Archives for posts with tag: British

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

The Wee Free Men

Tiffany Aching is a 9-year-old farm girl who is good with cheese and sees the world through steady eyes. She doesn’t like her younger brother that much, as he gets in her way and is constantly sticky, but when he is abducted by the Queen of the Fairies, she is determined to get him back. With the help of a group of rowdy pictsies named the Nac Mac Feegle, the “wee men” of the title who got kicked out of the Queen’s kingdom for being drunk and disorderly, Tiffany travels to the world of the fairies. Can Tiffany defeat the Queen, with only her wits, a frying pan, and the help of the Nac Mac Feegle? Can she save her brother and Roland, a useless boy from the village who also wandered into fairyland? Does she have what it takes to be a true witch, in a land where all your dreams come true, even the terrible ones? Find out by reading The Wee Free Men.

This is a young adult fantasy novel that lives in Pratchett’s Discworld universe. Tiffany is a great character, with many flaws but lots of heart. There are themes that will make this book relatable for many kids and teens, like having annoying siblings, death and grief, and finding out what who you are and what you want to do. The book is very funny, and it has the perfect amount of naughtiness in this book – there’s enough faux swearing by the Nac Mac Feegle to delight kids, but not too much. The Wee Free Men is delightful to read out loud to the family, especially if you ham it up with the Nac Mac Feegle dialogue. This is the first book in the Tiffany Aching series, which is a great introduction for young readers to fantasy fiction in general and Discworld in particular. Adult fans of Discworld will like Pratchett’s familiar fantasy-with-a-twist-humor and the cameo by Granny Weatherwax.

 Recommended for ages 10-14, grades 4-8.

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Wee-Free-Men-Discworld/dp/0060012382/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1405965168&sr=8-1

From King County Library System in Book, Illustrated Book, ebook, Downloadable Audiobook, and Audiobook CD: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?custom_query=title%3A(%22wee%20free%20men%22)&suppress=true&custom_edit=false

Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings

Published as All Hell Let Loose: The World at War, 1939-1945 in the UK

 

Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945Inferno is a compelling history of World War II, told from the point of view of regular people, soldiers and civilians, who experienced the war. The author, Max Hastings, is a British journalist and author of many modern history books. Inferno offers a comparative history of the war, giving the reader context about the similarities and differences between geographical areas and time stages of the war.

One of my favorite parts of reading this book was discovering World War II topics that I hadn’t learned about in high school history class. These include the conflict between the Russian and German armies on the Eastern Front, where 90% of the German Army’s losses were received. I also learned a lot about the Pacific Theater, as most of what I learned focused on the island battles. The sections on China and southeast Asian countries under Japan’s rule were very interesting, as was the discussion of Japanese vrs. Western values on warfare and prisoners. Hastings contends that the industrial might of the United States made more of an impact on the war than the US military, which was interesting to think about given the focus on troops in my history lessons.

Inferno is a great book for people who want a more complete or alternate history of World War II. As a history that is focused on the stories of ordinary people and soldiers, it is also has more compelling human stories than history books focused on battles and weapons. Max Hastings won  the Pritzker Prize for Military History and Inferno was a New York Times Notable Book.

 

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Inferno-World-War-1939-1945-Vintage/dp/0307475530/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405381896&sr=1-1&keywords=inferno%3A+The+World+at+War%2C+1939-1945

 From King County Library System in Book, ebook, and Downloadable Audiobook: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&t=smart&search_category=keyword&q=Inferno+Max+Hastings&commit=Search

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells: An Homage to P.G. Wodehouse by Sebastian Faulks

jeeves

Bertie Wooster is a rather foolish young man of the British upper class, and Jeeves is his highly intelligent and understated butler. The Jeeves and Wooster series is a British comedy institution, and P.G. Wodehouse wrote many books over the 60 years of their publication. For those who haven’t read them, the Jeeves and Wooster novels are comedies of manners, like A Room With a View, only more ridiculous, set in a similar time and place as Downton Abbey. The plots are fun and always tie up neatly at the end of the book and the wordplay is delightful.

Many praise Wodehouse as the finest comic English author, so Sebastian Faulks took on a tall order with his new book, subtitled “An Homage to P.G. Wodehouse”. It is a true homage, with a complicated plot of romantic comedy misunderstandings, Bertie messing things up, and witty banter between Bertie and Jeeves. It is not quite as good as the originals, however. The plot wrap-up was not totally up to Wodehouse standards, and though his writing is good, Faulks did not have Wodehouse’s flair for creating crafting each sentence to sparkle like a gem: the wordcraft was always the best part of Wodehouse’s books.

In the author’s note, Faulks says that the Wodehouse estate hopes that this new Jeeves & Wooster novel will introduce a new generation of readers to Wodehouse’s books. I think it does an ok job of an introduction, but if you are looking to get your toes wet with some real Wodehouse, I would recommend starting with Right Ho, Jeeves. You can get it from King County Library System in a number of formats, and you can currently get the ebook for free from Amazon.com.

Right Ho, Jeeves from King County Library System in Book, eBook, Downloadable Audiobook, , Audiobook CD, Audiobook Cassette (!), and the TV series on DVD: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?custom_query=(contributor%3A(wodehouse)%20AND%20title%3A(right%20ho%20jeeves)%20)&suppress=true&custom_edit=false

Right Ho, Jeeves from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Rithmatist-Brandon-Sanderson/dp/0765320320

 

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells from KCLS in Book, Downloadable Audiobook, and Audiobook CD: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?custom_query=(contributor%3A(faulks)%20AND%20anywhere%3A(jeeves)%20)&suppress=true&custom_edit=false

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jeeves-Wedding-Bells-Wooster-Novels/dp/1250047595/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395884835&sr=1-1&keywords=jeeves+wedding+bells