Monday, January 31, 2011

Room by Emma Donoghue

I was given Room by a friend at work, Megan Lee. It is the story of a boy and his Ma. Ma has been held captive in Room for seven years. Jack, five years old, was born in the shed and has no idea that the world that he sees on TV is real; he thinks the world is just Room.
Words from the back cover that I would use to describe it include: changing innocence into horror and horror into tenderness, darkly beautiful, and dazzling use of language. It is so odd in the way that I was laughing at Jack's word choice (I particularly enjoyed the description of the Virgin Birth on p.18. It's a hoot!) and the next minute I was crying at the emotions Ma must be feeling.
You can see a picture of Room at
Query: I wonder if this was modeled after the Jaycee Duggard case or if the timing was coincidental. A friend said she thought it was coincidental. Does anyone know for sure?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume I by Stephenie Meyer

-Art Adaptation by Young Kim
I think I would actually say this is my first manga. The pictures in the graphic novel are much more manga-like than in any of the other graphic novels I have read. This probably has to do with the artist being from South Korea. I like these pictures better than the ones I have seen in other manga works; the characters are manga-like (can't explain it in words, it's just a look), but their eyes are less huge and strange-looking.
I enjoyed this work. It follows the book, not the movie. Be warned: this work ends after the initial sparkly visit to the meadow; I will have to wait for Volume II (and more?) to know how it ends. (Good thing I own the whole set of books!)
Question: Does anyone else have a hard time looking at the pictures? I think I'm just a text person. The pictures don't add anything for me and I spend my time reading the text. (I never was a comic book person as a child.)

Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel by Charlotte Bronte

(American English, Quick Text)
This is the 3rd graphic novel I have ever read; I enjoyed this one more than the others. I'm not really sure what made this American since most of the text came verbatim from the original.
Since I am involved in the Smyrna Public Library's Winter Reading Program, leading our school's Volunteer State Book Awards Book Club, and participating in the Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge, I don't have time to reread favorites because I am reading so many new works. I like the fact that I feel like I got the meat of the text from this work. This version did not even shy away from Bronte's overtly Christian themes! I recommend it to those who already love Jane Eyre, those who want to read Jane Eyre but don't have the time right now, and anyone you want to read Jane Eyre.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge

I plan to participate in this reading challenge as an aficionada who reads 9-11 books! This quite the commitment since I am a mother of two-and-a-half-year-old twin boys and a full-time high school librarian who is working to read books for a book club...but I really love this series and am excited to reread them.

I think it will be fun to remember what Mona Swithin was like when she was younger (since I just read Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron) and just revisit this world again. When I first started the series over five years ago (we lived at our old house then!), the series inspired me to research Jane's life in a way I had never done before; I became serious about her and not just about her writing. I read a cookbook with Martha Lloyd recipes (even one for white soup...Bingley!). When I read Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House, I started researching the Royal Navy. They are just fun and they came to me at a time in my life when my knowledge was stagnant (I had just finished my Master's and my was teaching the same books...again...for the 4th year in a freshmen) and they set that desire for knowledge on fire again. I can't wait to reread books that made a difference inmy life when I needed them to.

Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron by Stephanie Barron

I have signed up for the Smyrna Public Library's Winter Reading Program. I have to read 6 books in 6 weeks. I see some graphic novels on my horizon!

This is the 10th book in this Jane Austen mystery series. Unlike other series that attempt to continue some of Jane's works, this series takes Jane Austen and places her as sleuth; I think this is a good fit because Jane was, obviously from her works, an acute studier of human nature. These books are Jane's lost "journals" from her life. The author looks at Jane's letters (Dierdre LeFaye) and bases the books on real places, real people, and real dates in Jane's real existing letters; ingenious!
This book is the first to veer from that premise of historical (letters) fiction. This book takes Jane to Brighton with her brother Henry after the death of his wife, the Comtesse Eliza de Feudille. It is recorded that Jane spent two months with Henry in London after the death of his wife; this jaunt to Brighton is purely fictional.
While in Brighton, Jane meets George Gordon, Lord Byron, who was really in Brighton at the time writing his poem The Giaour about the drowning of a young girl ( Barron uses this poem as the jumping off point of this mystery.
Like all books in this series, these "journals" are written in the style of Jane Austen. I just really enjoy them and recommend them to fans of Jane. This, the 10th, does not disappoint!

If you are interested in reading this series, then you can join the "Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011 at

Monday, January 10, 2011

Busy Body by M.C. Beaton

This is the newest novel in the Agatha Raisin series that I have been reading for a few years now. I really enjoy these English cozies (i.e. typical mystery novels). I look to these novels for a break from heavier things; they are just fun for me. This one, like the others, did not disappoint. This one included old and new characters, old and new loves, and crazy situations in the English Cotswolds. (BTW: I wish I had realized what the Cotswolds were when I visited Stratford-upon-Avon when I was 13. Ah, the mistakes of youth!)

Marvel Pride & Prejudice

Adapted by Nancy Butler and Illustrated by Hugo Petrus
This graphic novel just came in to our library; I ordered it because I hope some girl who is interested in manga and graphic novels might pick it up and fall in love with Jane Austen. In these graphic novels based on works of literature, the adapter pulls out significant quotes for the text boxes of the characters. The setting or any other vital information is places in a rectangular box to denote the difference between quotes and the author's extra information.
I may try to read the Jane Eyre graphic novel we already possess at JOHS.