Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pathways to Perfection

By Thomas S. Monson

I’ve been reading this one for months. It was my Sunday reading, so I was doing one chapter once a week about. It was excellent. It’s a bunch of compiled talks that President Monson has given throughout his apostolic career. This book was published quite a few years ago, so this was before he became the prophet. It’s been fun because I recognized a lot of the stories from talks he has given recently. They are just tweaked a little. Then there are some stories in this book I’d never heard before and greatly enjoyed and were very inspiring. President Monson’s book is filled to the brim with stories, poems, and motivational talks. I greatly enjoyed it.


By Brian Jacques

It is the Summer of the Late Rose, and the mice of Mossflower Wood are gathered at the ancient stone abbey of Redwall, celebrating a year of peace and abundance. But a shadow has fallen across the abbey, for it is rumored that Cluny is coming-Cluny, the terrible one-eyed rat, whose vow is to conquer Redwall!
The woodland creatures rush to a desperate defense. But what can peaceloving mice do against Cluny and his army? If only they had the sword of Martin the Warrior. But its hiding place is long forgotten, even by the wise old mouse Methuselah. It is his young apprentice Matthias who sets out to find the legendary sword and becomes a most unlikely hero…

I remember my 6th grade teacher reading Brian Jacques’ books to us out loud, and I recall everyone loving them, except me, who always had the attention span of a flea when it came to listening. So, I decided to revisit Redwall, the beginning of the animal stories of Brian Jacques. I love Mathias; a little abbey mouse who wants to be a warrior and a monk at the same time. This book has that classic hero-journey in it that so many people adore and is an age old tool to write a story. The only difference is you don’t have humans. It’s mice, ferrets, foxes, rats, badgers, adders, and chipmunks. It’s loads of fun to read and has a great feel to it. I’d recommend it to anybody any age.


By Louis Sachar

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-goo-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys vuild character by spending all day, every day, digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.
It doesn't take long for Stanley to realize there's more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment-and redemption.

I read Holes in 7th grade and loved it. I just recently re-read it and was left a little wanting. I guess the magic was reserved for the first-time read. This book is still excellent and I think middle grade readers will love it. Stanley Yelnats is a kid who has always had bad luck. His family always blames their problems on their dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. But things start to change when Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake, to dig holes to ‘build character’. A mystery ensues and a tragic tale unfolds about a bandit who lived a hundred years ago.

Seventh Son

By Orson Scott Card

This first volume of the Tales of Alvin Maker introduces young Alvin Miller Jr., the seventh son of a seventh son, who lives on the frontier of an alternate early 19th century America, where folk magic such as faith healing and second sight really works. While Alvin embarks on his mythic struggle against the Unmaker of all things, he is watched over by a flesh and blood guardian angel; he is pursued by the rigid, zealous Reverend Thrower; and he is guided by the wandering Taleswapper, William Blake.

So I was recommended this book when I was 15, and only now am getting to it 7 years later. Better late than never eh? What makes this book interesting is that I heard it was a science fiction loosely based on the life of Joseph Smith. There are some pretty obvious parallels in the book, but other things are completely independent. This book is about magic, good and bad. It’s about a boy who is the seventh son of a seventh son, and as such, has inherited a special magic and responsibility. This is the first book in seven I believe from Orson Scott Card about Alvin Miller. This book comprises Alvin’s birth to when he is about 9 years old. It was lots of fun and quite different. I’m not a fan of science fiction, but I can read this series.

Party Of One

By Anneli Rufus

In this compendium of everyone who was anyone who ever spent a moment alone, readers bump fleetingly into Kurt Cobain, French Resistance fighters, the Lone Ranger ("Tonto notwithstanding"), Michelangelo, Alexander Pope, John Lennon, cowboys, Saint Anthony and other solo acts. Rufus, the books editor of East Bay Express, views Degas's plain-faced dancers as "pretty ballerinas" whom the artist leaves every time he exits his studio, and Warhol's biography as "tellingly titled Loner at the Ball." She chases her motif, not so much a manifesto as a cri de coeur, through an assortment of perspectives: religion, advertising, clothes, crime, art, eccentricity, environment, literature, religion and popular culture.

This book was entitled ‘the loners manifesto’. So, of course it caught my eye. It’s funny, what I did read of this book showed me that I’m not as much of a loner as I once thought. The lady who wrote this book was a hermit! Also, I didn’t read all the chapters, as there were a few that were pretty risqué. It was interesting though. I don’t recommend it though. It was just a curious book I picked up at the library.

Choke: Book 2 in the Pillage trilogy

By Obert Skye

Because of the popular demand for a second book, Obert Skye delivers the sequel to “Pillage” with Choke. Beck is trying his best to get used to life, and not to mention, trying to spend quality time with his father, who seems to be incredibly absent for a guy who just had problems ever leaving his home. Dragons seem to be a curse for the Pillage family, and Beck just loves making it harder. But without his Dad to guide him, what is he supposed to do? Well, hatching another Dragon Egg is probably not the smartest decision…

So the second book wasn't at all what I expected. But it was entertaining to read. I enjoy Beck's sense of humor. It was surprising and quite fun, it was a page turner and I'm excited for the third book whenever it comes out. Obert is calling the Pillage series his Pilogy. :) Great fun. Read it you enjoyed Pillage!


By Obert Skye

When fifteen-year-old Beck Phillips travels by train to the secluded village of Kingsplot to live with his wealthy but estranged uncle, Beck discovers some dark family secrets. A buried basement, a forbidden wall, an old book of family history with odd references to... dragons? Beck's life is about to be changed forever in this suspenseful tale about the destructive nature of greed and the courage to make things right.

Pillage has to be one of the most imaginative books about Dragons I’ve read in a really long time. It was tons of fun to read Beck’s misadventures with Dragons and girls and school, not to mention his crazy uncle. This is a great read for kids that like dragons and a good story. When Beck’s mother dies suddenly he is sent to live with his only relative, his mother’s brother, who everyone says is crazy and never leaves his tower in his mansion. Beck is cool with that. He’s just glad he has somewhere to go. When he gets to his uncle’s house, there are a few strange rules. One is he can’t open any doors that are locked. Two: don’t go in the backyard. Of course, Beck almost immediately sets out to break the rules. Chaos follows as he finds he has an ancient gift that has to do with stones…and dragons.

Maniac Magee

By Jerry Spinelli

Maniac Magee is a folk story about a boy, a very excitable boy. One that can outrun dogs, hit a home run off the best pitcher in the neighborhood, tie a knot no one can undo. "Kid's gotta be a maniac," is what the folks in Two Mills say. It's also the story of how this boy, Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee, confronts racism in a small town, tries to find a home where there is none and attempts to soothe tensions between rival factions on the tough side of town.

This was one of those books my teachers read out loud to us in elementary school. But seen as how I’ve never had very good listening skills, I decided to read it again recently seen as how it is a Newberry medal winner. I was sorta surprised when I read it because I was expecting to like it more. I mean, it’s still good, but I guess I was expecting fantastic. It’s a great book that shows an outside character that comes into a racially segregated neighborhood and changes things upside down simply because he doesn’t get why it’s a big deal. I liked the simplicity of Maniac Magee. It makes it even more powerful when you understand the deeper meaning of the book. Great read, but not a book I’d read twice. You don’t need to.

The Wish

By Gail Carson Levine

Ever since her two best friends moved away, eighth grader Wilma Stultz has felt invisible at her middle school, Claverford. So when an extraordinary old lady offers her a wish, Wilma asks to be the most popular kid at school. Suddenly, she has more friends than she can keep track of, forty dates to the Grad Night dance, and a secret admirer writing her love poetry. But then Wilma discovers there's a loophole in her wish...and realizes that her popularity might not last forever.

I really like Gail Carson Levine, but this is not her best book. It’s about a girl in middle school, but I think it’s not very applicable. It lacked interest and became a little flat for me. It’s all about ‘be careful what you wish for’. The story revolves around a teenage girl who is just different enough to not have many friends and wishes she was popular. She finds that she doesn’t ever know if people really like her or just the spell that made her popular. And when she realizes that the spell will wear off on graduation, she’s afraid she’ll lose everything she thought she cared about. This is a story about finding out what matters. It’s cute, but like I said, not my favorite.