Still Reading, Still Writing

I am once again far behind on my reading posts. I will try to get caught up now.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
Grade: A-

This is the sequel to Bridget Jones’s Diary. One always takes a chance with sequels, but I was pleasantly surprised in this case. Bridget is still fun to listen to. My only complaint is that Fielding occasionally went a little overboard in her attempts at humor, making Bridget look like nothing more than a dumb drunk. Ah, well. Bridget always did drink a tad too much…

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
Grade: A-

Caddie Woodlawn is a simplistic but charming bunch of stories about a young girl growing up on the Wisconsin frontier around the time of the Civil War. I would recommend it for children, particularly tomboyish girls.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Grade: A-

I bought this at the Westerly book sale because I knew it had been made into a film and I was curious about it. It’s a story of a young man who travels to fairyland to capture a star. It is at times beautiful and haunting, hence the “A,” but it’s got some minor problems, hence the “-.” It’s the kind of book you’d want to read to older children, but there’s just enough violence and bad language to give you pause. The biggest flaw, though, is that it’s too short. There are scenes that absolutely fly by before you even have a chance to enjoy them. Still, it is one of the best fantasy novels I’ve read in recent years. I would recommend it for older teens and adults.

Aunt Dimity Digs In by Nancy Atherton
Grade: B

Aunt Dimity, the title character of a series of cozy mysteries by Nancy Atherton, is a ghost who communicates with the living by means of a journal. I haven’t read any of the other books in the series, so I don’t know how the story of Aunt Dimity began, and perhaps that’s why I found the premise so hard to accept. However, I still enjoyed the book. Lori Shepherd, the main character, had recently give birth to twins and was struggling to take care of them. I was pregnant at the time, which made it a timely tale for me. Overall, it was an enjoyable mystery with fun characters and a total lack of violence (there weren’t even any dead bodies!).

The Dark Secret of Weatherend by John Bellairs
Grade: C+

John Bellairs wrote a lot of lightweight but perfectly readable children’s books. I’ve read several of them and enjoyed each on some level, but this is probably the worst so far. I found the relationship between the two main characters, one an aging librarian and the other a boy, to be practically unbelievable. It also had a dated feel, probably because of the diminishing role of the library in this Internet-happy culture of ours. Top that off with a lame puzzle that’s solved with a big dose of deus ex machina, and you’ve got a tale that just doesn’t satisfy.

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