Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Nutmeg Tree

Finished The Nutmeg Tree by Margery Sharp. This is her seventh book, published in 1937. Julia Packett travels to France to see her grown daughter who wishes to be married. Julia left her daughter in the care of her inlaws after her husband died in World War I and she was unable to settle down and live a quiet life. For years Julia has lived by her wits and her charm, shacking up with whichever gentlemen was convenient.

For her trip to France she hocks what belongings she has to buy a few suitable outfits and a copy of The Forsyte Saga with which to impress her mother-in-law. She does her best to act like a lady, but gets into all sorts of scrapes nonetheless. She is especially careful of her behavior around her daughter's guardian, Sir William, but he much prefers her to just be herself.

I especially like Julia's choice of reading The Forsyte Saga. As we know, Irene Forsyte was unable to live under the strict eye of the Forsyte clan. Heh.

Because of Winn-Dixie

Finished Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. It won the Newbery Honor Medal in 2001. This is the story of Opal who has just moved to a new town in Florida. She lives with her father, a minister, who is kindly, but preoccupied with his work and the memory of his wife, who abandoned them years ago.

Opal feels a bit disconnected from the world at first. One day she goes to the Winn-Dixie for some groceries and encounters a stray dog running wild in the store. She befriends him, takes him home, cleans him up and names him Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie and his tremendous smile, Opal is able to make friends with various quirky and sometimes lost characters around town, bring them together and formulate something like a new family. This is a charming book. There were times that it made me think of Lucky in The Higher Power of Lucky.

Kate DiCamillo also won the Newbery Medal in 2004 for The Tale of Despereaux.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Prisoner of Zenda

Finished The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope. This book was great fun. I remember seeing a Zenda movie as a kid and really liking the story. The movie Dave is also an excellent retelling of Hope's novel.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Princess and the Goblin

Finished The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald. Originally published in 1872, this is his first of two books featuring Princess Irene and Curdie. The book is fast paced and engaging. The character of Princess Irene's grandmother is especially interesting in her ability to morph from old to young, and to protect, guide and heal. The edition I read had wonderfully detailed drawings by Arthur Hughes.

I look forward to reading the sequel, The Princess and Curdie. The copy I have was given to me as a birthday present, in third grade, by my friend Anne. I remember trying to read the book at the time, but it was a bit too advanced for me. I did love the illustrations, also by Hughes, and was particularly fascinated by the idea of Curdie holding his hands in Irene's grandmother's fire of roses and not being burnt by it. Now I will finally find out what the scene was all about.