Monthly Archives: April 2014

Outside the Dog Museum by Jonathan Carroll

Outside the Dog Museum

I read this on the recommendation of a friend, who told me that this was one of her favorite books but didn’t tell me what it was about. In retrospect, I’m glad she didn’t try to summarize this story, and that I went into it with only the short synopsis on the back cover to go on.

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The Drackenberg Adventure (Vesper Holly #3) by Lloyd Alexander

The Drackenberg Adventure (Vesper Holly, #3)

“Miss Vesper Holly dislikes weak tea and watercress sandwiches. She avoids those genteel occasions featuring starched white collars and white gloves. However, the slightest hint of something out of the ordinary is enough to gain the dear girl’s attention.
‘When a grand duchess asks you to her diamond jubilee celebration,’ said Vesper, ‘that’s no tea party invitation.'”

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The Hidden World: Book One by Schuyler J. Ebersol

The Hidden World: Book One

*WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS*

Francoise Sagan was seventeen when she wrote Bonjour Tristesse. SE Hinton wrote The Outsiders when she was sixteen. At fourteen, Anne Frank’s writing demonstrated an emotional sensitivity and clarity that most adult authors struggle to achieve. So, to dismiss a book simply because it was written by a teenager is unfair – it’s been proven over and over that teenagers are capable of great writing.

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Bluebeard’s Egg by Margaret Atwood

Bluebeard's Egg

If someone were to ask me to encapsulate Margaret Atwood’s writing style in three sentences or less, I would show them the first two lines of the first story in Bluebeard’s Egg:

“When my mother was very small, someone gave her a basket of baby chicks for Easter. They all died.”

BOOM. Welcome to Margaret Atwood, motherfuckers. You’re going to like it here. Oh, and happy Easter.

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The El Dorado Adventure (Vesper Holly #2) by Lloyd Alexander

The El Dorado Adventure (Vesper Holly, #2)

“Miss Vesper Holly is the only Philadelphian of my acquaintance to own a volcano. I can think of no one better suited to deal with explosive real estate. Despite her accomplishments in languages, art, music, science, and mathematics, the dear girl finds eruptions and other nerve-shattering events irresistibly magnetic.”

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Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell

Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories

God damn it, Karen Russell.

She’s just too good at this, guys, and it’s driving me crazy. No one should be able to do what Karen Russell does – her particular brand of magical realism, where the supernatural and suburban America blend seamlessly, is like nothing I’ve ever encountered before. It just isn’t fair that all that talent got concentrated in one person.

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The Illyrian Adventure (Vesper Holly #1) by Lloyd Alexander

The Illyrian Adventure (Vesper Holly, #1)

A few weeks ago, a coworker and I were chatting about books that we had loved as kids, and during the conversation, I realized just how many gaps there are in my classic children’s lit knowledge. Up until roughly age sixteen, it was my firm belief that there was no point in reading a new book when you could just re-read a favorite book again. For this reason, I read all of the books in the Chronicles of Prydain series multiple times but never picked up anything by Tamora Pierce or CS Lewis, and only briefly ventured into Philip Pullman’s territory before running back to Prydain. I realize now that I should have been exploring these books while I was at the prime age to enjoy them, and so I’ve given myself a new reading project: I’m going to go back and read the books I should have read when I was in middle school, and try to present the dual perspectives of what 11-year-old Madeline would have thought versus what 25-year-old Madeline thinks.

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