Thursday, October 30, 2014

AuThursday: Hannah Kent's "Burial Rites"

Based on a true story, Burial Rites tells the story of Agnes Magnusdottir.  Agnes is a murderer. She has killed a man and will be executed for his death. Until the final judgment comes from Copenhagen, she is thrust upon a small farm family to be taken care of until justice can be served. It is there with the help of Assistant Reverend Toti that her life story unfolds.

The opening quote, "I was worst to the one I loved best,"  sets the stage for all of the events to come. This is a novel where the setting is almost a character in the story - the long winter, the midnight sun, the isolation of the farms really influenced the actions in the story, manipulating the characters into specific situations, forcing them to interact or be alone. The characters were rich, too - round with detail and realistic actions. The author didn't spare Agnes from scandal or poor decision making. She was a real person; she made real mistakes. Hannah Kent's note at the end, detailing the research she had done and the inspiration for the story, bolsters the novel's realism. Agnes Magnusdottir was a real person, the last person to be executed for a crime in Iceland. I finished the book wanting to know more about Agnes, more about Iceland. That is truly the mark of a good book.

The Grand Forks Book Club met at Andrea's house to eat cheesy wild rice soup, homemade salsa, and cherry pie.  Everyone enjoyed some aspects of the book - the lyricism, the realism, the pacing.  There was quite a bit to talk about.

For November, we will be reading Son by Lois Lowry, the last book in the Giver series.  We also choose Bomb by Steve Sheinken for December and will meet on Pearl Harbor day to discuss.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

To read or not to read...

I tried to get my 10-year-old son to read George Orwell's Animal Farm recently. He read a few pages gamely, but was mostly uninterested. He'd much prefer to chug along in The Blood of Olympus, the last massive volume in Rick Riordan's massive Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. An adventure story about demigods kicking butt beat an acerbic parable about the failures of Communism. No wonder totalitarianism is winning. (Noah Berlatsky at The Atlantic)

The above comes from a piece about adults reading young adult novels. Interesting. There seems to be a bit of a debate on whether or not adults should do this and whether or not ya novels are good for kids to read. learn more about the debate, click the hyperlinked text in the piece excerpted above. (In other words, click on the text above, read it and then click the links in it.)

Monday, October 20, 2014

If you need more reading...

If you're looking for educational blogs to read, and you're not just sure where to start. Check out the list of blogs at Education Week. To get to the list, click here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Writing Weekend Prompt

Try your hand at writing a crab canon using this information from the Grammar Girl (Mignon Fogarty) website.