Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Book Review: Celia's House

September 27, 2006

Back in January when I compiled my annual "Books to Read" list, Tia suggested this book by D. E. Stevenson. I believe she said that the book was the inspiration for naming her daughter Celia (and I know she'll put me straight if I'm recalling that mistakenly). And she is so right. This is an absolutely wonderful book (please ignore the sappy cover on the link--it makes the book look like a cheesy romance novel, which it is not). It's been a long time since I've read something so darn happy (but not happy in a goofy sort of way). I used to read novels like this all the time but have drifted toward more contemporary works in the past decade. This was a happy return, and I know I'll check out more of Stevenson's novels. Thanks, Tia!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Book Review: A Murder for Her Majesty

September 14, 2006

This book by Beth Hilgartner is our first Sonlight 7 (World History, Part 2) read-aloud, and, as usual with Sonlight's reading list, was phenomenal. This was one of those many books that the kids screamed, "NO! Read more!" when I finished a chapter and closed the book. The story takes place during the Elizabethan era in York and centers on a young girl who, having witnessed the murder of her father, flees to York and ends up disguised as a boy in the cathedral choir. The mystery itself is surrounded by details of life in York during this time period. I love starting the year off with a book like this; it leaves the kids hungry for the next one.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Book Review: Portrait in Sepia

September 11, 2006

Portrait in Sepia is the third book by Isabel Allende that spans a few generations of a Chilean family. (Apparently and unknowingly, I skipped over the middle book, House of Spirits, but I did read the first one, Daughter of Fortune. I didn't know that I was reading a continuation of Daughter of Fortune when I picked this up; I just had Allende on my "to-read" list. I wish I'd read the middle book before this one.) Allende is an excellent writer. Her characters are extremely well-formed and compelling. Some of the subject matter is tough at times, but the whole time period is fascinating to me. I know very little about Chilean history or about the experience of Chilean immigrants in California in the 1800s, so the book intrigued me from a historical perspective as well. I will go back and read the middle one for sure.

Book Review: 44 Scotland Street

September 11, 2006

I think I would enjoy anything by Alexander McCall-Smith. While waiting for the first book in his Sunday Philosophy Club series to come available at our library, I picked up 44 Scotland Street. This is very different than the Ladies' No. 1 Detective Series, but very enjoyable. I absolutely liked the Ladies' No. 1 series better, but I did find the characters in 44 Scotland Street very compelling and funny. I had a funny dream during the weekend in which I was reading this book. In the dream I was accused of being an intellectual snob, and I totally attribute this dream to a character in the book, who forces her 5-year-old son to learn Italian and play the saxophone because she considers him an intellectual genius. I look forward to reading the next one in the series, Espresso Cafe (I think), to find out what happens with this child prodigy and his horrible mother!