5 book reviews
|September Book Reviews
1. Survivors by Erin Hunter (An Overdrive Library e book)
All the major characters in this series are dogs. Erin Hunter has indulged her knowledge of the way things could be and created four legged characters. Even when things don’t go properly dogs have to have a home.
How would dogs react in a natural disaster? Hunter is combining animal instinct with knowledge of urban living.
“Would you like to hear about the Storm of dogs?” As they grow the mother dog teaches them about spiritual life.
You will meet individual breeds of dogs. As the story progresses you will see and hear about very few humans. When you do meet humans in the story they are referred to as Long Paws.
As disaster strikes the dogs try to make sense of the event. “Blood! thought Lucky, Death...” Do they help each other, do they feel guilt? How do they find food, safety, comfort? Hunter tries to put himself in the dogs skin and find a way forward into safety for her characters.
It is also a story that leaves lots of questions about the disaster that occurs. What happened to the creatures in New Orleans when the dike broke? Did they form packs? Did they ever find their owners again? Will dogs revert to the wild if there is a national disaster?
This is an interesting story to follow in today’s economy. The news keeps the public informed that there are too many animals ending up in shelters. More dogs and cats available to be re-homed than people to care for them. This is a new take on the story of strays.
2. The Accidental Universe by Alan Lightman (an Overdrive audio book)
Do you want to be up to date on the latest scientific news. Alan Lightman brings the latest scientific research and theory to the reader. It is not just about the science, it is about the effects those special findings will have on humans.
The four parts of the work focus on nature and religion. The story delves into spirituality, the temporal universe, , the laws of the universe and the size of the universe. In his message about the size of the universe he says, man was measuring distance, size, and the weight of things early.”
There is a special part on symmetry in nature. Lightman says, “Such pervasive symmetries could not be accidents.
The story is very readable because it is told with energy and precision. Lightman touches the emotions of the reader and leaves us hopeful for the future. He warns of the ways technology separates us from nature. The warning is because people need to reach out and incorporate nature in our lives. Humans are a part of the natural world.
It delves into the ways we resist the rationalization, that science can explain ever thing about the natural world. In one place Lightman says, “ I talked to my students about a world of pure logic.”
There are some really interesting examples and stories within this writing. Lightman draws a surprising conclusion to this book.
3. The Last Apprentice Book 2 Curse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney (Library e book from Overdrive)(Illustrations by Patrick Arrasmith)
This book is part of a series. You can find Thomas Ward’s Journal at the end of each of the first two books. Joseph Delaney is writing about exorcism against witchcraft and other spooks. The writing is easy to read. The Bane is an interesting new character. The subject focuses on Thomas Ward who is given an opportunity to be the apprentice of a man called “The Spook”.
At first, he enters into his new life with reluctance and later with necessity. There is lots of learning here, I am reminded of Harry Potter. Since the series originated in Britain you can expect witches and other ugly beings as characters.
“It was a bad night, and it was about to get worse,” said Thomas. Thomas is really the main character in this series. He is the apprentice. His life is an adventure. This is a ‘don’t put it down,’ read. With all the odd creatures in the book it is more entertaining than scary. It kind of depends on what scars you.
The personal lives of these characters isn’t a lark either. As they work against the Bane they reveal more about each other making the mystery and adventure more complicated.The spook has a totally unique look on life. He has had more than one apprentice in his lifetime. Would you turn your son over to him? There is a lot of superstitious mumbo, jumbo in this story. But, it is all in good fun.
4.Supernatural Lore of Pennsylvania (edited by Thomas White) This book was published by The History Press the following notice accompanies the data page: “The information in this book is true and complete to the best of our knowledge.” (This is an Overdrive library eBook)
“Supernatural belief systems provided order, purpose and meaning long before science defined the physical and intellectual boundaries of the world.” This sentence starts the introduction to Supernatural Lore of Pennsylvania .
Another sentence in the introduction states, “Here in Pennsylvania, there is a long and vibrant history of supernatural folk beliefs and legends.”
The book tells about ghost, witch, werewolves, water beasts, UFO sightings and other odd tales. The stories are taken from historical research. It includes research about religious miracles, magic and monsters.
There were numerous contributors to the writing of the book. At the end you will find a list of the people and their abilities as contributors. All the references pertinent to each story are listed at the end of each entry.
William Penn’s idea that the state should be open to all religions caused a diverse group of ethnic interest. The people who settled this area brought with them stories and legends.
If you think you will be scared by these stories, O.K. But, expect to learn the historical social aspects of them. It is an entertaining way to look at a spooky subject.
5. Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (a library eBook from Overdrive)
This is a story about pictures. Pictures of children. Peculiar is just not a strong enough word to describe the events in this narrative. Supercalifragilistic added to peculiar might move the events up a notch.
Did you know species do not really disappear from the earth. They mutate and change. The old model dies out and the new model which is now updated environmentally takes its place. It lives until something new is needed to make its life more environmentally friendly and then the cycle renews. Unless, man the ultimate predator interferes with the cycle, then a species can be killed off permanently.
Jacob a boy in this story, has been placed in a life that seems wrinkled to him. Like a pair of jeans that have some reason for not fitting properly. It is not easy for one generation to shrug off the older generation and get on with the cycle of life. So, events in the story help him do it.
WW II did not exactly end. The players just drove each other to exhaustion and agreed to get back to normal living for awhile. Then, it started back up in Asia, the islands, Southern Europe, Africa and the Arab realms. It is not a surprise to find part of the second world war still stirring in this story.
The threats and the horror in the story make this a wild experience. It’s a unique adventure. A mix of the 21st century and history. Where did it really begin, where will it end?