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[personal profile] justice_turtle
I'm... less than optimistic about this book, because of the title. It's also out of print - I've got it on an interlibrary loan - but after Wonder Smith, Dream Coach, and Tod of the Fens (on the one hand) and The Story of White People and Shen of the Sea (on the other), I have serious doubts that the survival of a title on this list actually has anything to do with its quality. ^_^

holds nose and dives in; warning: fat-shaming )

...yeah, guess what? I'm done. I don't even care what happens in the rest of this book. Good-bye.
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
This book is available online, thanks to the University of Pennsylvania's "Celebration of Women Writers" website. I don't know... anything else about it. Here we go!

spoily spoilers of spoileriness )

WARNING: if you don't want to be majorly spoiled for a lot of very good plot-twists and good writing, DO NOT READ THIS POST! Read the review instead, once I post it. Or read the book itself. *points to link at beginning of post* It's Merrie Englande historical fiction, Henry IV era, the best research and the best period mentality I have EVER EVER seen done. Ever. The best conversational banter, too, and some darn good plotting and pacing. It's a story that, except for the part where it's also totally comprehensible to the modern reader (as long as the modern reader has a high tolerance for "wouldst" and "thou" etc), could have been written contemporary to when it takes place - it doesn't even have the "of course supernatural is bosh" thing going on. O_O And there is NO SORT OF FAIL AT ALL, within the confines of historical realism - except all the Germans are evil, but she's writing in the 1920s, I can give her evil Hanseatic League Germans. *dry grin*

Seriously. If you have an interest in well-researched historical fiction, especially with mystery or romance or adventure involved, READ THIS BOOK.
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
How do you liveblog a picture book you already know pretty much by heart? I DON'T KNOW. Let's try it and see! ;P

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS OF SPOILYNESS )
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
Oooh...kay. I tried to read this one before, but couldn't get past the first chapter for, if I recall correctly, personal reasons. Let's see if that's still the case.

Read more... )

Anyway, I'm done. O_O
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
Well, what do you know? It's another rare and expensive book! (Sorry, I'm still a little cranky about having moved away from a local library that owned all but half a dozen of the books on this list.) Not that I intend to damage any of these interlibrary loans, but the big "EXPENSIVE BOOK WARNING" banner on the cover is a little unnerving. At least this one would only be $200 USD to replace, instead of six hundred....

Read more... )
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
* This is an incredibly old and fragile book. I've seen and handled worse, but never gotten them through interlibrary loan; thus I've never seen a book with a label warning me in large letters that it could cost upwards of $600 to replace, before.

* This copy was printed in 1926. It says "reissued" after the original 1924 edition; does that mean it had already gone out of print / they only did one printing and then remaindered it? I know so little about publishing. :S

Read more... )
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
I'd like to polish off what I can of the 1920s here (there are about half a dozen books left I'll have to interlibrary-loan), so the next book I'll tackle is Trumpeter of Krakow. ...at least we're starting to hit things that are Children's Classics rather than Did You Ever Hear Of That Me Neither. Whether the "classic" status is deserved, we'll find out.

(I've read this book before, but it's been many years, and Shen of the Sea shook me badly. ;P)

Come away with me then, to... oh never mind. XD )

And I'm only up to page 48, but it's Monday, so here we are: posting time. :-)

I may not get back to this book by next Monday, as I've got an interlibrary loan in - The Dream Coach by Anne Parrish, a 1925 Honor Book - and it's extremely rare and fragile and I have to return it in two weeks. So that's priority.

After that's done, though, it's Trumpeter of Krakow and then (except for the seven interlibrary loans not yet gotten) we'll wind up the Roaring Twenties in grand style with Millions of Cats. XD
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
I have finally acquired for review one of the half-dozen Newbery Honor books not even my old home library had! ALL HAIL INTERLIBRARY LOAN. XD This would be one of the 1925 Newbery Honor Books - the year of Tales from Silver Lands. (I've also got the other Honor Book from that year on request, but it's not in yet.)

this is a very old book )

I'm not going to read all the rest of this. I gave it a fair shot, 100 pages, and I see why not even my old library of completism owned it. It was a good book at the time and for the place it was written in, but it doesn't have much interest beyond that place and time.

I still would've voted to give it the Newbery above "Tales from Silver Lands" if it had had that absolute necessity of tour-books which are intended to replace rather than supplement a trip to the place: better visual descriptions, fewer El stops. :P
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
So did I mention that Slacktiverse are going to be linking Read ALL The Newberys in their weekly round-up post of ongoing media deconstructions, from this weekend on? I don't think I did. But I am very excited. Maybe freaking out a little, even. People not actually on my flist are going to see my posts! *eep and also squee*

I mean, that's what the comm is for, but... getting linked someplace with an actual readership. (No offence meant, [personal profile] pedanther.) Eek. ;-)

So for that and other reasons - such as that these are just about the only books I have handy at the moment and I've been wanting to re-read them anyway - I am temporarily ditching the timeline in order to liveblog and review Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright and (if I get through the first book in reasonably short order) its sequel Return to Gone-Away.

here be liveblog, with SPOILERS as usual )

And even though that's only one chapter, I'm going to go ahead and post, because it took me long enough to write it and there's plenty of content in. IMO, anyway. Besides, I don't want to have to rewrite the whole beginning part in order to adjust the timing of the ANNOUNCEMENT. XD
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
Okay, I decided not to run the Mock Newberys of the Past strictly in step with the Newberys. Which allows for more flexibility in plugging in good books as I discover them! So, YAY.

So anyway: the next Proper Newbery Nominee on this list is Smoky the Cow Horse, the 1927 winner. In googling to un-confuse myself over the similar names "Will James" (this book's author) and "Will Rogers" (not this book's author), I learned that Will James was apparently the pen name of a Canadian cowboy, real name Joseph Ernest Nephtali Dufault.

I'll tell you, it's a lot easier to liveblog first-time reads than re-reads; WARNING for some animal abuse and racism )

In conclusion: I would call this book pretty solidly the Black Beauty of the USA, maybe even better than that. :-) It's so good and so well-written, I'm waffling on whether to give it five stars even despite the flickers of racism. O_O
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
Hrum. Wikipedia assures me that the short-stories in this book are the original creations of Mr Arthur Bowie Chrisman, a Virginia native, but the back cover is trying extremely hard to convince me - without saying it flat out - that they are traditional Chinese folktales. I am Well Dubious. Granted, Mr Chrisman probably wasn't responsible for the back cover, as this looks like... yes, it is a reprint. 1968. O_O [ETA: He actually was responsible for the back cover - it's from an interview he gave. :P]

The thing is, being a pasty white person of whiteness, I am not really very familiar with what is offensive when writing about other cultures. But I suspect this book crosses the line.

Onward and, um, throughward! ;P Lots of racism under here... WARNING for implied domestic violence and blatant misogyny, too. )... and now I am done with this book, even though there are thirteen more stories and 150 more pages.
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
Yay, more Padraic Colum! :D I hope this is good. Obviously the concept - "Atlantic discovery" - is a bit inherently racist in that America had been discovered a lot of times before white people did it across the Atlantic. But... I'm hoping it'll be good apart from that? :S

hold your nose and dive in )
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
I'll post a review of "The Dark Frigate" later; I'm in a bit of a hurry right now.

****

1925 had two Newbery Honor Books: The Dream Coach by Anne Parrish and Nicholas: A Manhattan Christmas Story by Annie Carroll Moore. Neither one is available to me. The next book on my reading list, therefore, is "Tales from Silver Lands" by Charles Joseph Finger. It's billed as a collection of folktales from the natives of the South American back-country, which Mr Finger apparently explored.

Here goes! ) I'M DONE NOW. Jerk.

* Reading Charles Finger's Wiki bio, though, I'm struck by how many of the writers I've read here so far aren't American-born and/or don't set their stories in the USA. Finger and Lofting were both British-born, Van Loon Dutch-born, Padraic Colum Irish; Hawes and Bernard Gay Marshall, American-born, seem to prefer England and (in Hawes's case) the Spanish Main for their settings; William Bowen appears to have no biographical information anywhere. (Perhaps he disappeared from the timestream in shame, but couldn't erase The Old Tobacco Shop from the Newbery list. TOO BAD.)

Only Cornelia Meigs, so far, is both definitely American-born and set her Newbery Honor story completely in America.
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
Pfffff, Dark Frigate. Charles Boardman Hawes. Don't I have homework due tomorrow? I'm sure I need to do the laundry. Pity I don't have a cat; I could vacuum it! ;D

It's a frigate. Of darkness. )

Blaaaaaaaaaah. Done. THAT WAS A LOT OF BOOK.
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
Mmm...kay. We get to the first book I've heard of on the list! It is not enticing. ;-)

The edition I have is a brand new Signet Classic, checked out of the library's "Popular" section. I am now side-eyeing the library fairly hard, because I have heard it rumored that the Dr Dolittle books are pretty racist. (I could get into a whole debate over what belongs in a library's "Popular" section, but I won't. Unless people want to start it in comments. *g* I'm always up for polite discussion in comments.)

Me, myself, I've never read this book at all that I know of, and only a couple of excerpts from the first book, The Story of Doctor Dolittle - I know I've read the part where he learns to talk to animals from his parrot and becomes an animal doctor (Ka-ka oi-ee, fee-fee? is Parrot-speak for "Is the porridge hot yet?"; I spent SO MANY hours as a four-year-old trying to parse the syntax there... no wonder I fell in love with The Lord of the Rings at ten, come to think on), and I've read an excerpt about the Pushmi-Pullyu but I couldn't tell you which book it was from. Honestly, I didn't know there was more than one until I started poking around Newbery Medal history and learned that the first book was published the year before the Newberys started.

Looking at some other Newbery reading blogs (I've linked a few on the comm profile now), I suspect I'm going to start running across books I know from excerpts in ancient school readers but have never read in full. Some of the synopses sound very familiar.

But for now - off we go! With *reads back of book* Dr Dolittle and young Tommy Stubbins.

snippity snip CUT )

So there you have it! Insensitive in spots, definitely colonial, but so much better than most other things I've read from this list I can't even.
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[personal profile] justice_turtle
The last post brought us up to page 207, anyway. I did some math: I'm 43% of the way done!

This book has taken me over a month to review. Admittedly, part of that was being on official hiatus, but part of it was just... this is a very dense book. It's got a lot of references I don't know anything about; my search history has probably hit the point where anyone who subpoenaed it would just be utterly perplexed. (Not that it was ever very incriminating. The basic stew of "[contact info/hours/address for X]", "what time should i go to bed calculator", and "muffaletta" has just been spiced up a bit by the addition of "venice council of ten", "milled coins history", "otto emperor" etc.)

Anyway. ENTER THE RENAISSANCE!

this way to the egress, I mean Renaissance )

Halfway point! The next chapter looks to be taking us Eastward to talk about Buddha and Confucius for a bit, so I'll cut this off here... good grief. I talked that long about only thirty-odd pages? I'm going to be here FOREVER. AND A DAY. O_O

ETA: No I'm not. I flipped forward to look at the chapters about WWI, because their titles are uncommunicative, and ran across this paragraph near the end of the book:

cut for racism )

He's trying to explain World War I happening, which is an admirable if futile enterprise... but I gave you three chances not to be casually racist above and beyond the demands of whatever your publisher wanted, Hendrik Willem van Loon. You just blew the last one. I'm out of here (except for the review).

I don't say The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle is going to be any BETTER, but at least I won't have to fact-check it! O_O
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
And that's the first third of the book done with. I'm never going to finish if I don't speed up, but I really do want to do it justice... :P Part of the trouble is just that nonfiction is really dense compared to fiction. But the chronic googling of "what on earth did he just SAY?" doesn't help either. Not to mention that we're getting pretty solidly into medieval politics now!

Heigh-ho, medieval politics! Awaaaaaaay! :D )

* I mean. I'm going to quote the first chapter head for the Renaissance in full, and then stop and post. "People Once More Dared To Be Happy Just Because They Were Alive. They Tried To Save The Remains Of The Older And More Agreeable Civilisation Of Rome And Greece And They Were So Proud Of Their Achievements That They Spoke Of A Renaissance Or Re-Birth Of Civilisation".

Wow.

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