Friday, August 31, 2007

A Couple Of Newbery Reviews

I've been falling behind on a couple of reviews, so here are two quick ones for two books that I loved reading for the Newbery challenge.

The first was Lois Lowry's, The Giver. The Giver is a dystopian novel about a brave new world that cherishes "sameness" There is no color in the world, there are no true feelings, there is no true love. Families are manufactured and every aspect of life is planned from the day you are born, in fact, from the moment you are conceived; seeing as each member of the community is assigned a job at the age of 12, and one of those jobs is "birth mother," a position that is looked poorly upon.

Jonas is assigned the title of Receiver of Memories, a title that is given only once every few generations. The job of the receiver of memories is to be the only person who remembers humanity as we know it today. The receiver of memories is the only person in the community who will ever know what the word "snow" means, what the word "love" means, what the word "war" means. He is given these memories by The Giver, the former receiver of memories. Jonas actually experiences each memory when The Giver lays his hands on his back and transmits the memory. The training is often brutal and painful. Throughout his training, Jonas realizes how animalistic and cold humanity has actually become and he wishes to restore love and compassion back to society.

I absolutely loved The Giver and wish I would've read it earlier in life. I certainly plan on reading more of Lowry's work. My next book of her's may be Gossamer after reading Nicola's wonderful review of that book for the RIP challenge! Sounds like a great one.

I also finished Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson today. I had read this one ages ago when I was much younger, and I remember loving it then. I remember it being such a magical book to me and relating perfectly to Jess and Leslie's kingdom. It reminded me of me and my cousin when we used to build forts outside made out of whatever wood that we could find, and to us, it would be a real battle zone. Or me and my sister would make tents in the house with the kitchen chairs and a sheet and it would be a little magical place.

So, I read this book today, years later, and what do you know, I fell right back into that place. I suspect that this will always be a special book to me. It's a comfort book. A book that I can fall into and relate to. But it's such a tragic book. No matter how many times I read it, this book will always choke me up. I won't talk about why, but for those who have read the book, I'm sure you understand.

I've yet to see the movie, because I wanted to refresh myself on the book first, but now that I've reread it, I think I'm just going to go out and buy it! I've heard nothing but good stuff about it and am really looking forward to seeing this book as a film. And I'm just thinking, this is also my first read for the Cardathon!

OK, all caught up! Now, on to the RIP Challenge with Dracula!!! Yay!

And guess what?! Megan's coming in town!!! But only for a day :( But that's better than nothing. A friend of hers is coming to pick up another friend and bring him back to Texas, so he asked her if she wanted to take a ride. So I get to see her for a day. So I'll probably disappear from blogging for the next couple of days. Might be here tomorrow, but Sunday will most probably be a no show ;) Enjoy your weekend everyone!


Bookfool said...

I've got to find our copy of The Giver. I know it's buried in kiddo's room, somewhere, but his room is . . . well, scary. I guess it should be one of my fall challenges, trying to get that teenager's room in order!

Robin said...

The Giver is one of my all-time favorite books! You must follow it up with Gathering Blue, and then Messenger to complete the whole story begun in The Giver. Enjoy your time with Megan!

Chris said...

Bookfool, Ha! That's a good should make that one of his fall challenges! I do suggest finding your copy of it though, it's a wonderful book!

Robin, I can see why it's an all time's a beautiful book. I definitely plan on following it up with the other two books. I'm so excited to have discovered Lowry finally! I'll certainly enjoy my time with Megan :)

Nymeth said...

There's been a lot of talk about Lois Lowry over blogland lately. Until a few weeks ago I had never heard of her, but she really sounds like one of those authors I absolutely must read.

I'm reading "Bridge to Terabithia" soon for the Book to Movie challenge, and then I want to see the movie too and see how it compares. I've also heard wonderful stuff about it.

That's great that you get to see Megan, even if just for a day. Have a great weekend!

DesLily said...

well it will be a real holiday weekend (at least for one day) with Megan in town! Hooray!

geez Chris the Giver sounds creepy enough to be part of the RIP read!

i loved Bridge to Terabithia too.. but it was a shock for me since I hadn't seen the movie nor read the book before!

Dark Orpheus said...

"The Giver" is one of those magical books people keep telling me about, but I just never read. Hmm. Should try it one day.

And happy weekend, Chris. Have a great time with Megan.

Nicola said...

I'll be interested to see what you think of the next two, Gathering Blue and Messenger. Hope you like Gossamer as much as I did.

Chris said...

Nymeth, The only book that I had really heard of from Lowry was Number the Stars. That one is widely read in schools here, though I never read it. She's a wonderful writer and I can see now why she was given the Newbery!

You'll love Terabithia! It's a perfect book and a very moving book, and I'm really looking forward to the movie now.

You have a good weekend too!

Deslily, It will indeed :)

You know, I started thinking the same thing, lol..."this could be an RIP read!" It really is horrific, but Jonas' story is a beautiful one.

Bridge to Terabithia is certainly a shock the first time sad :( I love that book though! Have you seen the movie yet?

Dark Orpheus, Thanks! You should read The Giver ;) It's a really quick read and it's well worth it!

Nicola, Looks like I have lots of Lowry ahead of me! I think I'm going to go ahead and complete the series first with Gathering Blue and Messenger and then read Gossamer. Gossamer really sounds great!

Becky said...

I love the Giver. And the sequels were good too. But not as wonderfully incredible as the first. But that's often the way it goes :) I do love Gossamer. It may be my favorite. It's really hard to choose though with Lowry. Both books are memorable. Both are very powerful.

Debi said...

I just read Bridge to Terabithia for the first time. I thought it was wonderful...and that's a book I wish I'd read as a kid, as I know it would have been a favorite. I haven't seen the movie, but Annie did (she loved it, but not as much as the book).

The Giver is one of the books Annie and I are going to read for homeschooling later in the year. I'm really looking forward it! And I've heard such wonderful things about Gossamer, that I really hope to get to it soon. Oh, why can't there be more hours in a day?!!

Chris said...

Becky, More votes for Gossamer! I'm getting pretty excited about that book! I'll have to read it soon. I was really surprised with The Giver. I expected it to be good as I've really enjoyed all of the Newbery books I've read, but this one really was exceptionally good.

Debi, Wasn't Bridge to Terabithia great? I'm glad I read that one as a child, but it seems to have the power to take us back to childhood even as an adult :) I'm so glad to hear that you and Annie are reading The Giver this year! I hope y'all enjoy it...I'm sure you will. It's really a wonderful book...I'm sure Annie can get some good papers out of that one ;)

jean pierre said...

its really exciting that megan's arriving! cool :)

"the giver" sounds interesting, especially as theres that angle from which characters in the book are able to know what the world was like...

Carl V. said...

Awesome news, please tell Megan 'hello' for me. I am so very excited for you both. It will be bittersweet because of the shortness, to be sure, but I am so happy for you both to have even a short time together. I really hope your job is one step towards you guys getting to see each other more often.

My daughter loved The Giver, they read it in school a year or so ago. Sounds wonderful. Reminds me somewhat of those teen books, The Uglies, etc. that have a similar theme in regards to sameness. I keep wanting to pick those up.

Really looking forward to your thoughts on Dracula! It remains my favorite book of all and I love it when people read it.

Can't wait to see what you think of Bridge the movie when you get a chance to see it.

Have a great long weekend!

Chris said...

JP, It's very exciting :) She should be getting here any minute now!

That was my favorite part of the book, and it was written brilliantly! What Lowry did was she spent the whole first half of the book immersing us in the "new world" so that we didn't have any glimpse of the way things were either. So when Jonas first began learning how things were, it was like we, the reader were experiencing them for the first time too...very cool!

Carl, It's very bittersweet, but it's sweet right now :)...the bitter will come Monday ;) I'll certainly tell her "hi" for you.

Glad to hear that Tori loved the Giver! You should steal it from her bookshelf one day! It's a quick read and a really great one. It's still floating about in my head.

Dove into Dracula last night and I'm loving the atmosphere of it already! I can tell that I'll really enjoy this one and that it's the perfect start for the RIP Challenge.

I'll be picking up Bridge the movie soon and posting my thoughts. Hope you enjoy your weekend as well!

Cath said...

I'm also reading Dracula, not for the RIP challenge but so that I can read The Historian for the RIP challenge. If that makes any sense... Look forward to your thoughts on it.

Am finding your blog very inspirational... excellent reviews. Am definitely going to try Orson Scott Card very soon. Ender's Game looks like a good place to start.

Stephanie said...

Hey Chris!! Sorry, I've been absent so much the past week. My modem went down!! is a big CONGRATS on the new job!! I feel like that proud older sister!! I knew you could do it!!

And have a great time with Megan!! You guys deserve some time together.

Great reviews by the way!

Chris said...

Cath, I'm loving Dracula so far! It's great, isn't it?! I'll be reading The Historian soon too, so we can compare notes!

Glad I can throw some inspiration your way :) I hope you enjoy Ender's's a wonderful book and by far one of my favorites...I hope it becomes one of yours too!

Steph, I saw that your modem went down, that sucks! That happened to me earlier this year and it's such a pain in the's amazing how much the blogging world becomes a part of our lives, huh?

Thanks older sis ;) Me and Meg are having lots of fun!

Quixotic said...

You know, I'm sure I have read something by Lois Lowry in the past...but I cannot remember the title. Hmmm.

Hope you had a great time with Megan!

Chris said...

I did Quix, Thanks! Lowry's written quite a few books that sound pretty cool. It seems that everyone but me has read Number the Stars...maybe you read that one?

Eva said...

I loooved the Giver when I was younger; I made sure to read it at least once a year. It's still sitting on my shelf (I have the same copy as in your post), and I think it might be calling my name...

Chris said...

Eva, I think it will be calling my name repeatedly over the years as well ;)

Rhinoa said...

I have both of these books on my TBR shelf. Lois Lowry is a wonderful author and I definately recommend reading more of her books. Also the movie of Bridge to Terabithia was really good too. I haven't yet read the book so I don't know how good an adaptation it is.

Chris said...

Rhinoa, I'll definitely be reading more you have any favorites that you'd recommend? I'm excited about seeing the Bridge movie. If my paycheck comes in today I may go buy it tonight!