Thursday, 29 January 2009

The Tomorrow City by: Monica Hughes

The Tomorrow City
Monica Hughes
Methuen Publishing

ISBN 9780416224207


I read a number of Monica Hughes' books back in 1999 because she is the favorite author of a friend. Though some were harder to find, I enjoyed all I could lay my hands on. Her books have been translated into dozens of languages.

This is an interesting little book about a society's attempt to make a perfect city - a city run by a computer, where the computer becomes the tyrant instead of man. The fight to save the city is lead by two friends, Caroline the computer designer's daughter and her friend David.

This is a great book and I highly recommend it.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Steve Shaw's Muscle and Brawn

I have reviewed a number of weight lifting, health and fitness books over the years. In part because of personal interest and in part because of my injury, and in part just because of who I am. I have a desire to get back in much better shape than I currently am. Author S. William Shaw has started a new website that looks like it will be amazing for the exercise enthusiast. His new site Steve Shaw's Muscle and Brawn already has a wealth of information, news, articles and personal accounts. So If you're a casual lifter or an adept check it out you will probably find something useful.

Other Fitness Articles:
Fall 2011 Programs
Workout program March 2012
My Gear February 2012
Fitness My Retrospective

TRX Articles:
TRX an Introduction
TRX Force

TRX Force Tactical
TRX Essential Flexibility

My P90X Series:
Phase I, Phase II, Gear, Phase III, Fitness Options, P90X at 120 Days Out

Health & Fitness Book Reviews:
The Primal Blueprint 21 Day Total Body Transformation - Mark Sisson
The Ten Commandments Of Lifting Weights - Jared Zimmerer

Toadally Primal Smoothies - Todd Dosenberry
Caveman Resurection - Jeff Pickett
40 Days to Optimal Health - Dr. Scott Morris
Eat Stop Eat - Brad Pilon
The Primal Blueprint - Mark Sisson
The New Rules of Lifting - Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove
Bench Press by: Sven Lindqvist
Sly Moves by: Sylvester Stallone
Fit for Eternal Life: A Christian Approach to Working Out, Eating Right, and Building the Virtues of Fitness in Your Soul by: Dr. Kevin Vost
Body for Life 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strenght by: Bill Phillips
Lose Fat Not Faith by Jeremy R. Likeness
Living The Good Life: Your Guide to Health and Success by: David Patchell-Evans
Dump your Trainer by: Ashley Marriott and Marc L. Paulsen


Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Isis Pedler by: Monica Hughes

The Isis Pedler
Monica Hughes

Hamish Hamilton

ISBN 9780241108345


I read a number of Monica Hughes' books back in 1999 because she is the favorite author of a friend. Though some were harder to find, I enjoyed all I could lay my hands on.

This is another wonderful book by Monica Hughes. It is about some Irish space tramps, Mike and Moira Flynn, a father and daughter and his attempts to swindle a backwater planet. He ends up leading the world with their pseudo god, the robot guardian.

It was a wildly fun book to read and is part of the Isis cycle. Well worth tracking down for the young readers in your life.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Sunday, 25 January 2009

The Always Prayer Shawl by: Sheldon Oberman

The Always Prayer Shawl
Sheldon Oberman

Boyd Mills Press

ISBN 9781590783320


This was a moving Jewish Story. It is an amazing picture book about the changes and staying the same that is life in the Jewish world view. It is the story of a family prayer shawl that gets passed down from generation to generation, from grandfather to grandson.

It is a powerful book about tradition, and family and the power of blessing and the traditional sense of inheritance.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment Second Edition Exam 70-290 by: Holme and Thomas

Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment Second Edition - Exam 70-290
Dan Holme and Orin Thomas
Microsoft Press
ISBN 97807356228
90

This was the second book I used to prepare for this exam. The first was Craig Zaker's. Both had advantages - both had disadvantages. The disadvantage of this is its shear volume. It has so much material (all of it good) but if you are working on a time line it is a lot to work through.

This book presents extensive exam preparation materials, going through section by section the requirements of the exam. It will help you learn to think and answer in "Microsoft speak".

There are lots of materials out there if you just want to pass a certification exam, crams, sims, testking … but if you really want to learn the materials, you need to work with it. This book with its wide range and extensive exercises will help you learn hands on. It is an excellent resource, and will be a reference book I use for years to come.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Exam 70-290 Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment by: Craig Zacker

Exam 70-290 Managing and Maintaining a
Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment
Craig Zacker
Microsoft Press
ISBN 9780735620315

PartNo. X10-35339
Sub Part No. X10-23991


As I stated in an earlier review Zacker writes in a very accessible and easy-to-read manner. His prose is excellent and the way he presents his material makes it easier to learn and apply. As such this was one of two books I used to prepare for and write the Microsoft exam 70-290. The other book I used was from Dan Holme and Orin Thomas. Both books had advantages and disadvantages.


First, Zacker's book is much more compact, and gives you the quick and dirty. He hits the topics hard and fast. If you need to work through the material in the least amount of time, this is the book for you. Holme's and Thomas's book goes into much greater depth and specific exam preparation.

Zacker presents his material in a clear and methodical manner. His writing style is fluid and easily accessible. He has a knack for presenting complicated material in a way that helps clear it up quickly.

Reviews of Other Zacker Books:
Windows Vista Configuaration MCTS Exam 70-620
Exam 70-290 Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment
Exam 70-293 Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure Exam 70-293 - Self-Paced Training Kit



Monday, 19 January 2009

Judaism by: Isidore Epstein

Judaism
Isidore Epstein
Penguin

ISBN 9780140135527


I have read this book for three different university courses. Each time I have gleaned more from its wisdom and presentation of the Jewish Tradition. This is a classic in Jewish Studies and can be found in almost any used book store. The last time I read it I had 8 pages of journal notes. In point form here are some of my notes from this great book:

Judaism remains to the present day essentially a product of the bible as well as the period that followed the return of the Jewish Exiles from Babylon.

God is: omnipotent, one & only God, beside whom there is no other; omnipresent; all knowing, all wise, omniscience, all holy transcendence.

The human body is a sacred vessel comprehending the divine spark, the soul, and as such must be kept healthy, sound and clean. To neglect the body and its physical requirements is to offend against God.

Moderation and sobriety, combined with cheerfulness and joy, constitute the key note of Judaism.

The harmonization of the physical needs and moral and spiritual aspirations spells contentment.

It is an excellent book for the scholar or just a lay student of religion.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Destined to Live: A True Story of a Child in the Holocaust by: Ruth Gruener

Destined to Live:
A True Story of a Child in the Holocaust
Ruth Gruener
Scholastic
ISBN 9780439892049

Every year I try to read a book or two about the Holocaust, not because I like to but because I think we need to. This book is great for the age group for which it was written. Written from a child's perspective and with a child's insight, it is different from many of the other first person accounts, in that aspect. Many that I have read are written with an adult voice or a looking back.

In telling Ruth's story in her own words, it moves from event to event. It is not as raw and cutting as some of the other survivors' stories. Yet it captures her terror and life in a very moving way.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Orphan's Alliance by: Robert Buettner

Orphan's Alliance
Robert Buettner
Orbit
ISBN 9780316001748

This is the fourth installment in the Jason Wander series. It is the story of a foot soldier who becomes a hero time and time again, while trying to save
the human race. The book is strong enough that it can stand alone, but is better as part of the series. Jason must unite all the human clans that have been found scattered throughout the outworlds - some with great advancements in technology, some back in the ice age. Jason must find a way to unite clans on different planets that have been fighting for millennium, and unite them with different clans and cultures from other planets. Humankind must stand together or be eliminated from the universe. For the slugs are back and on the planet they have hit, they do not leave a single surviving human.

Buettner is fast becoming a master of the Military Science Fiction genre. His fan base expands with each new novel and with each, his followers find greater skill and craft with the pen.


Jason Wander finds himself on a rock, literally at an interstellar crossroads. He must prepare this as a base and command center to defend earth and the other human planets. Unfortunately, the enemy has been alerted to the position and Wander does not know how much time he has. He has to rush an already tricky preparation, for the battle is about to begin.

There are advantages and disadvantages to reading a series, especially by a newer author. The advantage is you get to re-encounter characters and places you know and appreciate. You find out more about these characters that are strong enough to draw you back again and again. The disadvantage is that when an author is only writing one series you see only one side of their skill, and you wonder a bit what else they could come up with and what wonderful places they could take you to in your mind. Buettner has now done a fourth book in the Jason Wander saga, at least one more is planned, and by this reader eagerly anticipated. Yet there is that nagging question: 'What else is there in his quill waiting to be unleashed?'

This series will probably become classic in Military Science Fiction, and this book is one of the best in the set. The writing is fluid, the story gripping and well-balanced. Buettner is neither so fantastical that you suspend belief, but could see it as a possible future. His military insight and portrayal is tremendous. All in all, Orphan's Alliance is an excellent story to add to your bookshelf.

(First Published in Imprint 2009-01-16.)

Jason Wander Saga:

Orphanage
Orphan's Destiny

Orphan's Journey
Orphan's Alliance
Orphan's Triumph


Thursday, 15 January 2009

The Furthest Shore by: Ursula K. LeGuin

The Farthest Shore
Earthsea Book 3
Ursula K. LeGuin
Various Editions

I read most of the Earthsea Cycle as part of a children's literature course I did back in 1999. This is another book about Ged. But in this one he is the special educator to Lebanner/ Arren.

It is a book about the big questions, such as life and death, and the search for who we are. It is also about what we are to be and the idea of predestination. Ged says "to seek to be one's self is rare." It is also that we seek what we don't know in order to be found by our destiny.

In the book darkness is overtaking the world, singers are losing their songs, mages are forgetting their crafts. Men doubt and society is decaying, all because of fear or death. Men are giving up their true names to a lie. They are becoming slaves to a dead master.

Key Notes:

Ged is Master of Roke - Archmage
Lookfar (Ship is back again)
Isles of Myths

The Books of Earthsea:

A Wizard of Earthsea - 1968
The Tombs of Atuan - 1971
The Farthest Shore - 1972 (Winner of the National Book Award)
Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea - 1990 (Winner of the Nebula Award)
Tales from Earthsea - 2001
The Other Wind - 2001

The Short Stories of Earthsea:

The Word of Unbinding - 1964
The Rule of Names - 1964
Dragonfly - 1997
Darkrose and Diamond - 1999
The Finder - 2001
The Bones of the Earth - 2001
On The High Marsh - 2001

Chronology:

The Word of Unbinding
The Finder
Darkrose and Diamon
The Rule of Names
The Bones of the Earth
A Wizard of Earthsea
The Tombs of Atuan
On the High Marsh
The Farthest Shore
Tehanu
Dragonfly
The Other Wind

Note: The short story "Dragonfly" from Tales from Earthsea is intended to fit in between Tehanu and The Other Wind and, according to Le Guin, is "an important bridge in the series as a whole".

Also check out this great Earthsea site. It should be noted as well that these books have editions in Children's (9-12) Teen, Sci-Fi and adult fiction, It appeals to a very wide audience.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

Skeleton Creek
Patrick Carman
Scholastic
ISBN 9780545075664

Every now and then you come across a book that is so unique, so different, so incredible that you just want to share it with everyone you know. This is one of those books. I read it three times in a week, and still want to go back over it again, in case I missed anything. What makes this book so incredible is that it is actually more tha
n a book; it is a new entertainment experience. It is a book, it is a movie and it is fantastic. The story is told in two parts.

It
is the story of Ryan and Sarah, who live in Skeleton Creek Oregon. They become fascinated with the town's name, and the fact that it only changed to that recently. While investigating the mystery of the name, they find out about a ghost story of a man named Joe Bush who died in a mining dredge outside of town. While investigating the dredge, something strange happens and Ryan falls and breaks his leg. That is where our story begins. Ryan is in the hospital recovering and he starts to tell the story in his journal so he can make sense of it, and in case something happens to him. But the story is told by both Ryan and Sarah. Currently their parents will not allow them to see each other because they believe that it will encourage their investigative efforts.

Yet the two are staying in contact over the web. Ryan is writing the story in his journal, which is our book, and Sarah is creating videos and posting them on her website www.sarahfincher.com. Combined they tell the story. It is a great new media/literary adventure. Even the packaging and presentation is new. The book comes in a sleeve like a cover on a new DVD that says: "Read the book … Watch the videos." Once you slide the book out, it looks like a hard cover journal, and it looks like it was hand-written. The journal has illustrations and, what appears to be items taped inside it.

This story is incredibly well done. It is a ghost story for the net generation. You have to read the book and watch the videos and follow groups and websites online to find out more details and background to the story. It is well-written and the videos are amazing. I did read the book the first time to see if it could stand alone without the web component and it does, but the videos take the book to a whole new level of reading entertainment. Some of the websites that you can check out are:
www.enterskeletoncreek.com
www.skeletoncreekisreal.com
www.haunteddredges.com
www.sarahfincher.com
The only bad thing I can say about it is that it ends with a cliff-hanger and the conclusion, Ghost in the Machine - Skeleton Creek Book 2, is not due out until September 2009. This book has made my top ten all-time fiction list. It is a ghost story extraordinaire. So as the cover says, read the book and watch the videos - you will be drawn in and amazed by the story!

(First published in Imprint 2009-01-09.)

Other of Patrick Carman Books:

The Dark Hills Divide - The Land of Elyon Book 1
Beyond the Valley of Thorns - The Land of Elyon Book 2

The Tenth City - The Land of Elyon Book 3
Into The Mist - The Land of Elyon Prequel
Stargazer - The Land of Elyon Book 4

The House of Power - Atherton Book 1
Rivers of Fire - Atherton, Book 2
The Dark Planet - Atherron Book 3

Saving Mr Nibbles
- Elliot's Park Book 1
Haunted Hike - Elliot's Park Book 2
The Walnut Cup - Elliot's Park Book 3
A Windy Tale - Elliot's Park Book 4

Skeleton Creek - Skeleton Creek Book 1 - A Prereview.
Ghost in the Machine - Skeleton Creek Book 2

Crossbones - Skeleton Creek Book 3
The Raven - Skeleton Creek Book 4

The Black Circle
- 39 Clues Book 5


Trackers #1

Thirteen Days to Midnight

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Bone Marrow Part 4: The Follow-Up


How far would you be willing to go to save a life? Because to be honest, it is something you might have the opportunity to do with very little time or discomfort to yourself. I am talking about donating stem cells or bone marrow through the new Canadian One Match Network. Back in the summer of 2007 I had the opportunity to donate through the then Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry (UBMDR) which has now been rebranded as One Match. That experience was chronicled in a three part series for Imprint, and this is now an update.

By following a few simple and easy steps your type can be catalogued, A. B, AB, and O). Your blood has certain characteristics that they are looking to match so that you could be a possible donor. The characteristics are called Human Leukocyte Antigen
s (HLA) - they are DNA markers. These antigens are found on the surface of the white blood cells. Now some antigens are more common in specific ethnic groups so it is important to have as many people in the registry as possible. One of the reasons for the rebranding of the registry from UBMDR to One Match is a focus on the need for more ethnic representation on the registry. The registry is also eager to attract young donors because generally they are in good health, and are associated with better long-term survival rates for recipients and they can stay on the registry for a longer length of time. You can only join the registry if you are between 17-50 years of age. You can donate up to the age of 60.

You should consider joining the registry because each year hundreds of Canadians are in need of a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, which for many of these patients, is their only hope for recovery from illness. You might be able to help! What does it take for you to help? All it will take is a bit of your time. Call 1-800-2-DONATE or go to www.onematch.ca and a new testing procedure that only requires a mout
h swab, will be sent to you with return postage, and you could join the registry. That, combined with a willingness to donate either bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells, and you might have the chance to save a life. Currently there are about 220,000 Canadians who have made this commitment, and over 11 million people worldwide are on the registries.

A year after my donation I had the opportunity to exchange emails with the recipient. Here is some of what Guy had to say.

How long were you on the registry waiting for a match?

Six to 10 months.

How long between when you had a match and the procedure took place?
I had to go through five chemotherapy treatments before thinking about transplant. Then, I was in remission for 18 months. When cancer came back, in March 2007 I had another treatment to stop the progression and a last one, just before the transplant, in May 2007, to kill my bone marrow.
How has receiving the stem cells affected your life?
For about one year I had many physical restrictions because I did not have an immune system. For example: when I wanted to go to the grocery I had to wear a special mask to protect myself and wash my hands as soon as I came home. I also had man
y restrictions regarding food. I was in danger because my immune system was really low.

Emotionally speaking, it was hard because the doctors gave me a 65% possibility of failure, meaning death and only a 35% chance of getting through. My girlfriend and I decided to focus on the meaning of the gesture of receiving a new life instead of the possibility of losing it. We cried, we laughed, we hugged and then I had to take a nap because I was drained.

What did the preparation and procedure entail?
Like I said before, they have to kill my own bone marrow before giving me somebody else's. The whole procedure took around 60 days, hospitalized with no immune system and the danger of many infections and complications.

Are you willing to share what condition you had that required this procedure?
In March 2005 I was diagnosed with a severe Myeloïde Leucemia. ( I am not sure of the English term. Acute Myeloid Leukemia.)

Do you know anyone currently waiting for a match?
No, but I knew a 24 years old guy who passed away waiting for one.

As can be seen from this brief conversation in translation, for a mere few hours prep and a few days discomfort you can have the opportunity to change a life forever, and not only the life of the recipient but also of their friends and family. So while you are here at the University of Waterloo consider joining the network, even if you never have a match, being willing to makes you a hero.

(First Published in Imprint 2009-01-09.)

Note: This is a continuation of a three part series from last year.
Part 1 - There's more than blood in you to give
Part 2 - The Callback

Part 3- The Donation

Part 4- The Followup

Friday, 9 January 2009

The Rule of Names by: Ursula K. LeGuin

The Rule of Names
Earthsea - Short Story
Ursula K. LeGuin
Various Editions

This is a cute story in the Earthsea tradition. It is the fun tale of a wizard who believes he can conquer another wizard because he has found out his true name. However what he didn't know was that he was not a man but was really a dragon playing at being a man
.

Yet from Tehanu & Dragonfly we know that men and dragons were once the same race. It is just that the men forgot they were dragons. The lesson in this story is that knowing the true name of something is important, but knowing the essence, the being is just as important.

Key Notes:

1. I need to photo copy all the Earthsea maps out larger and co
mpare them.
2. Should also map out each of Ged's journeys and compare his travels and points of intersection.

The Books of Earthsea:

A Wizard of Earthsea - 1968
The Tombs of Atuan - 1971
The Farthest Shore - 1972 (Winner of the National Book Award)
Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea - 1990 (Winner of the Nebula Award)
Tales from Earthsea - 2001
The Other Wind - 2001

The Short Stories of Earthsea:

The Word of Unbinding - 1964
The Rule of Names - 1964
Dragonfly - 1997
Darkrose and Diamond - 1999
The Finder - 2001
The Bones of the Earth - 2001
On The High Marsh - 2001

Chronology:

The Word of Unbinding
The Finder
Darkrose and Diamon
The Rule of Names
The Bones of the Earth
A Wizard of Earthsea
The Tombs of Atuan
On the High Marsh
The Farthest Shore
Tehanu
Dragonfly
The Other Wind


Note: The short story "Dragonfly" from Tales from Earthsea is intended to fit in between Tehanu and The Other Wind and, according to Le Guin, is "an important bridge in the series as a whole".

Also check out this great Earthsea site. It should be noted as well that these books have editions in Children's (9-12) Teen, Sci-Fi and adult fiction, It appeals to a very wide audience.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Dragonfly by: Ursula K. LeGuin

Dragonfly
Earthsea
Ursula K. LeGuin
Various Editions

Supposedly this is the last novel of Earthsea, or at least that is what the book jacket says at its time of printing in 1999. This book is set after Tehanu, or at least after some of its events. However it is a strange story. It is about dragons and man, and how they are but two sides of the same race.


In it, Iraina a young girl from Irania, travels to Roke to study as a mage. This causes a split among the masters, five to four against her. There is even the threat of violence among the master mages.

In the final confrontation on Roke Hill she kills the master summoner, or returns him to death and turns momentarily into a dragon. She says she will return if they ask her. But she intends to go further west to her people, to the dragons, to find out who she is and the rest of her true name.

Again this story leaves the Earthsea Cycle incomplete, unfinished.

Key Notes:

1. I need to photo copy all the Earthsea maps out larger and compare them.
2. Should also map out each of Ged's journeys and compare his travels and points of intersection.

The Books of Earthsea:

A Wizard of Earthsea - 1968
The Tombs of Atuan - 1971
The Farthest Shore - 1972 (Winner of the National Book Award)
Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea - 1990 (Winner of the Nebula Award)
Tales from Earthsea - 2001
The Other Wind - 2001

The Short Stories of Earthsea:

The Word of Unbinding - 1964
The Rule of Names - 1964
Dragonfly - 1997
Darkrose and Diamond - 1999
The Finder - 2001
The Bones of the Earth - 2001
On The High Marsh - 2001

Chronology:

The Word of Unbinding
The Finder
Darkrose and Diamon
The Rule of Names
The Bones of the Earth
A Wizard of Earthsea
The Tombs of Atuan
On the High Marsh
The Farthest Shore
Tehanu
Dragonfly
The Other Wind


Note: The short story "Dragonfly" from Tales from Earthsea is intended to fit in between Tehanu and The Other Wind and, according to Le Guin, is "an important bridge in the series as a whole".

Also check out this great Earthsea site. It should be noted as well that these books have editions in Children's (9-12) Teen, Sci-Fi and adult fiction, It appeals to a very wide audience.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Monday, 5 January 2009

The Tombs of Atuan by: Ursula K. LeGuin

The Tombs of Atuan
Earthsea Book 2
Ursula K. LeGuin

Various Edition
s

Book one The Wizard of Earthsea was required reading for a children's literature course I did back in 1999. I enjoyed it so much I read all the books and collections of short stories set in that world. Yet even though this novel finishes by revolving again around Ged, it is really about Tenar/Arha, a young girl believed to be the reborn High Priest of the unnamed ones. (Nameless ones.) Her name is taken from her at 6 years of age, a year after she was taken from her family and home. She is given the name/title "A
rha" - "the one without a name."

She grows, learns and becomes high priestess under the tutelage of Kossil, priestess to the God-Kings and Thar of the God Brothers.

Then one day she sees Ged in the under tomb, and he has magic light. She traps him in the labyrinth. She then chains him and visits with him. Kossil finds out about this and plans to kill them both. Tenar, fearing this, visits Ged in the treasury where she has hidden him.


He renames her Tenar and together they escape and return the Ring of Erreth-Akbe to the inner islands that they may have peace. For the 9th rune that had been lost when the ring was broken when the rune was cut in half. Now with both pieces Ged could recover the rune and restore peace.

The book
ends with them in the city of Havnor.

Note: Pay close attention to the names of boats in the series. In this one Ged guides a boat called Lookfar.


The Books of Earthsea:

A Wizard of Earthsea - 1968
The Tombs of Atuan - 1971
The Farthest Shore - 1972 (Winner of the National Book Award)
Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea - 1990 (Winner of the Nebula Award)
Tales from Earthsea - 2001
The Other Wind - 2001

The Short Stories of Earthsea:

The Word of Unbinding - 1964
The Rule of Names - 1964
Dragonfly - 1997
Darkrose and Diamond - 1999
The Finder - 2001
The Bones of the Earth - 2001
On The High Marsh - 2001

Chronology:

The Word of Unbinding
The Finder
Darkrose and Diamon
The Rule of Names
The Bones of the Earth
A Wizard of Earthsea
The Tombs of Atuan
On the High Marsh
The Farthest Shore
Tehanu
Dragonfly
The Other Wind


Note: The short story "Dragonfly" from Tales from Earthsea is intended to fit in between Tehanu and The Other Wind and, according to Le Guin, is "an important bridge in the series as a whole".

Also check out this great Earthsea site. It should be noted as well that these books have editions in Children's (9-12) Teen, Sci-Fi and adult fiction, It appeals to a very wide audience.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Tehanu by: Ursula k. LeGuin

Tehanu
Earthsea Book 4 -
The Last book of Earthsea

Ursula K. LeGuin

This book continues right from the end of The Furthest Shore. The story is slower then the other three, yet it is also much deeper. The primary themes again are being: who are we? Especially who are we after loss? For Tenar/Ghoa it is the loss of husband; for Ged the loss of power, ceasing to be a mage. Also it is man's struggle to conquer death.

We also learn in this book that in earthsea, man and dragons were once one race. Men are the children of dragons that horded and built fortresses and forgot how to fly. Therru is an adopted child of Tenar and we find out that she is really the daughter of Kalessin the oldest of dragons. Yet we also find out that Kalessin is really Segoy the creator of earthsea.

Segoy leaves his daughter with Ged and Tenar saying he will one day be given a child by them.

Key Notes on Names:
Tenar / Gohn - Arha
Ged / Sparrowhawk - Hawk - Duny
Therru / Tehanu
Kalessin / Segoy - Oldest
Origon / Aihak

The Books of Earthsea:

A Wizard of Earthsea - 1968
The Tombs of Atuan - 1971
The Farthest Shore - 1972 (Winner of the National Book Award)
Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea - 1990 (Winner of the Nebula Award)
Tales from Earthsea - 2001
The Other Wind - 2001

The Short Stories of Earthsea:

The Word of Unbinding - 1964
The Rule of Names - 1964
Dragonfly - 1997
Darkrose and Diamond - 1999
The Finder - 2001
The Bones of the Earth - 2001
On The High Marsh - 2001

Chronology:

The Word of Unbinding
The Finder
Darkrose and Diamon
The Rule of Names
The Bones of the Earth
A Wizard of Earthsea
The Tombs of Atuan
On the High Marsh
The Farthest Shore
Tehanu
Dragonfly
The Other Wind


Note: The short story "Dragonfly" from Tales from Earthsea is intended to fit in between Tehanu and The Other Wind and, according to Le Guin, is "an important bridge in the series as a whole".

Also check out this great Earthsea site. It should be noted as well that these books have editions in Children's (9-12) Teen, Sci-Fi and adult fiction, It appeals to a very wide audience.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Thursday, 1 January 2009

The Wind in the Willows by: Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows
Kenneth Grahame

Various Editions

This was a very interesting book. As I read it I felt like Toad was a 'Prodigal Son', who came back only far enough to receive acceptance, then returned to his bad habits till he was in trouble again.

It reminded me much of myself, playing at being Christian before really giving Christ all areas of my life. Like Toad I would repent, but then not really change.

Rat was wise and resourceful, Mole was tender and caring and awe-full like a child yet also very wise. Badger is like a wise mature old mentor or guide, sent to give direction, and lead one to find one's own purpose in life.

Yet the mix of Animal and Human society just did not make sense to me. It felt like a badly planned Narnia novel. It did not explain how the animal and human worlds came to interact and share a language or culture.

But over all it was a fun read even if dry in some spots.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)
(I also wrote an essay comparing the book to the movie.)