Category Archives: Children’s book reviews

The Owl Service

My current book is The Owl Service by Alan Garner, the classic 1968 winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Award.  Though I’m really enjoying the book now that I’m more than half-way through it, I have to admit that I’ve really struggled with the Welsh colloquialisms and the Welsh names of people and places and the allusions to Welsh myths.  We’ve placed this book in the juvenile section of the library, based upon its content, but I’m wondering now if it really belongs in the young adult section.  It would take a precocious fifth grader to wade through all the Welsh vocabulary and stick with the book long enough in order to get fully involved in the story.

Has anyone else out there read this book recently?  I’d love to hear your thoughts about the book, and about who is its actual reader.

(As a postscript, my summer reading time is currently 24 hours; looks like I’ll meet my goal of 30 hours by the end of summer reading, August 18th!)

finally

After renewing the book more times than I can count (a major benefit of being a librarian!), I FINALLY finished reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  I wish that I had some incredibly intelligent and informed comments to make about the book, but, alas, I don’t.  Although that is telling in itself, since I usually have more to say about a book that I’ve just read than other people care to hear.

But I’ll squeeze a few comments out of myself…

Though there were exciting plot twists and turns in the book, mostly I found it to be just plain dull, and tortuous to slog through.  It’s almost as though J.K. Rowling has lost her spirit, and doesn’t really care about Harry and the gang anymore.  The first few books in the series aren’t very well-written, but there’s a certain joy and vivacity in them that’s missing from The Half-Blood Prince.  Hopefully Rowling will regain her stride a little in the upcoming final book of the series; maybe the light at the end of the tunnel will inspire her to recapture some of the freshness that’s missing from books five and six.

So now it’s time to move on to OTHER books.  Here’s what’s on the docket:

Spy Force: Mission: In Search of the Time and Space Machine, by Deborah Abela

Can’t say I’m expecting a whole lot from this one.  I’m reading it because books about spies seem to be “hot” right now, and I’m previewing this particular one before I order the series for the library.  It hasn’t gotten the best reviews, so I’d rather read it for myself and make my own judgement before investing the library’s money in it.

The Owl Service, by Alan Garner

We just ordered a new paperback copy of this 1967 work, and I remember really enjoying it when I read it in graduate school.  Time to cleanse my reading palette with something of quality!

The Pilot’s Wife, by Anita Shreve

My good friend Judy gave me a copy of this book a few weeks ago.  I’m looking forward to reading it.  And it’s adult literature, what a concept!

New Boy, by Julian Houston

I heard Houston speak at The Concord Bookshop back in April or May, and I was very impressed by him and by the book passages that he read aloud.  Impressed enough that I bought a copy of the book and had him sign it, despite my complete moratorium on book purchases for myself.  (Our small house just can’t hold another book…)

I’d love to hear what other people are reading right now; drop a comment and let me know what you’re enjoying this summer!  And also check out my brother’s blog (follow the link on the right to “Yet Another Unitarian Universalist”); he has periodic entries about his summer reading.