If you haven't read it, this is definitely a classic I'd put at the top of the classics-to-read list.
GTTBRPU200 #18: Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard
This is one of the few books I bought myself over Christmas that I'll be teaching come term-time, so I have to admit, I was expecting a dry, boring read. Huzzah! I was wrong! This, ladies and gentlemen, is what theatre is supposed to be like. It's clever, entertaining, and deals with huge and important themes in a way that's sensitive, funny, and startling all at once.
Arcadia follows two plot lines, one set ~100 yrs ago (too lazy to check precisely O:)) and one set in the present, both in the same old house - the same room, in fact. The people in the present are academics trying to piece together events of the past, and the juxtaposition of the 'truth' - what really happened - and people's interpretations thereof in the future is beautiful.
Dealing with themes like passion versus logic, science versus religion, belief versus proof, and the sheer magnitude of genius, this is simply a gorgeous play. READ IT! Especially if you like science :o) And huzzah for a play I'm actually looking forward to teaching :D
GTTBRPU200 #19: Robin Hood, no author listed
If we put aside the fact that it is glaringly obvious this is an old book - characters being too stupid to live, for example, and letting their pride set them up to ridiculous lengths *cough*Robin*cough* - if we ignore that, this was a fun read. Yay outlaws in the forest! Yay bows and arrows! Yay King on his gorgeous black steed coming to save the day!
*grin* It's your quintessential medieval fantasy. If you like that, you'll like this. If you don't, and can't appreciate this story for it's historical value, probably give it a miss ;) Lucky for me, I do like classic fantasy (in small doses), so I quite enjoyed it. Yay!
GTTBRPU200 #20: Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie
Eh. So, I confess, I saw the Disney version once when I was in my early teens and can't remember a thing of it, so clearly the movie didn't impress me much. Sadly, the book was much the same. Stories that glorify brattiness, selfishness and/or idiocy in any form just make me impatient.
Yes, it has some lovely underlying symbolise re the dynamic between youth and age, innocence and wisdom, etc etc, but really, Peter annoyed me too much for that to be any compensation. But, at least I can say I've read it now :)
GTTBRPU200 #21: The Snow Pony, by Alison Lester
This is one of those lovely, poignant stories that linger with you for a long time afterwards. I had to read it over a period of days, even though it was physically a short book, just so that I could savour it and let it all sink in. And after I finished, I literally couldn't pick up another book that night; my mind was too full of all I'd read. Beautiful.
Set in the highlands of Australia, The Snow Pony tells the story of Dusty and the beautiful mountain brumby that only she can ride. Despite the potential in that concept for romantic sap (which Dusty herself is disparaging of), the story is real and gritty, showing the pressures of the farming life in drought-ridden Australia and the way that it can drive families apart - or force them together.
This is a beautiful, beautiful book, full of real, broken characters, moments of stunning imagery, and written in a poignant, lingering style that haunted me for days afterwards. I love this book :)
So, watch me be slack and not load covers today. But you get that.
Happy weekend, everyone!!