Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Various reads on windy days

Central Ohio had big wind storms and lots of power outages, so we had two days off school, and I got lots of reading done!

My daughter has to read Orwell's Animal Farm (1954) for 9th grade English, and it wasn't bad. In fact, I think I've read it twice before, and it has weathered fairly well and is quite accessible. Students today would not know that it is a cautionary tale against communism, but will still find this tale of animals who take over a farm so that their work will be easier and they will not be oppressed by humans amusing. Class discussions will help them understand all of the human nature/society components.

Joyce Sweeney's Players (2000) was a great basketball tale. Transfer student wants to play on established high school team, no matter what the cost. He is an essentially evil boy, and causes dissention on the team by blackmailing and manipulating team members. Enough play by plays to keep the sports fanatics happy, and a little mystery to keep things fresh.

Temple's The Ramsay Scallop (1994) was an interesting historical novel. Elenor is leery of her betrothed, who has come back from the Crusades. Her priest knows this, and suggests that the two of them make a pilgrimage to Spain on behalf of the village, and not get married until their return. This had a good mix of adventure, ordinary life at the time, and intriguing characters. I will try to get some of Caroline Meyers fans of her princess novels to read this one. My die-hard Medieval fans will also like this.

Jan Terlouw's Winter in Wartime (1975) is not an appealing looking book, and has not gotten a lot of circulation, but it should. This is a nicely done tale (based on the author's own boyhood experiences) about a boy in occupied Holland during WWII. A friend hides an English pilot in the woods but is then jailed, so Michiel has to take care of him. An unflinching tale about the various horrors of war, this book was named the Best Dutch Juvenile book in 1973. If you have a copy, dust it off, because it's worth keeping.

Also got as far as the forward on The Silmarillion.

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