Liesl’s Pick this Week:
THE SECRET OF SHADOW RANCH by Carolyn Keene
I will ETERNALLY admire mystery writers. I have no clue how they do it! I mean you read it and you wonder what’s going to happen, you are in suspense and on the edge of your seat and then the person who is the protagonist solves the mystery and it all makes sense. I have NO idea how they do. I've tried and i have declared it impossible for me, Liesl, to write a mystery so i will enjoy the work of other fabulous writers and i will enjoy high school.
This book is one of my favorite Nancy Drew books (yes i still read Nancy Drew). This particular Nancy adventure is about a trip Nancy takes to Arizona with her friends Bess and George to visit their uncle’s ranch. When the girls arrive to the ranch they are told by Uncle Ed that they can't stay because the ranch is haunted. Well everyone knows that Nancy can't resist a mystery, and so she convinces Uncle Ed to let them stay and they help solve the case as well as have tons of fun shopping and going to hoe- downs and treasure hunting and all the fun Arizona experiences. Definitely read this - even younger kids can enjoy this book. This is a book that you are NEVER too old to read -
also read all the other 52+ Nancy adventures!
ERAGON by Christopher Paolini
Okay, so first I have to warn you all that not everyone likes fantasy. I've found that a lot of girls like chicky books and cute books and beach reads and pretty much everyone hates all school reading material (so sorry if John Steinbeck or whoever is reading this :)), but fantasy is one genre where most people I know can't agree. Either you like it or you don't. No, that's not true. Either you like a book, or you don't. And I think it's pretty 50/50. For example - I thought everyone loved Harry Potter when I first read them in 2nd or 3rd grade. I got all the new ones when they came out. I knew everything about the storyline and the characters and all the hidden secrets and the who says what to who about who's on who's side and all that. So it was news to me when my dear friend in 5th grade kindly told me that Harry Potter was boring. I could only gape open mouthed at her in shock! How could anyone not like Harry Potter? They are only the best fantasy--and possibly the best period--books ever written! Everyone like Harry! But alas, no. They do not. Since then, I have had numerous people inform me of their dislike of Harry Potter. Though I have been equally shocked every time, I am started to realize that not everyone likes the same book. You can't please everybody no matter how interesting your characters are, how intense the plot line is, how amazing the actual writing is, or how much somebody else likes it.
ERAGON, for me, was one of those books. I thought it was amazing. I thought it was the coolest idea. I was cheering for people and booing for people and yelling at people's rash decisions and crying and laughing and wishing I was an elf, or had magic, or had a dragon. It was one of those fantasy books where you want to be where they are. One of those books where the writer makes you feel bad for being weak and human and unmagical. One of those books where you rave about and other people can only get to page 39.
I first read ERAGON in 5th grade. Actually, I think I read the second book, ELDEST, first. I got Eldest in a book exchange in 5th grade (I exchanged ERAGON, before I read it in that same exchange.) and read that one first. I know some of you are probably angry that I spoiled it, but the 2 books are so different that I didn't really spoil anything. I read ERAGON soon after that, though.
ERAGON is a bit like Lord of the Rings in the detail. Or so my mother told me when I described it to her. Christopher Paolini invented an entire little country. Or not so little. He made up 5 or so different races, with their own languages, customs, religions, families, specialties, characteristics, abilities, buildings, lands and power. Eragon is a farm boy who lives in Carvahall with his cousin and uncle, Garrow, after his aunt died and his mother mysteriously left him with Garrow. While out hunting for meat for the winter, Eragon encounters a strange blue stone that appears out of nowhere. Eragon takes the stone home thinking it might be valuable and bring his family some much needed money, but instead the stone hatches and brings him a bright blue baby dragon within a few days. Eragon tries to hide the dragon in the forest by his home, but in a couple weeks the dragon grows out of its little tree hideaway and starts leaving traces of its existence. Eragon starts to grow worried. When he first touched the dragon, he developed a silver mark on his hand. With this mark comes a mental connection with his dragon, soon named Saphira. Eragon has joined the ranks of the fantastical dragon riders. When deadly strangers visit his home, kill his uncle, and destroy the farm while he and his cousin are away, Eragon must take extreme measures. He escapes Carvahall with the town storyteller, Brom, and his dragon, Saphira, chasing the Ra'zac without telling anyone.
Brom and Eragon aren't on a little day trip. They must elude the Empire and the tyrannic leader, Galbatorix. They must travel fast, but keep Saphira hidden on the road. Eragon must learn how to defend himself with a sword and learn how to control his new magical power. They are 2 outlaws on the run, but even though Brom and Eragon are teammates, Eragon remains suspicious about Brom. Who is this so-called storyteller who knows the history of the legendary dragon riders? How is he so skilled with a sword and knowledgeable in magic and the ancient language? What is his personal history?
Eragon can't trust anyone, and he is new to his powers and this new world outside of Carvahall. He and Saphira must make their way through dangers they never dreamed about. Abduction, death, prophecy, secrecy, impossibly distances to travel in little time, elves, shades, wars, and more. Can they survive and take up the mantel???? We may never know.
Actually, you can know. Heehee, if you read the book. I know fantasy isn't for everyone. I know not everyone likes the same books. But as far as fantasy goes, this was a well written, intriguing book. I loved the rest of the series (though we still await the concluding fourth book) and I can't wait for the finale. The characters were very interesting with their own motives and stories and the way everything was interlinked--sort of like Harry Potter. This is definitely a book I would recommend to people, myself. Though don't blame me if it's not your forte. If you don't like ERAGON, you’d better like Harry Potter!
On this date: In 1969, the first ATM opened for business.