Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Ruins of Gorlan: Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1

   A long time ago, a few friends of mine recommended  a book series that they absolutely loved, called "Ranger's Apprentice".  At the time, I was probably reading Percy Jackson, or Harry Potter, or Redwall, so I couldn't read it, and then forgot about it. Then, just the other day, I was at the library looking for something to read, and the first book in the series, The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan, caught my eye. I grabbed it off the shelf and went home. Often times, I can determine how much I enjoy a book by how quickly I read it. I devoured this one in a matter of hours, and went to go get the next few in the series!
     John Flanagan is a fantastic author. He manages to create a world that seems not too far off from our own distant past, while still maintaining its uniqueness and individuality. I loved reading about the brave Araluens, the evil Morgorath and his Wargal soldiers, and the seafaring mercenary Skandians. The books revolve mostly around a young boy, Will, who becomes apprenticed to one of the King's Rangers, mysterious hooded figures who help keep the peace around the kingdom. The books are full of high adventure, bravery, chivalry, and memorable characters. I'm still reading through the series myself, and definitely encourage you to check out the series, too! 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Chronicles of Narnia series, favorites

Another audio book/series I listened to as a young child was the Chronicles of Narnia series.
If you haven’t heard of the Chronicles of Narnia, it’s a fantasy series written by C.S. Lewis.
He wrote and released the books in one order, and then rearranged them into a 
chronological order. The series is all about young people from our world being summoned
in various ways to a magical land called Narnia. Each time they are summoned by a 
mysterious and powerful Lion named Aslan. Over the past few weeks I’ve been re-listening
to a few of my favorites in the series.
Book #3-The Horse and His Boy. This story is different than all of the others, since the entire book centers around a character who lives in the world of Narnia, rather than a visitor from our world. It’s all about a boy named Shasta, who lives in a country that is close to the southern borders of Narnia. Two horses, he and another child have to escape to Narnia, and on the way each learns an important lesson about their own shortcomings.
Book #6-The Silver Chair. Two children from our world are summoned to Narnia to find a lost prince and save him from an evil witch and her enchantments. This book is one of my favorites because C.S. Lewis does an even better job than usual of creating instantly classic and loveable characters, no matter how depressed and moping they are all the time.
Book #7-The Last Battle. In this book, the last King of Narnia, two children from our world, and a small group of Narnians who are still loyal to Aslan must fight to survive and remember the true nature of Aslan. As you read through the books, it becomes increasingly more obvious that C.S. Lewis wrote the book as an allegory for his Christian beliefs. In this book in particular, as Aslan stands and brings forth the end of Old Narnia and the beginning of New Narnia, it is clear that these excellent books were never just about adventure, but something much deeper.
Overall, this is one of my favorite series of all time. It blends excellent storytelling with important moral lessons to create a story for the ages. Children, teenagers, and adults throughout the years have enjoyed these books and continue to enjoy them. This is one of series I would recommend to anyone without fear of them not enjoying it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Cricket in Times Square

When I was really young, I used to listen to The Cricket  in Times Square on audio book all the time. It was a huge part of my childhood, and so I decided to revisit that this week, and listen to it once more. The Cricket in Times Square was written in 1960 by George Selden and illustrated by Garth Williams.
It’s a very short book, but it’s definitely one of my top books. The characters are so quaint and quirky, it’s hard not to fall in love with them. Each character is richly put together and George Selden did an excellent job in creating realistic scenarios, even with talking animals.

Occasionally, you’ll forget that animals don’t really talk, and that this couldn’t possibly be a true story. My favorite thing about this book is how well the author displays the locations in the book to you. You are able to picture every place in your mind’s eye, whether it be newsstand, drain-pipe, or Chinese novelty shop. If you enjoy reading books with incredibly rich visual descriptions, well rounded characters, and happy endings, then this book is for you!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

 Cornelia Funke is a very well-known and widely recognized author for her Inkheart trilogy. Many people have read the books, or at least watched the Inkheart movie. However, I think her best piece is a beautiful book called Dragon Rider.
In the book, a dragon named Firedrake, a forest brownie named Sorrell, and a human boy named Ben go on a quest to find the Rim of Heaven, former home of the dragons, hidden deep in the Himalayas. But they are not alone in their search. Nettlebrand, the villainous great golden dragon, is hunting them along with his spies.
The book is masterfully written, with beautiful descriptions of mountains, rivers, and deserts. The characters are instantly loveable, and it’s incredibly creative as well, with all sorts of fabulous and fantastic creatures filling its pages. There are dragons, brownies, dwarves, fairies, and so much more!

And not only that, but Funke’s book has themes of love, compassion, bravery, selflessness, friendship, and forgiveness. It also strongly shows how good can always come from the most evil things. This is definitely within my top 10 all-time favorite books, and I hope you’ll read it and enjoy it as much as I have.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Last of the Mohicans

 I just finished reading through The Last of the Mohicans this week, and I really enjoyed it! The Last of the Mohicans was written in 1825 by James Fenimore Cooper, and is a story about adventure, danger, and love during the French and Indian War, and set in 1757 North America.
        The story begins as two young women, daughters of a British general, begin to travel down south from the Great Lakes. They are accompanied by Duncan Heyward, a soldier, and friend of their family, and David Gamut, a minstrel. They are also accompanied by a Native American named Magua, who is from the Huron tribe.
        They are joined in their journey by a frontier scout named Hawkeye, and two Mohican Indians named Chingachgook and Uncas, a father and son, and Magua leaves their party for the time being. After being attacked by some Indians, the company finally comes to the fort where the girls’ father is. An overwhelmingly large number of French and Indian troops are preparing to besiege it, but their general sends in offers of a surrender that is too lenient to pass up so the fort gives in.
The company is attacked by the Hurons, led by Magua as they leave, and the two girls and the musician are carried off. The rest of the book is about the group that is following them to bring them back. I won’t spoil it for you, but the ending is incredibly touching.
There is sacrifice, true love, and duty all wrapped up into one book. The author does an incredible job of showing the realness of the situation and how people would react. I believe that a lot of people could learn from the selfless actions portrayed here.

Probably my favorite part of this book was how the author painted the characters like a landscape. It was easy to get to know the characters and identify with each of them in a different way. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good adventure story!

The Luck Library Blog is back in action!

With a little help from some locals, the library blog is being revived!  Watch for our first official literary blogpost with our new author and local teen resident, Josh Stirrat!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

My Favorite Books. Part 2

The Boy Detective Fails. Joe Meno

"Dear Reader,
  The story thus far, as you may have forgotten: Even as a young boy, Billy Argo showed an uncanny talent for solving puzzles of almost every configuration, arrangement, and design.
  That is all."

Billy Argo, his sister Caroline, and best friend fenton become Gothom City, New Jersey's best crime solving team, after Billy receives a Junior detective kit for his birthday. The three best friends solve all manner of crime, most of them in record time.
  Soon after leaving for collage, Caroline commits suicide. Billy unable to cope with the loss of his sister is committed to a mental hospital. After a decade spent in the hospital, Billy is released. Now if he can only solve the one case he has never solved.
  On his journey Billy encounters many strange characters and people from his past that are only too happy to see his failure.

Some of my favorite lines:
"Do you see my bunny's head over there? the girl shouts?

"So, are you going to find its head or not?" the girl asks.
"No. it doesn't look like it"
"No?" the girl asks.
"No, I don't think it's very likely."
"You're not a very good detective are you?"
"No I am afraid I am not."

"Why is a mystery so terrifying to us as adults? Is it because our worlds have become worlds of routine and safety and order the older we've grown? Is it because we have learned the answer to everything and that answer is that there is never a secret passageway, a hidden treasure, or a note written in code to save us from our darkest moments? Why are we struggling so hard against believing there is a world we don't know? Is it more frightening to accept our lives as they are than it is to entertain a fantasy of hope?"

"Part of being an adult is dealing with the terror of being an adult and not knowing what might happen next."

Whenever I find myself in a reading slump, I pull out this book. The story itself is great, but its in the way that it is told that makes this book so special. Billy Argo is a sympathetic character that you can't help but root for.If you ever wondered what could of happened after encyclopedia Brown grew up, then this is the book for you.