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141. The River
$13.96 $13.36 list($19.95)
142. Sandman: The Doll's House (Book
$6.29 $2.93 list($6.99)
143. Something Wicked This Way Comes
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144. The Deptford Trilogy: Fifth Business/the
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145. Whale Talk (Laurel Leaf Books)
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146. The Book of Three (Chronicles
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147. The Mediator #6: Twilight (Mediator)
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148. A Tale of Two Cities
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149. Shabanu : Daughter of the Wind
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150. A Wind in the Door
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151. A Maze Me : Poems for Girls
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152. What My Mother Doesn't Know
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153. The High King (Chronicles of Prydain
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154. Brian's Winter
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155. Magic Street
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156. If You Come Softly
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157. The Mediator #2: Ninth Key (Mediator)
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158. Tears Of A Tiger
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159. Foundation and Earth
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160. Oliver Twist

141. The River
by GARY PAULSEN
list price: $5.50
our price: $4.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440407532
Catlog: Book (1993-02-01)
Publisher: Yearling
Sales Rank: 2062
Average Customer Review: 3.98 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"We want you to do it again."

These words, spoken to Brian Robeson, will change his life. Two years earlier, Brian was stranded alone in the wilderness for fifty-four days with nothing but a small hatchet. Yet he survived. Now the government wants him to do it again -- to go back into the wilderness so that astronauts and the military can learn the survival techniques that kept Brian alive.

This time he won't be alone: Derek Holtzer, a government psychologist, will accompany him to observe and take notes. But during a freak storm, Derek is hit by lightning and falls into a coma. Their radio transmitter is dead. Brian is afraid that Derek will die of dehydration unless he can get him to a doctor. His only hope is to build a raft and try to transport Derek a hundred miles down the river to a trading post -- if the map he has is accurate.
... Read more

Reviews (139)

4-0 out of 5 stars Gary Paulsen's The River
Gary Paulsen The River, May 28, 2002
This book is the sequel to The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Two years ago, Brian Robeson was stranded alone in the wild when his plane crashed. He survived for about fifty days with only a small hatchet. In this book, the government wants Brian to show them what he did to survive in the wild. The government wants to use those skills and teach the military and other government branches the same survival skills that he used. At first, he seems relecuctant to go but later decides to show the government what he did because he knows that his skills could save lives. This time, Derek Holtzer, a psychologist, will accompany him to record all his daily activities. They go a few days with no trouble at all until a storm hits. Derek is hit by a lightning bolt that puts him in a coma and knocks out the radio. Brian must decide if he will stay and wait for help or build a raft and try to ride the river for over a hundred miles to a trading post. They have a map but that may be inaccurate. I thought this book was very good. The only things I didn1t like about it were that the first 25 pages were pretty slow and this book is only a hundred and thirty pages long making it a pretty short read. This book is filled with action making you not want to put the book down once you pick it up. Gary Paulsen does an excellent job in describing what it takes to survive out in the wilderness. I recommend that you read The Hatchet first to get a feel for Brian's personality. I gave this book four and a half stars out of five because I think Gary Paulsen could have made this book longer.

5-0 out of 5 stars The River
The River

I really like this book. This book was about a man that got stranded in the wilderness for fifty-four days with nothing but a hatchet, yet threw all he still survived it. Now the Government wants him to do it again. They want him to go back to the wilderness so that astronauts and the military can learn the survival techniques that kept Brian alive. This time he won't be alone though. A government psychologist will accompany him to observe and take notes. Then a freak storm came up. The Government guy gets hit by lightning and falls into a coma. Their radio is dead, Brian is afraid he will die of dehydration unless he can get him to a doctor. His only hope is to build a raft and try to transport him a hundred miles down the river to a trading post. And that is what he did.

5-0 out of 5 stars The River
The River is a book about an adult that had just gotten back from the fifty-four day stay from the plane crash. He uses the hatchet in the book The Hatchet for protection and food. In this book, he puts the hatchet in a glass case and leaves it there when he goes back to do the trip all over again. After about a month of planning with Derek, Derek came over one day to ask if Brian wanted to do it again, but only for survival for others. When they arrive at the Necktie Lake, Brian said to leave the supplies in the plane. So they build shelter and get food after being eaten by mosquitoes and a really bad storm. Then one night, another storm comes back, only worse. Derek, being not so smart at the time, stands up and gets struck by lightning blowing up the emergency radio they had for emergencies only. So, Brian has to build a raft and get Derek on and go one hundred miles to get Derek out of unconsciousness. Now that I have given you bit and pieces of this book, you should have fun reading it. Enjoy!

3-0 out of 5 stars The River
The river is about a boy named Brian Robeson. He is 15 years old. He survived in the wilderness for 54. All he had was a Hatchet. Psychologist, Derek Holtzer asks him to stay in the wilderness again except he would go with him. They fly out in a plane to Necktie Lake. When they're there Derek gets struck by lighting and is in coma. Brian has to bring Derek back to the trading post. What will happen next? Read the book to find out!

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW amazing adventerouse book!!!
I thought that The River was a very good book. It is adventurouse, exciting, and you never know whats going to happen next. Right when you think yoy know the book, it turns into a whole different direction and something amazing happens! My favorite part was when Brian decides that they weren't going to have supplies. Only because it shows bravery and because you know something exciting will happen and the will need the supplies. plus, later in the book, an exciting twist comes and you would never expect it! Well, I wouldn't want to spoil it so the only way you would kow what happnes next, would be to read the book. I recomind this book to anyone who is in for an adventure. ... Read more


142. Sandman: The Doll's House (Book 2)
by Neil Gaiman, Malcolm Jones III, Mike Dringenberg, Michael Zulli, Clive Barker
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0930289595
Catlog: Book (1991-09-01)
Publisher: DC Comics
Sales Rank: 4134
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The immense popularity of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series is due in largepart to the development of his characters. In The Doll's House, the second book of the Sandman magnum opus, Gaiman continues to build the foundation for the larger story, introducing us to more of the Dream King's family of the Endless.

The Sandman returns to his kingdom of the Dreaming after nearly a century of imprisonment, finding several things out of place; most importantly, an anomaly called a dream vortex has manifested itself in the form of a young girl who unknowingly threatens to rip apart the Dreaming. And there's the smaller matter of a few nightmares having escaped. Among them is Gaiman's creepiest creation: the Corinthian, a serial killer with a miniature set of teeth in each eye socket. Because later volumes concentrate so much on human relationships with Gaiman's signature fair for fantasy and mythology, it is sometimes easy to forget that the Sandman series started out as a horror comic. This book grabs you and doesn't let you forget that so easily. --Jim Pascoe ... Read more

Reviews (27)

4-0 out of 5 stars The vortex, immortality and "cereal"
In the second Sandman collection, the reader starts to realize that Gaiman has some long range plans for this series. The tale of Rose Walker, the dream vortex who must be killed to save The Dreaming, is a complex one. The Doll House introduces the reader to many of the characters who would have a major effect on Gaiman's plans for the series. Particularly excellent is the tale of Hob Gadling, who becomes Dream's friend when he becomes the man "Death will not touch." Their meetings each century are little history lessons so well executed they make you wish for more. The "Cereal" convention, with special guest lecturer the Corinthian, is a scary look at the fascination with serial killers and the final twist involving Desire gives the reader some insight into the relationship of Dream with his siblings. This book really shows what a truly original creation The Sandman is.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best arc of the decade's best series
THE DOLL'S HOUSE is the arc that Gaiman himself says is where he realised what he wanted to do with the characters and where he wanted to go with the SANDMAN story. This edition begins with two stories that both stand apart from the rest of the series, but that also both have significant influence on THE DOLL'S HOUSE storyline and beyond. The first, "The Sound of Her Wings" introduces Dream's big sister in a profound and moving tale about the value of spending a day with Death as she goes about her business sending people to their next life. The next tale introduces Nada, Dream's doomed mortal love, who will play a significant part in a later arc, SEASONS OF MISTS. Then, THE DOLL'S HOUSE begins, a tale involving escaped dreams and nightmares, a human vortex and her granmother who had spent the bulk of her life asleep (see the previous PRELUDES AND NOCTURNS), and Dream's quest to prevent the dissolution of his kingdom. What makes Gaiman's writing so unique is that not only does he reject the comic book obligatory of big fist-fights to SAVE THE WORLD (and all that), but that Dream is not even the central character in these stories. Instead, Rose Walker is. It is she, not Dream, who is threatened and who goes on the emotional roller-coaster and it is to find out what happens to her that the reader keeps reading. In fact, Dream - the "hero" of this title - at what point nearly kills her to save his kingdom! Magnificent writing, magical artistry, this story is an absolute must. Buy it. Buy several. It makes a great gift.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Sandman develops
It's never too late for a good story, and the Sandman saga is very good. This collection moves that story forward, mostly in the person of Rose.

This book compiles a sequence of regular-sized comic books. The first story here stands by itself - a tribal tale of a place that could, some day, descend from our own time.

The rest of the book takes a very ordinary young woman and puts her in an extraordinary world. Taken part by part, it sounds fragmentary and disorganized: a nursing home, a bizarre convention, befriending a place, and facing mortal threat in an immortal world. The pieces all fit, though. They sustain a pace and a visual variety that makes this book hard to put down.

Best, however, is the glimpse of intrigue in the Sandmnan's world. We see a little of his own realm, and the plotting of his own minions. We also see his larger world, his sisters, and their covert push against the walls of his domain. This is just the second of a dozen or so collections - there is enough material here to drive that many volumes or more.

If you're new to comics, or just new to the Sandman, give this a try. If you already know the Sandman, you're in for one of the best books in the series.

5-0 out of 5 stars How wrong you are...
I am having a hard time understanding the motives of people who claim that The Doll's House is too "rough around the edges", and "not as brilliant as later volumes". These people are not only wrong--they are completely misguided.

You want to know the truth? The Doll's house is probably the best volume of Sandman that there is.

I have read it four times. Yet there are moments in The Doll's House, where I find myself literally sweating from tension as my eyes follow the words on each page. When Dream finally catches up to the Corinthian, I still applaud. Whenever Barbie and Ken share the page, I still laugh, and then shudder as I think of their future. When I see the horrible things happening to Rose Walker's brother, I still have to look away, and when The two siblings are finally reunited, I still shed a tear. It's that good.

All of you people calling it "unfocused", and "flawed" have completely missed the boat, and need to do some serious swimming to catch up to the rest of us.

Doll's House introduces us to so many memorable characters, so many fascinating insights of humanity, and so much memorable dialogue, that it cannot be labeled as anything less than the pinnacle of the series. Whether it shares this spot with the likes of "Brief Lives" and "Season of Mists" can be debated, but no other episode of the Sandman series can capture every human emotion and channel it so perfectly.

Please do not start with this. Wade through Preludes and Nocturnes first, and consider this one your dessert.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very confused
I don't understand why people consistantly refer to this title as the weakest entry in the Sandman series. I have read all ten volumes, and have to say that it is in fact one of the best. Of course, finding a bad Sandman book is like finding a bad Beatles album. It's really not about which one is the "worst", but which one is the least memorable; the one you are least likely to refer to over and over again and re-read just for the hell of it. And Preludes and Nocturnes is certainly one of the more memorable episodes.

Gaiman was new to his series, and he did not have very much direction. Preludes and Nocturnes leans towards classic horror, whereas other volumes, such as The Wake, and A Game of You, are closer to fantasy. So Preludes and Nocturnes is different then all the others. So what? There are so many classic moments that are contained within its pages, moments that stick in your mind and don't leave. Moments such as Dream's escape from his prison and the logic that followed, the introduction or Cain and Abel, John Constantine and his quest to find the pouch of sand, Dream's journey to Hell and his battle with Choronzon over the helm, the ENTIRE FRIGGIN CHAPTER OF 24 HOURS, and the final introduction of Death at the end--the sweet, good natured goth girl who just happens to be the same person we often see personified as a dark cloaked figure with a scythe. The list goes on and on and on.

Of course the same could be said for any of the other volumes, but that is exactly my point. Preludes and Nocturnes is not better then Brief Lives, nor is it worse. It exists to advance the story to its eventual conclusion, and it does a great job. There are some flaws--but everyone will find something they don't like in each of the volumes. Don't listen to those people who say "if you read this one first, you'll get the wrong impression of Sandman". Bull. If you don't like this volume, then Sandman is not for you, end of subject.

The worst thing you can do is skip this volume in favor of another, later chapter, such as Season of Mists. Start at the beginning--Gaiman did, and his work turned out just fine in the end. ... Read more


143. Something Wicked This Way Comes
by Ray Bradbury
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380729407
Catlog: Book (1998-03-01)
Publisher: Eos
Sales Rank: 7533
Average Customer Review: 4.28 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.

Few American novels written this century have endured in the heart and memory as has Ray Bradbury's unparalleled literary classic SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin.The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.

Few American novels written this century have endured in the heart and memory as has Ray Bradbury's unparalleled literary classic SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin. ... Read more

Reviews (149)

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic.
I first read this book ten years ago when I was 13. At the time, I didn't understand the metaphors and symbolism that Bradbury's books are known for. I enjoyed it at the time, but it still wasn't one of my favorites. But now as I reread the book, I realize how great of a book this is. As I mentioned, like other of his books like Fahrenheit 451, this book uses a lot of metaphors.

Anyways, I've been re-reading many of his books recently, and this is one of my favorites. I couldn't put it down and I read it less than a day. It's not really extremely scary, but the atmosphere and dialogue is masterful and tends to make the book have a mysterious and somewhat creepy feeling. It doesn't resort to violence and death to create this atmosphere as too many of today's "horror" novels do.

It is essentially the tale of two boys, Jim and Will, who discover that the carnival that has come to town is evil. It is run by Mr. Dark, and a bunch of freaks that are pretty much actually souls that he captured. The two boys and Will's father much get rid of the carnival before it "destroys" more people.

Overall, this book is excellent. While it isn't extremely scary, it is still a great piece of literature with a creepy atmosphere. It is as much a book about growing up as it is about terror and horror. I would recommend it to almost anyone who will understand the Bradbury metaphors. Another Bradbury classic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ray Bradbury's the Coolest
Perhaps I am a bit biased, but I just can't say anything bad about Ray Bradbury. I have read the reviews of "Something Wicked This Way Comes" both positive and negative. I agree with both sides to an extent. "Something Wicked this Way Comes" IS a dated novel. And while dialogue at times seems straight from "Leave It To Beaver" (Gee whiz!) and the ending can be deemed corny, I feel that this book and Ray Bradbury have stood and will continue to stand the test of time.

Bradbury's style of writing may not be appreciated by everyone, but to say that his work is a waste of time seems way to extreme to me. I love Bradbury's works FOR the metaphors, FOR his long descriptions. Bradbury does not allow his readers to be innocent bystanders, instead he places them right there standing next to Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway, witnessing fisthand the evil that is Dark and Cooger's traveling carnival. It is a perfect combination of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. For this, Ray Bradbury is definitely one of a kind.

As for the ending, I was happy to read a novel with such a simple message at the end. There was no big complex (often ridiculously impossible) solution to ridding the town of evil, rather a pure, simple fix. For me, "Something Wicked This Way Comes" is a welcomed stray from modern horror fiction.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Classic That I Actually Liked! How Could That Be!?
Something Wicked This Way Comes(1962).

Ray Bradbury, author of such renound classics as The Martian Chronicles and Farenheit 451, took a stab at the horror genre in 1962. Much like Mary Shelley(Frankenstein) and Bram Stoker(Dracula), Ray Bradbury helped in the shaping of the Horror genre, now ruled by such authors as Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Combining Horror and Classical Literature, with a plot of Greed and Deception, Bradbury created what today would be known as a Horror Classic, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and also one of the most recognizeable novels in his catalog. Bradbury was the first Horror author to use children, the most unlikely heroes, that Stephen King later used in his commercial smash IT and his short story "The Body", and have been used by numerous other authors and directors of popular culture. Based on a famous quote of Shakespeare, Something Wicked This Way spawned a popular movie of its own, and Modern Day Metal Artist Iced Earth even used it for the title of their popular album. In the next paragraphs, you will read just what made Something Wicked This Way Comes such a timeless classic, and one of the very few classics I can stand!

Plot-
During the time before Halloween, in the cold Autumn of October, a Train seemingly spawned out of hell comes into town, a dark omen of the days ahead. As a calliope crackles mysterious doomy tunes, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show, a carnival of sorts, unloads their dark materials, tents, animals, and sideshow freaks of equal gruesomeness. Jim Nightshade and Will Holloway, two young curious 12 Year old boys, seemingly are the only ones to hear the hellish calliope(FYI, an organ) music at Three in the Morning, so they set out to see where all the noise is coming from. Soon they find out, and flee back to their homes to await the coming storm. The next day, The Carnival is out in full force, and most of the entire town is there, to view such rides and shows as A Mirror Maze, a Ferris Wheel, seeing Skeleton Men, Dwarfs, Fortune Tellers, Mr. Electro, and Mr. Dark, the Amazing Illustrated Man. Their is also a Merry-Go-Round, but it is strangely Out of Order. After the crowd leaves and the carnival shuts down, the crowds subsided totally and all is quiet, Jim and Will stay behind, hiding, waiting to learn the mystery of the carnival. Soon they are thrusted into a world where their wildest dreams are imaginable, and their worst nightmares are staring them right in the face, and they are the only ones who can subside the Growing Storm...

Writing-
Since this is my first Ray Bradbury novel I've read(And probably not the last), I won't compare Something Wicked This Way Comes to his other works, but instead rate his writings as my observations as a reader. The most memorable part of Bradbury's writing, is his descriptive writing, which, even such a simple act as running, Bradbury lets you Feel, Hear, See, Taste, and almost makes you think you can reach out and touch what isn't there. Although many times his descriptions run-on for too long, other times he hits the right notes in the right amount of space, and his genuine talent for writing and descriptions bring the story and the characters alive. Something Wicked This Way Comes, along with Stoker's Dracular, is one of the few classics I can stand, because too much emphasis in other classics is placed on descriptions rather than plot, but Bradbury's plot is deftly place Center-Stage here, and the Reader never feels bored or let down.Many times his ideas may seem unreasonable, but against the other material it doesn't take too much away from the book to me.

Overall, Something Wicked This Way Comes left a strong impression on me for Bradbury, and this won't be the last book I read by him. If you noticed the 4 star rating, it's mostly because of the things that plague classics so much for me. Overlong descriptions. I must emphasize though Bradbury isn't nearly as inconsistent as many authors, so this is just minor. Also some of his plot ideas seem odd and leave the reader thinking "Huh?", but most of the time the plot is easy to follow.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! A GREAT HORROR AND CLASSIC NOVEL NOT TO BE
MISSED BY ANYONE! BRADBURY MAKES THE CARNIVAL SEEM MORE EVIL THAN
IT DOES IN REAL LIFE!

Also Recommended-

Farenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
IT- Stephen King
Dracula- Bram Stoker

Thanks For Reading!

4-0 out of 5 stars A classic that I actually liked! How could that be?!
Something Wicked This Way Comes(1962).

Ray Bradbury, author of such renound classics as The Martian Chronicles and Farenheit 451, took a stab at the horror genre in 1962. Much like Mary Shelley(Frankenstein) and Bram Stoker(Dracula), Ray Bradbury helped in the shaping of the Horror genre, now ruled by such authors as Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Combining Horror and Classical Literature, with a plot of Greed and Deception, Bradbury created what today would be known as a Horror Classic, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and also one of the most recognizeable novels in his catalog. Bradbury was the first Horror author to use children, the most unlikely heroes, that Stephen King later used in his commercial smash IT and his short story "The Body", and lods have been used by numerous other authors and directors of popular culture. Based on a famous quote of Shakespeare, Something Wicked This Way spawned a popular movie of its own, and Modern Day Metal Artist Iced Earth even used it for the title of their popular album. In the next paragraphs, you will read just what made Something Wicked This Way Comes such a timeless classic, and one of the very few classics I can stand!

Plot-
During the time before Halloween, in the cold Autumn of October, a Train seemingly spawned out of hell comes into town, a dark omen of the days ahead. As a calliope crackles mysterious doomy tunes, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show, a carnival of sorts, unloads their dark materials, tents, animals, and sideshow freaks of equal gruesomeness. Jim Nightshade and Will Holloway, two young curious 12 Year old boys, seemingly are the only ones to hear the hellish calliope(FYI, an organ) music at Three in the Morning, so they set out to see where all the noise is coming from. Soon they find out, and flee back to their homes to await the coming storm. The next day, The Carnival is out in full force, and most of the entire town is there, to view such rides and shows as A Mirror Maze, a Ferris Wheel, seeing Skeleton Men, Dwarfs, Fortune Tellers, Mr. Electro, and Mr. Dark, the Amazing Illustrated Man. Their is also a Merry-Go-Round, but it is strangely Out of Order. After the crowd leaves and the carnival shuts down, the crowds subsided totally and all is quiet, Jim and Will stay behind, hiding, waiting to learn the mystery of the carnival. Soon they are thrusted into a world where their wildest dreams are imaginable, and their worst nightmares are staring them right in the face, and they are the only ones who can subside the Growing Storm...

Writing-
Since this is my first Ray Bradbury novel I've read(And probably not the last), I won't compare Something Wicked This Way Comes to his other works, but instead rate his writings as my observations as a reader. The most memorable part of Bradbury's writing, is his descriptive writing, which, even such a simple act as running, Bradbury lets you Feel, Hear, See, Taste, and almost makes you think you can reach out and touch what isn't there. Although many times his descriptions run-on for too long, other times he hits the right notes in the right amount of space, and his genuine talent for writing and descriptions bring the story and the characters alive. Something Wicked This Way comes, along with Stoker's Dracular, is one of the few classics I can stand, because too much emphasis in other classics is placed on descriptions rather than plot, but Bradbury's plot is deftly place Center-Stage here, and the Reader never feels bored or let down. Many times his ideas may seem unreasonable, but against the other material it doesn't take too much away from the book to me.

Overall, Something Wicked This Way Comes left a strong impression on me for Bradbury, and this won't be the last book I read by him. If you noticed the 4 star rating, it's mostly because of the things that plague classics so much for me. Overlong descriptions. I must emphasize though Bradbury isn't nearly as inconsistent as many authors, so this is just minor. Also some of his plot ideas seem odd and leave the reader thinking "Huh?", but most of the time the plot is easy to follow.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! A GREAT HORROR AND CLASSIC NOVEL NOT TO BE MISSED BY ANYONE! BRADBURY MAKES THE CARNIVAL SEEM MORE EVIL THAN IT DOES IN REAL LIFE!

(...)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Something Wicked This Way Comes, is one of the most amazing books ever written ever! "By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes." Every time I hear that saying I think of this book written by Ray Bradbury. Also I think that it was kind of odd how Mr. Dark used the diguise of being the lightning rod salesman, and how Jim and Will found out all the secrets of the mirors and the mazes and the fariswheel. All that Mr. Dark and Mr. Cooger were trying to do were to take the peoples souls and trade them for what they (the people) wished for the most as in their sins. To all that haven't read this book should really read it because it will make you interested in it more and more...page after page. This book is one of the best ever written and it will make you more interested in it because of all what happens it makes you wander whats going to happen to Jim and Will next, so it keeps you gessing, and it makes you wander if Will and Jim will make it out alive or dead!! Who know till you read it, so go out and read it for my sake and for yours. ... Read more


144. The Deptford Trilogy: Fifth Business/the Manticore/World of Wonders
by Robertson Davies
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140147551
Catlog: Book (1990-06-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 13767
Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"Who killed Boy Staunton?"

This is the question that lies at the heart of Robertson Davies's elegant trilogy comprising Fifth Business, The Manticore, and World of Wonders. Indeed, Staunton's death is the central event of each of the three novels, and Rashomon-style, each circles round to view it from a different perspective. In the first book, Fifth Business, Davies introduces us to Dunstan Ramsey and his "lifelong friend and enemy, Percy Boyd Staunton," both aged 10. It is a winter evening in the small Canadian village of Deptford, and Ramsey and Boy have quarreled. In a rage, Boy throws a snowball with a stone in it, misses his friend and hits the Baptist minister's pregnant wife by mistake. She becomes hysterical and later that night delivers her child prematurely, a baby with birth defects. Even worse, she loses her mind. The snowball, the stone, the deformed baby christened Paul Dempster--this is the secret guilt that will bind Ramsey and Staunton together through their long lives:

I was perfectly sure, you see, that the birth of Paul Dempster, so small, so feeble, and troublesome, was my fault. If I had not been so clever, so sly, so spiteful in hopping in front of the Dempsters just as Percy Boyd Staunton threw that snowball at me from behind, Mrs. Dempster would not have been struck. Did I never think that Percy was guilty? Indeed I did.
Boy, however, "would fight, lie, do anything rather than admit" he feels guilty, too, and so the subject remains unresolved between them right up until the night Boy's body is found in his car, in a lake, with a stone in his mouth. The second novel, The Manticore, follows Staunton's son, David, through a course of Jungian therapy in Switzerland, while World of Wonders concentrates on Magnus Eisengrim, a renowned magician and hypnotist with ties to both Ramsey and Boy Staunton.

When it came to writing, three was Davies's favorite number. Before the Deptford books, he wroteThe Salterton Trilogy (Tempest-Tost, Leaven of Malice, A Mixture of Frailties), and after it cameThe Cornish Trilogy (The Rebel Angels, What's Bred in the Bone, The Lyre of Orpheus). Excellent as these and Davies's other novels are, The Deptford Trilogy is arguably the masterpiece for which he'll best be remembered, as the combination of magic, archetype, and good, old-fashioned human frailty at work in these novels is a world of wonders unto itself, and guarantees these three books a permanent place among the great books of our time. --Alix Wilber ... Read more

Reviews (44)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece...No, Wait! Make That Three
I read "The Manticore" at the suggestion of a friend when I told him I was taking a course in Jungian therapy. HAH! Prof Davies taught me far more than my instructor (in fact, the instructor smiled ruefully when I showed him the book..."I can't compete" was his only comment). I moved backwards to Fifth Business, then to World of Wonders. The fascination never abated, the tempo never wavered, and Davies' fine touch was assured and light. It's obvious Robertson Davies was an accomplished playwrite, his written conversations are such that I want to cry out to the characters: Wait! I have something to say about that!

Needless to say, I went on to read everything Davies ever wrote, including his Samuel Marchbanks collections. He remains one of my all-time favorite authors, and this collection is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of his strength.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Revelation
I first started reading this book in a taxi on the way home after I visited the bookshop. Upon arriving home, I told the taxi drive to take me back to the bookshop and I bought everything they had by Robertson Davies.

This is a wonderful book. Davies had the tendency to write trilogies, introducing plots and characters that gradually intertwined so his trilogies became one.

The Deptford Trilogy does this in the first novel "Fifth Business". "Boy" Staunton, a small Canadian town's rich kid, throughs a snowball at his friend/rival Dunstan Ramsay but misses and hits a local minister's wife.

This inauspicious start is the beginning of a journey into iconography, agiography, Jungian psychology the occult and the metaphysical and it all adds up to a delicious read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rich
The Deptford Trilogy is a rich, rewarding read, encompassing layers upon layers of plot, theme, character. Liesl is one of the most singular characters I've come across in fiction. At the backbone of this trilogy is a mystery, yet Davies' prose is so sprawling (yet concise!...all three books total under 900 pages!) that the mystery seems almost peripheral to everything else that is going on.

When you begin Fifth Business, you'll be fooled into thinking it's another standard coming-of-age narrative. You'll soon realize how wrong you are. Sadly, World of Wonders is the weakest, seeming rather unnecessary, and exposing the story of a mysterious character perhaps better left mysterious, but it's still a good read. Fifth Business and Manticore, however, are stunning works of literary fiction.

5-0 out of 5 stars Whimsical mythology made modern
If there is a boundary beyond which realistic fiction crosses into the fantastical, it seems to have been explored and even blurred by Robertson Davies in this trio of novels which represent the broadest imaginative range of realistic fiction. The closest contemporary comparison I can make is John Barth, but Davies, possibly by way of being Canadian, establishes his originality by balancing North American folk charm with a British style of sophistication.

The subject is the turbulent and often hilarious lives of three men whose hometown is the rural village of Deptford, Ontario. They are Dunstan Ramsay, a history teacher, hagiographer (somebody who studies saints and sainthood), and decorated World War I veteran; the arrogant but vulnerable Percy Boyd "Boy" Staunton, a wealthy confectionery businessman, politician, and Dunstan's lifelong friend; and the pitiable Paul Dempster, whose premature birth was precipitated by his mother's injury from being hit accidentally by a snowball thrown by Staunton at Ramsay on a fateful winter day in 1908. The event that provides the basis for the trilogy is Staunton's death sixty years later, when his Cadillac mysteriously plunges off a pier into a harbor.

The three novels form a complex story that is structured almost like a murder mystery but has much more psychological depth and detailed characterization and is more studious of the nature of consequences. The first two novels, "Fifth Business" and "The Manticore," discuss the life of Boy Staunton through the respective viewpoints of Ramsay, who tells all in an extensive, sarcastically toned report to the headmaster of the academy from which he is retiring, and Staunton's son David, now a successful criminal lawyer, who recalls his relationship with his father during a series of sessions with a Zurich psychiatrist.

But it is the third novel, "World of Wonders," in which the continuation of the story really takes flight. This novel covers the fascinating life story of a brilliant magician and master illusionist named Magnus Eisengrim who, from humble and sordid beginnings as a carnival underling, has become famous throughout the world for his spectacular stage shows and now lives in a palatial Swiss chalet with his manager and consort, a strange woman named Liesl. That he has enlisted Ramsay as his biographer is not his only connection to Deptford or to the events surrounding Boy Staunton's watery death.

Combining the themes of Ramsay's inquiries into the qualifications for sainthood, David Staunton's chimerical dreams, and Eisengrim's spellbinding but essentially mundane magic, "The Deptford Trilogy" maintains its narrative thrust by a thorough cross-pollination of ideas from reality and mythology. The insight revealed is that every human life, real or imagined, has qualities that are mythical because none of us can personally experience everything that happens to everybody else. This seems like an obvious precept of fiction, but it takes a marvel-minded writer like Davies to illustrate it with so much vivacity and wonder.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magical!
I had read some Robertson Davies in the past--Murther and Walking Spirits and The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks--and thought him a fine curmudgeon and a fine Canadian writer, but I had not given him much thought beyond this. I find this to my detriment now, for I remember friends who always had a copy of one or other of his novels about, and I faintly recall many recommendations in the past. So, what made me finally pick up one of these and read it? The recommendation, passed to me second-hand, by my favorite writer, Jonathan Carroll, given as one of his influences for conceiving novels with interlinking characters.

Fifth Business is a marvelous book, and while it doesn't have quite the same mystery or horror of Carroll, it does have an excellent style, and there is indeed a twist or two along the way to keep most any reader sated. Basically the autobiography of Dunstable Ramsay, born around the turn of the century in the small Canadian town of Deptford, Fifth Business details not only Ramsay's life, but also the life of his oldest friend, Percy "Boy" Staunton. What makes this novel so remarkable is how realistic the portrayal is, without bogging down in pages of mundane description. Over the course of the novel, one's understanding for Dunstable grows, both in positive and negative turns, and by the end, he is as an old friend of one's own.

Based on some of the cover blurbs, I had expected a little more magic realism, or at least an edge of the fantastic, to this book, and while it may be there, it is consistently down-played. Normally I am not one to go in for fiction without at least a feeling of the extraordinary, but Davies writing style kept me glued to the page, reading longer into the night than I would ordinarily wish during the work week. And I learned many things, including what the term hagiography refers to, and some feeling for Canada and their strange ties to Britain and the world.

But it is the aspect of Fifth Business itself where this book receives full credit for its recommendation. "Fifth Business" refers to, as related in the novel:

"You don't know what this is? Well, in opera in a permanent company of the kind we keep up in Europe you must have a prima donna--always a soprano, always the heroine, often a fool; and a tenor who always plays the lover to her; and then you must have a contralto, who is a rival to the soprano, or a sorceress or something; and a basso, who is the villain or the rival or whatever threatens the tenor.

So far, so good. But you cannot make a plot work without another man, and he is usually a baritone, and he is called in the profession Fifth Business, because he is the odd man out, the person who has no opposite of the other sex. And you must have Fifth Business because he is the one who knows the secret of the hero's birth, or comes to the assistance of the heroine when she thinks all is lost, or keeps the hermitess in her cell, or may even be the cause of somebody's death if that is part of the plot."

Dunstable is indeed Fifth Business, for he does know the secret of the hero's birth, and does come to the assistance of the heroine, and keeps a woman in her cell, and may even be the cause of Boy Staunton's murder. The trick is discovering who exactly is the hero, and the assistance only lasts for a short time, and being locked in a cell is not always advantageous, and who exactly did murder Boy Staunton? These and more questions are brought up in Fifth Business, some of which are answered.

The Manticore picks up almost where Fifth Business lets off, but quickly reverts to flashback to tell some of the same story from the point of view of Boy Staunton's son, David. David's recollection of some of the events as told by Ramsay are colored by his own life, including the fear introduced by his sister that David is not actually Boy's son, but Ramsay's. Whereas Ramsey was fifth business to Boy Staunton, David is a star in his own story, which is told by a journal that he writes to discuss with his psychotherapist.

It sounds dull, and at times it slows due to the conceit, but Davies has a way of interjecting interest right as you are about to put away the novel. Two-thirds into the novel and it breaks away from the psychotherapy, returns to the "present" of the trilogy, and reunites us with Ramsay and some of the other characters from Fifth Business. The problem with The Manticore is that it is the middle novel, without the refreshing newness of the opening and lacking the rush towards the climax of the concluding novel.

And what a rush World of Wonders is--once again, it covers some of the same ground of the two previous novels, filling in detail about magician Magnus Eisingrim (nee Paul Dempster of Deptford) that also provides additional insight into Ramsey and, in the end, Boy Staunton. Of the three novels, World of Wonders is closest to Carroll. Rather than tell the story from Magnus viewpoint, Davies switches back to Ramsay. However, the story Ramsay tells is of the biographical confessions of Magnus. This way Davies can tell the story from a new viewpoint while retaining the mysterious nature of Magnus (who is the closest to the unreliable narrator used by Carroll) to keep the secret of Boy Staunton's death until the closing minutes. Magnus' history isn't pretty, and the World of Wonders is as a carnival sideshow, full of flash but hiding a seedy underbelly. However, Magnus is not unhappy with his lot, looking back over his life, which is one of the aspects of the story that haunts Ramsay, who feels somewhat responsible (along with Staunton) for Paul Dempster's early life. The philosophical aspect of this is interesting--Davies implies that, while taking responsibility of one's actions is important, there is a statute of limitations on guilt.

The Deptford Trilogy is a strong suite of novels, cunningly wrought and well worth your time. I regret that I had waited this long to discover them. ... Read more


145. Whale Talk (Laurel Leaf Books)
by CHRIS CRUTCHER
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440229383
Catlog: Book (2002-12-10)
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Sales Rank: 49730
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

There’s bad news and good news about the Cutter High School swim team. The bad news is that they don’t have a pool. The good news is that only one of them can swim anyway. A group of misfits brought together by T. J. Jones (the J is redundant), the Cutter All Night Mermen struggle to find their places in a school that has no place for them. T.J. is convinced that a varsity letter jacket–exclusive, revered, the symbol (as far as T.J. is concerned) of all that is screwed up at Cutter High–will also be an effective tool. He’s right. He’s also wrong. Still, it’s always the quest that counts. And the bus on which the Mermen travel to swim meets soon becomes the space where they gradually allow themselves to talk, to fit, to grow. Together they’ll fight for dignity in a world where tragedy and comedy dance side by side, where a moment’s inattention can bring lifelong heartache, and where true acceptance is the only prescription for what ails us. ... Read more

Reviews (57)

4-0 out of 5 stars Whale Talk
Chris Crutcher builds a story about challenging the status quo and finding the common humanity that unites those who believe they are alone in the world. The Tao, or T.J., grows up in Washington where racism dominates the town. T.J. attends Cutter High School where they are known for their respectable athletic program. One of the prize symbols to wear is an athletic jacket earned in a sport. Mike Baubour, a known enemy of T.J., tries to prevent Chris, less fortunate than many, from wearing his dead brother's letter jacket. T.J. fights to organize a male swim team. After he finds his teammates, including Chris, he sets up the criteria for earning a letter. This stirs up controversy among the Athletic Council, and finally come to a conclusion: each swimmer must better there time every meet to earn a letter. T.J.'s determination throughout the novel sets him above the pride of Cutter's athletic program and sets him in each teammates pride. T.J. is determined to achieve success for each one of his teammates, which would equal success to him. This book shows great teamwork, pride, and success when not everything comes easy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Whale Talk
The book Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher is a wonderful book for all religions and races. That is because in the book T.J. is black, Japanese, and white, but in school he is mostly considered black. One day T.J. spots all-school jock Mike Barbour picking on Chris Coughlin, a retard whose dead brother is the best athlete in the school ever, for wearing his brother Brian's letter jacket. So, T.J. decides that he will get Chris a jacket of his own. He does that be creating a swim team. Meanwhile T.J. is visiting a woman who helps kids with family problems. T.J has become more of a teacher than a student. He gets involved with a father that really dislikes T.J. The daughter adores T.J. so the family, minus the father moves in with them. T.J.'s family continues to get a lot of hang up calls which they know is the father. In the swimming world, T.J. gets 6 unique guys to go out for the team. T.J. is by far the best swimmer. The team gets a practice facility and an interim coach, Icko who lives at the workout place, until the teacher Simet can get permission. Practices are hard, but usefull as the team improves greatly. The team does horrible in the season, except for T.J. who wins the 50 meter and the 100 meter at regoinals. The team keeps on getting questions on weather swimming is a sport which might deny their privilege to a Cutter jacket. The book ends with many controversial decisions made by both sides. I believe the author, Chris Crutcher wrote about the book to teach the world about racism. He wants to show how it is tearing the modern world apart. Whale Talk is a wonderful book for teens and adults. Children should not be allowed to read the book because of some profane language and sexual harasment. They also will not get the idea about racism and prejudice. Teens, on the other hand, will understand the book and it will teach them about modern conflicts. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher is a wonderful for teens and adults.

5-0 out of 5 stars Got a whale of a tale to tell you friends...
A good book rises above its own premise. Reading a short synopsis of this story without knowing anything about it beyond its plot could easily suggest to the average viewer that it's going to be awful. Think about it. A multi-racial protagonist and his motley crew of rag tag misfits puts together an unlikely swim team and everybody learns a little bit about what it's like to walk in another person's shoes. Bleaugh! That's the kind of After School Special plotting that can get a book seriously ignored by its intended audience. Now I had never read a Chris Crutcher book coming into this. Frankly, I know the man has a reputation for producing darned good books. Then I read "Whale Talk" and found, to my incredible relief, that this was not really a book about a swim team. It's about the circle of abuse and the amount of control an individual has over his or her own actions. It's about hurting other people and what the cost of that can be. In short, the book takes amazingly gigantic themes, renders them bite size, and gives them humanity and humor. It's the humor part that really impressed me.

T.J. Jones (actual name The Tao Jones... pronounce it, I dare you) is probably one of three people of color in his small Washington town. Adopted by his parents when he was a seriously abused toddler, T.J.'s a pretty well put together kid. That's probably in no small part due to his amazing mom and dad and his fantastic (some might say godlike) child therapist, Georgia. Which isn't to say that T.J.'s life is bereft of odd problems. His favorite teacher, Simet, is trying to lure T.J. into helping him start a school swim team. There are a couple problems with this plan. For one thing, T.J. refuses to join any organized sports. Cutter High School is run by and for its jocks. These jocks have been trying for years (unsuccessfully) to get T.J. onto one of their teams. Also, the school has no swimming pool. So T.J. isn't exactly thrilled about the idea of getting roped into this situation until he sees some of the local heavies beating up a mentally handicapped kid because he refuses to stop wearing his dead jock brother's letter jacket. Suddenly our hero has a mission, and the mission is clear. To create a swim team comprised of the kind of guys who otherwise could never be able to get involved in an organized sport. Even better, he's going to get each and every one of them a letter jacket.

This is just the barest of outlines describing this book. T.J. has a lot going on in his life and this includes his father's guilt about accidentally killing a toddler some thirty years before, a girl who tries continually to wash her skin clean of pigment, her psychotic father who is both a wife abuser and T.J.'s enemy, and a team that becomes closer as their problems become clearer. This is truly a book written about a man for men. Which isn't to say that girls won't love this tale, or that it's bereft of strong female characters. In fact, Crutcher is especially good at balancing women who've been abused in the past with their far stronger counterparts. No, when I say that this is a boy book, I'm referring to the fact that the central focus of this story rests squarely on the male swimming team. Sure, T.J. has a girlfriend but her presence in this story is probably just to prove to the viewer that he's a well adjusted guy with a well adjusted gal. Honestly, his relationship is not the focus of this tale. And that's kinda refreshing.

I think what I liked best about this book was that it recognized that behind every crazed idiot, there's a reason they act the way they do. Crutcher isn't the best young adult writer that knows about abuse (that honor belongs squarely to Alex Flinn) but he comes close. A person could learn more from reading this book about the cyclical nature of violence than they would from almost any other source. I'm praising the book beautifully, but it's not without the occasional flaw. Consider, for example, the character of Tay-Roy. This is a bodybuilder that joins the team and has, basically, no real personality. As far as I could determine, everything Tay-Roy does could have been accomplished by T.J. They're similar in every respect, except that Tay-Roy's slightly better looking. It's odd that Crutcher would have kept himself from omitting extraneous characters like this one, but as flaws go, this one's pretty minimal. The worst I can say is that it slightly derails the flow of the text. Big whoop.

What Crutcher has as a writer that puts him heads and tails above and beyond his peers (some, at any rate) is his sense of humor. You cannot dislike a book where the main character is named The Tao Jones. You just can't. I mentioned that I think that Alex Flinn is the all-powerful guru of abused teens, but what Crutcher doesn't have in superior knowledge he makes up for in funnies. I'm sick and tired of all the deadly depressing books out there. If every writer could fill their texts with half as much pleasurable writing as Mr. C, I'd have a heckuva harder time figuring out which book to read next. In the end, "Whale Talk" accomplishes that mighty difficult task of being a good book about a near impossible subject. Abuse. Whether or not you agree that Crutcher wrote about this topic with the correct amount of respect, you have to admit he wrote about it well. I tip my hat to the man who's books I will now have to devour one by one to satiate my now uncontrollable young adult literature craving. Such is life.

5-0 out of 5 stars english project
Picture your high school's outcasts, the kids no one talks to and no one really knows. Now imagine if you heard that this motley crew was about to become your high school's new varsity swim team. The same kids who are picked last for every team in gym, who has never been seen near the weight room or the track, who are the last people you would imagine wearing your high school letter jackets. Despite his natural athletic ability, the main character T. J. has always shunned Cutter High School's sports teams because, as he says, "something inside me recoils at being told what to do, and that doesn't sit well with most coaches, who are paid to do exactly that." However, when a favorite teacher asks him to help start a swim team at Cutter, T. J. sees an opportunity to turn the school's narrow idea of what an athlete is, privileged, good-looking, white, and male on its head.
Chris Crutcher is an excellent writer that keeps you reading. I could not put the book down. The reason why I liked the book so much is that it is dramatic, had a good conflict and kept me reading. Whale Talk is an awesome book that I would recommend to anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars GRIPPING!!!
I recently read Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. It's about a boy, T.J. Jones, who gets together a group of misfits and outcasts to join a swimming team. As usual in Chris Crutcher's books, there's another story behind the sport.
When I started reading this book I couldn't put it down. Crutcher grabs you in this story with ways that sometimes you wouldn't think possible or interesting. He puts together real problems, not just he said-she said stuff, but things much more realistic. This book is definitly worth reading!!! ... Read more


146. The Book of Three (Chronicles of Prydain (Paperback))
by LLOYD ALEXANDER
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440407028
Catlog: Book (1999-01-12)
Publisher: Yearling
Sales Rank: 3981
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The tale of Taran, assistant pig keeper, has been entertaining young readers for generations. Set in the mythical land of Prydain (which bears a more than passing resemblance to Wales), Lloyd Alexander's book draws together the elements of the hero's journey from unformed boy to courageous young man. Taran grumbles with frustration at home in the hamlet Caer Dallben; he yearns to go into battle like his hero, Prince Gwydion. Before the story is over, he has met his hero and fought the evil leader who threatens the peace of Prydain: the Horned King.

What brings the tale of Taran to life is Alexander's skillful use of humor, and the way he personalizes the mythology he has so clearly studied. Taran isn't a stick figure; in fact, the author makes a point of mocking him just at the moments when he's acting the most highhanded and heroic. When he and the young girl Eilonwy flee the castle of the wicked queen Achren, Taran emotes, "'Spiral Castle has brought me only grief; I have no wish to see it again.' 'What has it brought the rest of us?' Eilonway asked. 'You make it sound as though we were just sitting around having a splendid time while you moan and take on.'" By the end, Alexander has spun a rousing hero's tale and created a compelling coming-of-age story. Readers will sigh with relief when they realize The Book of Three is only the first of the chronicles of Prydain. --Claire Dederer ... Read more

Reviews (181)

5-0 out of 5 stars Just the beginning....
Like all great fantasy series, the Prydain Chronicles will resonate with you for a long while after you put them down. The Book of Three begins the legendary adventure of Taran, Eilonwy, Fflewddur Flam, Gurgi, Doli, and Gwydion. The heroes are witty, warm, and wise; the villains are frightening, chilling, and insidious. You will laugh and shudder by turns as Taran faces the Death Lord's minions on his search for the cute and prophetic pig, Hen Wen.

Lloyd Alexander's writing is first-rate and grand, like listening to a superb storyteller. His paints a vivid landscape peopled with truly unique characters. There is some argument about similarities with Tolkien, Star Wars, C.S. Lewis' Narnia, etc. Actually, you can take any epic about the battle of good and evil and point fingers, but isn't a good story worth another excellent retelling? This is one those rare treasures you read as a child, and rediscover as an adult again and again.

Why? Besides the lovely writing, the characters aren't simple bystanders or perfect people caught up in the action. They make choices (and mistakes), face consequences, and struggle through personal challenges. It's reality in an unreal setting. In this first book, Taran, in a rush to grow up, leaves his post as Assistant Pig-keeper to become a Hero. Everyone who has ever been an adolescent can relate to wanting to break away. Finding yourself is the hard part, and one aspect of the series is about this universal phase.

But it isn't all Serious and about Learning A Lesson. There is cheeky humor, poked at our valiant, though sometimes too earnest Taran. Things can't go according to the great Hero Plan with Eilonwy cutting him down to size, Doli scoffing at the young 'uns, and Gurgi wanting "munchings and crunchings" all the time. This is one of those books that you will feel ends too soon. Be sure to have the next one close at hand, because The Book of Three is just the beginning once you have tasted Alexander's magic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant fantasy
I have often jokingly told people to read this before reading JRR Tolkein because it's "Hobbit"-lite. But my jest is with all affection. "The Book of Three" is the first of five books (not including the 6th of short stories) involving the fantasy world of Prydain. Lloyd Alexander borrows heavily from Gaelic and Welsh mythology to create the tale of Taran, Assistant Pig-keeper for the enchanter Dallben. In this book we are introduced to Taran, a boy on the cusp of manhood eager to take part in the adventures of the world. Dark forces under the direction of Awran, the Death-Lord threaten the lives of all in Prydain, and none is more feared that the gruesom "Horned King". After leaping "headfirst into a thorn bush" young Taran finds himself face to face with this dreaded champion of darkness who has come from Annuvuin in search of Hen-wen, the oracular pig under Taran's charge. I won't spoil any more of the story except to say that this book introduces many of the characters that appear later on in the rest of the series: the stubborn and lovely Princess Eilonwy, the king-who-wants-to-be-a-bard Fflewder Flam, the cantankerous Doli of the fairfolk, Coll- the warrior turned farmer, and more. Lloyd Alexander's fantasy tale, in my opinion, rivals that of Tolkein as a richly crafted work with wonderful images and a deep understanding and appreciation for the thoughts and feelings of a young man like Taran. The text is easy to read, and the story flows smoothly along. Each book can stand alone, but together create a magnificant epic tapestry. The names of the characters are a little hard to get used to, but not impossible. This is the kind of book you can read out loud at bed-time to young childern. The plot is engaging enough for the little ones and deep enough for adults to appreciate. I recommend this book to just about anyone, and especially for children who are old enough to be reading completely on their own and have reached that point where they are "into" adventures. The best thing about this book (and the series) is that what little violence there is is not glorified, there is no gratuitous sex, and there are morals espoused without sounding preachy. And its the kind of story that girls and boys can enjoy and its perfect for pre-teens and early teens. As the books progress, young teens can "grow" along with Taran, and understand some of his angst. All around, a most excellent novel, and only the begining of a fantastic story...

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Gurgi that sold me, with his crunchings and munchings
Never have I read a series of books that has commanded as much of my attention or affection as Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles. I was a fan before I even read the books, having been told about them by my older brother whose third grade teacher would read them to her class every day after lunch. At the mention of Gurgi's name, and hearing the phrase "crunchings and munchings," I HAD to read this book, and soon thereafter swiped a copy from an aunt.

And the book itself didn't disappoint! Taran leaves the safety of his home to find his runaway pig, only to encounter his hero, Prince Gwydion, and the most terrible warlord in all the land, the Horned King. After he and Gwydion are captured by the evil queen Achren, Taran is joined by the Princess Eilonwy, bard Fflewddur Fflam, and simple-minded creature Gurgi on a quest to warn Gwydion's people of the Horned King's threat.

The excitement continues all the way to the end, Taran becoming older and wiser with each new experience he faces and person he meets. Entertaining for all ages, and a perfect introduction to the land of Prydain. I can't recommend this highly enough.

4-0 out of 5 stars A quality start to a classic series
Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles are one of the key series in children's fantasy literature, walking the fine line between being accessible to young readers and being appealing and engaging enough for adults to enjoy.

The five wonderful books in this series feature an interesting cast of reoccurring characters, all centering on Taran, a pig keeper destined for great things. Others, including a stereotypical spoiled princess, a crazed Gollum-like creature, and a hapless bard, take part in a series of increasingly epic adventures.

Because Alexander drew his stories from ancient myths and legends, the themes and situations always feel familiar. These will feel like stories you've read many times before, but never in a tiresome way. They're "comfortable." And that's a welcome trait, especially when so many books try so hard to be different.

This first volume if five, "The Book of Three," is probably the weakest of the series (though it is by no means bad, or even average). Taran seems to get caught up in his adventure rather too easily, and initially, before we become comfortable with the characters, some of them are a little grating. Gurgi is almost a downright annoyance.

But then the story really kicks into gear and develops into a nice adventure tale, setting the stage for the better Prydain books to come later. What "The Book of Three" does best is put in place the pieces of the great big puzzle that is put together throughout the next four books.

And who couldn't love the delightful early stages of Taran and Eilonwy's relationship? Delightful and funny is every way. Children will relate to the characters and the way they pick on each other, while adults will smile knowingly as Alexander winks and nods.

The writing is direct and lively throughout, and the pacing absolutely perfect. Just when one suspects a lull in the action is looming, Alexander races us forward and advances the adventure some more. Things are always progressing, always pushing forward, offering a tale that one is hard-pressed to put down.

One of the great joys of this series is the steady progression from pure children's fantasy to more adult themes and a grimmer, more mournful tone, allowing the reader to grow along with the characters. The first book does not well reflect the last. What begins as a light fantasy becomes very serious. And that is a good thing.

"The Book of Three" and the rest of the Prydain Chronicles are recommended reading for anyone who enjoys fantasy, especially classic children's fantasy.

1-0 out of 5 stars this book is a literary bomb
Ok, just because the Lord of the Rings is the definitive fantasy novel DOES NOT mean that all of the fantasy books have to be just like Lord of the Rings. Theoretically, Lloyd Alexander took a great book, changed a few names, a few words, cut out 1,000 pages, and called it The Book of Three, which he, then, made x amount of dollars in.
here i will compare Alexanders "dark pond" or gloomy, or whatever it was, with Tolkiens entrance to Moria scene-
now come on, how pathetic can you get, and I know both came from mythology, but if your writing with a line of mythology ITS OK to stray from the myths once and a while! though having not read mythology, i do not know the roots of this particular article in question, but do know that Alexander could have done something to interest us, and to keep us from wanting to pick up The Felloship ... Read more


147. The Mediator #6: Twilight (Mediator)
by Meg Cabot
list price: $15.99
our price: $10.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060724676
Catlog: Book (2005-01-01)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 22322
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148. A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens
list price: $4.95
our price: $4.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451526562
Catlog: Book (1997-05-01)
Publisher: Signet Book
Sales Rank: 4447
Average Customer Review: 3.99 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

It's time to rediscover the wonderful books we all cherish.

First published in 1859, A Tale of Two Cities is one of Dickens's most famous and popular novels. This stirring tale, set in the late eighteenth century against the backdrop of the French Revolution, is a novel for all generations. Filled with adventure and love, revolution and terror, it transports the reader to a time of political upheaval and solutions by guillotine.

... Read more

Reviews (318)

3-0 out of 5 stars My View of A Tale of Two Cities
When reading Charles Dickens's works, the reader is put into a whole new world. Though Dickens does relate events back to the actual late 1700's, he makes you feel as though you are actually witnessing these actions. In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens brings out the best and the worst in his characters. A good example of this is Sydney Carton. Carton is a lawyer, physically resembling Charles Darnay. This character lives in a fog of apathy and alcohol. Throughout the book Carton expresses his love for Lucie Mannette, although he knows he has too many burdens for her. He ends the book a completely changed person, sacrificing his life for Lucie's husband, Darnay. While bringing out the problems and selfishness of Doctor Mannette, Lucie's father, Dickens also shows how this character has grown into a man of distinction. Mannette was imprisoned for 18 years, until he was "recalled" to life. He witnessed several downfalls throughout the novel, mainly losing his daughter to a young man. Lucie marries Charles Darnay, and during their honeymoon, Mannette goes into a state of depression and the past life of imprisonment resurfaces. Overall, the character developments were handled well in Tale of Two Cities.
The most difficult part of reading Tale of Two Cities is the first 60 pages. Once the reader passes those, the rest is enjoyable. Dickens should have spiked some interest into those pages to better draw in readers. Dickens also has a tendency to drag out problems, only because the book was first issued in installments in a newspaper. He had to keep the people reading. The way that Dickens intertwined historical records into the everyday problems helps the readers have a better understanding of the French Revolution. When writing the novel, Dickens included so many details and descriptions. I feel he directed this novel towards history buffs more so than readers.
Dickens chose to write Tale of Two Cities in third person. Most people prefer reading works written in third person so they can experience what happens to the main character or know what all characters are thinking. On the other hand, some readers enjoy reading what one character thinks and what runs through their minds. When reading the novel, the reader might not have known how Lucie felt about Charles Darnay or Sydney Carton. Dickens writing the novel in third person, gives the reader a better overview.
The major downfalls of this book are the language and style of the book. A Tale of Two Cities is incredibly cluttered and overly-packed with information, overwhelming the reader. This puzzled me, being that the tale is drawn out, and also packed with information. Dickens should have thought more about the amount of details he included. A great deal of is learned about the time period and how the men and women in Paris and London lived their lives.
This novel has no humor and is overloaded with details. It's geared toward adults and historians. When finishing this book a sense of relief is felt. A Tale of Two Cities is a classic for teachers and historians; it is literature and history in one. Dickens's themes of poverty, violence, and revolution are there. The many details make getting to these ideas difficult.

5-0 out of 5 stars Of the three
Of the three books I've read lately, this one is the best. The other two were John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath," and "The Bark of the Dogwood" by Jackson McCrae. Both those books were excellent, but nothing compares to this Dicken's classic. Set during the French Revolution, it strongly reminded me of Hugo's "Les Miserable." I do have to admit that it took me a while to get used to the style of Dickens after not having read him for a while. Still, this is a classic book that you must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome
I read this book in 8th grade, and I couldn't put it down. I read it all in one sitting because I enjoyed it so much. It's a wonderful book, and wonderfully written with many plot turns that keep you interested and wanting more.

5-0 out of 5 stars See my suggestion for a subtitle at end of review.
One of the great mysteries of 19th century literature is how this book got this name. A subtitle might help. Yes, certainly, for the most part, the action in this book takes place in either London or Paris and the contrast between English mercantile society and the French Reign of Terror could not be more extreme. It is a story of contrasts on many levels, it is a tale of marvelous coincidence and psychological insight. The biggest coincidence is the physical resemblance between the noble Charles Darney and the self destructive Sidney Carton. Do you see the contrast? More contrasts? The abusive French aristocracy...Oh, the Evermonds are despicable to the nth degree, and Madame Defarge of the Jacquerie (peasantry)--who bears the biggest grudge in two centuries of literature. Dickens has done an excellent job of showing people from all walks of life interacting, of painting the landscape of the times and telling a very gripping story. As for psychologically insights, consider Sidney Carton...a case study in depression as Dr. Manette exemplifies PTSD. I have seen the video, listened to the tape and read the book. The tape is especially noteworthy as Dickens frequently read his work to make sure he got the rhythms of speech just so. Well, I promised to offer a subtitle. It's somewhat unweildy but here goes: How about-The Reign of Terror, Temple Bar and Lucy in the sky with Diamonds?

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Of all the Dickens novels, this one is his best. OLIVER TWIST or DAVID COPPERFIELD are great--don't get me wrong, but A TALE is by far the most interesting. I actually read the whole thing twice!

Also recommended: BARK OF THE DOGWOOD ... Read more


149. Shabanu : Daughter of the Wind (Readers Circle)
by SUZANNE FISHER STAPLES
list price: $6.50
our price: $5.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440238560
Catlog: Book (2003-08-12)
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Sales Rank: 65400
Average Customer Review: 3.84 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"This first novel is, on several counts, one of the most exciting YA books

to appear recently. Staples is so steeped in her story and its Pakistani

setting that the use of a first-person voice for a desert child rings

authentic--the voice is clear, consistent, and convincing. Shabanu and her

sister are to marry brothers as soon as they all come of age. But she will

eventually lose her betrothed and be promised to a wealthy landowner to settle

a feud. The richness and tragedy of a whole culture are reflected in the fate

of this girl's family. Through an involving plot Staples has given readers

insight into lives totally different from their own, but into emotions

resoundingly familiar."--(starred) Bulletin, Center for Children's Books.




... Read more

Reviews (173)

4-0 out of 5 stars Vivid Picture of Indian Culture
Sabanu: Daughter of the Wind tells the story of a strong-willed 11 year old girl raised in a close-knit family of nomadic camel herders from the Cholistan Desert of Pakistan. Brought up in a society where women's lives are strictly ruled by men, religion, and cultural traditions, Sabanu has been given many freedoms that are forbidden to most Muslim girls. She and her family experience joy and pain throughout the story as the reader learns wonderful information about life in the Pakistani desert, various customs of the Muslim people, and the role of women in Indian culture. The author uses authentic language to create powerful visual images which allow the reader to share the family's happiness in planning an upcoming wedding, and their deep sorrow at the death of a dearly beloved family member. The story is so engrossing that one can feel Sabanu's uncertainty about the future, and understand the struggle she faces when making a difficult decision in the final chapters of the book.

I enjoyed this story because of the vivid picture it paints of Indian culture. I admired Sabanu for her determination to be free while longing to remain loyal to her family and her heritage. I would recommend using this book with students in high school to increase their knowledge of the world, and to promote an appreciation of Indian culture.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spirtually inspiring
...I read this book a little over a year ago and i fell in love with it. I have read it to pieces and have bought 3 new compies in the past year. This book happens to be very adventurous and awe inspiring. Its about a musilm girl, Shabanu, who is 11 at the beginning of her story. She and her sister Phulan , 13, live in the Cholistian Desert along th Border of Pacistan with the mother, father, , grandfather, aunt, and younger cousins as camel "farmers". They live in anyplace in the desert that happend to have water untill the monsoons come. Shabanu is interested in everything except "ladies" work. She and her sister are betrothed to thier cousins Murad and Hamir. But when her Mother tries to teach Shabanu womens work, Shabanu's sister catches on but Shabanu has more fun playing with the camels and running around in the beautiful desert sand. When a something tragic happens between her family and her landowner, her family is put with a desicion that will change evrything in everyones life. Shabanu, daughter of the wind, is one of the best books i've ever read .... I feel at least evryone who loves an uplifting, tear jerker will love this book and its sequal, Havali. Suzanne Fisher Stapeles happens to be a wonderful author. i love her other book Shiva's fire. All her stories and books are very uplifing and make you feel godd when you read them. YOU REALLY SHOULD READ THIS!!! thank you.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not the best
In my opinion this book was a dicrase to all books. Although it gave points to different kinds of religions,people, and cultures, this book was horrible and boring.This book is about a young girl traveling through different places to prepare for her sisters wedding. Shee goes through different obstacles that makes everything harder and more difficult to overcomplesh. Trying to obey her parents and concentrating on the world in front of her everything turns in to a disater. This is not the best book to read for a child of any age(not trying to insult Ms.Staples). To me in my own opinion I did not enjoy the book at all I do not recommend it and it was very boring. So before you decide to but this book read the good and BAD editorial reviews. I dont give this book any stars I gave one because I had to put at least one to post my review.

4-0 out of 5 stars Semi-authentic take on rural Islamic society, not bad at all
The storyline is fine, but I might not agree that the author's views on rural life in a staunchly Islamic society are as authentic one could get. Pakistan is surely more modern and liberal than it might appear to an average Westerener.

I would also beware readers not to confuse the Islamic society in Pakistan with the secular democratic society in India, which has an essentially Hindu culture with an entirely different approach towards life. It would do serious injustice to the distinctively and sacredly Islamic ways of life in Pakistan, and to its traditional culture. Despite their inter-cultural exchanges, Pakistani and Indian thinking vary quite as much as that of, say, the US and Mexico. (The author's book "Shiva's Fire" describes life in Hindu Indian culture more authentically.)

The least the American schools should do about educating students on foreign countries is not to lump up distinct cultures together.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Kid Lit" a good read at any age
Some of the best books I have read in recent years, have been considered "Kid Lit" and Suzanne Fisher Staples' books about Shabanu rank near the top of the list. The characters are well drawn; the plot well defined; the glossery helpful and informative; the conclusion plausable. In fact, I was so pleased with "Daughter of the Wind" and "Havali," I was looking for a third book which may fit between the first and second!

Apart from the engaging story, what I found most facinating was the mix of old and new, ancient and modern, which surrounds Shabanu's life -- open cooking fires and arranged marriages on the same page with air conditioning and automatic weapons! In fact, one is well into the book before it is clear the story is actually set in the late 20th century! This gives us Westerners a peek into the complexities of Eastern societies which seem so at odds with our own. Yet the struggles of growing up, accepting and fitting into our societies is so universal, it unites us all! ... Read more


150. A Wind in the Door
by MADELEINE L'ENGLE
list price: $6.50
our price: $5.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440487617
Catlog: Book (1974-04-01)
Publisher: Yearling
Sales Rank: 2795
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"There are dragons in the twins' vegetable garden," announces six-year-old Charles Wallace Murry in the opening sentence of The Wind in the Door. His older sister, Meg, doubts it. She figures he's seen something strange, but dragons--a "dollop of dragons," a "drove of dragons," even a "drive of dragons"--seem highly unlikely. As it turns out, Charles Wallace is right about the dragons--though the sea of eyes (merry eyes, wise eyes, ferocious eyes, kitten eyes, dragon eyes, opening and closing) and wings (in constant motion) is actually a benevolent cherubim (of a singularly plural sort) named Proginoskes who has come to help save Charles Wallace from a serious illness.

In her usual masterful way, Madeleine L'Engle jumps seamlessly from a child's world of liverwurst and cream cheese sandwiches to deeply sinister, cosmic battles between good and evil. Children will revel in the delectably chilling details--including hideous scenes in which a school principal named Mr. Jenkins is impersonated by the Echthroi (the evil forces that tear skies, snuff out light, and darken planets). When it becomes clear that the Echthroi are putting Charles Wallace in danger, the only logical course of action is for Meg and her dear friend Calvin O'Keefe to become small enough to go inside Charles Wallace's body--into one of his mitochondria--to see what's going wrong with his farandolae. In an illuminating flash on the interconnectedness of all things and the relativity of size, we realize that the tiniest problem can have mammoth, even intergalactic ramifications. Can this intrepid group voyage through time and space and muster all their strength of character to save Charles Wallace? It's an exhilarating, enlightening, suspenseful journey that no child should miss.

The other books of the Time quartet, continuing the adventures of the Murry family, are A Wrinkle in Time; A Swiftly Tilting Planet, which won the American Book Award; and Many Waters. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson ... Read more

Reviews (74)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another gem in L'Engle's collection
It seems that as I am expecting wee ones, I've been reading more and more of my childhood favorites ~~ and this book is one of them. I just love L'Engle's writing style and how she gets the reader to think about things that may seem so far out ... but is it? She is a talented author that I admire deeply ~~ and my children will be read her books while still young.

Meg Murry worries when her little brother Charles Wallace announces that there are dragons in the twins' garden. She is already worried about him ... he's so bright and intelligent and having trouble at school. And he is strangely ill ... so Meg and Calvin are on another adventure ~~ this time to battle Charles Wallace's illness. Along the way, Meg learns about patience and love while battling the forces of evil that is trying to take over the universe.

While lots of people scoff at these books because of the fanasty they're written in ~~ I find that it's a classic book between good and evil. L'Engle always write with a moral ~~ and she writes in such a fun way, you can't but help apply the lessons to your life. It doesn't matter how old you are ... you are never too old to read these books! And I highly recommend this one to everyone ~~ whether or not they have children in their lives. It's just a good read with well-written story plot. And Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace stay with you for a long time.

1-23-02

4-0 out of 5 stars A Wrinkle In Time is still without equal.
Madeleine L'Engle's award winning "A Wrinkle In Time" stands head and shoulders above this sequel, the second entry in the "Time Quintet" series. Unlike the journey to distant galaxies of the first novel, in "A Wind in the Door" Meg Murray and her friend Calvin O'Keefe's main adventure involves a journey into the minute particles of her brother Charles Wallace, who is deathly ill. Meg's parents, a brilliant physicist and biologist, have discovered that human cells are made up of mitochondria, and these in turn are composed of farandolae. A dark power is at work among the farandolae, causing the illness of Charles Wallace, and more seriously threatening to tear up the entire galaxy. Only by entering one of Charles' mitochondria can Meg save Charles...and the galaxy.

In the end, all this talk about mitochondria and farandolae gets a bit much, and the idea of travelling inside someone's body just doesn't have the same magic as travelling to distant galaxies. The concept of kything (being able to communicate with thoughts, like ESP) had a somewhat new-age flavour that I was not entirely comfortable with. The idea of Naming (The first of three quests that faces Meg is to Name the school principal Mr. Jenkins) is never entirely fully developed or explained. The need for a farandola called Sporos to "Deepen" simply lacked charm. And the plot is rather complex and weighed down by scientific techno-babble, which many children may find rather frustrating. As such, this book doesn't come close to matching the fantasy and power of the first novel.

But those weaknesses aside, there is also much to commend this book. There are profound thoughts about the significance of everything having a name, and that the Creator "knows them all by name." "The stars don't need to be counted. They need to be Named." In this context, one's size doesn't detract from one's significance, because the tiny elements of the universe such as farandolae are just as important. The hostile forces are described as echthroi who want to X (annihilate) creation, and L'Engle uses them to picture a cosmic conflict between fallen angels (echthroi) and good angels (such as the dragon-like cherubim Proginoskes). The implied connection, however, between schizophrenia and demon possession (p123) will always be a controversial one. There are also several profound observations about life and faith. Memorable quotations that stand out in my mind include these: "Love isn't how you feel. It's what you do." (p116) "You have simply been faced with several things outside your current sphere of experience. That does not mean that they - we - do not exist." (p122). And the description of immature pleasure-seekers: "When we seek our own pleasure as the ultimate good we place ourselves as the center of the universe. A fara or a man or a star has his place in the universe, but nothing created is the center." (p172). And in the middle of all this seriousness, there are also moments of subtle humour, such as one instance where L'Engle pokes fun at Charles Darwin's theory of evolution: "What I really need are lessons in adaptation. I've been reading Darwin, but he hasn't helped me much." (p71) This book might not be the best in the series and might not be as captivating as "A Wrinkle in Time", but it's still a fantastic adventure worth travelling.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not My Type of Literature
(...)BR>What I could get out of the book was that the star charcater Charles Wallace was sick, badly ill, and his sister, Meg, is really worried for him, and makes it clear she would do anything to help him get better. Then, the one thing I liked most of this book, the plot immediatley comes to play as Charles takes Meg out into a field near their home and tells her there are 'a drive of dragons' somewhere. But at first Meg doesn't see anything. But later on she actually sees this 'drive of dragons' is truly a creature named Progo(well the name's longer than that but this is what Meg calls him throughout the story.) He's a science-fiction masterpiece with many wings and eyes. This creature sparks a journey that involves Meg, her supposed boyfriend named Calvin, and Progo itself as they are assigned to help save Charles from fatally evil beings called the Echthroi, who want to destroy Charles, as well as the world itself.
This book just wasn't my type of literature, but I didn't hate it. I just wasn't into the novel; I didn't feel any sort of connection like you should in a book.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Wind in the Door by Madelline L'Engle
A Wind in the Door, by Madeline L'Engle, is an extremely moving and exciting book. In this sequel to A Wrinkle in Time, Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace team up with snakes, teachers, mitochondria, and a Cherubum called Progo. It all starts one blustery day when Charles Wallace claims to have seen a drove of dragons in the twin's vegetable garden. Meg and Calvin then learn that Charles Wallace could have an extremely deadly condition: his mitochondria are dying. Charles Wallace is in danger of being X-ed.
This book sucks you in and won't let go until you have felt all of the emotion running rampant throughout. The story teaches the fact that amount doesn't matter, everything has a name, and it also teaches true, unconditional love.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!
At the beginning there were two long and boring chapters, and I thought the book would not be that great after all. Then at Chapter 3, I began to sense that the book would be better. I loved the test to find the real Mr. Jenkins at Chapters 5-6, and the last few chapters were a little scary but they were the best.
"Her voice issued from her lips almost without volition, cold, calm, emotionless. 'Mr. Jenkins Three---'
He stepped forward, smiling triumphantly.
'No. You're not the real Mr. Jenkins. You're much too powerful. You'd never have to be taken away from a regional school you couldn't control and made principal of a grade school you couldn't control, either.' She looked at Mr. Jenkins One and Two.'
I absolutely loved this book! ... Read more


151. A Maze Me : Poems for Girls
by Naomi Shihab Nye
list price: $16.99
our price: $11.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060581891
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Greenwillow
Sales Rank: 49490
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Life is a tangle of
twisting paths.
Some short.
Some long.
There are dead ends.
And there are choices.
And wrong turns,
and detours,
and yield signs,
and instruction booklets,
and star maps,
and happiness,
and loneliness.
And friends.
And sisters.
And love.
And poetry.

Life is a maze.
You are a maze.
Amazed.
And amazing.

... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Richie's Picks: A Maze Me
"Ringing


A baby, I stood in my crib to hear
the dingy-ding of a vegetable truck approaching.

When I was bigger, my mom took me out
to the street
to meet the man who rang the bell and
he tossed me
a tangerine...

...the first thing I ever caught.I thought
he was
a magic man.

My mom said there used to be milk trucks too.
She said,
Look hard, he'll be gone soon.And she was right.
He disappeared.

Now when I hear an ice-cream truck chiming
its bells, I fly.
Even if I'm not hungry--just to watch it pass.

Mailmen with their chime of dogs barking
up and down the street are magic too.

They are all bringers.

I want to be a bringer.

I want to drive a truck full of eggplants down
the smallest street.

I want to be someone making music
with my coming."

And so she is. And so she does.
A great joy that accompanies a new book of poems by Naomi Shihab Nye is the expectation that she will begin reappearing at national conferences and conventions, reading aloud from her latest collection. The good feeling I've taken away with me from her past workshops is about as close as I get to church these days.

A MAZE ME contains seventy-two of Naomi's latest poems. Younger teens will find these pieces easy to read and relate to. Hopefully, many will be intrigued and inspired by Naomi's ability to create poetry from such sources as a car manual, a newspaper article, a taco sign, "the hair on the head of the girl in front of me in school," Julia Child's patting potatoes, or a vapor trail "X" that a pair of planes have inadvertently left in the sky.

Being a book of "Poems for Girls" there are also the requisite handful of "longing" poems:

"High Hopes


It wasn't that they were so
high, exactly,
they were more
low-down,
close-to-the-ground,
I could rub them
the way you touch a cat
that rubs against your ankles
even if he isn't yours.

So yes I feel lonely without them.
Now that I know the truth,
that I only dreamed someone liked me,
the cat has curled up in a bed of leaves
against the house and I still have to do
everything I had to do before
without a secret hum
inside."

Despite being a guy, I really enjoyed the images and memories conjured up by these poems. Whether reading "Visiting My Old Kindergarten Teacher, Last Day of School," "Turtle" (about the persistent creature that had walked for twenty years), or "Across the Aisle" (about the little girl who coughed "every 30 seconds for seven whole hours" on a transatlantic flight), I've repeatedly interrupted Rosemary's reading on the couch and Shari's grading papers at the kitchen table in order to have an audience with whom to share the poems aloud.
"Big Head, Big Face
(what my brother said to me)


If your head had been smaller
maybe you woulda had less thoughts in it,
maybe you wouldn't have so many troubles.
This is just a guess but seems to me
like a little drawer only hold a few spoons
and you can always find the one you need
while a big drawer jammed with tongs
strings corks junky stuff receipts birthday cards
you never gonna look at
scrambled and mixed so one day
you open that drawer
poke your hand in and big knife go
through your palm
you didn't even know a knife was IN there,
well, that's why I think
it might not be so bad to have a little head
with just a few thoughts few memories few hopes
maybe if only one little one came true
that be enough for you."

Luckily for us, Naomi Shihab Nye has carefully sifted through that drawer to provide an entertaining assortment of poetic images, thoughts, stories, and yoga poses. ... Read more


152. What My Mother Doesn't Know
by Sonya Sones
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0689855532
Catlog: Book (2003-02-01)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Sales Rank: 6220
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Book Description


My name is Sophie.
This book is about me.
It tells
the heart-stoppingly riveting story
of my first love.
And also of my second.
And, okay, my third love too.

It's not that I'm boy crazy.
It's just that even though
I'm almost fifteen
it's like
my mind
and my body
and my heart
just don't seem to be able to agree
on anything. ... Read more

Reviews (113)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Read!
What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones is definitely a book for teens and young adults to read. The moods that Sophie goes through are so true and down to life! Everyone has romances in life, but in most cases it's the first ones that you remember. It's truly amazing how all of the emotions are so strong from the first words to the last ones. Sophie's fantasy about kissing hot guys is one that many teenage girls have. This book really focuses on passion, strong emotions, and reality. I absolutely loved Sonya's metaphors though out the book. Such as, "Tears, usually I can feel them coming, feel them swirling in my chest like a swarm of angry bees." I can relate to that particular quote the most. It has happened to me many times before. Every time that I feel tears coming, my body can really sense it, almost as if it has a tear sensor or something. I loved Sonya's poem "I hate her!" Because it talks about her and her mom fighting and who doesn't fight with their mom as teenagers? When ever my mom and I fight, all that runs through my head is how much I hate her and wish for her to be gone. Then when she stays out of my life, I kind of miss her. I like how Sophie has those thoughts of why she just did what she did. It's so realistic that it gave me the chills. The feeling was there the whole book. I could relate to this book almost as if it were I who wrote it! While reading it I thought about my past "loves" and how I handled the situation. It was sort of like the way Sophie did it. This book is truly charming, passionate, heart warming, realistic, and down to earth as can be!

4-0 out of 5 stars Awsome!
Wow, "what my mom doesnt know" is among one of the TOP books I read recently. It tells the story of Sophie, a 15 years old girl. Through Sonya Sones, I was able to see the life and struggles of a teenage girl such as, fights with her mother, her appearances, and her love life, which I also found parts of me inside of Sophie as a 16 years old. As the story progresses, I felt as if I was living through the experiences also. Its mainly because of the format that the book is written in. Sonya Sones tells the mind and feelings of Sophie through direct, bold and honest poems. With so little words she describes the important moments clearly and perfectly but yet the words she chose were also so powerful. You would honestly have to read it yourself to understand what I really mean. I finished this book in no time, because the author really knows how to let me keep flipping onto the next page, wanting to find out what happens next. Aniways, enough said, this is a really sweet and touching story of a teenage girl whom I believe all of us would discover little pieces of ourselves from her, no matter past or future.

3-0 out of 5 stars What my mother doesn't know
This book was a little dull, in my opinion. I read the entire book in about 3 hours. Part of the reason I read it so fast was because I couldn't put it down---I wanted to see what happened next! But when I finished it, I was left with sort of an empty feeling, like "That was a waste of a few hours."

The book was okay, but I've read better. :)

5-0 out of 5 stars brief but wonderful
Sones has chosen an unusual but altogether ideal medium for this tale of awareness and self-discovery: free-verse narrative poetry. One can imagine a teenaged girl sitting bored in math class, pulling out a pink gel pen a quickly scrawling out a "poem" detailing her thoughts about a boy or family or friends, the ideas sometimes convoluted or confused but often astounding in their unintential observation of the author and those around her. Sophie, the narrator of 'What My Mother Doesn't Know,' achieves just that. The tale is wonderful in the way Sophie fights against and submits to her conflicting emotions, socially imposed reservations, and friends, family, and lovers. Many external problems remain unresolved, but that adds to the authenticity of the piece as a snippet of a teenager's life: her greatest internal dilemmas are still overcome. It's an unfortunately brief read, but one well worth the experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars I LOVED this book!!!!
I read this book out of my own will during school. It only took me one day to read it! I couldn't put it down. I so wish I coul've read this book a long time ago. I just want to say that Sonya Sones did a GREAT job on this book! That every girl should read it. ... Read more


153. The High King (Chronicles of Prydain (Paperback))
by LLOYD ALEXANDER
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.99
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Asin: 0440435749
Catlog: Book (1999-01-12)
Publisher: Yearling
Sales Rank: 8421
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Since The Book of Three was first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-keeper and his quest to become a hero. Taran is joined by an engaging cast of characters that includes Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli--all of whom become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain.

Released over a period of five years, Lloyd Alexander's beautifully written tales not only captured children's imaginations but also garnered the highest critical praise. The Black Cauldron was a Newbery Honor Book, and the final volume in the chronicles, The High King, crowned the series by winning the Newbery Medal for "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."

Henry Holt is proud to present this classic series to a new generation of young readers. Jackets have been handsomely redesigned while retaining the original art of Caldecott Medal-winning artist Evaline Ness. Each retypeset volume now includes a pronunciation guide prepared by Lloyd Alexander. A companion book of short stories, The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain, is also available in hardcover for the first time in twenty years.

In their more than thirty years in print, the Chronicles of Prydain have become the standard of excellence in fantasy literature for children.
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Reviews (106)

5-0 out of 5 stars The ending of the Prydan Chronocles
The High King is a Newbery award winner in a series of 5 books (The High King is last book in the series). Starting with the mystical and astonishing book The Book of Three, this series builds over time and forces the reader to read these books again after time. The book starts off with Taran, once a cowardly assistant pig keeper. After the other books he develops the skills needed for a warrior, and is now grown up into a majestic character with the other characters met and discovered in the other books. The saddest and dreadful book in the series, the story must end, and main characters that played an important role are enforced in this book, ending the series once and for all. This book is the final attack made towards the Death Lord, and seals the paths for epilogues, but leaves room for the past to be revealed. The series read together make a great connection towards each other, and answers all unanswered questions that remain in the readers' head. This adventure plots all the characters from previous journeys, and makes a perilous excursion for the fantasy readers. Just like any series, what happens in the past controls the future. This book, read with the series or alone, provides adventure for any age. The fantasy based book implanted on the fundamentals of a welsh legend shows how people can react sometimes, or how much their customs make notice in front of intelligence and common sense.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful conclusion to an excellent series

I've loved Lloyd Alexander's classic series ever since I read "The Book of Three" in elemantary school. A well-chosen Christmas gift from my parents ensured that I got my hands on the next four books, concluding with "The High King".

One of the strengths of this series is that the characters learn and grow from one book to the next; it's great to see Taran from "The Book of Three", who reminds me rather of myself at that age (*grin*) grow up to take the responsibilities he has earned by the end of "The High King".

Alexander's use of Welsh mythology is excellent and for the most part right on target, though Arawn isn't quite as malevolent a figure in myth as he is in the Chronicles of Prydain, and the Gwydion of the Mabinogion is as much a trickster as he is a hero. (This isn't really a criticism; these are books for children, and I know that making Arawn and Gwydion more ambiguous characters would have confused me when I was younger.) The Triple Goddess, the people of Twylyth Teg, the people of Llyr--they're all here, forming a seamless and very real-feeling backdrop to the main characters' adventures.

Older readers may be interested in checking out the Mabinogion, the main body of Welsh myth that has survived the ages, after finishing this series. Gwyn Thomas and Kevin Crossley-Holland's "Tales from the Mabinogion" is an excellent edition to try, with beautiful illustrations.

Overall, the Chronicles of Prydain remain among my favorite stories, with "The High King" the best of the lot. I highly recommend them.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm waiting for this to become a movie...
Others have summed up how good this book, and indeed, the whole Chronicles of Pyrdain series is -- I heartily agree. What I would like to see is the series translated into film. It would be marvelous -- kind of like a combination of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings!

5-0 out of 5 stars Not just the best of the series, but my favorite book ever
This book is it. The climax. The payoff. The ultimate battle between good and evil, with a conclusion that moves me more than any other I've ever read.

The story starts with Taran and Gurgi reuniting with Eilonwy, Rhun, Fflewddur and Gwydion, only to learn that Gwydion's enchanted sword has been stolen by Arawn Death-Lord himself. They set out to find it, but soon realize that not only the sword, but all of Prydain is at stake.

Armies are rallied by both sides, battles are fought on a scale never seen in the previous books, and all the characters previously introduced return to take sides in the conflict.

Betrayal, greed and defeat are countered with courage, loyalty and sacrifice (watch Fflewddur in particular) time and time again. The price required to destroy the powers of evil is never higher, everyone loses something dear to them, many don't survive, and the land of Prydain will never be the same again.

When I re-read this in college I was surprised to learn that this was considered children's literature; the book's power only grows with the passage of time, and while it can be understood by children, its mark of greatness lies in its ability to resonate with readers of all ages.

This book could conceivably stand on its own, though reading the previous four books first is highly recommended. Doing so only adds to the power of this, the capstone of a beautiful series.

5-0 out of 5 stars Among the best fantasies ever
If ever there was a closing volume of a series that never failed to disappoint, and in fact was so good it raised the quality of every book that came before it, it is "The High King," the last book in Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles.

The Prydain Chronicles is a key series in children's fantasy literature, walking the fine line between being accessible to young readers while being appealing and engaging enough for adults to enjoy. Here in "The High King," that shows itself in spades. This is a serious work comparable to anything the fantasy genre has to offer. While appropriate for children, this is hardly "children's fantasy."

The action here is epic, larger in scope than anything seen in the series before. Sprawling armies clash. Wars are fought. People die. Its grim and serious stuff - but amazingly wholly suitable for readers of all ages.

All of our favorite characters come back for their final appears in this last volume. Taran, now grown and brave and confident, is among those to lead the charge in the final clash between ultimate good and ultimate evil. The fate of all of Prydain hangs in the balance as Arawn Death-Lord prepares to lay siege to all. The others return, too, including Eilonwy, the stereotypical spoiled princess, Gurgi, the crazed Gollum-like creature, and Fflewddur Fflam, the hapless bard who is prone to exaggeration.

One of the great joys of the Chronicles is the progress from lighthearted fantasy to adult themes and a grim tone. By the end, you feel as if the characters have taken a lifetime of journeys, learning from them as they went. It all culminates here, with joy, sadness, pain, death, and sacrifice mixing together to form a classic adventure tale.

Because Alexander draws his stories from ancient myth, these feel like stories you've read many times before - yet that never comes across in a tiresome way. It's a story that operates in a welcome comfort zone, nice in a time when so many books try so hard to be different solely for the sake of being different.

The Prydain Chronicles, and "The High King" especially, is recommended reading for anyone who enjoys fantasy, especially classic children's fantasy. Classic stuff in every way. ... Read more


154. Brian's Winter
by GARY PAULSEN
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440227194
Catlog: Book (1998-01-12)
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Sales Rank: 2222
Average Customer Review: 4.22 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Hatchet, 13-year-old Brian Robeson learned to survive alone in the Canadian wilderness, armed only with his hatchet. Finally, as millions of readers know, he was rescued at the end of the summer. But what if Brian hadn't been rescued? What if he had been left to face his deadliest enemy--winter?

Gary Paulsen raises the stakes for survival in this riveting and inspiring story as one boy confronts the ultimate test and the ultimate adventure. ... Read more

Reviews (255)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent adventure story for junior high boys!
This book offers an alternate ending to Paulsen's previous book, Hatchet. The story disregards Brian Robeson's rescue in Hatchet and continues his story of survival in the Canadian wilderness. Brian has found a survival kit on the plane that gives him more than just a hatchet to use for survival. However, Brian still has to be creative in finding ways to survive.

His days are filled with hunting, gathering wood, and doing what it takes to survive. When Brian realizes winter is quickly approaching, he knows to survive the winter he must have shelter, warmer clothes, and food. Brian begins to make preparations for the coming of freezing weather. Brian must also survive encounters with many wild animals, such as wolves, bears, elks, and even a skunk. While many things go wrong, Brian continues to learn from his surroundings, and uses that knowledge to survive.

Readers will find Brian creative and his adventures in the wild fun to read. While this book will probably be mostly enjoyed by boys, it can be enjoyed by girls, too. The best recommendation I can give, perhaps comes from my 13 year old son, who rarely reads for enjoyment. He only reads when the book totally captures him. He picked up Brian's Winter while stuck in the backseat of the car during a two hour trip and began to read it. He kept saying, "Mom, this book is really good!" I had to make him give me the book, so I could get it read and reviewed for a class assignment. That tells me this is a book that is worth reading and is an excellent book to keep in my classroom library.

4-0 out of 5 stars brian's accomplishments
Gary Paulsen has done it again he brought you the first survival book Hatchet, and he did it again with the sequel to it called Brian's Winter. It is again Brian Robeson surviving in the Canadian wilderness and only using his instincts to survive. But there is a twist in this book it doesn't take place in the Summer or Fall, it takes place in the Winter. During this book Brian is attacked, frozen, and he learns the real keys to survival. Luckily for him at the end of the first book he got the survival pack, which contained many things he used during the book brains winter. Brian in the book is attacked by a moose, bear, skunk and other things he is pushed to the edge but he pushes back, he over comes obstacles that we wouldn't dream of doing like eating grub and bugs he also eats moose, deer, birds, and rabbit. If you want an action packed survival book you found your book
If your looking for a good interesting survival book this is it. It has everything you need in a book plus survival tips, I would recommend this to any interested survival reader. I would say that this is the best survival book I have read yet. If you are interested in this book I would say read Hatchet first or at least the summary of Hatchet, it will help you understand the book Brian's Winter much better than just reading it first. But you will still catch on because this writer is pretty good a describing what happened in the first book. If I was to rate this novel from 1-10 I would give this book an 8 just on how much detail there is in it. I think Gary Paulsen put a lot of time in this novel.

4-0 out of 5 stars Brian's Winter
This was a great book. I loved that we were able to find out about Brian after the summer. Gary Paulsen responded well to his readers comments.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brian winter
In Brian winter by Gary Paulsen there where many ineresting points. Some of them include when Brian home was set on fire. It's was intersting because he Jumped out of the window and saved his self from a bear too. I Will tell peopel about this story. because it was fun and adventureous.

3-0 out of 5 stars Brians Winter
Thirteen year old Brian was rescued in the hatchet but what if he wasn`t rescued? This book explains what might of happened if he wasn`t rescued. Too survive Brian must make shelter, get food, cook the food, and he has to keep him self warm. This story is mostly character because Brian changes himself in mind and body. He changes his weight because he eats healthier and he changes from unserios to serious he changes his courage bye going deeper in the woods every time. ... Read more


155. Magic Street
by ORSON SCOTT CARD
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345416899
Catlog: Book (2005-06-28)
Publisher: Del Rey
Sales Rank: 31614
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156. If You Come Softly
by Jacqueline Woodson
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0698118626
Catlog: Book (2000-04-01)
Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 65139
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jeremiah feels good inside his own skin. That is, when he's in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But now he's going to be attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, and black teenage boys don't exactly fit in there. So it's a surprise when he meets Ellie the first week of school. In one frozen moment their eyes lock and after that they know they fit together -- even though she's Jewish and he's black. Their worlds are so different, but to them that's not what matters. Too bad the rest of the world has to get in their way.Reviewers have called Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson's work "exceptional" (Publishers Weekly) and "wrenchingly honest" (School Library Journal), and have said "it offers a perspective on racism and elitism rarely found in fiction for this age group" (Publishers Weekly). In If You Come Softly, she delivers a powerful story of interracial love that leaves readers wondering "why" and "if only...." ... Read more

Reviews (68)

4-0 out of 5 stars IF You Come Softly!!!!
If You Come Softly Scholastic Inc., 1998, 181pp., $3.99
Jacqueline Woodson ISBN 0-439-36738-7

If You Come Softly is an outstanding book that brings up very delicate issues like, interracial relationships, different races, racism, and love-at-first-sight. This book is about a Jewish girl named Elisha, and a Black boy named Jeremiah who fall in love at their private prep school, Percy Academy. The two teenagers don't see what's on the outside but only the kindness and beauty on the inside of each other. But some people don't see it the way that Jeremiah and Elisha do, which makes it difficult for them to have an open relationship. Apart from this they already have their own problems with being teenagers in general. How can their love for each one another stay strong under this much pressure? How can it stay strong when to the rest of the world "love" just isn't enough?

The author Jacqueline Woodson did an excellent job at touching these very powerful subjects, without going to the extreme. This book is a very intense, emotional, and heart aching book. I recommend this book to anyone who is 12-16 years old, who likes to see other peoples' points of view on racism, interracial relationships, and are very emotional.

This book is a great read all the way through and the excitement of what will happen next will keep you on the edge of your seat!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars if the world was againts you would you go against the world
Do you like romance books? Yes? no? Either one I think you should read "If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson. I personally don't like romance books, but I love this book. I rate this book five stars. "If You Come Soflty" is about a Jewish girl and an African American boy who fall in love at first sight. Ms. Woodson wrote this amazing modern love story. Some of the main characters and Ellie, Jeramiah , and both of their families. Ellie and Miah don't care what the world thinks about thier realationship. To them all that matters is that they love each other and are always there for one another. When one person thinks that they can't handle the pressure, the other one holds them up and they stay strong through it all. If you were in their sitiation what would you do? To find out what happened to Miah and Ellie please read this book. It's worth it. Trust me.

5-0 out of 5 stars this book is wonderful
When I first read this book i couldnt put it down i think i finished it in a few hours it is the most beautiful story. The whole thing like everything about it is beautiful the love jeremiah and ellie have for eachother and how the ending is just really wonderfully put together. i definately have this book in my favorites, and you should too.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great Book... Except.....
This was a great book. Its a story of when a Jewish girl meets a black boy and have a relationship together. It was really good, but keep in mind that when Miah's(the black boy)father says to him "never run in he park". He says that when he is really young. Then when Miah is 15, he is walking through the park and is really happy and decides to run through the park. This was the first time he ever ran in the park, and the police shoot him. That was the WORST ending I have ever read in my life! It was the worst ending to a good book. So if the things in this book were real, then I would get shot by the police if I ran through the park because I was black? Thats really dumb.....

4-0 out of 5 stars If You Come Softly
For Miah and Ellie love at first sight is not only possible, it is colorblind. Miah is he only child of two very famous African-Americans. His father, a movie director, has recently split up with his mother, a writer. His father has also decided to send Miah to a fancy prep school outside of the black neighborhood in which he has grown up. Ellie is the youngest child in a large Jewish family. Her father, a doctor, is often away from home, her siblings have all grown up and left, and she is unable to trust her mother, who abandoned their family on two occasions for several months at a time. Ellie is also sent to the fancy prep school.

When the two meet, their loneliness fades away and in each other they find a soul mate. Yet their relationship is shadowed by the distant disdain of onlookers and the fear of their family's disapproval, and eventually tragedy strikes and Ellie and Miah are separated for good.

In this novel, Jacqueline Woodson displays her delicate, well-crafted prose and her sensitive portrayal of adolescents and their families. Yet sadly her portrayal of Ellie and Miah's relationship is not as powerful as it could be. Their relationship is beautiful to read about but it never becomes grounded in reality. If Woodson wishes to speak about the very real and important issue of interracial dating, she must write about a relationship that the readers can relate to. The bigotry that Ellie and Miah encounter is so subtle (appropriately so) and their relationship is so idyllic that it is hard to see the effects of this bigotry on their relationship.

In addition, the ending is overly dramatic, especially considering the gentle nature of the story up to that point. One feels that Woodson chose to end her novel as she did because she did not want to bring Ellie and Miah's love into the real world and because she knew that it could not go on as it was. This is a great shame, especially considering the quality of Woodson's character development.

As it stands If You Come Softly is a lovely story about a tragic and fairy-tale romance. Yet it has the potential to be a powerful portrayal of love, family and the problems of interracial dating in our modern society. Unfortunately this potential is never realized. ... Read more


157. The Mediator #2: Ninth Key (Mediator)
by Meg Cabot
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060725125
Catlog: Book (2005-01-01)
Publisher: Avon
Sales Rank: 35583
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Book Description

Everything is going great for Suze. Her new life in California is a whirlwind of parties and excellent hair days. Tad Beaumont, the hottest boy in town, has even asked Suze out on her very first date. Suze is so excited that she's willing to ignore her misgivings about Tad... particularly the fact that he's not Jesse, whose ghostly status--not to mention apparent disinterest in her--make him unattainable.

What Suze can’t ignore, however, is the ghost of a murdered woman whose death seems directly connected to dark secrets hidden in none other than Tad Beaumont's past.

... Read more

158. Tears Of A Tiger
by Sharon M. Draper
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0689806981
Catlog: Book (1996-02-01)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Sales Rank: 26815
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (215)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tears of a Tiger: A story of Death and Depression
Tears of a Tiger, a novel by Sharon M. Draper, is an excellent choice for both teenagers and adults alike. The book is about four friends, Andy, Rob, B.J., and Tyrone have a beer in celebration of a major basketball victory. Andy begins to drive to his friend Kiesha's house, even though he is drunk. Without seeing it until the last second, Andy slams his compact Cheverlet Chevette into a wall, making the car burst into flames. Andy, B.J., and Tyrone escape from the car with minor injuries, but Rob is trapped inside the vehicle. Andy, B.J., and Rob try helplessly to rescue their friend, but the gas tank explodes, forcing the flames in the car to change from a small internal fire to a blazing inferno.
B.J. and Tyrone learn to deal with the tradgedy, but Andy is not able to recover easily. The remainder of the story is how Andy deals with the accident, even if that means hurting himself both mentally and phisically. I reccommend this book to all teenagers and adults because it discusses today's real-life issues that are applicable to everyone, especially teenagers. Also, the book is written from different people's perspectives, so you understand what the main characters are thinking. The novel explains that teenagers want the responsibilites of adults and think that they are immortal and nothing bad can ever happen to them.

5-0 out of 5 stars In the Blinking of a Eye peoples lives change Forever...
The book,"Tears of a Tiger", by Sharon Mills Draper is a book I personally enjoyed and probably never forget. It teaches you that anything can happen to anyone and that life is a precious and once in a lifetime experience and to enjoy it while you can and be friendly and nice to everyone because you don't know if you will see them tomorrow. Somethings I liked about the book was it had newspaper articles, character's homework, diaries and letters. The author didn't just write it out the way books are usually printed. It's sort of like a diary. Also I liked it because she used words teens use. Monty (Andy's little brother) is my favorite character because when Andy is depressed and not himself Monty seems to give him a bit of hope.I liked it when the class was having a lesson on Macbeth who had killed his best friend, women and children, and the King. Also I liked the part when Keisha Montgomery wrote an essay on the importance of friedship and how its wonderful to have friends. What happened in the book could happen to anyone and also is funny, sad, and sus- pensful. I would highly recommend this to teens mainly in their late teens through early 20's.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book ever
Sharon M. Draper's Tears of a Tiger is the story of an unraveling black teenager who goes through a lot of pain, stress, and trauma. Sharon M. Draper writes in such a way that her literature literally brings tears to your eyes. This book describes bonds between friendship and love in a spectacular way. Tears of a Tiger presents the readers with lessons about drunk-driving and love.
17-year-old Andy Jackson discovers a world of depression when he and three other friends live a fatal car-accident. Andy, Rob, Tyrone and B.J. are four friends who celebrate after success in a high-school basketball game. All except B.J. drink during their ride on the car, even the driver, Andy. The likely conclusion that would occur happened, Andy crashed the car. All survived but Rob.
After Rob's death, Andy starts to go into a world of his own where he faces a lot of problems. He feels that Rob's death was his fault because he caused the car to crash. Without Andy, Rob wouldn't have been dead. That's not Andy's only problem. Andy's been having a lot of problems with his girlfriend. Andy's girlfriend, Keisha doesn't seem to like the fact that Andy has been in his own world. Lately she has noticed that Andy ignores her and starts being more and more of a pain. After they break up something terrible happens. If you read the book you'll find out.
This book was written in such a way that it was hard to put down. The author's style made you want to keep on reading. Each chapter was very unique. There were chapters that were newspaper articles and also phone conversations. By reading this book, I thought the author was a very creative person.
Tears of a Tiger is one of those books that the reader can generate a lot of thought. This book is filled with connection to the real world. This book shows the reader the consequences of drunk driving. Many teens can relate to this book, and that's what makes this book fun to read.
All and all, this was a very satisfying book. One downside may be that the author uses too much dialogue, other than that it's perfect. I would definitely recommend this book to adults and young adults. The ending left me hanging and wondering a lot about what was going on in Andy's head. I was thinking about all those people whose lives were ruined by drunk-drinking. This book left me thinking about how well the author constructed the narrative and how the situation was so realistic. This is one of those books which a reader can not put down because of its superior quality.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books ever!!!!!!
Sharon M. Draper's Tears of a Tiger is the story of an unraveling black teenager who goes through a lot of pain, stress, and trauma. Sharon M. Draper writes in such a way that her literature literally brings tears to your eyes. This book describes bonds between friendship and love in a spectacular way. Tears of a Tiger presents the readers with lessons about drunk-driving and love.
17-year-old Andy Jackson discovers a world of depression when he and three other friends live a fatal car-accident. Andy, Rob, Tyrone and B.J. are four friends who celebrate after success in a high-school basketball game. All except B.J. drink during their ride on the car, even the driver, Andy. The likely conclusion that would occur happened, Andy crashed the car. All survived but Rob.
After Rob's death, Andy starts to go into a world of his own where he faces a lot of problems. He feels that Rob's death was his fault because he caused the car to crash. Without Andy, Rob wouldn't have been dead. That's not Andy's only problem. Andy's been having a lot of problems with his girlfriend. Andy's girlfriend, Keisha doesn't seem to like the fact that Andy has been in his own world. Lately she has noticed that Andy ignores her and starts being more and more of a pain. After they break up something terrible happens. If you read the book you'll find out.
This book was written in such a way that it was hard to put down. The author's style made you want to keep on reading. Each chapter was very unique. There were chapters that were newspaper articles and also phone conversations. By reading this book, I thought the author was a very creative person.
Tears of a Tiger is one of those books that the reader can generate a lot of thought. This book is filled with connection to the real world. This book shows the reader the consequences of drunk driving. Many teens can relate to this book, and that's what makes this book fun to read.
All and all, this was a very satisfying book. One downside may be that the author uses too much dialogue, other than that it's perfect. I would definitely recommend this book to adults and young adults. The ending left me hanging and wondering a lot about what was going on in Andy's head. I was thinking about all those people whose lives were ruined by drunk-drinking. This book left me thinking about how well the author constructed the narrative and how the situation was so realistic. This is one of those books which a reader can not put down because of its superior quality.

5-0 out of 5 stars TEARS OF A TIGER
The book was outstanding it taught me alot.I think Sharon Draper made the story seem so realistic and life like , I could hardly put the book down. The hurt and guilt that Andy Jackson had to deal with after killing his bestfriend ,while driving drunk was really more than he could handle. Him not realizing who to turn to the hurt and pain was eating away at him. So the only way out to him was to klii himself and get it all over with. I recommend anyone who haven't read this book to do so because it is amazing. As a teenager I could really relate with this story.
By Tynia Mitchell
St Louis Mo ... Read more


159. Foundation and Earth
by ISAAC ASIMOV
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553587579
Catlog: Book (2004-08-31)
Publisher: Spectra
Sales Rank: 6439
Average Customer Review: 3.79 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (66)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the foundations of the Foundation Series
This is the last book (chronologically) in the Foundation Series, and with Prelude to Foundation, the earliest, the Foundation Series has two excellent bookends, or, perhaps, "foundations", to keep it in place.

F&E is a continuation of Foundation's Edge, and is the story of Trevize, Pelorat and Bliss/Gaia's quest to find Earth, in an attempt to determine why Trevize's choice for the future of mankind is the right one.

The book deviates substantially from the rest of the series, but generally in a positive way. Whereas Asimov has a habit of making his primary characters out of cardboard, presumably to avoid the people getting in the way of the ideas he wants to express, F&E fleshes out the characters with a certain amount of personality. Whereas the rest of the Foundation Series tends to concentrate on worlds which, after a while, all appear similar, the worlds of F&E are different, frightening, and yet serve Asimov's agendas well. F&E also ties together the Robot series universe with that of the Foundation series far more substantially than the other books in the Foundation Series attempted to, portraying the futures of the Spacer worlds that Robot fans will be familiar with.

I'm guessing that the differences are ultimately why this has gotten a lower average review than the others in the series - it's not classic Foundation Series material, and any one expecting a collecton of stories involving a renegade Foundation leader visiting various rebelling worlds and outwitting the dimwitted monarchs that rule over them with some sort of smartarsed politics is going to be sorely disappointed. Hari Seldon makes no appearance. I don't recall even seeing the term "Seldon Crisis" in this book.

If you genuinely want more of the same, you'll probably be disappointed by this book. If you've never read any of the series before, it's probably best to start at the beginning with the equally excellent Prelude to Foundation (or even the Robot series.) But if you're excited by Asimov's ability to paint new worlds, to visualise the future directions for humanity, you cannot afford to miss this. Foundation and Earth is the best yet.

4-0 out of 5 stars The "last" book in the series, and a fine one at that
This is the last book, chronologically, in the Robot/Empire/Foundation universe, and it's a very fitting one. The story starts immediately (i.e. days) after the end of Foundation's Edge, so we start with the same three main characters - Trevize, the exiled Foundation councilman; Pelorat, the ancient historian looking for Earth; and Bliss, member of the superorganism Gaia. Since the problems of Trevize and Bliss were solved in Foundation's Edge, we are left to solve Pelorat's in this book - where and what is the planet where all humankind originated? Of course, we already know the answer, but there's a great deal of fun to be had in the journey.
...
Thus, we set off on a search for Earth, and with only a few clues and hearsay, it's a long search. Along the way we visit a number of planets we're familiar with from other series - notably Solaria and Aurora, the two most prominent Spacer worlds in the Robot novels. We learn the fate of the Spacers (including the solution to the "hook" at the end of Robots and Empire - why the Solarians disappeared) and along the way Asimov springs a few additional surprises on us. The characters are interesting and much more enjoyable than the same characters in the previous book - I'm not sure why that is, since their personalities are perfectly consistent. The debates between Trevize representing individual freedom and Bliss representing the telepathically linked massmind of Gaia provides much of the philosophical backbone of the book. There is suffienct action and plot twists to keep you turning the pages right to the end of the book.
...
It's curious that this book is so difficult to find, yet the books published on either side of it (Robots and Empire and Prelude to Foundation) are readily available. In addition, this book spent 15 weeks on the NY Times bestseller list! It's even hard to find used (it took me about 10 used bookstores in 3 different cities to find it, and every one of the ten had Foundation's Edge). Very odd. But, it was well worth the effort to find - it's one of the best Foundation books, certainly better than Foundation's Edge. There is a hook at the end of this novel too, but the good Dr. Asimov passed on before he could write another installment (and apparently, he did not have any idea what to do with it anyways).

5-0 out of 5 stars The Master of Science-Fiction High Tech!
Only Isaac Asimov could've comprehensively created a futuristic set of books dealing with humanity thousands of years from where we currently stand. These books are among the greatest books in science-fiction, along with other such books by both Old Masters and Cyberpunk Authors: "Stranger in a Strange Land", "Puppet Masters", "Starship Troopers", "Rendezvous with Rama", "Childhood's End", "Snow Crash", "Cryptonomicon", "Cyber Hunter" and so forth.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gives a reasonably good end to the series
I have to start by saying, read Asimov's "End of Eternity". It is by far his best SF work and may be the best SF novel I've ever read.

I think a lot of the reviews have been unduly harsh on Foundation and Earth. I thought this book was engaging and had a pretty good end that has me excited to go read the robot and empire novels. Also, while the book really gave an end to the series in a meaningful way, it did leave open a possible future story that the Asimov estate could allow someone to write.

3-0 out of 5 stars Still Worth the Read
This, the fifth book, was probably the worst in the series, but was still worth the read, as far as I'm concerned. (I haven't read the two prequels yet.) The Foundation Series' setting and Asimov's style just seems to be right up my alley. I've liked everything I've read by him so far!

One of my favorite aspects of the original trilogy, was how it did a story in one generation, and then went to another story in another generation- A short story or novella for each Psycho-historical crisis. Now, as in Foundation's Edge, we are stuck with a straight forward novel-type book. A little disappointing, but as I said, I guess I just enjoy the Foundation SF setting, and this book was still very enjoyable for me.

I have no clue why this book is out-of-print... Did the publishers hate it? Or did they just not like the direction this plunged the series into? Did they want F&E's ending out of the way to make room for a new direction in the books by the "Killer B's" -written after Asimov's death? I didn't read those books yet either, and since they didn't get such hot reviews- I may not read them ever. Oh well.

If the low average rating here on Amazon has you wary, you can always try to get it from the library, so you won't waste your money on a potentially bad book. But if you enjoyed books 1 through 4, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. ... Read more


160. Oliver Twist
by Charles Dickens
list price: $4.99
our price: $4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812580036
Catlog: Book (1998-08-01)
Publisher: Tor Books
Sales Rank: 26801
Average Customer Review: 3.91 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Tor Classics are affordably-priced editions designed to attract the young reader. Original dynamic cover art enthusiastically represents the excitement of each story. Appropriate "reader friendly" type sizes have been chosen for each title—offering clear, accurate, and readable text. All editions are complete and unabridged, and feature Introductions and Afterwords.

This edition of Oliver Twist includes a Foreword, Biographical Note, and Afterword by Nancy Springer.

Abandoned at an early age, Oliver Twist is forced to live in a dark and dismal London workhouse lorded over by awful Mr. Bumble who cheats the boys of their meager rations! Desperate but determined, Oliver makes his escape. But what he discovers in the harsh streets of London's underworld makes the workhouse look like a picnic. Penniless and alone, he is lured into a world of crime by the wily Fagin--the nefarious mastermind of a gang of pint-sized pickpockets.

Will a life of crime pay off for young Oliver? Or will it earn him a one-way ticket to the gallows?
... Read more

Reviews (90)

3-0 out of 5 stars So much richer than the tale you knew as a child
Few works of adult literature are so well known that they become embedded in our cultural fabric the way that Oliver Twist has. Perhaps it is because the title character is a loveable, sympathetic, young boy that the story, over time, has come to be mistaken by some for a children's tale. And perhaps it is because I feel like I have known the story all my life that I only recently realized that I had never, in fact, read the novel. So as I sat down to (finally) read this book, it was with a sense that I was simply revisiting a cherished story from my youth. But as I quickly realized after a very few pages, this is adult literature in all respects - in its sophisticated, intelligent prose, its rich plot, its elaborate cast of characters, and, yes, the occasional depiction of gruesome violence.

Surely even those who have never read this Charles Dickens' classic could recite the basic elements of its plot. Who among us is unfamiliar with the story of the young orphan who musters up the courage to ask, "Please, sir, I want some more." And yet this novel is so much more than a mere rags-to-riches story. It is also the heartwarming story of the triumph of good versus evil and of the human spirit's ability to face down adversity. Dickens pits an innocent child against the dangers of an uncaring world, and the story's happy ending is at once a celebration of Oliver's innocence and an affirmation of all that is right and just in society.

Though the prose can be tedious at times, Dickens' mastery of the English language is difficult not to appreciate. And while some may find the plot cliché, there is sufficient tension throughout the novel to maintain the reader's interest. For myself, I was continually surprised, as the chapters unfolded, to realize how much more there was to this classic than simply a story about an orphan who falls in with a gang of unruly pickpockets. This is definitely worth reading, even if you feel like you have already read it as a child.

4-0 out of 5 stars Biting Social Commentary, Pretty Good Story
Starting with Oliver's premature birth to a dying mother looked on by a gin-swilling nurse in a parish workhouse, Dickens tone is extremely satirical. Though his meanings are clear, his craftsmanship with the English language is in rare form in the beginning of Oliver Twist. The "distinguished and enlightened gentlemen" who's reform policies for the workhouse are raked over the coals in glowing language represent an unusual type of Dickens character for me. Usually even Dicken's villains are multi-faceted characters whose motives we understand though disapprove of. Here, the Directors of the parish who eventually pay to get rid of Oliver, are difficult to conceive of. The hardships of the workhouse inmates, more especially what seems like intentional starvation, seem hard to believe though as I read this book, the death of a foster child in New Jersey from starvation brought to light many things going on in twenty-first century reality which had seemed implausible in this nineteenth century novel. The satirical language is often humorous though the subject matter is not and makes the account more palatable. The first of the book is spent in this way which seems really to be more of Dicken's social commentary than pure story line.

In true Dickens style, each of the characters Oliver meets throughout the story are part of a larger, more elaborate plot line that the story is ever trying to unfold. After being apprenticed to the coffinmaker Mr. Sowerberry, he is taunted by the charity boy - Noah Claypole - until he makes a break for London. Accidentally falling into the clutches of local fence Fagin whose aim it is to turn him to a life of crime, Oliver struggles to break free with the help of various good hearted people he befriends along the way despite his situation. It is only through their help who believe in him against all odds that we find that Fagin's attempts to make Oliver into a thief or at least believe that he has broken the law is not entirely the result of chance. As a shadowy figure going by the name of Monks attempts to remove proofs of Oliver's origins, it is up to his new friends to piece together the puzzle of Oliver's life and help him to break free once and for all from the poverty of his existence.

Until Oliver's friends get involved, I wasn't entirely grabbed by the story line but I don't know if that was from my inability to connect with the workhouse characters or my familiarity with the early part of the story. Once they got involved and I was into a part of the story I knew nothing about, I did really get into it. Like A Tale of Two Cities, I would say that this one starts a little slow but takes off towards the middle. Unlike that novel, however, its lacks the profound nobility, with some characters having little value except as a vehicle in the commentary (like Mr. Bumble). The Tale of Two Cities was not an out and out social commentary (it was hidden well within the folds of the pages) but I would have to say that Twist is. It is a good story, well worth reading, but its lasting value is not in the character of the orphan Oliver - it is in the passion of the author against the wrongs of the then welfare system. It seems more to me to be a moralism: a tale to remind us of ourselves and to guard against the mistakes of the past and to ensure the lives of the vulnerable in the future.

5-0 out of 5 stars POOR LITTLE TWIST
Right off the bat, I've never been a fan of Dickens. To me, there's always been something mercenary about his writing due to the fact that his novels were written to be serialized in magazines of his time. From one week to the next, he was just winging it, creating it as he went. While his improvisation is impressive, it lended itself to bloatedness and inefficency. I've read or tried to read about 5 of his works and never liked the writing. Despite that, I've tried to keep a positive outlook about the guy. I mean, with his status in the Western canon, maybe I just wasn't getting it. Thankfully, I really enjoyed Oliver Twist. Finally, a book of his that I liked.

Oliver Twist is an orphan whose father is unknown and whose mother died during childbirth. Consequently he is raised in the equivalent of the 19th century English welfare system. His raising by the state is despicable. The powers that be in the government of that time, much like our government, had to deal with the problem of indigents taking advantage of the welfare system. They made the homeless shelters and lunchlines so atrocious that the down-on-their luck would HAVE to look elsewhere for help. They went on the assumption that all the displaced were bums just looking for handouts. So the honest and dishonest were treated the same way.

Oliver Twist is a victim of this in that the daily meals he is served in the workhouse as a child are not enough to sustain a human being. Foolishly or bravely, one day he stands up and states the famous line, "Please sir, I want some more." In return for this he is bundled off to be an apprentice undertaker. After some trouble with another boy in the house, he runs away, in the process meeting The Artful Dodger, who indoctrinates him into a gang of pickpockets and thieves led by the Jew Fagin. The question is whether or not a boy who is basically good can escape from such an evil life, or whether he will fall victim to it.

This was a great book. The characters were great and the novel has a dark undertone that I wouldn't expect from Dickens. Unlike David Copperfield, this work does not exhaust itself through its very length. The ending tended to be a little too talky and clean.

1-0 out of 5 stars Literary quality does not exist
While cultural pundits try to convince you that some literature is better than other literature, the truth is that all art is relative to individial tastes. Thus, it doesn't make any sense to think that a novel like this one is really any better than say, Michael Crichton or Stephen King. Aesthetic standards can't be grounded.

Thus, don't listen to anyone who tries to distinguish between "serious" works of literature like this one and allegedly "lesser" novels. The distinction is entirely illusory, because no novels are "better" than any others, and the concept of a "great novel" is an intellectual hoax.

5-0 out of 5 stars It is a good novel.
Anybody who claims that Oliver Twist is not a good novel should be ashamed of themselves. First of all, Mr. Dickens wrote this in 1838 WHEN HE WAS TWENTY-FOUR! To all of you people who claim that this novel is boring and the worst book they ever read, let me ask you this one question - do you think you can write this well at 24 years of age? I think not. So, you basically have no right to criticize this novel. As for its not being as good as Mr. Dicken's later works, you must remember that he had less experience at twenty-four then he did when he published his other wotks. All in all, I liked it much better than A Christmas Carol. ... Read more


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