Friday, May 25, 2007


More often than not, reading children's lit and writing curricula is a rather tedious business, but it was fun to re-read Island of the Blue Dolphins after nearly 30 years. I enjoyed it as much this second time as I did when I was a wee lad. In fifth grade O'Dell's novel opened my mind to the joys of reading, so I owe him a debt of gratitude. I went from O'Dell to The Hobbit and haven't stopped questing for good books since.

I had no idea that O'Dell based the book on a real island. Nor did I know that he based it loosely on a true story.

[Spoiler Alert] It's still sad when Rontu dies.

It's also fun to note that a book I found tedious as a child

still strikes me as clumsy and uninteresting. I don't get its popularity. I don't like the characters, and the story is boring. Perhaps the others are better?


Nick said...

You just have different tastes man. I love Narnia. On the other hand, I tried Beloved on your rec. and couldn't make it past the first 30 pages--does that start out rough and get better or is that just the way it is?

geoff said...

If the style of Beloved grates early, forget it. It doesn't alleviate. I read it in like a day, but can see how it would be a slog if that's not your bag.

Maybe it's my distaste for Jesus thumping that makes Narnia unpalatable? Ironically I like Lewis's Jesus books better stylistically. He's a clever guy with a gift for analogy. But in comparison with Tolkien or Lloyd Alexander, he's not on the same planet.

Nick said...

It's definitely style, as it sounded very interesting. I might give it another go, it just sounded so forced in my head when I was reading it.

Could be the Christ crust in Narnia--I totally bypassed all of the religious trappings when I was a kid (raised Cath. no less!) and have no problem doing so now. As a kids adventure yarn it is tough to beat so maybe that's how you have to take it. My fave is Silver Chair, maybe the one with the least amount of analogy? I prefer them to Tolkien (save maybe Simarillion) Alexander, LeGuin, Cooper, Boston, Nix, Feist and Pullman etc. although those are all great. Only Jordan is better for me. And maybe L. I. Wilder--I have to read more Little House books.

Sadly I haven't even read any of his straight up stuff in whole, only parts of Screwtape.

geoff said...

Funny--I just read a Little House story for work and was stunned at how good it was. The girls are left home while Ma and Pa run to town, and the oxen get out of control bringing them back, nearly killing the adults and leaving the girls to fend for themselves on the prairie.

Still haven't read Pullman. Not reading much now anyhow--mostly mags.

Nick said...

Yeah--Little House rocks!!

You can see the Pullman movie this winter--Kidman, Craig and Sam Elliot.


...porno mags.

Reminds me, I have a smashing Fairfield Porter biography to read!