24 May 2006

Other Summer Reading

I don't want to lose my rep for reading wicked fast, so here are capsule reviews of a handful of the other books I've read in between trying to get through the Canterbury Tales. They're mostly kids' books I picked out because they're quick reads or because I was trying to remember what I thought was so great about them in the first place.
  • The Girl with Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts - I've always loved this book. The protagonist is a ten-year-old girl who, as you might suspect, has silver eyes. She also has telekinetic powers, like Dr. Grey, and finds them to be more of a burden than a gift. The book details her search for other children like her, and how she finally makes friends among some "normal" people (who usually shun her). Very timely read considering the film that is coming out Friday.
  • Tarzan at the Earth's Core by Edgar Rice Burroughs - I love Burroughs brain candy, especially Tarzan. Project Gutenberg has the first eight Tarzan books, but the remaining fourteen are still under copyright, so I spend a lot of time poking about the old paperback sections in resale bookstores. This one is the thirteenth in the series, and is a crossover with Burroughs's Pellucidar series, none of which I'd read. Our favorite ape-man journeys to Pellucidar, a country inside the Earth, to effect a daring rescue (is there any other kind?).
  • M.Y.T.H. Inc. in Action by Robert Asprin - The Myth books are quite amusing if you are a fan of heroic fantasy. These books poke fun at nearly every stereotype of such works. This particular one is told in the voice of Guido, who is a bodyguard in the Mob and has an indescribably funny way of talking. I'd been looking for this book for a while, as I have read all those preceding and they had ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I was glad to find it. In general, it didn't disappoint, though the meta-humor got a bit much at times. I can't even begin to explain the plot, since these books are not really stand-alone, so it's up to you to mosey down to your local library and check out the series. The first one is called Another Fine Myth.
  • Going on Sixteen by Betty Cavanna - Betty Cavanna generally writes coming-of-age books about teenage girls. They're ridiculously wholesome. Julie, the main character in this one, is a very shy girl with considerable artistic talent. Through her love for a dog and through said talent, she overcomes her shyness and gets the guy. It's all good.
  • Several Hank the Cowdog books, by John R. Erickson - Yes, I know, kids' books. In my defense, however, Erickson really didn't intend these to be kids' books when he started writing them. That's why the first five or six books are the best, because once you start writing with only kids in mind, the quality is going to suffer. (See Baum, Lyman Frank.) I do find these books quite amusing, and the tapes are well worth listening to, as Erickson reads them himself and does all the voices, in proper Texas accents. He even does the music (every book includes at least one song, generally performed by Hank).
I know there were some others, but that's all I can remember off the top of my head.


Anonymous skinbad said...

We love Hank the Cowdog. We read them to our kids and listen to them on trips. His voice is just right for the character.

A couple of years ago, my wife decided she wanted to go through all the Newbery Award winners. She enjoyed just about all of them.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Peel said...

Yeah, I recommend Hank to kids who are just getting into reading.

Did she like The Grey King? It's part of Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising sequence. I LOVE those books.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Enas Yorl said...

Edgar Rice Burroughs fan eh? My Dad was too. He bought and read every one he could get his hands on for years. He kept them all too - he's got two or three boxes packed with nothing but ERB paperbacks, all complete sets (yes, Tarzan too). :o) He's going to give them all to me this fall.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Peel said...


10:12 PM  
Anonymous geoff said...

I've got the complete Ballantine set of the John Carter of Mars series, and a mixed set of the Carson of Venus series. And a copy of The Mucker. ERB and EE "Doc" Smith - does it get any better?

Have y'all ever tried Lin Carter's knock-off Jandar of Callisto series? An unrepentant clone of the Mars books, but it's a timekiller if you need to feel a reading void.

The kids have read a couple Hank the Cowdog books, but I'm trying to get them into the Freddy the Pig series. Now that's classic literature.

7:19 PM  

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