Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

In honour of Canada Day, I am going to do mini-reviews of the last few books I read for the 2nd Canadian Challenge, Eh? It finishes today, so it would be a good plan to finish things up.

The Golden Phoenix and Other Fairy Tales from Quebec Edited by Marius Barbeau & Michael Hornyansky

Vasilly asks: What were some of your favorite tales in the book, The Golden Phoenix? Should I read it?

I read this book quite a while ago because Nicola reviewed it. I love fairy tales, so what better to read than a collection released by Canadians. It was a really worthwhile read, I must say. The stories were ones that I had heard before, in many cases, but they had been retold probably through the generations orally. These two men took the oral stories and wrote them down for everyone to enjoy. To see the transformation made the book that much more enjoyable. The book follows a lot of the common trends in fairy tales: There is the repetition, the use of the number three, the successful youngest brother winning over his two older ones, etc. It should be read and enjoyed by more. Unfortunately, I didn't write down which stories I enjoyed and I already returned it to the library. I will say that I think I enjoyed all eight of the stories, though, and I do recommend it.

Scott Pilgrim: Precious Little Life - Volume 1 by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Scott Pilgrim's life is totally sweet. He's 23 years old, he's in a rock band, he's "between jobs," and he's dating a cute high school girl. Nothing could possibly go wrong, unless a seriously mind-blowing, dangerously fashionable, rollerblading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties. Will Scott's awesome life get turned upside-down? Will he have to face Ramona's seven evil ex-boyfriends in battle? The short answer is yes. The long answer is Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life.
This book was just a fun read. Scott Pilgrim is one of those characters that everyone would love. It's funny because in many ways, it is a book about nothing. It is just Scott's life told in comic book form. He is in his twenties, lives with a guy, has no stuff of his own, plays video games, and belongs to a band. Then, there are the girls, of course. You think it is just going to be a typical down on his luck guy, but then O'Malley surprises you. I am looking forward to more in this series. Frankly, I think it is so stupid in premise that it makes it great!

Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Raleigh doesn't have a soul. A cat stole it - or at least that's what she tells people - or at least that's what she would tell people if she told people anything. But that would mean talking to people, and the mere thought of social interaction is terrifying. How did such a shy teenage girl end up in a car with three of her hooligan classmates on a cross-country road trip? Being forced to interact with kids her own age is a new and alarming proposition for Raleigh, but maybe it's just what she needs - or maybe it can help her find what she needs - or maybe it can help her to realize that what she needs has been with her all along.
This was a good graphic novel. The artwork was well-done, the characters were interesting, and the story kept you wanting to learn more. It's rather interesting, though. O'Malley deals with a serious subject, but he manages to do it with a bit of humour thrown in. I enjoyed that. What teenager doesn't feel like they have lost themselves at some point and time. A very good book, I must say. I look forward to more by him.

The Guests of War Trilogy - Book 3 - The Lights Go On Again by Kit Pearson
For five years Gavin and his sister Norah have lived in Canada as "war guests." But now, as 1945 approaches, the war is finally ending, and Gavin and Norah will soon be going back to England.

Norah, who's fifteen, is eager to see her parents again, but ten-year-old Gavin barely remembers them. He doesn't want to leave his Canadian family, his two best friends and his dog.

Then something happens that forces Gavin to make the most difficult decision of his life.

The Lights Go On Again is the last book in the acclaimed series that began with The Sky Is Falling and Looking At The Moon.
All I can think of to say at the beginning of this review is FINALLY! I read the first two books in this trilogy several years ago, reread them a couple years ago, and then is the first time I have finally read book three. The first two books are told from the perspective of Gavin's sister, Norah, but in this book he takes centrestage. When he came to Canada because of the war, he was really too little to know what was going on. Now that the war is drawing to an end, though, he finds that the time to go home is near and he doesn't remember anything but his life in Canada. This book is a struggle between what is home for Gavin and the changes that the end of the war are bringing with them. A strong end to the trilogy. I am glad that I finally read it!


  1. I really like the sound of The Golden Phoenix. I love reading folktale collections from all over the world, and I don't think I've ever read one from Canada. So I'll keep this one in mind!

    Also, I look forward to more from Bryan Lee O'Malley myself!

  2. Ooooh, I really want to find The Golden Phoenix! In fact, I'm off to the library website right now to check...keep your fingers crossed.

    Congrats on wrapping up another challenge!!!

  3. Ana and Debi: I hope you both enjoy The Golden Phoenix if you get a chance to read it!

  4. The whole concept of a book about nothing and come to find out it was great reminds me of the success of Seinfeld...a show about nothing but it was great t.v. These stories sounds very interesting and I feel like I need to be introduced to Scott Pilgrim!! Love that you highlighted these books on Happy Canada Day!!!

  5. Happy Canada Day and thanks for the reminder! Fireworks tonight on the Canadian side of the river, unless the rain gets in the way. For the dog's sake I hope it does. Does that make me horrible?


  6. It seems like everywhere I turn, people are talking about Bryan Lee O'Malley and Scott Pilgrim. I'm definitely going to have to add those books to my list; they sound like a lot of fun!


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