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Showing posts from August, 2008

Twilight Mania

So I finally gave in to Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, a series which has spawned a huge following among teen girls, a handful of considerate boyfriends, and a few groups of dedicated mothers. This succumbing has much to do with finding wounded copies of the books in a donation pile, and a large dose of curiosity as to what makes these books so palatable to girls under eighteen. Let’s not lie; it may also have a little to do with the impending release of a movie based on the first novel, “Twilight,” starring Robert Pattison (of Harry Potter fame, “Cedric”) in the lead male role.

If you haven’t observed this national vampire obsession, look at display tables in any major bookstore. Chances are there is a prominently featured table with Meyer’s novels to catch the eye, each with arresting artwork in red, black, and white. The Twilight series was first published in 2005, and now contains four books: “Twilight”, “New Moon”, “Eclipse”, and “Breaking Dawn”, which was released August 1st …

"Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" by Winifred Watson

Winifred Watson had never been to a nightclub in her life. Yet, from her pen came the 1938 Cinderella story of a dowdy British governess who by chance appointment discovers the glamorous dazzling nightlife of London, and in the process, herself. Accustomed to reading Watson’s provincial historical romances, Watson’s fans were surprised when she spun a tale of cocktails, cocaine, and jazz singers.

Miss Pettigrew is a woman who is on her last stretch, one step away from financial and emotional bankruptcy. Her final hope is an appointment with a Miss LaFosse, a beauty and jazz singer in negligee. Miss LaFosse instantly recruits Miss Pettigrew to help manage the string of lovers that weave in and out of her boudoir: Phil, Nick (a devilish Lothario who enslaves Miss LaFosse’s affections), and Michael (an intemperate man wishing to marry the beautiful singer). Due to Miss LaFosse’s quick affection and confidence in Miss Pettigrew’s talents, Miss Pettigrew finds herself able to see herself as…

A Detour from the Booker

Trenton Lee Stewart seems unafraid to pick up a few children’s lit archetypes in his book “The Mysterious Benedict Society”: four remarkable and lovable children (albeit one slightly less lovable than the others), missing parental figures, the kind male guardian, the boarding house/ evil school scenario, and themes of mind control and world domination. But within the archetypes, Stewart creates his own brand of magic. One becomes fond of Reynie Muldoon’s human perception, Sticky Washington’s nervous glasses cleaning habit, Constance Contraire’s irritability (can you guess the reason for this?), and Kate Wetherall’s acrobatic maneuvering and endlessly helpful red bucket.

The intelligent writing, Carson Ellis’s charming illustrations, presence of narcolepsy, the in-text puzzles, and memorable characters like Kate Wetherall make this book a must-read for those interested in children’s lit. As soon as I finished the book, I ran out to buy the sequel.