Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Marooned: The Strange but True Adventures of Alexander Selkirk the Real Robinson Crusoe

What a great book to read! Whether you have read the DeFoe novel Robinson Crusoe or not, I think this book gives much depth to your understanding of the novel and of the hardships some sailors faced. You probably didn’t realize that the story was based on the life of a real person.

Alexander Selkirk was marooned on an island in the South Pacific in the early 1700s. Marooned does not mean that he was somehow accidentally left, he was abandoned on a deserted island as a form of punishment. He had refused a direct order and punishment for mutiny was quick and cruel. The book outlines what Selkirk’s life was like during the four years he spent on the island, Juan Fernández, off the coast of South America.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Blackthorn Winter

Kathryn Reiss is known for her storytelling in the realms of mystery and time travel and this novel is a great murder mystery. Juliana Martin-Drake, an adopted child has been drug to England by her artist mom who wants to find herself. Juliana misses her California home and her dad.

Juliana doesn’t remember anything before she was 5 when she was found wandering on a beach in California and then adopted. This seems to bother her more now that she is England.

A friend of her mother and a neighbor, Liza, is murdered. Juliana feels compelled to investigate the murder because she thinks the police have arrested the wrong person. She receives mysterious warnings to back off. While she is investigating, she begins to remember pieces of her past. Juliana suspects everyone and anyone of being guilty of the murder – she even suspects a boy who she really likes.

I haven’t read many mysteries recently and this one was a great “page-turner.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Search and Destroy

I picked up this book because it is by Dean Hughes who also wrote Soldier Boy. In this novel, Rick Ward, the main character, wants to go to war. His father is violent and the girl he thinks he loves wants to move on with her life and that does not include Rick. He found training to be brutal both physically and emotionally.

Rick is looking to feel something new and he hopes that war will bring that feeling. He learned the skill of killing, but he really didn’t know why. When he gets to Nam (Vietnam) he chooses to become part of the Charlie Company Rangers – the purpose was to hunt down the enemy and kill him.

The book brings back lots of memories for me, as the main character and I are about the same age. I think this book may help those who did not live through this period of American history see some of the horrors and feelings that were experienced by those of us who did live at that time. The “war” in Vietnam shaped all of us who were in our teens and twenties – whether we served in the military or not. The reader will get the feel for the anti-war sentiment that was very much part of the emotions. The author’s use of the language of the time (lingo) is well done. I think if you liked Soldier Boys, you will also enjoy this novel.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Ark Angel

Ark Angel is the next installment of the Alex Rider adventures by Anthony Horowitz.

“The sniper’s bullet nearly killed him. But once again Alex Rider managed to survive . . .

This novel is just as suspenseful as the others. Alex, while recovering in the hospital, saves Paul Drevin, son of multibillionaire Nikolai Drevin. Force Three has tried to kidnapped the son of this wealthy businessman who is working with the British government to launch a hotel in space. This sixth book finds Alex working with the CIA, but not really by his choice.

This book has lots of action and some interesting gadgets.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

“Once in a house on Egypt Street, there lived an arrogant overdresseed rabbit who was made almost entirely of china.” His name was Edward Tulane. (

This book may be very easy reading for most middle school students, but that does not mean that it isn’t good reading. It is a magical story about the journey Edward makes from the loving home of his owner, Abilene, to the bottom of the sea, to the net of a fisherman, to a garbage heap, to a hobo campfire, to the bedside of a sick girl, to the bustling streets of Memphis. Along this journey the reader and Edward learn that one can love and lose and learn to love again.

I found some of the author’s descriptions very interesting – at one point the sky is described as having a bruised appearance.