Maus

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This post is dedicated to the victims of the election massacre that took place in Maguindanao.

I was supposed to read another book to wrap up my World War II Challenge, but that will probably have to wait until next month, as I found another couple of books for this Challenge, lent to me by my book club friend Mike (thank you, Mike!).

I’ve only really started venturing into graphic novels recently but the critically-acclaimed Maus by Art Spiegelman is  something I’ve always been interested in, although I haven’t seen it in the local book stores.  While I’ve been acquainted with Art Spiegelman’s work in the Little Lit series, I’ve always wanted to read his masterpiece.

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A Hopeless Romantic

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I haven’t read a nice chick lit novel in a while, and I missed just kicking back and curling up with a light, fluffy read so I decided to be a little adventurous a couple weeks ago and grabbed this fairly thick book off my TBR.

I’d never heard of the title or author before, but I got Harriet Evans’ A Hopeless Romantic (book #138 for 2009) on BookMooch because I had to mooch an additional book to help defray shipping costs. I picked this book because it was rated high on Amazon and the cover art caught my eye.

It’s funny, because when I started reading this book, and it came at a time when one of the active threads in my book club (Flips Flipping Pages) was an ongoing discussion on when to stop reading when a book doesn’t catch your attention.

Some people give it a hundred pages; some people chuck a book when they don’t like it, and some, like me, finish a book when they’ve started it, whether they like the book or not. Call me compulsive, or masochistic even, but if I deign to start a book I have to finish it. Maybe put it away for a while if it really doesn’t catch my interest, but I feel like it’s disrespectful to give up on a book, especially if I’m going to pass judgment on it.

With this book, I plod through the first one hundred pages, and surprisingly (even I didn’t think it was possible), the author was able to turn the story around, and I ended up loving the book.

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Dahl’s Chickens!

I’ve been a fan of Roald Dahl ever since I discovered he was the brains behind Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (I saw the Gene Wilder movie dozens of times before I found the book in the library in fifth grade) and my favorite Willy Wonka candies that I bought at the school canteen — Gobstoppers, Pixy Sticks (the jumbo ones!), Runts (I loved the bananas!), Nerds, Dweebs (chewy Nerds), Tart & Tinys, Fun Dips, and SweeTarts — which led me to believe that Willy Wonka was a real person and that he had a chocolate factory somewhere. In fact, I was devastated (Santa Claus part II) when I eventually found out Nestle was making the candies!
UPDATE: My Roald Dahl Collection

After Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, I was fascinated with The Witches and Matilda, both of which I’ve read dozens of times.

I know a lot of people who were terrified as kids when they watched Angelica Huston’s portrayal of the Grand High Witch in the movie, but I didn’t get to see the movie until it was aired on Disney Channel several years ago, so I never had that problem. Like Roald Dahl himself, I was disappointed that they changed the ending in the movie.

I also liked Matilda, because our school’s parents association sponsored the film premiere when I was in sixth grade and I begged and begged my mom to get me a copy of the book after we saw the movie.

Matilda is one of my favorite characters because I could totally relate to her when I was younger– I was the kid who was always at the library until closing time, and I was always happy to be holed up alone in a room with a book. Hahaha, when I was younger I would set up a pencil on a dresser and try to levitate it like Matilda did, attempting to use my eyes to move the pencil and mouthing “Move!” fiercely. Today, I use Matilda as my BookMooch avatar.

To this day, the Grand High Witch and Miss Trunchbull are still in my list of the best book villains.

Other favorites include the BFG (which I only read recently, and I wanted to burst into applause after), George’s Marvelous Medicine, The Vicar of Nibbleswicke (hilarious!), The Twits (also hilarious!), Revolting Recipes and Even More Revolting Recipes.

Having grown up on Roald Dahl books, Quentin Blake also became one of my all-time favorite illustrators. I love how you can look at his work and know without doubt that it’s his. Very simple, yet enormous comic appeal!
In college, I started reading Roald Dahl’s short story collections, and I found a whole new – but equally engrossing – way to enjoy his works. The stories are dark and humorous, highly imaginative and original, and always with a surprise twist in the end. It was surprising to find out he could write outside of children’s books, and he is excellent at both writing for kids and for adults.

This isn’t actually a review of Roald Dahl’s books (although it’s starting to veer in that direction), but a review of D is for Dahl (Book 60 for 2009), an A-Z book about one of Britain’s most celebrated children’s authors.

The book is not very thick, but still filled with a lot of interesting factoids I never knew about one of my favorite authors.

I read this book to “cleanse the palate” after reading Silverlock during the read-a-thon, and I was laughing from start to end.

Am sharing my favorite entries:

The lamb debacle

Come to think of it, they don’t have names!

Heeheehee.

The cutest story ever!

Who would’ve thought?

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My copy: trade paperback, mooched from Triccie

My rating: 5/5 stars