Sunday, June 8, 2008

48 Hour Reading Challenge (Day 2)

8:15 pm - 10:15 pm The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatly Snyder 203 pages

The Headless Cupid is a Newberry Honor Book that explores a blended family adjusting to their new life together. David is the oldest of his 4 siblings, but when his father remarries after the death of David's mother, he gets a stepsister, Amanda who is one year older. Amanda is a huge brat and also into "the supernatural". The house they've all moved into is supposedly haunted by a poltergeist and there is a cupid's head missing from the bannister that disapeared years ago under mysterious circumstances. Amanda initiates her new brothers and sisters into the "occult" by giving them ordeals (can't touch metal for one day, can't touch wood for one day, must be silent a whole day) which actually just end up bothering the parents. When rocks start flying through the air and breaking things, everyone is concerned that the poltergeist is back. Great characterizations and well-plotted.

Favorite line: "There are just right ways and wrong ways to do things that are supernatural. I mean it is supposed to be mysterious and dignified. I guess you just have the feeling for it or you don't. Like for instance, can you imagine a real wizard, like Merlin or someone, wearing bunny mittens?"

10:15 pm - 12:45 am Deliverance by James Dickey 278 pages

Deliverance the novel is overshadowed by the 1972 film based on it, but it is a tight thriller that goes deeper into the character motivations of the four city men who decide to take a canoe trip down a river for a few days. This is a compelling man vs nature + man vs extremely scary hillbillies thriller, but definately not for anyone under say 17 (for the famous "squeal like a pig" scene alone).

Favorite line: "It's there." (what one of the 4 canoe trip guys answers when a native asks him why he wants to "mess" with the river)

8:30 am - 10:30 am The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster 256 pages

This is a fab book for anyone who loves language. Milo is a bored boy who is whisked off to a strange fantasy land via a phantom tollbooth. There he encounters such delights as the Which (not to be confused with the Witch), the spelling bee, subtraction stew (the more you eat, the hungrier you get) and much more. A must for fans of wordplay!

Favorite line: "It's hard work but a noble calling. For you see, time

11:30 am - 5:30 pm Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl 669 pages

Some people hate this (some reviews I've read) and some people adore it (ipgirl - who shares my taste it seems) so I wasn't so sure about it... but I LOVED this novel! Blue van Meer has spent most of her childhood travelling from town to town across the US (attending 3-5 schools per school year) with her professor father but he's decided to let her spend her whole senior year at a private school in NC. That's where she meets teacher Hannah and her tight group of student "blue bloods" as well as gets involved in the mystery surrounding Hannah's death during a spring break camping trip. Some people have compared this to Tartt's The Secret History, but this group of students pales in comparison to those and are actually the least interesting thing about this book (well, that and the constant listing of sources by the author which is clever at first, but gets old quickly). The most interesting parts of the book are Blue herself, her genius father (I loved just about everything he said) and the mystery surrounding Hannah. I never saw it coming, and after I read the last page, I wanted to go back and read this again (and perhaps I will - later).

Favorite Line #1: "Spend your energies on your story. Reworking it. Making it better. Increasing the scale, the depth of content, the universal themes. Those around you can have their novellas. A few will even cook up a Greek tragedy. But you will craft nothing less than an epic with your life. Out of all of them, your story will be the one to last."

Favorite Line #2: "The woman had wandered deep into her forties and, to her evident panic, had been unable to make her way back."

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick 511 pages

This national book award finalist is such a great book, I zipped through it in no time at all (well - it does have a lot of illustrations as well). It's the story of orphaned Hugo who lives in the walls inside a Paris train station and makes sure all the clocks keep running. His most prized possesion is a mechanical man that he is trying to fix because he believes it holds a message from his dead father.

Favorite Line: "I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. So I figure if the world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason , too."


Linda J said...

Oh my gosh girl, you are putting me to shame. I haven't read anything in 48 hours. Of course, there was a trip to KC for part of that time!

Daniel said...

I will read Hugo Cabret soon.

ipgirl said...

Glad you liked Special Topics! I completely agreed with your review...when I went to see the author speak she said she had a really hard time writing the end, going though a dozen versions. And then, right before the book was supposed to go to press, she made up the ending that you read--and I have to admit it is brilliant!!!

By the way, another book you should read (if you can find it, it's about 30 years old): it's called "The Changeover" by Margaret Mahy.