Monthly Archives: November 2009

Fool – Review

Fool by Christopher Moore

Age: 17 years +

Fans of Shakespeare and fans of dry, vulgar and sarcastic wit will appreciate Christopher Moore’s Fool. King Lear’s beloved and truthful fool, Pocket, is the narrator of this tale.

King Lear:

Shakespeare’s story of King Lear in a nutshell: King has 3 daughters, Goneril, Reagan and Cordeila. He is dividing up his realm, and asks his girls to tell him how much they love and adore him. Reagan and Goneril lie to the moon and back and are given generous amounts of land. Corderila truthfully answers her father, in that she loves him as a father; no more-no less. The famous like “Nothing comes from nothing” is taken from this scene. Because Cordeila refuses to lie and flatter her father, she is disowned and the king divides his land between the two older sisters. Cordeilia goes to France, and King divides his time between the two sisters.

There is another substory of Edmund and Edgar and their battle of their father’s realm. Edmund is a bastard child and not the true heir, so he plots to get rid of his brother and become heir to the land.

*Side Note* King Lear is my favorite Shakespeare play, followed by The Templest.

Fool is my first venture into the very popular world of Christopher Moore. Christopher Moore is able to really break about the story of King Lear and develop the characters more fully.  I’m really at a loss for how to describe this book. I listened to it on audio cd, which I think is the best way to enjoy this story. The narrator, Euan Morton does a fantastic job with all the characters. The pacing is just right, the comedic timing in his voice is perfect. I’m typically not one to laugh out loud when reading, even comedies, but Morton’s high pitched voices for the female characters makes it impossible not to. The only other book that had me laughing hysterically was Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris.

I really recommend this book. And I am intersted in suggestions for other Christopher Moore books you think I might like. I couldn’t get into Lamb, but I’m interested in going through some of his other books.

Use of HarperCollins’ amazing “Browse Inside” feature to get a glimpse of Fool’s beginning chapters here

Fool
by Christopher Moore
Read by Euan Morton
Harper Collins, 2009
7 Cds

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Find this item at your local library – CD

Find this item at your local library – Book

Stacey McGill – Babysitter’s Club Spotlight

Stacey McGill

Anastasia Elizabeth McGill

Stacey McGill 

Position: Treasurer

Best Friend: Claudia Kishi

Appearance: slender, blonde hair (sometimes permed)

Stacey first moved to Stonybrook, Connecticut when her dad was transferred for his job. Stacey became fast friends with Claudia due to their love of fashion and boys. Stacey quickly became the club treasurer due to her love of math and science and became a part of the SMS Mathletes Club. Stacey is also known for her struggles with type 1 diabetes, an illness that has put her in the hospital quite a few times.

In book #13, Goodbye, Stacey, Goodbye Stacey moved back to New York with her parents when her father was transferred again. She became an honorary member of the BSC, even though she no longer lived in Stonybrook. A few books later in the series, Stacey dealt with a tough divorce battle between her parents and had to make the tough choice of staying in New York with her dad or moving back to Stonybrook with her mom. Book #28 #28 Welcome Back, Stacey!, reunites Stacey back into the BSC group when she chooses to live with her mom. In book #83, Stacey vs. The BCS, Stacey battles with the rest of the club members as they start to seem immature to her. Stacey slowly begins to grow apart from the girls and seemingly leaves the club. It is right around here where I had stopped following the series.

Stacey and Mary Ann were always my favorites of the BSC girls. Mary Ann was the girl I could most relate to, the shy, quiet bookish girl. Stacey was the girl I wanted to be. The girl who dated the older boys, who joined the cheerleading squad, wore the cool clothes and was good with math. Stacey was a good role model for me growing up, giving me something to aspire to. Mary Ann was a great role model, because I could identify with her character the most and could feel more comfortable in my own skin after reading a few of her books.

I started reading the BSC when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, I don’t remember which exactly. Although I couldn’t relate to 12 and 13 year old girl drama at the time, the characters and their stories engrossed me in every way. My sister was a member of the monthly BSC book club, but I was the one who read through all the books. I bought as many as I could from the Scholastic book orders to keep the series going when my parents ended the subscription, I once received a BSC book for free because they mailed an extra and my teacher knew I loved the series (it also just happened to be a Stacey book).

I’m sad that these books are slowly filtering out of the library system. Although new graphic novel renditions are taking their spots, its just not the same. I hope you enjoyed my character spotlight of Stacey. I’d love to hear what you think. Who is your favorite BSC member? What is your favorite book of the series?

Go here for the complete Babysitter’s Club Series Catalog

If Stacey is your favorite, then make sure to reread all your favorite Stacey Books:

Stacey Book Catalogue via Scholastic.com
Meet Stacey

#3 The Truth About Stacey: The truth about Stacey is that she has diabetes.
#8 Boy-Crazy Stacey: Who need baby-sitting when there are boys around!
#13 Good-bye Stacey, Good-bye: Stacey McGill is moving back to New York!
#18 Stacey’s Mistake: The Baby-sitters are way out of place in the big city.
#28 Welcome Back, Stacey!: Stacey’s parents have been fighting a lot lately. Even so, she’s still not prepared for the terrible news: her parents are getting divorced.
#35 Stacey and Mystery of Stoneybrook: Can Stacey solve the haunted house mystery?
#43 Stacey’s Emergency: Stacey just can’t win.
#51 Stacey’s Ex-Best Friend: Stacey doesn’t want to lose her childhood friend. But Laine’s growing up way too fast for Stacey.
#58 Stacey’s Choice: Since Stacey’s parents got divorced it hasn’t been easy. They each need her – badly. How will Stacey ever choose between her mom and her dad…again?
#65 Stacey’s Big Crush: He’s smart. He’s handsome. He’s 22!
#70 Stacey and the Cheerleaders: The cheerleaders have asked Stacey to try out for the squad!
#76 Stacey’s Lie: When Stacey’s father asks her to take a vacation with him, she knows just where to go: Fire Island. It’s close to New York City, and it’s where her boyfriend’s family is vacationing too!
#83 Stacey vs. the BSC: The Baby-sitters Club. They’re the best friends Stacey’s ever had. But lately , they seem kind of immature to her.
#87 Stacey and the Bad Girls: Stacey enjoys hanging out with Jacqui, Sheila, and the other girls. They’re fun. A little wild even. But how much can Stacey trust them?
#94 Stacey McGill, Super Sitter: Stacey’s going to make a small fortune as a super sitter. But is it worth it?
#99 Stacey’s Broken Heart: Will Stacey and Robert be together forever?
#111 Stacey’s Secret Friend
#119 Stacey’s Ex-Boyfriend
#124 Stacey MacGill… Matchmaker
#130 Stacey’s Movie

Mysteries

#1 Stacey and the Missing Ring: Stacey has to find that ring – or business is over for the Baby-sitters Club!
#10 Stacey and the Mystery Money: Counterfeit money is showing up in Stoneybrook – and someone gave Stacey a fake ten dollar bill.
#14 Stacey and the Mystery at the Mall: Is it safe to shop at Washington Mall anymore?
#18 Stacey and the Mystery at the Empty House: While the Johanssens are away, Stacey’s in charge of walking their dog, Carrot, and watching their house.
#22 Stacey and the Haunted Masquerade: SMS hasn’t had a Mischief Night Masquerade in twenty-eight years. Stacey can’t wait to get involved.
#33 Stacey and the Stolen Hearts

Portrait Collection

Stacy’s Book: This is my life – welcome to it.

Babysitter’s Club week on the blog-o-sphere

For those of us who grew up with the Babysitter’s club, now is your chance to visit that long-last era of your life and reunite with the best friends you always wished you had. All this week, various blogs will feature special character spotlights and ruminations on one of the most beloved series of our youth.

Make sure to check in regularly at My Friend Amy’s blog for a daily dose of BSC reviews, character spotlights and more! She’s the host of this fun tribute, so make sure to tell her how thrilled you are she’s doing this.

I’ve noticed the sad decline of the BSC series on the library shelves, and it seems to be spreading nationwide. While the Boxcar Children series is still running strong, most libraries have already deleted almost all of their copies, due to condition and lack of circulation. I loved this series. My sister signed up for the monthly BSC book club, but I was the one who read all the books. Even going into the BSC Little Sister series with Karen. I ordered all the books from the Scholastic book orders we got in elementary schools (who doesn’t love those?). I have almost all the mysteries, all the vacation books and I’ve seen both movies and all the TV shows. I’m glad this week gives me a chance to travel back into a time of my life that really helped shape my future. Although the classics are out of circulation, you can catch the girls in a graphic novel format, and keep the stories going.

babysitters-club

Cowboy & Wills – Review

Cowboy and Wills by Monica Holloway

Age level: 9th – Adult

Wills Holloway was only three years old when he was first diagnosed with Severe High Autism. Mother Monica, did her best to help her son navigate his way through the intricacies of autism and the real world. Before turning to doctors, psychologists and other specialists to help Wills transition, Monica would stop by a local pet store to purchase small pets, (hamsters, turtles, hermit crabs). Each animal, in its own small way, helped draw Wills out of his shell and overcome very small battles in his life. It wasn’t until Cowboy, the lovable puppy golden retriever was introduced to their lives, that Wills really began to evolve from an introverted boy with autism, to a young child, playing and laughing with friends. Small experiences, such as saying a name aloud, or taking a bath, were battlegrounds for the Holloway family, but Cowboy was a friendly beacon helping bring Wills into a seemingly normal life. Wills would transfer his fears and doubts onto Cowboy, and in turn, help her overcome a fear of hiking, or a fear of swimming or whatever else Wills was fearing at the moment. This form of projection helped Wills feel in control of his life. As therapeutic as Cowboy was for Wills, he still had a full time aide as a school for kindergarten and first grade, a therapist he saw twice a week, an occupational therapist once a week to help him with his motor skills and a specialist trying to diagnose Wills autism and issue a final report. With all the pets the family has collected over the years and two incredibly loving and devoted parents, and Wills has one of the strongest and well built support systems I’ve ever encountered. Although his mother kept discussing how much of a financial strain the therapy and vet bills put on their family, I never got the sense that it was that much of an issue. Monica is a stay at home mother and writer, and her husband Michael is a writer for a sitcom in Los Angeles.

This is still a very touching story about a boy and his dog and his struggle to overcome his autism and interact normally with kids his own age and other people in his life.

Cowboy and Wills: A Love Story
by Monica Holloway
Simon & Schuster, 2009
ISBN 1416595038
276 pages
Source: Review

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Teaser Tuesday (11/3)

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
# Grab your current read.
# Let the book fall open to a random page.
# Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

# You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given! # Please avoid spoilers!

My Two Teasers:

Strange glanced two or three times around the room in search of some magic to do. His glance fell upon a mirror that hung in the depths of a corner of the room where the light never penetrated.

Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke p294

My Name is Aram – Review

My Name is Aram by William Saroyan

Age: 8th – Adult

My Name is Aram is a semi-fictional account of William Saroyan’s life from 1915 to 1925 in Fresno, California, told in fourteen short chapters, each discussing a different event or experience. Aram Garoghlanian is a curious young boy, and his curiosity often leads him straight to trouble. We are introduced to his Armenian family, his friends and those that live in the same small-town.

https://i0.wp.com/www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n48/n243862.jpgThe stories are short, simple and each one carries a special message or lesson learned by Aram. His book teaches the simple morals of understanding, not stealing, loyalty and the joys of learning. Aram is an adorable boy, with a mind full of questions and a routine of seeking out new experiences and facing the consequences. I want to compare Saroyan’s work to Steinbeck. As contemporaries in poverty stricken farmlands in California, they both have a similar pool of experiences to share. While both write about small town life of the immigrant worker, Saroyan’s work is more upbeat than Steinbeck’s because Sarayan can make fun of himself in his work.

Saroyan touches upon many issues within each of his stories. He addresses religion in the story of the two boys paid to sing in a Presbyterian Choir even though they are Catholic.  He discusses friendship in nearly all of his chapters, but the most powerful chapter is the final one, “The Poor and Burning Arab” where Aram learns about the value of words, and when silence is sometimes more appropriate than wasted words. He discusses compassion and understanding in the chapter “The Three Swimmers and the Educated Grocer”, which incidentally has my favorite line in the book.

Well, I’ll be harrowed, cultivated, pruned, gathered into a pile, burned, picked off a tree, and let me see, what else? Thrown into a box, cut off a vine and eaten grape by grape by a girl in her teens. (The Three Swimmers and the Educated Grocer)

A short book, this is a quick and fun read, but full of insight and humor into the simple activities in our daily lives.

My Name is Aram
by William Saroyan
Dell Publishing, 1937
156 pages

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