Monthly Archives: October 2014

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Ebenezer Scrooge is mean, stingy, and cares about no one (possibly not even himself). He is visited by the ghost of his long-dead partner, Jacob Marley, who warns Scrooge that he will soon be visited by three ghosts. The first ghost, the Ghost of Christmas Past, shows him what was (and gives insight into why Scrooge is the way he is). The second ghost, the Ghost of Christmas Present, shows him what is (and gives insight into how other people view Scrooge). The third and final ghost, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be, show him what will, or may, be. Scrooge is truly a changed man from these visits ensuring that Christmases yet to be will be truly happy for Scrooge and many others.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is always a delight to read. The story is ultimately a happy one and reads very fast. It’s a nice reminder that how one is today is not how one must always be and we can change our future if we don’t like the path we are on. A Christmas Carol is great read-aloud for families at Christmas and any time.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 111
Pages Read in 2014: 21,064
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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know by Hamilton Wright Mabie

The 24 stories in Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know by Hamilton Wright Mabie include Beauty and the Beast, The Light Princess, The Ugly Duckling, The Princess on the Pea, The Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack the Giant Killer, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, Puss in Boots, Cinderella; Or, The Little Glass Slipper, Blue Beard, Tom Thumb, The Fair One With the Golden Locks, The Twelve Brothers, The Golden Goose, The White Cat, The Second Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor, The History of Ali Baba, and of the Forty Robbers Killed by One Slave, The Story of Aladdin; Or, The Wonderful Lamp, Hansel and Grethel, The Enchanted Stag, The Magic Mirror, and One Eye, Two Eyes, Three Eyes. Some of the tales are long, some are very short. All are far from the Disneyified versions we are used to. I read them out loud to my 6 and 8 year old sons as bedtime stories. Luckily, the boys don’t scare easily. As my 8 year old said when we finished the last story (Beauty and the Beast), “At least no one died in this one!”

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 109
Pages Read in 2014: 20,903
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Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift is divided into four parts, his “visits” to the tiny people of Lilliput, the giants of Brobdingnag, a floating city and other places, and a place where horses are the ruling class. The first half was much more fun to read than the second half. The insistence that it was all absolutely true was hilarious. Swift was an amazing satirist. I can totally see why his writings were, and still are, popular.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 108
Pages Read in 2014: 20,494
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Michael Vey 4: Hunt for Jade Dragon by Richard Paul Evans

Hunt for Jade Dragon is the fourth in the Michael Vey series by Richard Paul Evans. In this one, the Electroclan gets a well-deserved break at a ranch somewhere in the southwestern US or Mexico as they train and plan for their trip to Taiwan to save the little girl known as Jade Dragon. They pick up an unlikely ally on the way to Taiwan and then spend lots of time waiting, eating odd foods, and trying to sleep (I’m pretty sure in the first 72 hours in Taiwan Michael got less than 2 hours of sleep while Ostin slept 60 of those hours). Eventually Taylor convinces everyone to make an incredibly bad decision that leads to non-stop action for the last third of the book.

Hunt for Jade Dragon is the best Michael Vey book yet. The electric kids (good and bad) are getting better with their powers, but the Elgen is getting better at dealing with them, too. The scenes with Taylor and Jade Dragon were incredibly sweet. The end of the book is satisfying, but the cliffhanger did make me wish it was the fall of 2015 and the next book was out (or, even better, 2017 and all 7 books were out!). The only problem I had with this one is, like the other Michael Vey books, it was a bit stressful to read. I really care about these characters now and don’t want bad things to happen to them. I was constantly questioning who was right (including, possibly, the Elgen) and where people’s loyalties really were. By the halfway point I seriously could not put it down!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 107
Pages Read in 2014: 20,253
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Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is about a man who ends up shipwrecked on a deserted island where he stays for about 28 years. It was published almost 300 years ago so the fact it is still read today is pretty impressive. I, however, just plain didn’t like it. It is very long-winded and repeats itself over and over. I found Robinson to be rather annoying which is too bad since most of the book is just all in his head. Even after he leaves the island (in a rather anti-climactic way) there is another random and strange adventure. I’m pretty sure people in the 1700s much have been really bored since Robinson Crusoe was a popular book back then.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 105
Pages Read in 2014: 19,799
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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