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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

#54 - Patriotic American Stories - various authors

Title:  Patriotic American Stories
Author:  various
Genre:   Non-fiction   810.80358
Read by:  Patrick Cullen
Originally Published:  1925
Publisher/Date:   Blackstone Audio/2002
Dates listened to:   8/5/17 – 8/14/17
CDs/Hours:  4/4
IBSN:  078619433-2

The back of the CD cover states that these stories are chosen for young people to teach them the meaning of patriotism.  My teachers must have done a good job when I was in grade school because I remember hearing The Man without a Country by Edward Everett Hale, one of the selections on this compact disc, and the concept has stayed with me all these years.  Other stories include Washington by Nina Moore Tiffany; David Crockett, Defender of the Alamo by Charles Fletcher Allen; Lincoln: The Man of Sorrows by Major Stephen Brice and A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard.  

I enjoyed hearing new information about some of our patriotic forefathers.  For example, when George Washington was a young boy his mother had a horse she was quite fond of.  One day George was out riding it and the horse fell over on top of him and died.  He told his mother and as farfetched as it sounded she believed him, saying that if his brother had told the same story she knew he was fibbing but if George said it was so, then it was true.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

#53 - Dog Upon the Water - John Taintor Foote

Title:  Dog on the Water
Author:  John Taintor Foote
Genre:  Short Story
Original Publisher/Date:  D. Appleton-Century Co., Inc./1946
Current Publisher/Date:   The Lyons Press/2000
ISBN:   1-58574-141-8
Dates read:  8/1/17/ - 8/9/17

In an effort to read a second work by this author I waited too long to get the library book of short stories I wanted.  Then I found another book instead with this story in with 28 other unforgettable hunting tales, entitled The Greatest Hunting Stories Ever Told, edited by Lamar Underwood.  It almost makes me want to read the other stories by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner and Theodore Roosevelt.  

In this eight pager, we meet Myrtle a pointer without a master until a lucky hunter spends $40 and buys her.   They go hunting with a group of four other guys and their dogs.  Myrtle’s new owner does everything in his power to win Myrtle over – feeding her sandwiches, calling her or blowing a whistle to get her to bring him the downed game.  She seemed more content to just gaze off into space or taking it to another hunter.

One day while out hunting with the group she pointed a bird within inches of the river’s bank.  “The bird came down in the backwater just at the edge of the current.  Myrtle was in the river swimming for the bird the moment it fell.  She got to it quickly, but an eddy or the wind had carried it out into the current.  As she turned to come back with the bird in her mouth, the force of the river took her, and downstream she went.”

He called for her to drop it but she didn’t obey and “struggled on until she came at last to the backwater with the bird still in her mouth.”  Thinking she was home free, matters worsened and “trouble swiftly met that small swimmer.”  Before he knew it the guy had doffed his hunting coat and in he went.  But he didn’t have to swim as the water was less than armpit deep.  He scooped up Myrt and brought her, quail and all, to shore.  

He was finally able to get her to drop the bird, and her eyes brimmed with pride of work well done.  It was a combination of love, faith and companionship, “characteristic of a shooting dog as a bird is brought to the master’s hand. ‘Here it is, boss!’ that look seemed to say.  ‘It’s yours.  And I am yours – to slave for you, to adore you, as long as I shall live.’  Although my teeth were chattering, I was warmed suddenly from within.  Myrtle rode back to Atlanta that night, curled in my lap, a weary but contented little dog.”

#52 - Beauty Queens - Libba Bray

Title:  Beauty Queens
Author:  Libba Bray
Genre:   Young Adult
Read by:  Libba Bray
Publisher/Date:   Scholastic/2011
Dates listened to:   7/31/17 – 8/09/17
CDs/Hours:  12/14.5
IBSN:  978-0-5453-1523-4

I chose this book to read to satisfy the category, LGBTQIA author or character, in the Adult Summer Reading Program sponsored by Seattle Arts and Lectures and The Seattle Public Library.   What a delightfully funny book.  I’m wanting to call it a satire or spoof on beauty pageants, their sponsoring corporations and pirates!  

The story is crammed with all sorts of wonderful dialog, characterizations, plot and descriptive passages.  In an interview with Ms. Bray at the end of the CD she revealed that she’d been asked to write a book about a bunch of beauty pageant contestants surviving a plane crash on a desert island.  Then she thought of Lord of the Flies, Heart of Darkness and a couple other books with which I wasn’t familiar.  Before I heard this I’d thought of what would you get if you combined Lord of the Flies with The Swiss Family Robinson, added a few young women from the current generation and stirred swiftly.

I’d read a couple of Libba Bray books from a series she’d done in the mid-2000s and which were on the New York Times Best Seller list in 2007.  I liked the idea of seeing what she’d come up with based upon this particular theme.  She didn’t disappoint.  In fact I think listening to the book would far outweigh just reading it.  I say this because being the author of the book and reading it to us, she knows what each character sounds like and she has a definite talent for giving voice to each one of the surviving teens as well as peripheral characters.

Each girl is known by her name, state and talent.  The friendships they intimately form feel right and natural.  Their fears, hopes and dreams are true to life and get us into the heartfelt back stories that Bray, a true storyteller, reveals about each teen.  If you haven’t guessed already I really enjoyed this book.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

#51 - Justin Case Shells, Smells and the Horrible Flip-Flops of doom - Rachel Vail

Title:  Justin Case   Shells, Smells and the Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom
Author:  Rachel Vail
Illustrator:  Matthew Cordell
Genre:  Kid Chapter Book
Publisher/Date:  Macmillan/2012
ISBN:   978-1-250-00081-1
Dates read:  7/29/17/ - 8/4/17
Pages:  179

The summer following his year as a third grader, Justin Case (not his real last name – it’s Krzeszewski) is signed up for Camp GoldenBrook.  The previous summer he went to Science Camp and really loved it.  Now he’s not so sure he’s ready for more of a sports camp.

In journal form, beginning with June 20, Sunday, we learn all about Justin and his plans for summer where he has absolutely Nothing to Worry About.  He likes gummy worms, going barefoot and Science Camp.  Although he says he’s ready to go to Camp GoldenBrook, he is not ready to wear flip-flops.  For one thing between his big toe and the one next to it is a huge gap where another toe could fit.   

Wouldn’t you know it, Justin tries his hardest to fit in with the other kids at camp.  He does his darnedest to dive for coins on the bottom of the pool, not to worry that he doesn’t understand the game of Knuckle he and the other guys play, or that the kids tease him about liking Penelope Ann Murphy. 

All turns out well and on August 31, Tuesday, Justin journals that he looks forward to September and the start of fourth grade, and especially that there’s Nothing to Worry About.