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Bone: Full Color One Volume Edition by Jeff Smith

I lost myself in the Bone 20th Anniversary color edition over Christmas. I’d discovered the series a few years back, after the original one volume black and white edition was published.

The last time I encountered Fone Bone and his friends was in 2006, when the original One Volume edition debuted. Previously, each of the series’ issues had been collected into (now somewhat hard-to-find) graphic novels. The One Volume, like many current editions of The Lord of the Rings, emphasized that Bone was one long story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end as the author intended. Even though Jeff Smith was publishing Bone for a good portion of my childhood, I hadn’t discovered it until I was well into adulthood. Still, I feel lucky that I was able to read the entire epic in one handy volume, without having to wait until the next issue to see what happened.

The story tells the epic adventure of three cousins who stumble upon a plot to unleash an ancient evil that will trap the world in a nightmare. There are many reviews of the series on the Internet, so this review will focus on the color one volume itself. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (Tiffany Aching Quartet)

The Wee Free Men is the first in Terry Pratchett’s young adult series following Tiffany Aching, a young witch living in the countryside of the Discworld.

Although the Tiffany Aching books have already been out for years, I’d never bothered to read them until last May, spurred mostly by boredom during a car trip. This is why I love having a Kindle–I don’t need to pop into a bookstore, shift through the stacks, pay at the register, go home, and finally begin reading. With the Kindle, I search, I sample, I purchase, and I read. Simple. I was impressed by the Kindle editions of this series–virtually error-free. I loved being able to search the books while reading the series, too, as old friends reappeared throughout the series. I’ll probably end up tracking down the hardcover editions–the one thing I do regret is not reading these when they first came out.

The Wee Free Men sets up the rest of the Tiffany Aching books. As I devoured them, it was clear that Pratchett intended for Tiffany to grow up and come to terms with her power (while facing down the forces of evil, of course). I didn’t expect to like the Nac Mac Feegle (who bungle an attempt at kidnapping a sheep and, eventually Tiffany), but they grew on me with their penchant for violence and their love of liquor. In this book, Tiffany takes on the Queen of the Fairies in order to rescue her little brother (whom she had seen as something of a nuisance).

Writing about a child prodigy can be a dangerous thing. Flavia de Luce is a good example of this. She’s interesting enough, but not at all likeable, and her preciousness drives her into the unreadable category. Like Flavia, Tiffany is a precocious child prodigy. What keeps the reader with her, however, is empathy. As the books progress and Tiffany grows up, she comes to intimately understand empathy and why it’s important in a witch: it keeps her tethered to her own sanity. She also has an unflinching sense of justice, which keeps her from becoming too irritating.

If you’re at all familiar with Pratchett, or even if you aren’t, you should definitely track this gem down: it’s funny, touching, and utterly engrossing.

 
 

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Quote

Let us examine the case of rings. Rings have long been considered peculiarly suitable for this sort of magic by virtue of their small size. A man may keep a ring continually upon his finger for years, without exciting the smallest comment – which would not be the case if he shewed the same attachment to a book or a pebble – and yet there is scarcely a magician in history who, having once committed some of his skill and power to a magic ring, did not somehow lose that ring and was put to a world of trouble to get it back again.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (Susanna Clarke)

Concerning Magic Rings

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Author: Susanna Clarke, Fantasy

 

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Too Many Books

I’m reading so many things right now, they are all starting to blur together in a mishmosh of print and pixels. Thanks to Kindle library lending, I now have too many books in my queue. To date, I’m perusing:

  1. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien – my third read. I’m on the second book of The Two Towers and feeling a little anxious. This book always depresses me, mostly because of Gollum. He comes so close to redeeming himself, and ultimately fails.
  2. Scat by Carl Hiassen. I read Flush, which was a fun, caperesque romp in the Florida Keys, but I’m finding Scat hard to immerse myself into. I may have to shelve this one for a while.
  3. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. Another one I’m having a hard time immersing myself in. Perhaps my attention span is slipping.
  4. A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor. For my book club. We’re reading a few stories at a time. I don’t remember these being so depressing, but I’m soldiering on (as my book club vows never to allow me to choose the books again).
  5. A World on Fire by Amanda Foreman. I’ve always been fascinated by the American Civil War, and this book from a Brit’s perspective is compelling. It’s long and will probably take me a good while to get through.
  6. Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons. I really have to pick this one up again, but it’s not as snappy a read as Cold Comfort Farm.
  7. The Once and Future King by TH White. I really wish they would release the Kindle edition in the US, because the tiny print in my crumbling mass market paperback edition is a real annoyance.

I am also eyeballing Howl’s Moving Castle, but since I’ve read that umpteen times before, I really need to finish some of the other books on my list before I read it again.

Originally posted at my Tumblr on Oct. 16, 2011.

 

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Remembering Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones died on March 26, 2011. She was only 76. Since then I’ve been mentally composing and uncomposing various tributes to her, one of my favorite novelists. What could I write that would be equal to the person who inspired me to pursue writing?

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Wee-Views: The Ring of Solomon and The Merlin Conspiracy

The to-read pile continues to grow (and I have yet to pick up this book club’s selection, A Discovery of Witches, probably because some of the reviews make me feel slightly frightened) and I have an ever growing pile of books that need to be reviewed. So I make some headway and so I feel at least slightly accomplished, I’m writing Wee-Views of some of these books. I’m going to skip all the plot summaries (you can read those on Amazon.com or any other online book site) and cut right to my opinions. I’ll also rate these on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being exceptionally good). Read the rest of this entry »

 

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The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

My book club read Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s memoir The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating for its February discussion. I suggested the book after downloading and reading the Kindle preview. The odd title snared my interest (and garnered odd looks and quizzical emails from my book club), but the book itself is surprisingly engaging. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2011 in Author: Elisabeth Tova Bailey, Memoir, Science

 

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