The Rest Of The Mini Reviews

This week has been a BAD blogging week for me. Not because I’m in a bad mood or because I don’t feel like blogging, just because I’ve been very busy with work. And the migraines have been killer. But the good news is I’ve been migraine free for 2 days now! Yay! May have something to do with the new “all natural” diet I’m doing or it may have something to do with the new Magnesium supplements I’m taking….don’t know. But whatever it is, it’s good. I wanted to get my last 4 mini reviews up though before NaNoWriMo starts on Sunday!! Because, let’s face it, there won’t be much time for reading or reviewing come November :p I will be blogging though and keeping everyone updated on my progress! As far as mini animals, lets have mini dogs instead of mini cats this time for us dog people:

loldog1The first book up for review today is The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo. This is the other book aside from Between Mom and Jo that will make my favorite reads of the year. I’ve loved everything that DiCamillo has written. Everyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows that I love her books. She has this beautiful, magical quality to all of her books that is so endearing and special, but she tops even her best with this one. To put it shortly, The Magician’s Elephant is about a young boy who is living with his grouchy and overbearing (to put it lightly) uncle, who longs for his sister that he believes to be dead. That is, until he meets a fortune teller that tells him that his sister is alive and he will find her by following an elephant who will lead him to her. Of course this makes no sense to him until he hears of a magician who causes an elephant to fall through the roof of an opera house onto the lap of woman, paralyzing her, when he meant only for a bouquet of lillies to fall from the sky.

From the synopsis, you may gather that the story is meant to be comical, but it is not. It’s actually quiet a somber and melancholy story that evokes shades of grey and feelings of a cold winter. With an ending that warms your heart and tears it to shreds all at once. A thing that DiCamillo does so well. That bittersweet thing. Her story is accompanied by gorgeous black and white illustrations by Yoko Tanaka that I absolutely loved. She always has some of the most amazing illustrators working with her. I’ll forever be a fan of DiCamillo’s. At this point, I’m convinced that she can do no wrong!

Second up is The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling. I had put off reading this book for SO LONG!! The reason being, I 2did not want the Harry Potter universe to come to a close for me. I know that I can always go back and reread the books, but I didn’t want to run out of new material. And while these stories don’t directly take place in Harry’s time and place, there are echoes of that time there. The Tales of Beedle the Bard is actually a book that the students at Hogwarts might read! It’s a book of folktales for wizards and witches and it’s enchanting to say the least.

J.K. Rowling can write a mean folktale and I really hope that she revisits this type of book. I think my favorite story of all them was the one that actually did not involve any magic, The Fountain of Fair Fortune, but of course, you’re going to have to read it to see what I mean 😉 I think all of these are very applicable to us as humans as well 😉 And there are lessons to be learned for all. What I loved most about this book is the commentary by Dumbledore at the end of each story. It was so nice to hear his voice again! My only complaint about this book was that it wasn’t longer. As I said, I could’ve read many more and I hope Rowling decides down the road to write some more!

3I read Fables Vol. 4 – March of the Wooden Soldiers and as always, I don’t really know how to talk about it!! It’s difficult talking about a book in the middle of a series, much less a graphic novel that’s really just one continuation of a story. What I can say is that I see Willingham just taking the plot to a darker and darker place, which personally, I like. For anyone not reading Fables yet, you really should jump on the bandwagon! It’s such an inventive series and portrays fairy tale characters in a way I’ve never seen before. He keeps their original roles and puts his own spin on them, bringing them into the modern world and mixing them in to our own society in a way that just works. What I love most about Willingham is his bravery as an author. He’s not afraid to “go there”…and “go there” he does. There are so many times that he takes a beloved character and does something horrible to them! And he doesn’t hesitate. Not that I’m saying that I think every great character in literature should die or have something horrible happen to them, but the characters in Fables are at war. And in war, there are not happy endings for everyone. Yet some authors create happy endings for all of their main characters and I just don’t find that to be realistic. This one also left me with a big enough cliff hanger that I HAD to break my book buying ban and go out to buy Volume 5 right away :p (which I still haven’t read :/)

4Finally, I read Pictures for Sad Children by John Campbell and I really need to reread this one. You see, I read it at 3 in the morning when I was half asleep, so it really didn’t do much for me. I think the reason being, it’s not very plot based. It’s more of a cute (in a sort of sick/the world is not a happy place/this is life, deal with it kind of way) book that’s meant to give a few laughs, make some commentary and entertain. And I love it for what it is. In fact, I bought the book because I love the creator’s blog, Goodbye, Foom so much. There is somewhat of a plot here, and that is that a man has een hit by a car and killed and has returned as a ghost, seeking his job back. And from there, he mingles with humanity as a ghost. And I promise that it’s SO SO much better than I’m making it out to be. Just go read his blog and you’ll get an idea of his comics. They truly are wonderful things.

Ok!! All caught up now!! I feel so much better now. As for what I’m STILL reading. I’m STILL reading all of my pre-readathon books which include Her Fearful Symmetry, Gil’s All Fright Diner, 20th Century Ghosts, and The Wild Things. Isn’t that sad? Hopefully I’ll be finished them by the end of November! The one good thing is that they’re all fantastic! Just no time to read lately 😦


16 Responses

  1. ohhh so glad to hear the headaches finally stopped.. i sure hope they aren’t from reading so much..I have 2 other friends who get migraines but not near as often as you baby boy… I feel really bad when I know you are suffering.

    I enjoyed the Magicians Elephant too but Eward Tulane is still my favorite of the ones i’ve read. :o)

  2. The Fountain of FAir Fortune was my favorte of the Bard’s tales, too. It had a classic fairy tale feel, you know?

    I have to admit, the only book by Dicamillo I’ve read is The Tale of Despereaux, and I HATED it. Something about the tone didn’t work for me. I’m probably the only one, but I’ve never been able to read anything else by her because that one struck me so badly. My oldest son LOVES Because of Winn Dixie, it’s one of his favorite books, and i believe that’s the one they’ll be doing in the parent-child 3rd grade book club next semester (which means I’ll have to read it). I hope I like it better. I’m just scared because that other book really rubbed me wrong.

  3. Hah Love the LOLDOG, a perfect sentiment!

    You look to have had a fantastic readathon Chris, good luck with NaNo

  4. Love the puppy pic!! I just finished my post for tomorrow and what’s on it??? The Magician’s Elephant!! LOL. I loved it too Chris. She’s truly gifted!! Loved your reviews!

  5. That puppy is so cute! And yay for two migraine-free days. 😀 I’m already on my library’s hold list for The Magician’s Elephant, but now I’m even more excited!

  6. Sorry to hear about the migraines, but yay for two migraine free days! Always a good thing. Also good to hear that you’re doing NaNo – same here. (I’m MelissaF on there, if you want to be writing buddies.)

  7. That reminds me how much I wish I was in a place in my life to have a puppy! Good luck with the writing, Chris! Don’t me a stranger!

  8. I’ve been fighting migraines, off and on, too. It’s this nasty weather. Rain, sun, rain, sun. Make up your mind, Mom Nature!!

    I love Kate DiCamillo. Someday, I’ll read TME. I almost bought the first Fables book, this week, but the one in our store was a bit too shelf-worn. If I’m buying new, I want new condition.

    I’m planning to hurriedly do some mini reviews, tomorrow, because NaNo is coming! NaNo is coming! I am sooo unprepared. But, I do have one idea I like. I just need to find my SAS Survival Handbook …

  9. I’m SO loving the puppy!! YEAH for dog people!! Sorry about the migraines. I feel your pain. In fact, I had my own mid-week. Kind of why my blogging has been a little off-kilter too. I finally put up a graphic novel review last night. It’s about all I’ve felt like reading lately.

    I haven’t even read Despereaux or Winn-Dixie (although I did see the movies!) So, I know I really need to do that. And I have Vol. 3 of Fables sitting at home waiting for me to read it!! Nice reviews.

    Good luck with NaNoWriMo!! I’ll be watching your progress!

  10. Yay for conquering the migraines! I hope they stay away! The photo is too cute and don’t ya just wish that’s all we needed to be happy?

    Good luck on NaNo! I’m already looking forward to midnight!


  11. I hope your migraines stay away!
    I have a proofcopy of the magician’s elephant, which I started and never finished. I need to go back to it!
    and I can’t wait for tomorrow, I’m so excited but also scared I’d get writer’s block and won’t be able to put anything down…
    anyway, good luck with it, hope you have loads of fun:)

  12. It was lovely to hear Dumbledore’s voice again – I didn’t realize how much I’d missed him after the end of the Harry Potter series, until I read Beedle the Bard. Funny how soothing a character Dumbledore is to me, after, what, at least seven years waiting for all the HP books?

  13. Glad to hear you’ve been migraine free for the last few days now. Great reviews. Fables 4 is such a great book!

  14. Hi Chris! Wishing you much success and FUN with Nano. (and a favor? go visit Chartroose today? I’m running a campaign to give her a high stats day so maybe she’ll pop out of hibernation and post something….)

  15. Hope those headache-free days have continued!!!!!!!

    Well into Day 1 of NaNo…hope it’s going well! Poor Annie hasn’t even had a chance to start yet. She volunteered at the library’s Halloween party for the little ones yesterday, plus her grandparents were here, plus of course, there was trick-or-treating…so she just didn’t have a chance to get any homework done. So that’s what she’s been up to all day. But she is hoping to sit down and get writing here shortly, so maybe she can still crank out several hundred words. Good luck, sweetie!!!! You know I’m thinking about you!

    And I so must get my hands on The Magician’s Elephant!

  16. […] Steel Droppings | Maw Books | Stuff As Dreams Are Made On | and […]

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