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Friday, February 10, 2017

#5 - The Swiss Family Robinson - Johann David Wyss

Title:  The Swiss Family Robinson 
Author:  Johann David Wyss
Publisher/Date:  Taintor Audio/2010
ISBN: 9781400 115846
Narrated by:  Norman Dietz
CDs/Hours:  10/12.5
Dates listened to:  1/22/17 – 2/9/17

Swept off course by a raging storm, a Swiss pastor, his wife and their four young sons are shipwrecked on an uncharted tropical island.  Thus begins the classic story of survival and adventure that has fired the imaginations of readers since it first appeared in 1812.  With optimism and boundless enthusiasm, the Robinson family undertakes the extraordinary task of constructing a home for themselves and exploring the primitive island filled with strange and beautiful creatures and exotic fruits and plants.  Rich in action and suspense, this exhilarating novel takes us to a faraway place of danger and beauty, where the courageous Robinson family embarks on a thrilling new life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this unabridged version of a story I was familiar with from the movie.  The book is longer than the film and tells of the time the mother and youngest son were kidnapped.  The movie is loosely based upon the book and gives us pirates and plunder versus the natives that inhabit a neighboring island.   

#4 - The Pale King - David Foster Wallace

Title:  The Pale King
Author:  David Foster Wallace
Read by:  Robert Petkoff
Genre:  Fiction
Publisher/Date:  Hachette Audio/2011
ISBN: 978-1-60841-975-2
CDS/hours:  16/19
Listened to:  1/4/17 - 2/9/17

Published posthumously Wallace left behind unpublished work of which The Pale King is a part.
The back cover says “it is a deeply compelling and satisfying novel”.  I take exception is this statement, yet spent 19 hours listening to drivel and banter and endless repetition of words.  So, it must have had some redeeming value for me to spend so much time on one story which had no plot.

The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, appear ordinary enough to newly arrived trainee David Foster Wallace.  But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that employees receive boredom-survival training, he learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling.  And he has arrived at a moment when forces with the IRS are plotting to eliminate what little humanity and dignity the work still has.

Having been a federal employee myself for 31 years I can understand how this could happen.  However, I found my career more satisfying and rewarding.  I think it’s ironic that Wallace put himself in the story and then died, since those working for the feds cannot be published while employed by our national government.

#3 - The Elsewhere Chronicles - Bannister/Nykko

Title:  The Elsewhere Chronicles – Book One:  The Shadow Door
Genre:  Graphic
Art:  Bannister
Story: Nykko
Colors:  Jaffre
Translation by: Carol Klio Burrell
Published in the US:  2009
Publisher/Date:  Graphic Universe/2007
ISBN: 978-0-7613-4459-9

Max, Rebecca, Noah, and Theo think Grandpa Gabe’s house is haunted and then, in the library, discover a movie projector that opens a passageway into a world threatened by creatures of shadow, where their only weapon is light.  This could be named “the never-ending story” because each “book” is a sequel that continues the story and gives you a preview of what’s to come.  

Granddaughter is into this series and last Tuesday, a snow day, I got to be with her and some friends who came over and we hung out.  By mid-afternoon we were ready to get out of the house.  The icy streets had melted and we drove over to Menchies, a frozen yogurt shop, in the neighborhood.  This, of course, has nothing to do with the story except it was the four friends – Kennedy, Maddy, Makena, Porter and they were looking for adventure.

The book is the winner of Best Comic Book for Young Readers at the Lyon Comics Festival and 2008 Nominee for the Essential Youth Prize of the Angouleme International Comics Festival.