Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thomas' 18th Illustrated Story -- Book 4

            Once upon a time, there was a Thomas named Thomas.  He traveled around the world in one afternoon by satellite.  He visited New York City to see the Statue of Liberty.  He went to Brazil and saw the God statue.  He traveled to Greenland, because that is where the headquarters are.  The Eiffel Tower is in France, so Thomas went there.  Finally, we went to England to visit London.  Thomas wanted to stay in London, but he had to get back home to take a bath.
The End.

Book 581

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dalh, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Penguin, 1964.

Of course this book is brilliant.  Of course this book is funny.  Of course it is sharp and quick-paced.  But it is also creepy and unsettling -- and I mean that in the best possible way.

The movies based on this book are good, even great, but do not come close to reaching the level of this book.

Book 580

Rest in Pieces, by Rita Brown, Bantam Book, 1992.

This book was both quite good and quite bad. 

First the good:  The characters were quirky enough to be interesting, but not so quirky that they turned into cartoon.  The writing was solid, the pacing was good, and the mystery was intriguing.  As a stand-alone book, this book would have been fine.

Then the bad:  This book follows almost exactly the plot of Book 1, from the creepy, anonymous postcards, to Little Marilyn's bad choice for a life-mate.  The plot was so close, I forgot which book I was reading at times. 

Book 579

Wish You Were Here, by Rita Mae Brown, Bantam Books 1990.

I've heard about these books for years, especially since I love both mysteries and cats.  I was a little wary of books with talking animals; I was afraid that would be more a distraction than anything.  And, to be honest, the talking animals were a bit of a distraction, which is why I only skimmed those parts.  The story, however, was still good.

Book 578

Book 578:  Rocks and Minerals (A Gem of a Read), Simon Basher, written by Dan Green, Kingfisher 2009.

My third-grade son LOVES the Basher series.  Right now, he is so interested in rocks that he wanted a rock collection for his birthday, so this book was perfect reading material for him.  The only reason it is not five stars is because he thinks the illustrations are a little 'weird'.

Book 577

The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath, Penguin Classic, 1962.

I escaped reading this book in both high school and college, maybe because I focused more on British writers than American ones. I avoided reading this book in my 20s when I was followed by my own black dog. Now, from the lofty age of fifty, I've read the book. 

I understand the importance of this book. I also understand the accuracy of this book. I didn't like this book, but it deservedly is a modern classic and should be read with great care.

Book 576

The Mission Song, by John le Carre, Little, Brown and Company, 2006.

I'm guessing this book wasn't the best of le Carre.  That, of course, doesn't mean this book was in any way bad; it wasn't.  It just didn't feel as sharp and complete as other of his books I've read.

The protagonist was brilliant, a multi-linguist interpreter trapped between two worlds in every realm:  Black and White, good and bad, canny and naive, married and not married, etc.   Even his age of 28 seems to be a doorway between a young man and a season adult.

The rest of the book was similarly murky and uncertain, which may have been the point, but it somehow took away from the poignancy of the protagonist.