Tag Archives: C. S. Lewis

So You Want to Be a Wizard

Author: Diane DuaneSo you want to be a wizard

My rating: 5 of 5

Young Wizards, vol. 1

When Nita finds the book in the children’s section of the library (where she’s hiding from the bullies who find beating her up prime entertainment), she thinks it’s probably a joke. . . . But maybe not. Either way, she takes the book home, captivated by its promise of a life of magic and imagining the power that would give her over the bullies that make her life a misery. Reading the Oath aloud, Nita soon finds that becoming a wizard is no joke, but it’s not the blast of fulfilling power over the petty worries of her life either–rather, it’s so very much more. Nita befriends another young wizard, Kit, and the two embark on an adventure, a quest even, that will alter their perceptions of life, magic, and themselves in ways they can’t begin to imagine.

I knew So You Want to Be a Wizard had the reputation of being a great fantasy novel, but I had no idea it was so enjoyable, or I would have read it much sooner. It’s a children’s story–and is totally appropriate for kids–but has deep-rooted messages and a mature enough writing that older readers can enjoy it as well. I’m tempted to compare this story to Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. It has that way of looking at things, that sense of describing a reality more true than real life–and in doing so, of giving a greater weight and meaning to life. And maybe that’s just my perspective and no one else would get that impression upon reading this book. In any case, this story is a wonderful fantasy featuring the age-old struggle between light and darkness–with the fate of the world resting squarely on the shoulders of two kids, a displaced white hole, and a bedraggled animated Lotus (car). I do have to say, this is the first story in which I’ve ever had real friendly feelings for a white hole or a car, which just shows the quality of the writing. I am looking forward to reading the rest of Duane’s books, and highly recommend So You Want to Be a Wizard to any of you who enjoy a solid fantasy.

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The Story of the Treasure Seekers

Author: Edith Nesbitthe story of the treasure seekers

My rating: 3 of 5

The Bastable children (all six of them) are aware in a vague sense that their family’s fortunes have fallen: there isn’t pocket money for them anymore, expensive treats are missing from dinner now, they’ve been pulled out of their school on a long-term holiday, and their father seems to spend nearly all his time at work now. And being bright, clever children with lots of spare time on their hands and no mother living to keep them in check, the six siblings determine to seek out a treasure in order to restore their family’s fortunes. Only, they can’t decide quite how to go about the business. Noel thinks he should either sell poetry or marry a princess (maybe both). Oswald thinks they ought to be highwaymen, which Dora (the eldest) disapproves of very strongly. Alice wants to try using a divining rod. In short, everyone has an opinion, and no one agrees . . . and so it is decided that they will try out each of their ideas in turn to see if any of them will work.

I’ve always enjoyed Edith Nesbit’s writing, ever since I first discovered The Railway Children when I was in middle school. Her writing is, naturally enough, a bit old fashioned (being that she wrote in the late 1800’s), but her writing is just the sort of children’s adventure that always feels timely and homey. She understands children very, very well. (Not to mention that her writing was hugely influential on any number of more recent authors, including C. S. Lewis, and has thus, in a sense, passed into contemporary literature more than we’re aware.) In any case, although I generally love her writing without reserve, I am of two minds regarding The Story of the Treasure Seekers, which I just read for the first time. The premise is absolutely smashing, and her execution of it is brilliant–at once both touching and highly amusing. The Bastable children are highly developed as characters, perhaps more so than in most of her other books. And I think this is where the story got off on the wrong foot for me. Because, you see, Oswald is the one telling the story. And he’s remarkably well written. As a twelve-year-old boy who thinks rather too well of himself, who is falsely modest, and who is at times shockingly sexist. Not to mention, he’s trying to hide his identity for most of the book, only he keeps forgetting himself and referring to himself in the first person–exactly the blundering, cute attempts a kid would make, and it really is brilliant, but it’s also annoying to read. I would have enjoyed this story a lot more if, say Noel or Alice had been telling the story, especially Alice with her fierce determination and loyalty. I guess I would leave reading The Story of the Treasure Seekers up in the air regarding recommending it or not; it’s a classic, but don’t judge all of Nesbit’s writing by this one book. I’d really recommend reading Five Children and It before trying this one.

Note: Although I have a Puffin edition pictured here, this book is old enough it’s public domain. You can get an electronic copy for free at Project Gutenberg if you just want to try it before committing to anything.

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The Liebster Award

liebster-award-logo

Many thanks to Alysyn at reinreads for her gracious nomination.

The rules:

  1. Thank and link the person who nominated you.
  2. Answer the questions given by the nominator.
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers and link them.
  4. Create 11 new questions for the nominees to answer.
  5. Notify all nominees via social media/blogs.

The questions Alysyn posed for me (these were really challenging but fun!):

  1. What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
    That’s a hard one. I’ve enjoyed just about everything I’ve seen recently, and I don’t watch movies much. . . . I’d have to confess that some of the movies I’ve liked the least are Disney princess movies (don’t hate me!).  I just can’t get into them, especially after seeing incredible movies like Spirited Away.
  2. What artists or bands do you currently love?
    Do I have to pick? Umm, Valshe is in my CD player currently–I love her music, especially her Kagamine Len covers! I’ve also recently listened to the soundtrack from Wicked, a Babymetal album (super-good J-metal by cute little girls!), Lindsey Stirling, and David Crowder*Band. But picking favorites is no fair!
  3. What’s your favorite childhood memory?
    Cinnamon toast, hot cocoa, and Skip Bo around the kitchen table at my grandparents’ house with all the family together. Fun!
  4. Favorite book? (You can choose more than one)
    Favorites again? Not fair, and I really can’t pick, but some that I come back to frequently would include The Chronicles of Narnia (all of them, but especially The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle), Howl’s Moving Castle, Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles, A Wrinkle in TimeThe Lord of the Rings . . . and lots of others, of course.
  5. Favorite quotes?
    I probably should actually pick some favorite quotations. The only book quotation I use with any frequency (at least consciously) is “I object to that remark very strongly” from the bulldog in The Magician’s Nephew. Although when I think about it, there are a lot of other Narnia quotations that I really enjoy. I think the Maximum Ride books are oddly quotable as well. 😀
  6. It’s the end of the world! The only people left are you, the main actor/actress from the last movie you watched, your least favorite book character, & your favorite dead artist (writer, musician, what have you). Will you guys be okay?
    So let me get this straight, I’m facing the apocalypse with Amy Acker, Kurotsuchi Mayuri (is it too much of a stretch to pick a manga character?), and C. S. Lewis? I’m scared for the rest of the world . . . although a lot depends on whether Mayuri gets bored and turns on us (instead of trying to help us survive) or not.
  7. Puppy sized elephant or elephant sized puppy?
    Puppy-sized elephant. Totally. How cute can you get? Besides, Clifford’s great in theory, but Emily Elizabeth has clearly shown us the challenges of a dog that size.
  8. Pick one: a boat, a castle, a cottage, or a rocket. Make up a reason why.
    Cottage. Quiet, low maintenance . . . and there’s that fairy-tale flavor as well. Preferably a cottage with roses climbing all over it.
  9. Do you ship any characters? Or hate a ship?
    I tend to avoid non-canon pairings–and especially random non-canon slash pairings. How should I say this . . . I prefer to leave relationships as the author wrote them, as a general rule (although there are always exceptions, right?). I might occasionally go for an implied canon pair . . . Kuro/Fai, for instance, is <3.
  10. If money was of no concern, what would be the next thing you buy?
    I’d build an extension to use as a library–I’m seriously running out of room!
  11. What’s the nicest thing anybody has ever done for you?
    I can’t pick. Sorry. . . . But on a day-to-day basis, I think one of the things I value most is when people actually look me back in the eyes and smile. Truly. 🙂

And now, the questions I would like to ask are:

  1. What inspired you to begin blogging?
  2. Would you rather read books written in your native language, or do you like reading translated books from other countries?
  3. Favorite author? (You can pick more than one.)
  4. What little-known book do you really like? (I love finding obscure but wonderful volumes!)
  5. Conversely, what popular book can you just not bring yourself to enjoy?
  6. If you were in your own fairy tale, what kind of character would you be?
  7. If you could meet any historical figure, who would you most want to meet?
  8. Coffee or tea? Or do you avoid caffeine?
  9. Are there any musicians/musical groups that you particularly enjoy?
  10. What other forms of art (besides books) do you like?
  11. What are you looking for in other book blogs in the community?

And finally, I would like to nominate the following excellent blogs/bloggers for the Liebster Award:

  1. Summer @  Xingsings
  2. Laura @ Lorzy Porzy
  3. Anne @ Anne-thology of Books
  4. ahouseofbooks
  5. Cho @ Cho Novels (seriously, check out her original English light novel; it’s really good!)
  6. lightlit
  7. English Light Novels

I have to confess that most of the other blogs I enjoy have either already participated in this award already or already have way more than 200 followers. So . . . I’m limiting it to these seven that I really enjoy. You should check them out!

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