"A house without books is like a room without windows." -Horace Mann

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Hero and the Crown

by Robin McKinley

My sister called today wanting to know if I remembered a book we read when we were younger, specifically with a girl and a dragon.  That rather broad topic could have covered a lot, but as soon as she said the author's name might have been Robin I knew she was talking about The Hero and the Crown, a Newbery Medal Award winner.

Robin McKinley is a favorite author of mine because she tells stories (I believe they are considered young adult genre) that are full of fantasy and fun, but yet have a very firm grounding on reality.  The romances she portrays aren't story book romances where the perfect man and perfect woman fall madly in love and live happily ever after.  Her stories don't always have easily wrapped-up happy endings.  So they feel real and let me (especially as a young girl) dream of something beyond where I was at the time.

This specific book is about a girl named Aerin who is royalty, but doesn't fit in.  She is loved by her father and by her friend Tor, but other hate her.  She becomes a dragon slayer which is not considered proper work for a princess.  She eventually saves a village from the dragon Maur but at much cost to her own well-being, and is saved by a mysterious man who is not quite mortal, named Luthe.  He gives her further information about the real problem behind the evil happening in her land, and she then goes off to again save the kingdom.  You'll enjoy this book at any age, but teenage girls who like a little fantasy will especially appreciate this one.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Gifts

As this is a blog about books, I felt it was appropriate to break quickly from book reviews and tell the story of my Christmas gifts.  First, a little background.  My husband is an accountant.  I have come to learn that many accountants actually have a sense of humor.  My husband loves joking around, and is best at quick off-the-cuff quips.  Sometimes his more "planned" jokes don't always come out as funny as he expects, but at least he tries.  He rarely gives me a gift without a joke involved.  In the past this usually involves a lot of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups which I don't care for, but which he loves.  Once he even emptied a big package of them, and put a KitKat inside instead, thus camoflaging it, and I almost gave it away!  So, I expected much of the same this Christmas.  Little did I know that he had switched things up...

My first present I go to open does not look like the shape of a book, but he has disguised it and I pull out a book titled, "Housekeeping".  Everyone laughs hysterically because this is obviously a comment about how he loves a clean house and I don't care quite as much.  What's funny about this is that I tell him later that 1) the book has really nothing whatsoever to do about housekeeping, and 2) I already own the book and have read it.  He was rather disappointed by this revelation but I told him it was still funny the way it came across.

I get my 2nd present from him, which is obviously a book.  I'm thinking that this is my real present.  But no, it definitely is not.  It is a hardbound library book that looks like it was written in the 70s, and titled "Women Chosen for Public Office (Profiles)".  I wish I had taken a picture of it, but a description will have to suffice.  There are black and white photos of women who must have lived in the 1900s, formidable looking women like most of those early "feminists" must have been.  All of them with high neck collars, big black hats, and corsets.  Not that I wouldn't want to learn about these tough women, but this book was scary looking!   Apparently he got this one at Goodwill for a dollar.

So now I am wondering in my head how many of these joke books I'm going to have to open before I get a book I want!  Apparently my husband said I looked mad (I was not) so he finally got my last present out and had me open it.  It was most definitely not a book, but it was a lovely purple necklace with the receipt for an Amazon order attached.  My REAL present arrived 2 days later. 

I'm glad my husband knows what I really want, and can still have fun himself at the same time.  Here's hoping all you received some good books for the holidays.  I'm always looking for recommendations.