Recent Reads

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon – This fictional account of an autistic teen in England out to solve a mystery tries a little too hard, but is still very entertaining and at times, very funny.

The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam by Ann Marie Fleming – My first true graphic novel, and I have mixed feelings about it. The story itself was fascinating, and Ms. Fleming’s search for her family’s history was calculated to draw my eye. Her great-grandfather’s legacy deserves its a place in the limelight, and I look forward to seeing her film on the same subject. Her artwork was a little juvenile, I thought, but cute at times and effective. The mix of media was very well done, although the photos and art were not reproduced as well in this paperback version as I expected, and some were quite blurry.
A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca by Andrés Reséndez – This time period is of special interest to me right now, and I thoroughly enjoyed this story of de Vaca and his three companions who were left to fend for themselves after a disastrous expedition. Not only did they not give up, they forged across North America towards what had been their original goal, living with native tribes as slaves and improvising for years. The incredible tale was painstakingly researched by the author and is told as part of the “big picture” of Spanish conquest. Highly recommended.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – This was one I read for the 451 Challenge, and I certainly looked forward to it. The book is consistently voted one of the top sci-fi books and I’d heard about it for years. I have to admit I was disappointed, perhaps because of the political aspects of the story in the middle, but more because I think parts of the story were drawn out too long. Very interesting concept, however, and the plot was incredibly good.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen – Another novel for the 451 Challenge and one I had anticipated, this time with ample reward. A wonderful story about a young man who stumbles into life in the circus when his own takes a tragic turn. The narrator is the man in old age, and that aspect was quite a downer, but all is not lost. Part adventure, part mystery, part love story, this tale of the depression-era circus will keep you up reading late.

Acorna: The Unicorn Girl by Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball – This was a strange mixture that I couldn’t quite categorize. Was it supposed to be a sci-fi? Anti-child-labor lit? Not sure, but the characters were well drawn and unique enough. The bad guys were bad, the good guys were (mostly) good. Apparently, this goes on in sequels. Not for me.

© Jan McClintock of We Need More Shelves

Spread the love