Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Tiger - John Vaillant

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance And Survival
John Vaillant
Knopf Publishing
Copyright: August 2010

The product description:
It’s December 1997, and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russia’s Far East. The tiger isn’t just killing people, it’s annihilating them, and a team of men and their dogs must hunt it on foot through the forest in the brutal cold. As the trackers sift through the gruesome remains of the victims, they discover that these attacks aren’t random: the tiger is apparently engaged in a vendetta. Injured, starving, and extremely dangerous, the tiger must be found before it strikes again.

As he re-creates these extraordinary events, John Vaillant gives us an unforgettable portrait of this spectacularly beautiful and mysterious region. We meet the native tribes who for centuries have worshipped and lived alongside tigers, even sharing their kills with them. We witness the arrival of Russian settlers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, soldiers and hunters who greatly diminished the tiger populations. And we come to know their descendants, who, crushed by poverty, have turned to poaching and further upset the natural balance of the region.

This ancient, tenuous relationship between man and predator is at the very heart of this remarkable book. Throughout we encounter surprising theories of how humans and tigers may have evolved to coexist, how we may have developed as scavengers rather than hunters, and how early Homo sapiens may have fit seamlessly into the tiger’s ecosystem. Above all, we come to understand the endangered Siberian tiger, a highly intelligent super-predator that can grow to ten feet long, weigh more than six hundred pounds, and range daily over vast territories of forest and mountain.

Beautifully written and deeply informative, The Tiger circles around three main characters: Vladimir Markov, a poacher killed by the tiger; Yuri Trush, the lead tracker; and the tiger himself. It is an absolutely gripping tale of man and nature that leads inexorably to a final showdown in a clearing deep in the taiga. 
What a read! That's the first thing that came to mind when I finished this book, which is an incredible mix of modern day thriller with the story of the man-killing tiger, and also the history of the region and the tigers living there. There was not a dull moment, and as I read The Tiger, I kept thinking of others I know who would love the book too. I found this to be the kind of book that demands sharing.

That it's a good book is not just my opinion, but is also borne out by the fact that The Tiger was the winner of the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction this year. Quite the achievement!

Although John Vaillant presents a lot of information throughout the book, it's not dry at all. Everything - both historical and present is very easy to picture, with vivid and exciting description. I felt like I was getting an understanding of the landscape and the ways of life in that part of the world - one I knew very little about before. The way people live there, it's easy to see why poaching is such an accepted way of life - there's almost no other way to survive!

And the people! What a cast of characters - and all of them real. From Markov to Trush, the author has done a great job of putting their stories together, sometimes without even talking to them, as with the victims of the tiger. The tiger is a character too, one that can't talk with words, but certainly dominates the story. The question is, "why?". That is what will keep you reading - finding out why this tiger is acting the way it is.

There's so much research that's gone into this book: the landscape within which the Amur Tiger lives, anthropology, modern survivor's stories, the Russian culture of today and of the past centuries and so much more too. That's part of what makes the book so impressive.

Is there going to be room for the Amur tiger in the future? I for one am hoping that there will be a way to keep the tiger alive in sufficient numbers for a healthy species without sacrificing human safety and interests. Perhaps if the pervasive corruption and the forces behind so much of the poaching were to be blunted, if not removed altogether, it might help at the very least.

If you haven't read this book, you really should. I'd have to call John Vaillant's The Tiger: A True Story Of Vengeance And Survival a five star read.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - June 21

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
 My teasers:
Amur tigers have been known to eat everything from salmon and ducks to adult brown bears. There are few wolves in Primorye, not because the environment doesn't suit them, but because the tigers eat them too.

Page 27, Tiger by John Vaillant.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - June 20

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted each week over at Sheila's blog, One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books. Thanks for trying to keep us all on track with our reading each week.

Last week I got my usual one book read:
The Parafaith War by L.E. Modesitt. Science fiction set in a future where there's really two major factions, or so it seems: the Revs who are extremely religious and land hungry, and the eco-tech worlds where people believe more in science and ecological sustainability. Definitely a very thought-provoking novel.

I'm not really reading anything at this point.

However, I'm planning to read John Vaillant's book Tiger.

The Parafaith War - L.E. Modesitt

The Parafaith War
L.E. Modesitt
Tor Books
Copyright: 1996

The jacket blurb:
Some bad ideas go back a long way and this one goes all the way back to the original home planet: Someone's god told them they had a right to more territory--so they figure they can take what they want by divine right. In the far future among the colonized worlds of the galaxy there's a war going on between the majority of civilized worlds and a colonial theocracy.

Trystin Desoll grows up fighting against religious fanatics and becomes a hero, a first-class pilot, then, amazingly, a spy. What do you do if you're a relatively humane soldier fighting millions of suicidal volunteers on the other side who know that they are utterly right and you are utterly wrong, with no middle ground? Trystin Desoll has an idea. 
 L.E. Modesitt's science fiction is always thought-provoking at the same time as being exciting to read. The Parafaith War is no exception to this. But, there's always something more to the story than just the technology and the conflict: there's the reasons behind the conflict too - in this case a lot of it is religiously motivated. But the characters aren't just blind about it - they also try to understand what makes the opposing side think and believe what they do.

Normally I don't put much stock in the cover quotes of a book, but the two on this title are ones I'm going to quote. First, there's the Washington Times quote from the back cover:
"Mr. Modesitt's novel is a thoughtful commentary on the comparative influences of science and religion in the human story."
That's exactly what the book is, as well as being incredibly exciting. By the last handful of chapters, I couldn't put the book down at all last night. But, it's also the way Modesitt keeps asking questions with the characters, and adding that extra dimension to the stories that makes me come back to his books again and again. The Parafaith War isn't the only science fiction book of his that I've reviewed here, there's also Gravity Dreams and Adiamante.

The other quote, from the front cover of the book, and from Kirkus Reviews, is:
Echoes of both Joe Haldeman's The Forever War and Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers: dense, gritty, strong on technical details.
As far as I'm concerned, this is another great recommendation to pick up the book as I loved reading Starship Troopers, and I've heard good things about The Forever War, although I have yet to read it.

L.E. Modesitt dropped me right into the story at the beginning complete with the dust and the problematical atmosphere, as he described things very vividly and then kept it up for the next four hundred and seventy pages or so. Characters, places, grand things such as the canyons and right down to the little things, all of them came together to help make the world. Even the aliens, which add another layer of mystery, right down to the final pages of the book, when things become clearer.

Personally, I find this to be a top-notch novel effort and one that's worth reading, without being dated at all well over a decade after it was first written. Well done, Mr. Modesitt!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Gardening & Crochet

Last month I posted an update on my other two main hobbies aside from reading, although I'd like to be able to count a third as well, writing (does this blog count?). Those two are gardening and crochet. And, things have changed a bit since then.

The shawl, the Bernat # 4922, is now about half way through the 21st row, and is into the second ball of yarn, so it's about a third done. I'm already planning on doing two more of these, one in the Spectrum colour range, for which I've already bought the yarn, and one which I saw the yarn (I think it was the Medusa pattern, but I'm not absolutely certain). Despite how slowly it's going, I'm definitely enjoying the project. I'm also eyeing several of the patterns from the Stitch 'n' Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker book, such as the Sweet Pea Shawl and a couple of the jackets for doing sometime in the near future. The title still makes me cringe, but the book itself is great.

The gardens are a bit of a mixed bag however. The two actual garden beds are iffy to say the least. The radishes and beets are coming up well, as are the onions, but of the peas I planted, only one of the plants sprouted. And not even that for the carrots. I don't know if it was the seeds, or if the birds got the rest. I do know that it rained fairly heavily for a day or two after I planted them.

The other reason they're iffy is because they're not getting the daily care that the boxes and pots on my balcony are. That, however seems to be doing pretty well (knock on wood). I've already had a few salads with the lettuce, herbs and swiss chard, and nothing has outright died yet. The tomatoes are starting to bud with flowers. However, if you forget to water for even one day, things wilt rapidly. I'm hoping the lettuce and swiss chard come back tomorrow - and that I was imagining things when I thought I saw a couple of aphids yesterday. Does anyone know of any good methods of dealing with aphids (preferably non-toxic)?

In terms of reading, I seem to be managing about a book a week. Currently, it's The Parafaith War by L.E. Modesitt.

Booking Through Thursday - Interactive

This is the question of the week over at the Booking Through Thursday blog:
With the advent (and growing popularity) of eBooks, I’m seeing more and more articles about how much “better” they can be, because they have the option to be interactive … videos, music, glossaries … all sorts of little extra goodies to help “enhance” your reading experience, rather like listening to the Director’s commentary on a DVD of your favorite movie.
How do you feel about that possibility? Does it excite you in a cutting-edge kind of way? Or does it chill you to the bone because that’s not what reading is ABOUT?
I've got mixed views on this subject actually. I'm expected to sell e-readers and e-books as well as paper books, and I love my e-reader. I also love my paper book collection (both hard and soft cover). To me the E-book popularity has its' advantages (and quite a few of them), such as the availability of titles. There's no more "not available in stores" or "sold out" on books that are e-books.

Also, some of the features that are available now - the built-in dictionary in the Kobo, for example are great, and the way it keeps track of page numbers in multiple books. At the same time though, the current generation of e-readers to my knowledge still have issues with things like footnotes/endnotes. That is one place where I'd like to have more interactivity.

For the most part though, the features mentioned in this question are ones that I can't see much use in - music, videos, etc (aside from say biographies of musicians, dancers, movies stars and the like). My own imagination is plenty good enough, at least for novels. The idea of glossaries that you can flip back and forth to easily is like properly done footnotes though. That's one I'd like to see.

The other thing I've found about e-books that I don't like is that once you've bought the book, you're stuck with it. If you don't like it after all, that's too bad. With paper books, you can pass them on - to a friend, or to a used book-store or the like. The latter is the one I do the most, and get a lot of books in return. All of which relates to something that MizB notes in her answer to the same question on her blog, Should Be Reading, about the eventual fate of used bookstores - something I hope never happens.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - June 14

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser of choice this week is:
Most pilots - those who survive - end up with dated and obscure senses of humor. You get used to it, and about the time you do, everyone except the older pilots will give you blank looks because what you thought was funny they haven't got the referents for.
The Parafaith War by L.E. Modesitt, page 146.

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? June 13

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted over at Sheila's blog One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books each week. It's lots of fun to see what everyone's reading each week, and often, it helps me keep on track with my reading goals.

Last week I read one book (even though I started a few others):

Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton. Non fiction, biography, suited for all ages.

I'm currently reading:

The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester. Non fiction, biography.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Fantasy, fiction.

The Parafaith War by L. E. Modesitt. Fiction, Science Fiction. Definitely an intriguing world that Modesitt has created here.

What I'm planning to read:

Planned reading? What a novel concept :) I'll be happy to pick off some of the currently reading list!

Soul Surfer - Bethany Hamilton

Soul Surfer
Bethany Hamilton
MTV: Mti Rep
Copyright: March 1, 2011

The product description:
She lost her arm in a shark attack and nearly died, but she never lost her faith. Now a major motion picture, Soul Surfer is the moving story of Bethany Hamilton’s triumphant return to competitive surfing and has continued to be a beacon of inspiration to all who hear it.
They say Bethany Hamilton has saltwater in her veins. How else could one explain the passion that drives her to surf? Or that nothing—not even the loss of her arm—could come between her and the waves? That Halloween morning in Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany responded to the shark’s stealth attack with the calm of a teenage girl with God on her side, resolutely pushing aside her pain and panic while being rescued and brought back to shore. “When can I surf again?” was the first thing Bethany asked after her emergency surgery, leaving no doubt that her spirit and determination were part of a greater story—a tale of personal empowerment and spiritual grit that shows the body is no more essential to surfing, perhaps even less so, than the soul. 
I'd wanted to see Soul Surfer when it came out as a movie earlier this year, but never got around to it, so when I had the chance to read the book, I jumped at it. I have to say, I'm most definitely impressed with Bethany and what she's chosen to do with the life she's been given.

I'm also quite impressed with the book. When she first wrote it, Bethany was just fourteen. Now, with this edition, it looks as though she's a few years older, but still... impressive. On the other hand, the font size is quite large, which fleshes the book out somewhat. Something I don't normally like, but in this case, it's understandable.

Although the book is located in the Biography section of the bookstore, it's equally readable for anyone over the age of about eight (and probably interesting to that entire age range too). Not just for adults, and not too graphic at all. You don't have to know anything about surfing either to enjoy the book (I certainly don't). One other thing I found really neat was reading more about life in Hawaii. Probably because that's where I vacationed a couple of months ago, though on the island of Oahu rather than Kauai.

This is a movie tie-in edition, but I think that makes it the more interesting for once. There's actually a fair bit of new material as I understand it - more photos, interviews with the actors from the movie and also a movie diary from Bethany's perspective.

Personally, I found the Christian emphasis of the book to be a bit strong for my tastes, but that's just my feeling and bias coming through, and I will admit that.

The other thing about the book is that it's not exactly in chronological order. Bethany jumps around her life, going from this story back to the attack and the aftermath then jumps to another event and back. It's still interesting and very readable though.

Soul Surfer is a quick read, but an interesting one. I may still have to get my hands on the movie once it's out in DVD. Recommended for all ages.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Heather Reisman's List from the Canada AM Show

This seems to be the day for lists from TV and Radio stations.

I just found the list that Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo Books gave on the Canada AM show on CTV. The official list, along with a couple of videos can be found here.

The list is broken down into two categories: one for the adults, including books like Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and Dreams of Joy by Lisa See, and one for the younger set, including The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and the Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney.

CBC's Summer Reading List

The list is up from the May 29th episode of Cross Country Checkup for the summer reading list. The show itself is great, with Rex Murphy and several other co-hosts making their suggestions for books, and also the public being able to call in with their suggestions. Then, a couple of weeks later, the list is made available on the CBC website. This year's list has some really good books on in (some of which I've read over the years and plenty which I'd like to read).

The 2011 list in .txt format.

The Cross Country Checkup Book List page also has the lists from other shows going back to 2008. If you're looking for a good read and don't have any ideas, these lists are well worth checking out. I know that working in a bookstore, I get people doing their buying based on the lists.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Booking through Thursday - Own or Borrow?

The question this week at Booking Through Thursday is "Do we prefer to own or borrow our books?" In detail:
All things being equal (money, space, etc), would you rather own copies of the books you read? Or borrow them?
My personal preference is to own the books. Once I've read a book, the odds seem to be that I'll re-read it if I really like it. Most of Mercedes Lackey's books, for example are books I've read at least five times apiece (and for some of those, I borrowed them that many times from the library).

These days, I've taken to borrowing with an eye to later buying (perhaps when the book comes out in paperback, or when I can afford the book). And, only one book at a time. When I borrow more from the library, none of the books get read at all. When it's just the one book, it's likely to get read right away. Some of the most recent examples of books I've borrowed include: Lover Unleashed and Kings of the North.

The problem with liking to own the books I read is my habit of thinking "this looks good", or "that'll be useful one day (with history books)", but then I keep reading the new releases rather than the books on my unread books list (a scary 170+ books list). So, what's the solution?

My guess is, it's to just keep on buying books.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Children's Illustrated Books- For Them or Us?

I don't know about you, but when I look at some of the books geared towards young kids, especially those between the ages of three and five, one of the factors I judge them by are the illustrations. The more elaborate the illustrations are, the more likely I am to recommend the book.

But, are these illustrations for the kids, or are they more for the parents who are reading the books to the kids? I wonder about that sometimes, given the way that most of the books are illustrated, in cartoon styles.

Some of the books are more elaborately done - such as Barbara Reid's book The Subway Mouse, which is illustrated with scenes created in Plasticine. Every page of them, from the mice to the tiles on the walls. There's so much to see and notice, I am always amazed at the level of detail.

Then, there's the book series about a kitten, written and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, including the title shown, Kitten's Summer, done in mixed media images. While the story is extremely simple, the illustrations, done in mixed media really stand out. I can't even imagine the amount of time it must have taken to create each of the pages in this book, but I find them to be amazing!

These two titles are so very different in illustration style that they stand out from the rest, which are generally more traditional. And, of course, there are the traditional titles, such as the books by Beatrix Potter, all of which are lovingly illustrated with some truly spectacular watercolours. Those are truly books for anyone of any age.

My favourites though are the books by Alexandria Day, about the rottweiler, Carl. The best known of these is, of course, Good Dog Carl, which is simply overflowing with charm. On the other hand, these are books which are equally well designed for the youngest "readers", as there are very few words, especially in this one, which is also available as a board book for little hands to have an easier time turning the pages. I'm not certain, but I think the illustrations for this whole series are watercolours.

These books and authors/illustrators stand out in my mind, but are they books which are designed for the parents' appreciation, or for the kids? I know I tend to recommend them, but I also know that it's the art that I'm drawn to (which I admit when I recommend the books) and not the story. What's your opinion?

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - June 6

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted each week over at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books. Thanks for the fun, Sheila.

I missed out on doing last week's post, so this week it's a two week post.

In the last two weeks I read:

The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon. Fiction, fantasy, an omnibus edition of Sheepfarmer's Daughter, Divided Allegience and Oath of Gold. One of my favourite fantasy novels. Copied from my review:
Watching Paksenarrion grow through her experiences, first with Phelan's mercenary company, and then later on her own is an intriguing experience. There's a gritty reality to all this which I find quite different and enjoy. The mud, blisters and all the little details that the author has included just make the book for me.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Fiction, Childrens. This is such a classic story for kids. I enjoyed re-reading it again after so many years. Copied from my review:
Heidi is just as charming now as she was back then in her view on the world, and Peter and his goats...

The Ravens of Falkenau and Other Stories by Jo Graham. Fantasy, Fiction, Short Stories. Copied from my review:
One of the best parts of this was seeing how all the parts fit together - each of the stories is dated and given a little explanation of how it fits into the overall world, which is one of my favourite parts, seeing how each is a piece of the larger story.

What I'm currently reading:

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Fantasy, Fiction. I'm actually enjoying this book a lot, though I'm finding that it's one where it's best to read when you've got uninterrupted stretches of time.

The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester. Non fiction.

I have no plans for what I'd like to read next at the moment.

The Ravens of Falkenau and Other Stories - Jo Graham

The Ravens of Falkenau And Other Stories
Jo Graham
Crossroads Press (Kindle Edition)
Copyright: May 21, 2011

The product description:
The world is a numinous place, for those who have eyes to see it.

Welcome to the Numinous World, where gods and angels intervene in the lives of mortals, and a band of eternal companions unite and reunite over the centuries, striving to make the world a better place despite wars and dark ages, hatred and cruelty.
Here are stories from the very beginning of our history, when the Lady of Cats entered the life of a young woman and changed her forever, long ago when farmers first scraped a living from the soil. Here too are stories of the ancient world — of Dion, the peerless scientist of Alexandria, of Lucia, a Roman waif, of a Persian princess and her Jewish sister in law, of Lydias of Miletus who is once and always Ptolemy's man, and of a Nubian girl who begins a long journey toward a strange destiny.
There are stories of the Dark Ages, of a last Roman outpost on the shores of Britain and of an Arab warrior who at last comes home to a white city on the sea, of a Scottish witch who serves the Storm Queen and fears no other magic, and a Knight Templar enslaved by the beauty of the world. Others follow — a messenger boy dragged into the Great Story and a desperate ride dogged by the Wild Hunt, and a mercenary captain of the Thirty Years War who finds his destiny in a remote corner of the Bohemian mountains.
Here too are more modern tales of the Age of Revolution, when Dion, Emrys, Sigismund and Charmian reunite in Napoleonic Paris, and at last we roll into the twentieth century with a young American girl with extraordinary oracular powers. Of course there is also Michael, Mik-el, Mikhael, who watches over his charges as best he may, though the world may change around them.
These are tiny windows into a miraculous world, glimpses through a glass and darkly of all that might be — for those with eyes to see.

Table of Contents

The Ravens of Falkenau 1614 AD
Dion Ex Machina 4 BC
Cold Frontier 505 AD
Small Victories 1800 AD
How the Lady of Cats Came to Nagada 8000 BC
Prince Over the Water 1040 AD
Horus Indwelling 285 BC
Paradise 641 AD
Slave of the World 1203 AD
Little Cat 1012 BC
Vesuvius 79 AD
Unfinished Business 22 BC
The Messenger's Tale 1553 AD
Morning Star 469 BC
Templar Treasure 1188 AD
Winter's Child 1821 AD
Brunnhilde in the Fire 1901 AD

The Ravens of Falkenau and Other Stories is a book I've been looking forward to since I first heard about it on Jo Graham's LiveJournal a few months ago. At this point in time at least, it seems to be available only as an e-book.

This book is part of the same world as Black Ships, Stealing Fire and Hand of Isis, a world I'm hearing is due to get another book next year. As such, although the characters in most of the stories are all different, they are all also the same, being reincarnations of Gull/Charmian/Lydias.

One of the best parts of this was seeing how all the parts fit together - each of the stories is dated and given a little explanation of how it fits into the overall world, which is one of my favourite parts, seeing how each is a piece of the larger story. Sometimes those explanations also highlight how Gull/Charmian's character has changed through the ages since Hand of Isis.

Another little thing about this book which I loved was the quote Jo Graham used to open it, from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: "Don't the great tales never end?...But the people in them come, and go when their part's ended." (The Two Towers). It's such an appropriate thought for the world that Jo Graham has created. After all, that's exactly what Gull/Charmian does. And, of course, J.R.R. Tolkien is one of my favourite authors, which adds an extra layer of appreciation.

There are even one or two stories with the recognized main or secondary characters from the already published books: Horus Indwelling with Lydias and Dion Ex Machina with Dion from Hand of Isis. The familiarity of these is refreshing.

Of course, with any book of short stories, there's going to be one or two favourites. Aside from the already mentioned story of Lydias, I'd have to say that my favourites are: How the Lady of Cats Came To Nagda, Little Cat, and the two stories about the Knights Templar. I'm a bit of a sucker for cat stories, and I find the Templars intriguing in general. I'd love to see more stories set in these eras.

Definitely a must-read book for the fans of Jo Graham's other books. A wonderful collection, which illuminates so many aspects of this world a little more - some of them are even hinted at in the previously existing books! I know I'm going to be re-reading The Ravens of Falkenau and Other Stories again in the future.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Heidi - Johanna Spyri

Johanna Spyri
Trans. Elizabeth P. Stork
Copyright 1919
Project Gutenberg e-book

The product description:
What happens when a little orphan girl is forced to live with her cold and frightening grandfather? The heartwarming answer has engaged children for more than a century, both on the page and on the screen. Johanna Spyri’s beloved story offers youngsters an endearing and intelligent heroine, a cast of unique and memorable characters, and a fascinating portrait of a small Alpine village.
Johanna Spyri's book Heidi is one I've read and enjoyed several times as a kid. I'm not quite sure why I felt the need to re-read it just now, but I did, and found the story to be just as good as an adult as I did as a child. Heidi is just as charming now as she was back then in her view on the world, and Peter and his goats...

There are a couple of ways that the story is dated, but then, it was written over a century ago. In so many other ways, it's absolutely charming and timeless. I don't think the mountain views will ever change too much, and the sun will still set in its' fire, and the eagles will still scream. Although, attitudes to schooling and methods have changed a bit.

I hadn't realized until I read the introduction to this edition that Heidi was originally written in German. Said introduction also gives a bit of detail as to the method of translation too - noting that the translator is Elizabeth P. Stork. Her translation is still a common one on (the top non-Kindle result, in fact).

A perfect story for those aged nine to twelve (or older. Any adult who read this as a child may well love the trip down memory lane). Although Heidi may jump out at girls, there's also Peter's point of view and story, at least for the sections in the Alps to catch the interest of any boys. And, don't forget the several various movie adaptations... Shirley Temple is always cute as can be.


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