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[personal profile] justice_turtle
Summary: A young man in 1830s Minnesota becomes a logger and pioneers the technique of felling trees during winter so that the spring thaw will carry them to market.

Reaction: The distressing thing about Cornelia Meigs is that I always remember her other books I haven't reviewed yet as being better than the one I'm reading. :P Like The Windy Hill and Clearing Weather, this one suffers from a human villain whose actions don't come across as remotely realistic, either psychologically or (sometimes) in the realm of physical possibility. Our plucky young hero and his teammates on the side of Good have the same problem, actually -- physics and human psychology bend to their convenience, while twisting to hinder the villain's purposes. I mean, not just in normal storytelling ways, but in noticeable, "what the fuck does anybody here think they're doing" ways. :-(

Rating: One star. Because she did have the fools' gold identified as such from the start, which I don't think I've seen done in any other story that referenced fools' gold, and she described it accurately enough that my geologist's instincts twigged it straight off (though I didn't trust her enough to believe I was right).
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
When last we left our hero on page 27, he had met a cute boy he isn't going to hook up with, had quarreled with his constructedly mean uncle, and had revealed that he wants more education than he's had from the local one-room schoolhouse. Then I went on a tear about the apotheosis of book-larnin' and gave up for the night.

now i have dust in my sinuses )
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
Well! Roller Skates really knocked me off kilter. It's only been a week, but it feels like more.

This is the last Cornelia Meigs I'll be tackling for a while, as for some inexplicable reason the library hasn't got her Newbery-winning Invincible Louisa, nor The Covered Bridge (which I recall as being excellent), and my interlibrary loans are still stuck in 1930-1931. :S I know I like her "girls'" books better than her "boys'" books, and this is one of the latter, so I've no very high hopes for it, but let's dive in.

here goes! )
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
Summary: Teenaged "Young Fu" (he has a full name, but nobody uses it) and his mother move to Chongqing after his father dies. The book follows their first five years in the city, during which Young Fu becomes an accomplished coppersmith, learns to read and write, and has several adventures.

Reaction: *flomps* Glory hallelujah, we are DONE with chinoiserie! :D Young Fu is a realistic teenager living in (as far as I can tell) an accurately portrayed 1920s Chongqing. Sometimes he's full of himself, sometimes he screws up, but he's a generally good kid who works hard and takes good advantage of the luck he has. I feel like he might be just a titch too modern-Western in his kind of "pssh, evil spirits" attitude at times, but it is mostly earned.

Rating: Five stars. I'm so bloody happy to have a really good book set in China that I can't even criticize it. :D And it is honestly a good book.
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
I know almost nothing about Chinese history, so I started this off with some googling. Apparently this story's contemporary setting is the Republic of China (not Communist), not to be confused with the People's Republic of China (Communist). The Republic of China lasted roughly from 1912 (fall of the Empire) to 1949 (rise of Communist rule in China), although its government only gained actual control of all of China in 1928, and from 1937 onward it was focused on fighting a Japanese invasion. So this story will take place, it seems, in a sort of brief 9-year halcyon period when China is united, not Imperial, not Communist, and not particularly at war.

let's see where we go from here )
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
It is Monday! I have... a partial liveblog of Little House in the Big Woods, written before Vaino arrived on interlibrary loan.

I'm posting this now because the deeply informal poll came out unanimously in favor of upping my language rating here. So I thought I'd post all the deliberately-G-rated writing I had and start fresh. ^_^

*********************

[Written earlier:]

For clarity, throughout this series, I'm going to use "Laura" to mean the fictionalized character and "Mrs Wilder" or "Laura Ingalls Wilder" to mean the real-life author / historical character.

and dive in O_O )

And that's where I got distracted by the most biased retelling of the Finnish Civil War ever, so we'll pick up on Thursday with... more Little House, or a biography of Madame Roland on interlibrary loan, or both! ^_^

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