Showing posts from September, 2009

On Basilisk Station

On Basilisk Station David Weber, 1993 (Free at the Baen Free Library ) Just reread On Basilisk Station, first of the Honor Harrington series.  I have to say that I respect Weber's extremely prolific career.  I also must say that while I have enjoyed most of what I've read by him, I've read so MANY pieces, that I have become somewhat sensitive to his personal favorite narrative crutches.  (For example, six legged aliens, evil zealots along with guys on the other side just doing their jobs, letting the reader in on at least some of the antagonist's plan way before the protagonists know, stupid bureaucrats getting in the way of honest military folk, many characters with complicated naming structures.) As one of his earlier works, this book is good, but not great.  It takes a while to get going, and the exposition is crammed in awkwardly.   There are some things he's setting up quite far in advance, characters and things he has to then reintroduce in later bo

Historical Girls: Quote-tastic!

As I'm coming to the end of this cycle of books, I'd like to leave with a (lengthy) selection of quotes I found interesting and entertaining. I present the following for your consideration and amusement, without commentary. I'm off to wash my brain out with something containing spaceships and explosions.  Enjoy! On Dress: Anne of Green Gables : "Pretty!" Marilla sniffed. "I didn't trouble my head about getting pretty dresses for you. I don't believe in pampering vanity, Anne, I'll tell you that right off. Those dresses are good, sensible, serviceable dresses, without any frills or furbelows about them, and they're all you'll get this summer. The brown gingham and the blue print will do you for school when you begin to go. The sateen is for church and Sunday school. I'll expect you to keep them neat and clean and not to tear them. I should think you'd be grateful to get most anything after those skimpy wincey things you&#

On the Banks of Plum Creek

On the Banks of Plum Creek Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1937 After talking about the style of the series as a whole, I don't have a ton to say about the third book about Laura in the Little House Series.  I did want to post about it because I had a strong memory from reading it as a child.  I remember the terrifying bugs.  I completely forgot that they lived in a dugout; read "hobbit-hole with less nice furniture".  Also, it's a departure from the first two as the Ingalls move closer to other settlers.  Ma is adamant that her daughters attend school, and so they settle on the outskirts of a town in Minnesota. There are dangerous moments in the previous Little House books, but it felt like Laura skirts death more often in this one.  I was somewhat surprised by the frequency of potential catastrophe. Near-drowning, almost trampled by cows, prairie fire, days-long blizzards, and an ox almost falling through the roof are among the dangers encountered by Laura and her

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Betty Smith, 1943 Note: Some spoiler-ish stuff follows.  Also, I'm not going to talk about the tree.  It's a great symbol, but I'd just be restating others' commentary. When I started reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn , I knew it was a coming of age story set in New York in the early 1900's. I didn't know that it is also a book about the American Dream, in the most classic sense. Francie is the grandchild of immigrants, and her parents are insistent that each generation will, must, have more than the last. Also, unlike the other girls books I've been reading and enjoying, this is modern literature, published in 1943. This gives it a separate tone, and it's probably the best written of the bunch by any literary standard. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn doesn't try to romanticize the poverty of living in the then-slum of Williamsburg in the early 1900's, but it rides that line well. By that I mean that it doesn'