Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Little Lit: Albert of Adelaide by Howard Anderson

Albert is a platypus who has escaped from the Adelaide zoo and set out on a quest to try to find others of his kind. He has a vague memory of a beautiful place where he once lived with his mother. Armed only with that knowledge and a stolen soft drink bottle filled with water, he sets out into the Australian outback to find home. Along the way he runs into a wild cast of characters including a wombat who likes to burn down buildings, a pair of bandicoots who can't seem to survive without a drink, kangaroos, dingoes, and the mysterious Muldoon. As he stumbles from one mishap into the next, Albert learns more about himself and the world around him and has to figure out who he can trust to help him on his journey.

What I Liked:

  • This is one of the most unique books I've read. It's a western and a hero's quest and a coming of age and a fantasy all rolled up into one book.
  • Albert's character development was well done. He's naive and confused and fairly timid at the beginning and he grows, but doesn't change so much that he's unrecognizable at the end - a feat that was actually fairly difficult to pull off considering the things that happen to and around him through the course of the narrative.
  • The secondary characters are enjoyable and very distinctive.
What I Would Have Liked:
  • I would have liked just a bit more character development with the secondary characters. They're unique, but sometimes I felt like they were just a bit flat - like their quirks were their main substance. Not all the time, but at times.
  • I understood the purpose of leaving the ending open the way it was, but I felt vaguely dissatisfied by it. I didn't get the closure I was hoping for, I guess.
  • An enjoyable and very different read for fans of westerns or slightly dark fiction.
  • The animal protagonists do not in any way make this a comic or light read, but allow Anderson to explore the ideas of friendship, home, and growth in a very unique way.
  • I know I keep using the word unique, but it's the best descriptor I have!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What I'm Reading Now: July Edition

This summer has been an absolutely crazy one for me, so I haven't had much time for reading, but here's a look at the books I'm crawling through right now.

On my Nook: I just started rereading Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I've read the first 3 books in the series before, but I want to finish it and it's been long enough that I really felt like I needed a refresher before I read Fairest and Winter. I love this series so much, so I'm really excited to read the first 3 again and then attack the rest of the series.

On my phone: I've made it a few more pages into Don Quixote. I'm so familiar with many of the story events that I can't remember if I've just read excerpts/heard plot points or if I've actually read the whole thing before. I'm leaning toward the former, but we'll see how familiar it stays as I continue through the story.

In print - fiction: I made it through almost all of L.M. Montgomery's novels before the conference, and I'm determined to finish them off. I'm about a third of the way through Pat of Silver Bush. It's been so long since I read it that I don't remember anything at all about it, so it's like reading it for the first time all over again! It's definitely a very different novel from most of Montgomery's others.
In print - non-fiction: Still reading All Cracked Up by Patsy Clairmont. I love her and her style, but I have not been in the mood for non-fiction lately. I read a bit here and there and have made it about half way through, but I've been saving my reading time for other things.

On audio in my car: Having worked through A Series of Unfortunate Events and Harry Potter I was looking for another "kids" series to listen to. I really enjoyed the audio version of Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles so I started those on my drive to Prince Edward Island. Now I'm almost done with The Throne of Fire, the second book in the trilogy. The narrators do a really good job of bringing the story to life.

On TV: I'm going back and forth between Leverage and Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix. But the show I'm absolutely loving right now is So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation currently airing on Fox.
I've been a fan of SYTYCD for years now and this new twist has been so interesting. The kids are incredibly talented and I cry at least 3 times during each episode. I do wish there had been a way for them to do both a regular and a kids' version of the show rather than switching from one to the other. But if you're looking for a great dancing competition with talent that will blow you away every week, I highly recommend it. The first live show was Monday and it looks like Fox has a few episodes available for streaming on their website if you want to catch up a little. If you've watched the show before, the kids are paired with all-stars from earlier seasons so you get to see some of your favorites dance and mentor the next generation, which is all kinds of cool and warm and fuzzy.

What are you reading or watching?