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Thursday, January 5, 2017

#1 - The Children of Men - P. D. James

Title:  The Children of Men
Author:  P. D. James
Publisher/Date:  Recorded Books, LLC – 1993
IBSN:  1-4193-2343-1
Narrated by:  John Franklyn Robbins
CDs/Hours:  9/10.5
Dates listened to:  12/25/16 – 1/4/17

“PD James, best-selling author of the Adam Dalgliesh mystery series, has proven herself adept at writing novels that are suspenseful without being gratuitously violent, complex with being complicated.  Her characters are convincing and their plights believable, which makes The Children of Men all the more compelling.

“The human race faces extinction.  It is annihilation brought not by disease or nuclear war, not by crashing meteorites or colliding stars.  Men and women have ceased simply to procreate.  In 1994, sperm counts hit zero, pediatrics wards were rapidly and permanently depleted.  Overnight, it seemed, the human race had lost its power to breed.

“The last generation of children to offer mankind a chance was born in 1995 – the Omegas.  Coddled and overprotected, the Omega were the world’s last, great hope.  When they, too, reached sexual maturity unable to breed, everyone realized homo-sapiens had become a doomed commodity.
“Now 25 years later, a pervasive lethargy blankets the world.  Pornography has been legalized.  Massive numbers of people have fled back to the cities, fearful of encroaching nature.  Ritualistic suicides are sanctioned by the government as a means of ridding countries of their surplus elderly.  Anarchy reigns in the prisons, immigrants are enslaved, renegade Omegas terrorize the land.”

This book is set in 2021 Great Britain and we find Theo approached by Juliann to join a resistance group and approach the hierarchy of the land in an attempt to staunch the anarchy.  Children of Men is also a British movie made in 2006 and for which I’m on the waiting list at the public library and am 50th in line!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

#89 - Trixie Belden and the Mystery of the Uninvited Guest - Kathryn Kenny

Title:  Trixie Belden and the Mystery of the Uninvited Guest
Author:  Kathryn Kenny
Genre:  Children
Category:  Fiction
Rating:  B
Published:  1977
Dates Read:  12/19/16 – 12/31/16

Number 17 in the series introduces us to Hallie Belden, cousin to the Belden kids.  At first you might wonder if she is the uninvited guest.  As the story progresses we discover that this is not the case.
Trixie and Hallie haven’t seen each other in a couple years and were not on the best of terms when they last parted.  “Trouble on two feet” is how Trixie describes her father’s niece.  She’s everything that Trixie is not – three inches taller, slim, eyes the color of ripe blackberries.  Over the course of the few weeks of summer that Hallie is with them, she helps solve the mystery of the mysterious Miss Ryks.  This person has invited herself to the wedding of Juliana Maasden and Hans Vorwald scheduled to take place on August 6th.
In the flurry of getting ready for the big event, thefts occur in the neighborhood – from furnishings from the Lynch estate to mail from mailboxes along Glen Road.  It was fun to feature all of the Bob-Whites and to meet Hallie.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

#88 - The Reluctant Dragon - Kenneth Grahme

Title:  The Reluctant Dragon
Author:  Kenneth Grahame
Read by:  Stephen McLaughlin
Genre:  Children
Category:  Fiction
Rating:  B
Originally Published:  1898
Date:  12/25/16
CDs/Hours:  1/1

Although for ages five and up, I wanted to “read” another book by author Grahame, having listened to The Wind in the Willows last year.  This is an endearing story of the son of a shepherd who lives with his parents by the Downs in England.  The son spends much time reading big books.  His parents are very proud of his ability to read and they treat him as an equal.  They know that book learning can come in handy.  One evening the shepherd journeys home all atremble.  He was afraid to go “up on them there Downs.”  Seems he knows about a cave that he and the sheep don’t like.  Faint noises come from the cave, like snoring and sighing, he shares with his wife.  He cannot keep away and goes back and sees a scaly thing, half in, half out of the hole.  
The boy tells his father not to worry about the dragon and that he’ll have a talk to the beast.  The folks are convinced the son knows about book beasts and the mother agrees to what the son wants to do.  The boy indeed goes the next day and sees the critter napping peacefully, in fact the animal is purring!  Something the boy had never read about in books.
To make a short story even shorter, after a conversation with the dragon, the boy introduces Saint George of swordsman fame to the dragon who doesn’t really want to fight and concocts an event where the two should duel.   If you aren’t familiar with the outcome, this is a must read or re-read, or listen to.  Oh that all our wars and battles are fought in this manner!