Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Finds

These are the books I've added to my TBR and wish lists this week:

Atonement by Ian McEwan

"We meet 13-year-old Briony Tallis in the summer of 1935, as she attempts to stage a production of her new drama "The Trials of Arabella" to welcome home her older, idolized brother Leon. But she soon discovers that her cousins, the glamorous Lola and the twin boys Jackson and Pierrot, aren't up to the task, and directorial ambitions are abandoned as more interesting prospects of preoccupation come onto the scene. The charlady's son, Robbie Turner, appears to be forcing Briony's sister Cecilia to strip in the fountain and sends her obscene letters; Leon has brought home a dim chocolate magnate keen for a war to promote his new "Army Ammo" chocolate bar; and upstairs, Briony's migraine-stricken mother Emily keeps tabs on the house from her bed. Soon, secrets emerge that change the lives of everyone present....
The interwar, upper-middle-class setting of the book's long, masterfully sustained opening section might recall Virginia Woolf or Henry Green, but as we move forward--eventually to the turn of the 21st century--the novel's central concerns emerge, and McEwan's voice becomes clear, even personal. For at heart, Atonement is about the pleasures, pains, and dangers of writing, and perhaps even more, about the challenge of controlling what readers make of your writing."

Atonement qualifies for the Lit Flicks Challenge I signed on to recently

The Dangerous Alphabet
by Neil Gaiman (Author), Gris Grimly (Illustrator)

"A is for Always, that's where we embark . . .
Two children, treasure map in hand, and their pet gazelle sneak past their father, out of their house, and into a world beneath the city, where monsters and pirates roam. Will they find the treasure? Will they make it out alive?
The Dangerous Alphabet is a tale of adventure, piracy, danger, and heroism told in twenty-six alphabetical lines—although even the alphabet is not to be relied upon here."

Props to Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings for posting this one. My boy is letter-obsessed, and this will be one of the 26 alphabet books we read for the A-Z Challenge.

The Faerie Queene, by Edmund Spenser

"Epic poem that was published between 1590 and 1609 by Edmund Spenser. It is the central poem of the Elizabethan period and is one of the great long poems in the English language. A celebration of Protestant nationalism, it represents infidels and papists as villains, King Arthur as the hero, and married chastity as its central value. The form of The Faerie Queene fuses the medieval allegory with the Italian romantic epic. The plan was for 12 books (of which six were completed), focusing on 12 virtues exemplified in the quests of 12 knights from the court of Gloriana, the Faerie Queene, a symbol for Elizabeth I herself. Arthur, in quest of Gloriana's love, would appear in each book and come to exemplify Magnificence, the complete man. Spenser took the decorative chivalry of the Elizabethan court festivals and reworked it through a constantly shifting veil of allegory, so that the knight's adventures and loves build into a complex, multileveled portrayal of the moral life. The verse, a spacious and slow-moving nine-lined stanza (see SPENSERIAN STANZA), and Spenser's archaic language frequently rise to an unrivaled sensuousness. The first installment of the poem (Books I-III) was published in 1590; the second, which contained Books I-III and Books IV-VI, in 1596."

I'll read this book to fulfill the Really Old Classics Challenge.

[descriptions from amazon]


Shana said...

Marina, I loved Atonement. Still haven't watched the movie though. I want to, if only to see yummy James McAvoy :)


Callista said...

That alphabet book looks really interesting! I just posted my Friday Finds.

Steven at Book Dads said...

I'd love to take a look at that alphabet book too.