Jeanine O'Loughlin

Fantasy, Science Fiction & Historical Fiction Author, Blogger, and Geek

Tag: Adventure

Friday Book Recommendation

http://www.amazon.com/Hunger-Games-Box-Set-Foil/dp/054579191X

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Many of you have probably seen these movies or at least heard of them as they’ve taken the teenage and young adult market by storm. I read these books when the first movie came out after hearing several friends and family raving about them. After the first book I found it a charming, fast-paced action/adventure story with dystopian flare. However, as I progressed through the second and third books I found that there was much more to these stories than an action flick.

One short coming I think a lot of young adult novels have is that they put teenagers into these extreme situations who come out triumphant at the end. Some of these experiences are quite traumatic and include death and grief or other strong emotions which are often glossed over in the attempt to move the story forward. I found this very issue addressed in this trilogy of books, showing just what kind of trauma and damage can happen to these young people from being thrown in these situations. There is PTSD, depression, mental programming and much more.

Then there’s the controversial ending. I, like many, were rooting for a good happy ending, and was given something unexpected instead. At first I was angry and bitter, but after given time to think and analyze through the stories I found the ending to be quite fitting and really made me absorb the overall theme and message I felt the books were trying to convey. Now as with all literary analysis I can’t say for certain that this was the author’s intent but it’s how I was able to really take a lot away from the books beyond “wow Katniss is a badass.”

So even if you’re sick of hearing about these books and movies if you haven’t had the chance to read them I would suggest you do, but look for the psychological story beyond that of the adventure and war.

Happy Reading!

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Friday Book Recommendation

http://www.amazon.com/Matter-Magic-Patricia-Wrede/dp/0765326329/

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A Matter of Magic by Patricia C. Wrede (one of my favorite authors), combines two previously separate novels into one; Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward. Set in Regency/Victorian England but where magic is real and the study taken on much like law or natural sciences. Kim, a street urchin from London is hired to break into the wagon of a stage magician performing in the market and steal an innocuous silver bowl. However, she quickly comes to learn that this stage magician may not be performing just parlor tricks for pennies. A quick job becomes a life-changing adventure of intrigue, magic, and excitement.

I have read both of these novels more times than I can count and are in my top five favorite books. I first read these when I was about twelve to thirteen and they are quick page turners even then. I highly recommend these for both kids and adults looking for some fun light adventure stories. The strong pairing of Kim and Mairelon is one of my favorite and it’s hard not to fall in love with both of them.

Happy Reading!

Friday Book Recommendation – Lord of the Flies

http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Flies-William-Golding/dp/0399501487

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Lord of the Flies is a dystopian novel published in 1954 by William Golding, a Nobel-Prize winning English author. The story is about a group of British boys who are trapped on an uninhabited island and try to create their own government with tragic and disastrous results. The book digs into the inner human instinct of survival as well as the concepts of the individual vs the common good. A common book read among grade school aged children it is considered one of the most challenged books by the American Library Association because of its controversial subject matter. I found this a very thought-provoking novel put in the perspective of young children that kids of a similar age can identify with and examine the implications of these subjects within their own lives and moving forward within modern society.

Happy Reading!

Friday Book Recommendation – Dune

http://www.amazon.com/Dune-Frank-Herbert/dp/0441172717

Dune

Written by Frank Herbert in 1965 this is an epic science fiction novel about the young man Paul Atredies who faces the threat of galactic politics in a society that is ruled by the most treasured and limited natural resource, the “spice” melange. It’s this reader’s opinion that this is the science fiction rival to the very popular Game of Thrones books for political intrigue, death, religious fanatics and more. There are five sequels written by Herbert to the book of which I have read 2 and they are equally as involved. I will warn you that the second book is not very exciting but it gets you to the third book which is worth the extra lore dump.

Happy Reading!

August Babies – Herman Melville & Moby-Dick

August did not have any compelling holidays to celebrate, so this month I’ll be posting about authors who were born in the month of August.

Herman_Melville

Herman Melville – 8/1/1819 – 9/28/1891

Herman Melville was born in New York City August 1, 1819 and is best known for his whaling novel Moby-Dick. Melville was well-educated and was said to have been a promising student, but when his father’s death when he was only 12 years old left the family in financial hardship many of was in and out of schools and jobs helping support his family as best he could while still pursuing education. From 1839 to 1844 Melville spent much of his time at sea on whaler or merchant vessels. In 1846 Melville saw his first book Typee published in London and was a great success. In August 1847 he married Elizabeth Shaw to whom he had four children with.

His most famous novel Moby-Dick was published in 1851 inspired by many of his own experiences while at sea. The book was not well received at the time of its initial publication in London and since much of the American market was influenced by its British cousins the sales at home did not fare well either. Some scholars believe that this was due in part that the British printing did not include the Epilogue which left the readers with a first person narrative in which the narrator did not survive to be giving the tale which they had just read. There is also speculation that the themes of whaling and maritime adventures were no longer of interest to the public at that time. The Gold Rush had shifted the imagination of the world to Western tales of romantic adventure.

The years following Moby-Dick’s publication saw several other publication failures for Melville. For financial reasons Melville started to lecture in 1857 and took up publishing poetry, which also did not sell well. In 1866 Melville took a position as a customs inspector for the City of New York which he held for the remaining 19 years of his life during which he earned the reputation for being the only honest employee in a notoriously corrupt institution. Melville died at his home in New York City on September 28, 1891 at the age of 72. His death certificate reads cause of death as “cardiac dilation.”

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