Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What We're Reading Wednesday: Tolstoy, Tantrums, and Truth

Linking up with Jessica for What We're Reading Wednesday because, well, we read a lot!
 

 
 
 
I get a kick out of this one because it's based on a story by Tolstoy, and the characters are named Pushkin and Gogol and Nikolai and John Paul insists on acting out most books we read, so I get to be Pushkin.  Perfect!
 
Anyway, I was a little bit worried about what the ultimate message of the book would be, because we know Tolstoy wasn't exactly Catholic...  But the overarching theme is that we need to help others NOW, and not focus on the past or the future.  Kind of like not building up our treasures on earth, because what we do NOW is what gets us to heaven, you know? 
 
The kids aren't deep thinkers, but I think this will definitely be a good one to read and discuss more when they're older.  Right now they just love that there's a panda.
 
 

 
Know anyone who throws a lot of tantrums?
 
Yeah, me neither.
 
But Princess Justina Albertina throws them ALL THE TIME.  And the surprise ending makes me chuckle every time we read the book.  We got it from the library and the kids still don't want to return it!
 

 
I got hooked on Sharon Shinn when I read The Truth-teller's Tale a while back.  She's a Northwestern graduate, so she's gotta be good, right?  Gateway is about an adopted Chinese girl in St. Louis who is taken to an alternate world where the Americas were colonized by the Chinese.  She's trained to send an evil Prime Minister back to his own world, but falls in love with a white boy along the way and can't decide if she's willing to go home or not.
 
The ending is a bit inconclusive, leaving the possibility open for a sequel, but it's a final enough ending that I wasn't angry that the loose ends weren't all tied up neatly.
 
 
 
Check out more reading selections at Jessica's!

4 comments :

  1. I should go ahead and get the Princess Justina Albertina book. We are just getting into the tantrum stage here, maybe I can cut him off now? :)

    You are a nicer person than I, I hate when books are loosely ended in case the publisher asks for a sequel. I know that's about as corporate as it gets "let's see if the first one makes enough money." But from where I'm sitting, an author either knows there's more to it or they don't.

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  2. I love the Tolstoy book! In fact, I love Tolstoy! I don't worry about him not being Catholic, I actually eat up all of his moralizing. His observations are absolutely fascinating and most usually, spot on. Later in life, his own version of Christianity got weirder and weirder, culminating in The Kreutzer Sonata, but as an author, he was brilliant at presenting his own viewpoint in a way that allowed you to disagree with him.

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  3. These look like great picks for our kids. I'll have to see if they're at our library. Thanks!

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  4. I need some tantrum cautionary tales at my house!

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