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What Has Valerie Been Reading?
If you'd like to order any of these books, just click on the
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The Battle of Blair Mountain by Robert Shogan
Subtitled, "The Story of America's Largest Labor Uprising. " I bought this book originally because it had a reference to my first cousin twice removed, John Charnock, in it. It turned out that the reference was not much more than that - just a couple of paragraphs. The book, however turned out to be very interesting. It deals with the attempts by the coal miners of southern West Virginia to get fair treatment from the coal mine owners. The book is interesting from both a historical point of view but also from the similarities with conditions that are building in today's society. Here are a few quotes from the book that I thought were interesting:
Samuel L. Gompers, first president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) is quoted on page 31... "What does labor want?" he once asked rhetorically. "We want more school houses and less jails, more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed, more justice and less revenge, in fact more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures to make manhood more noble, womanhood more beautiful and childhood more happy and bright."
From page 224... Asked during his Kenyon committee testimony about the meaning of the provocative phrase in the UMW constitution asserting that miners were entitled to "the full social value of their product," Keeney denied that this was a call for a takeover of private property. That language did mean, Keeney acknowledged, that a miner should receive "all the wealth he creates." But he believed it allowed for some exceptions, including "running expenses, transportation" and "a fair return upon the investment to the man who owns the tools of production."
On page 226... "But if much has changed, much remains the same. With all the gains made under the New Deal reforms, workers in post-industrial America have not come close to keeping pace with soaring corporate profits while the maldistribution of wealth accelerates."
Finally on page 227... "The danger of terrorism dramatized by the tragedies of 9/11 remains very real today. But if we concentrate on it to the exclusion of other concerns, we ignore other threats to our welfare. Many of our workplaces are breeding growing dissatisfaction and insecurity, our economy is producing increasing inequality and the labor laws put into place in the 1930s to prevent recurrences of what happened in Mingo County and many other places are no longer working very well to protect workers. There are no signs of bandanna armies forming, of course. But grievances of workers are real and profound, and we run a risk as a nation and society if we overlook them."
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana. Perhaps more of us should read about the Battle of Blair Mountain.
Hal Goodwin on Space Travel (click here to access the article)
Harold L. (Hal) Goodwin, writing under the pseudonym, was the primary author of the Rick Brant Electronic Adventures
(or Rick Brant Science Adventures, if you prefer. Both titles were used.)
The series consists of 24 volumes and a "Science Projects" book.
You can read more about him and the series at http://www.rickbrant.com.
Hal was also the assistant Director, Office of Scientific and Technical Information of NASA.
It was in that capacity that he wrote this article on Space Travel.
The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli
Subtitled, "An Economist examines the markets, power, and politics of world trade." This book started when an activist speaking at a rally asked "Who made your T-Shirt?" Rivoli took the question at face value and decided to investigate. The result is a book that goes from her T-shirt to the company that silk-screened the artwork on it, to the cotton fields of texas, the manufacturing shops of China, back to the US retail stores and on through its life cycle even beyond its life at Goodwill. Rivoli has taken a simple question and turned it into a fascinating story as well as a highly educational tour of history, economics, and politics. Read it and you'll never look at T-shirts the same way again. Recommended!
The Character of Physical Law by Richard Feynman
Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the beaten track, The Letters of Richard Feynman
Most people probably don't read the text of physics lectures for fun but if you're one of those
people, maybe you're missing out on something. Dr. Richard P. Feynman was a Nobel award winning
physicist, teacher, storyteller, and bongo player. He was involved in many major events of
our time from the Manhattan Project to the investigation into the Challenger disaster. His curiosity
and independence of thought have caused some to label him the "best mind since Einstein." His writing
is clear and easy to understand and as entertaining as can be. While some of his books are
largely non-technical in nature, this book is technical.
This collection of Feynman's letters gives a greater insight into Feynman, the person.
It begins with a letter home from his first days as a grad student and concludes with a letter to a
stranger seeking his advice. In between are letters co colleagues and family, students and fans,
crackpots and everyday people. An eclectic collection of the Feynman wisdom and charm.
DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
The DaVinci Code is a great mystery story which is enriched
in that it is based on code solving, symbolism, art, and religious
history. I don't want to say too much about it lest I give away
too much of the story and lessen your enjoyment so instead of
telling you details, I'll just say that after finishing it, I
ordered Dan Brown's other three novels (see below). A word of
caution. If you are upset or feel threatened by those who say
the Christian church is less than perfect, you may not like this
& Demons - This is a predecessor to The DaVinci Code with
the same main character. The theme of this book has to do with
science vs religion and the bulk of the book takes place in the
Vatican and in Rome. Lots of puzzles, plot twists, and interesting
information. I won't say much as I don't want to spoil your enjoyment.
I think this book may be even better than The DaVinci Code! Highly
recommended! Same disclaimer as on "The DaVinci Code"
Point - Something to do with a presidential election, the
future of NASA, and a search for an old meteor in the Arctic that
may prove there is life on other planets. Doesn't sound like much
put that way, but I expect the author will keep the action flowing
and his readers guessing. - I'm just now reading this one and,
once again, it's hard to put down. :)
Fortress - This book is a mystery dealing with an algorithm
for a perfect code. Modern encryption schemes such as RSA, PGP,
etc. can be broken if enough computer power is used though it may
take either a long time or a massive amount of processing power.
A perfect algorithm would protect people who want to transact
business on the Internet but would also make it impossible for
law enforcement to spy on suspected lawbreakers. Is such an algorithm
possible? If so, would it be blessing or blight? To what degree
is people's privacy more important than the police's desire to
snoop? Such issues are thrown into the spotlight in this exciting
book As always, there are plenty of unexpected plot twists throughout
the book. This may be the weakest of the four, but it's still
a lot better than average!
The Complete People Stories of Zenna Henderson
Someone recently rented the movie, "The People"
which stars a young William Shatner and is based on the short
stories of Zenna Henderson. I noticed it when it was returned.
I'd forgotten we had it and decided it was time to watch it again.
The movie is ok though if you've never read the stories I expect
it might be a bit confusing. Anyway after watching it, I had
to dig out my books and reread them since the books can go into
so much more depth than a single movie. I also checked to see
if anything new was available and there was! All of "The
People" stories have been collected into one book instead
of being scattered over four. There are even a few stories that
aren't in any of the other books and which were new to me! Delight!
"So," I hear you say, "What are 'The People'
stories?" In the late 1800's a distant planet destroyed
itself for reasons unknown. The people who lived there had long
since outgrown their technical age and had developed many talents
such as levitation, telepathy, and precognition. They were able
to know in advance what was coming so they dug into their racial
memories of technology and built ships to try to evacuate and
find a new home. One such ship found Earth but they'd forgotten
to slow down enough when entering atmosphere and the ship was
destroyed. Many of the people died but others were able to escape
in life slips though many of these were scattered. The stories
tell the stories of "The People", as they called themselves,
as they tried to cope with this new world and it with them. Most
of the stories deal with children of The People and their interactions
with their normal, human, teachers. Henderson was a teacher and
perhaps that helps make her writing more "real." Not
only are The People in her stories magic, but there is a magic
about Henderson's writing. It touches the heart as well as the
mind and makes these stories very special. Highly recommended.
The original books in which The People stories were printed
If you like this kind of writing, I would also suggest the
works of Spider Robinson. While his short stories are often
set in a bar, there is a strong similarity of spirit between
them and The People stories.
Nemo by Kevin J. Anderson
In Captain Nemo, K. J. Anderson puts forth a story based on
the premise that Jules Verne, a real person, had a friend named
Nemo; that Verne didn't so much make up his fantastic adventures
as he simply told the adventures of his friend (somewhat embellished
to be sure.) It's a delightful spin on Jules Verne and his writings
and Verne fans will surely enjoy it... at least I did!
Since I enjoyed Captain Nemo so much, I looked for other books
by the same author and found these:
Voyage Microcosm - Remember the movie, Fantastic Voyage,
where they shrunk a ship full of people and injected it into
a human body to try to cure some illness? Well in this sequel
the team is injected into a space alien! I don't want to say
too much but it's a very exciting story and if you liked the
movie, you'll probably enjoy this one as much or more.
- I haven't read this yet but it has to do with being able to
swap bodies with other people. Apparently one of the swappees
didn't want their old body back and the person stuck with it
has to try to go to some length to get "home". Sounds
good and I've liked his others so I have high hopes.
in Translation by Margaret Ball
Allie is a self-centered spoiled brat thanks to her rich workaholic
father and somewhat vague new-age mother. Dad finally lays down
the law and sends her to a boarding school in Europe. On the
trip, she somehow winds up "somewhere else". She enrolls
in the local magic university and becomes friends with some of
the locals. By the book's end, Allie has changed a lot. Sounds
like a pretty typical fantasy plot. Nonetheless, I found it a
delightful read and was disappointed when it ended. Hope a sequel
appears someday. I apologize for the vague plot summary but I
don't want to spoil your fun. Currently out of print so you'll
have to settle for a used copy but there are plenty of them available.
by James Rollins
A man staggers out of the Amazon jungle at the end of his
strength. A priest tries to care for him but he dies that night
without speaking. A local native sees a tattoo on his chest and
becomes very fearful and warns that the body must be burned before
daylight. The priest does not bow to local superstitions and
sends the body back to the U.S. Several parties take note of
the event: The government - It turns out the guy was an agent
who had gone missing four years earlier; The pharmaceutical industry
- when he was lost he had only one arm... when found he had both
arms; our protagonist, Nathan Rand, whose father was lost on
the same expedition; and finally, a rogue drug company and their
merciless mercenaries. A new expedition is launched to try to
discover where the man had been and to find whatever miracle
had caused his arm to regrow. This secret is very well guarded
and the expedition would be extremely hazardous even without
the bad guys stalking them. Finding it becomes even more important
as it is discovered that the original body is carrying some new
disease and plagues are breaking out everywhere the body has
been. In a month the entire country may be dead!
This is a very taut adventure, and very hard to put down.
If you like "Indiana Jones" type action, you'll probably
love this book!
His other books have also been most enjoyable:
Hunt - Released July 1, 2003 in hard cover, 416 pages. Also
available as cassette or audio CD's. In my opinion this is his
best book yet and an unusually good read! The book starts with
a confrontation with polar bears, then a rescue from a crashed
plane. Another plane drops a couple of armed men determined to
see that the crash left no survivors. From one trouble to another
the book keeps going at jet speed all the way to the end. Along
the way there are several sub-plots, numerous unexpected plot
twists and, at the end, the worst fate for one person I could
possibly imagine. Just when you think you're safe, Rollins finishes
with an appendix explaining how major points of the fictional
story are based on factual events! Something like this *could*
happen! Now that's really scary! Despite the pace of the book,
Rollins takes time to develop his characters and make them seem
real. He also painted the arctic scenes so vividly that I can
still picture them some weeks after finishing the book. Highly
recommended but I have to warn you... other books are going to
seem pretty tame after this one!
The Starman Series:
- #1 Assault
on Mars (now available in paperback!)
- #2 The Runaway Asteroid - Now
available as a FREE etext text file!
- #3 Journey to the Tenth Planet
- #4 Descent Into Europa
- #5 The Lost Race of Mars
- #6 Doomsday
- #7 The Starlight Maneuver (not yet written as of Nov. 2003)
- These books (and hopefully more) have been printed by a group
of people who fondly remember the series books of the 1950's
and 1960's - such series as Rick Brant, Ken Holt, The Hardy Boys,
Nancy Drew, and Tom Swift, Jr. among others. They decided to
do more than just re-read their old favorites... They planned
and are writing a modern series done in the same style but set
in the future. They're doing a great job and if you like juvenile
series books you won't want to miss the opportunity to purchase
copies of these books while they are still available at the original
price. When they go out of print, they will probably be very
hard to find and may become much more expensive. Use the link
above to visit their page and learn more about the series and
The "Circle of Three" series by Isobel Bird
- Three high-school girls get involved in Wicca (witchcraft)
and learn a great deal about it while having a number of adventures
and dealing with a number of serious issues. That brief statement
may not sound impressive but the books are really quite good.
The author is a long-time practitioner of Wicca so she's writing
from what she knows and the books carry an aura of authenticity.
The characters are engaging and the plot line is strong. In addition
to witchcraft and the Wicca religion, various volumes deal with
many fundamental issues such as honesty, religion, being "in
the closet", divorce, alcoholism, runaway children, freedom
of expression, and many others. Caution: These books are addictive!
I don't want to tell you too much about them because I don't
want to spoil your pleasure.
01 - So Mote It Be - Kate Morgan checks a book of magic spells
out of the school library and performs the "come to me love
spell". It works too well and she needs help to stop its
effects. Who can she ask? Her search for help leads her to make
friends with bookworm Annie Crandall and "wild and crazy"
02 - Merry Meet - The three friends attend a Wiccan ritual
and commit to studying Wicca for "a year and a day".
03 - Second Sight - A dead girl calls on the three for help
04 - What the Cards Said - Annie discovers that telling fortunes
can be fun... and hazardous!
05 - In The Dreaming - Midsummer's eve. Strange things are
happening in the woods...
06 - Ring of Light - Cooper leaves the Wicca study group!
Will the circle be broken? Can it be mended?
07 - Blue Moon - Annie makes herself more attractive and
gets a whole new look at life.
08 - The Five Paths - Cooper wears a pentacle to school and
starts a battle over freedom of religious expression
09 - Through the Veil - Annie's parents died when she was
young. Will she be able to contact them and what will they say
if she does?
10 - Making the Saint - Kate studies another religion - Santeria
- and enlists the help of one of its deities. Take one love triangle,
a divorce, then toss in some powerful magic and you have the
makings for a great story!
11 - The House of Winter - Winter Solstice in a haunted hotel?
Will the three survive?
12 - Written in the Stars - As the three study astrology,
Cooper has trouble keeping a secret. A marriage is in the wings.
Annie learns something truly unexpected.
13 - An It Harm None - Someone robs the store. Whodunnit?
Once that's solved, can the three help or will they make matters
14 - The Challenge Box - The three are faced with one final
challenge. Annie and Cooper visit New Orleans while Kate is stuck
at home. Will all three succeed and be chosen to be initiated
into a Wiccan coven?
15 - Initiation - To be released March, 2002
- Well, I've given only a coarse outline of the books so as
not to spoil them for you. There are many twists and turns along
the path and the books are filled with many surprises. Hope you
enjoy them as much as I have. More good news. I believe they
are all available as paperbacks at their list price of $4.99
each so collecting the whole set isn't terribly expensive.
First Eagle by Tony Hillerman
- Since 1971, Tony Hillerman has written a number of mystery
books which are set in the "four corners area" where
Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado all meet. His main characters
are Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee of the Navajo
Tribal Police. The First Eagle has only recently come to paperback
and it is a winner. Definitely in the "I didn't want to
put it down" category!
- Officer Jim Chee is now Acting Lieutenant and is finding
out that a desk job is not all roses. He has a stack of overdue
paperwork, an officer with a crush on him, another officer, Benny
Kinsman, is causing trouble with his heavy-handed sexual advances
to various women, Anderson Nez has died of the plague under murky
circumstances, Catherine Pollard has disappeared while researching
plague, hanta virus, and other deadly bugs in the local ground
squirrels, rats, and other desert beasties, and a local Hopi
lad is poaching eagles. Deciding it is more fun to chase poachers
than to fill out forms, Chee heads off to Yells Back Butte where
he catches Hopi, Robert Jano, literally red handed, standing
over the corpse of Officer Benny Kinsman and with an eagle in
a cage nearby. Seems like an open-and-shut case of murder until
Janet Pete, Chee's ex-fiancée returns from Washington
D.C. to defend Robert and the legendary lieutenant, Joe Leaphorn,
hired to locate the missing scientist, Pollard, plant some seeds
of doubt in Chee's mind.
- It may sound complicated but Hillerman weaves plot and subplot
with subtle mastery that keeps you on track at all times. Although
reading all the books in sequence adds enjoyment from seeing
the characters grow and change, it is not necessary and the newcomer
will enjoy the story without having read any of the others. (Though
I'll bet you'll want to read more of his books once you find
out how good they are! Click on the titles below to learn more
or to order them.)
Hall of the Dead
Blessing Way; (The first Chee-Leaphorn novel)
Thief of Time
Sinister Pig - Just released in hardback May 6, 2003
- Blind Descent by Nevada Barr
- This is the sixth mystery from Nevada Barr which features Park
Ranger Anna Pigeon as the main character. Each of the Anna Pigeon
mysteries is set in one of the national parks. In this one, Anna
must overcome her fear of caves and venture into the recently-discovered
Lechugilla cave system at Carlsbad Caverns National Park to help
rescue a friend who has been injured. I don't want to give too
much of the plot away but suffice it to say that Anna soon finds
herself investigating a murder or two and almost becomes a victim
herself. Barr has a wonderful descriptive talent. I felt I could
see the cave scenes as well as if I'd been there (and maybe better).
Another in the "I didn't want to put it down" category!
- If you want to know more about Nevada Barr and find some
links to the various parks, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/english/ms-writers/dir/barr_nevada/
- Her other Anna Pigeon books are:
of the Cat - 1993 Takes place in Guadalupe Mountains National
Superior Death - 1994 Takes place at Isle Royale National
Wind - 1995 Takes place at Mesa Verde National Park
- 1996 Takes place at Lassen Volcanic National Park
Species - 1997 Takes place at Cumberland Island National
Falling - 1999 Takes place at Gateways Park which includes
Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
South - 2000 Anna Pigeon takes a promotion and becomes district
ranger on the Natchez Trace Parkway.
by Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason
- This is their latest in a series of mystery thrillers set
against a high tech background. Ignition takes place at the Cape
Kennedy space center. A joint U.S.-Russian space shot is scheduled
but a ruthless band of terrorists seeking to make a fortune in
ransom has other ideas. The terrorists take over the control
center and plant a bomb on the rocket. They would probably have
succeeded except for the mission commander, Colonel "Iceberg"
Fries, who was washed out with an injured ankle. He just can't
stay away but he doesn't want to confront his former lover who
has left the astronaut ranks and is now the launch director.
Instead he sneaks into the wilderness surrounding the launch
site and settles down to watch. When the gang takes over he's
a loose canon inside their perimeter. If you like movies like
"Die Hard", you're going to love what he does to the
- Ok, it isn't great world literature. It probably doesn't
have much social redeeming importance. But it sure gets the adrenalin
flowing and provides one heck of a compelling story line! Again,
"I didn't want to put it down!" (No, not all the books
I read fall into this category but I figured I'd tell you about
the better ones first!)
- I've also enjoyed these other books by the same authors:
- (These all made me stay up past bedtime too.)
Destruction - murder in an advanced virtual reality chamber
at Lawrence Livermore Labs
Exposure - murder in a particle accelerator test chamber
at Fermi Labs in Chicago
- A soviet disarmament inspector is murdered at a military site
just outside Las Vegas
the Defense (formerly Malice Prepense) by Kate Wilhelm
- "Who killed Oregon Congressman Harry Knecht?" is
the central question of this mystery. Was it 28 year old Teddy
Wendover whose head injury on a school field trip left him mentally
8 years old forever? Was it his Teddy's father? Or was someone
else involved? Attorney Barbara Holloway, her father, and their
staff are hired to defend Teddy. When Teddy is cleared his father
is charged for the same crime and their work continues. It's
hard enough to prove that you didn't do something but a tough
judge doesn't make it any easier! About half of the book sets
the background while the second half describes the court battle.
- This was the first book I'd read by this author but it won't
be the last! Apparently there are two previous books dealing
with Barbara Holloway (Death Qualified, and The Best Defense)
and I've started on Death Qualified already. It doesn't seem
to have mattered that I started with the third volume though
perhaps I would have enjoyed it even more if I'd read it in sequence.
In any event, I recommend it highly. The author weaves a rich,
complex tale and presents all the evidence to the reader as it
is discovered. Are you able to identify the killer as well as
Barbara does or will you free the guilty or send the wrong man
- This book is of local interest. Kate Wilhelm lives in Eugene,
Oregon and "For the Defense" is set in Oregon. It includes
scenes in Eugene, Sisters, Bend, Port Orford and in the wilderness
up the Rogue River and others. I gather that many, if not most,
of her books are set in Oregon but I've only read this one so
- UPDATE: I finished all three of these novels and liked them
all very much. I felt "For The Defense", the most recent
one, was the best which, if you agree, is encouraging as it might
mean the author is still getting better! If you like mysteries,
especially the kind that follow the courtroom drama, you should
love all three.
- Some of Kate Wilhelm's other books are:
Qualified - Barbara Holloway mystery #1
Best Defense - Barbara Holloway mystery #2
The Defense - Barbara Holloway mystery #3 (see description
for the Devil - Barbara Holloway mystery #4 (Hardback)
Dark Door - A Constance and Charlie mystery - I'm still in
the middle of this one and it's got me hooked!
Hamlet Trap - A Constance and Charlie mystery
Flush of Shadows - Five short novels featuring Constance
Leidl and Charlie Meiklejohn
Good Children - Billed as "an emotionally charged psychological
Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney
- Imagine you're sitting at lunch at school one day, idly looking
at the "lost child" notice on your milk carton. Suddenly
you realize that the little girl pictured there is you! At first
Janie can't believe it but she starts to piece things together
and deal with the complex emotions her research has forced upon
- A compelling and unique story told with great skill. I thought
it started off just a bit slow but I kept reading and I'm very
glad I did! Recommended. Even better - the story doesn't stop
here. Check out the rest of the trilogy.
Happened to Janie? - Janie moves in with her "real"
parents but the situation is a strain for all. They are all strangers
to her. Will she ever get her life back together?
voice on the Radio - Reeve, Janie's boyfriend, is now in
college and working as a DJ on the college radio station. Faced
with mike fright, he blurts out part of the most interesting
story he knows - the story of Janie. It's a hit and he keeps
telling bits of the story but he knows Janie isn't going to like
it if she finds out and you just know she will.
Since reading the above trilogy, I've continued to read Caroline
Cooney books. Her novels cover a wide range of subjects and I've
enjoyed all of them. There is also a FOURTH book in the above
Janie Found - As if the preceding three volumes weren't
enough trouble, Janie's adoptive father gets ill and winds up
in the hospital in a coma. Trying to keep up with the family
bills and paperwork, Janie discovers a folder that shows he has
secretly been supporting his real daughter, Janie's kidnapper,
all these years. Janie can now confront the person who changed
her life. But does she want to? This one didn't "grab"
me as much as the others but after reading the other three, there
was NO WAY I was going to miss this volume!
Other books by Caroline B. Cooney include:
#116 is Down! - High school student Heidi Landseth is alone
at home. She lives in a rich mansion in an isolated rural area
near New York City. Just before 6pm a 747 jumbo jet crash lands
in the woods and ravines behind her house. Her home becomes the
headquarters for rescue efforts and she suddenly goes from a
sheltered rich girl to facing all the fear and horror of a mass
tragedy. Other high school students are volunteer firemen or
EMT's and also get a lesson in real life. I've been on the local
volunteer fire department. We trained and practiced and knew
intellectually how important such preparations were. This book
moved that knowledge from my brain to my gut. Recommended for
anyone involved or interested in emergency services.
Pageants Later - Well, I never thought I'd enjoy reading about
beauty pageants. Although I've never really given them a lot of
thought, I guess I've shared many of the negative stereotypes
that I'm sure you can call to mind. Dane McKane is a "professional"
pageant contestant. Her sister, Scottie-Anne, doesn't want to
be in a pageant but is coerced. The contrast between the two gives
the author plenty of room to drag out such ideas and shine some
light on them. I may never be a pageant fan but I'll also never
look at them the same way either.
Terrorist - Laura Williams and her family are living in London
while her father does the job of "hatchet man" for
his company - shutting down unprofitable operations. She and
her brother attend the London International Academy - a school
with a mixed bag of students from a variety of cultures. When
Billy Williams, Laura's brother, is killed by a terrorist bomb,
Laura is consumed with a need to find the killer and take revenge.
She believes one of her classmates is responsible. I better not
tell you too much - I don't want to spoil it for you.
- Alice's divorced father calls her and asks her to bring him
a diskette and it's backup. To use his prized Corvette that nobody
is allowed to touch - even though she doesn't have her driver's
license yet. Something's obviously wrong. Just when she's about
ready to leave, and while she's still trying to decide whether
to obey or not, someone enters the condo. It isn't her father.
It's a stranger. She hides. He searches the place, seems to know
she's hiding and gloats that he has "killed him good".
Alice gets away in the 'vette but her father doesn't show at
the rendezvous. On the radio she learns he's been killed and
she's wanted for questioning... that she sent an email confession
to her mother! She's a hunted fugitive. How long can she escape
capture and where can she go? Her father's dead. Her mother apparently
believes she's guilty.
Ed - In my opinion, the most powerful book Ms. Cooney has
written (well, maybe except for the Janie books. Maybe.) Driver's
Ed class may not get the respect of Math or Science but it's
the only real "life or death" class in most schools.
At Remy Marland's school, the Driver's Ed teacher is just a placeholder.
He doesn't teach, doesn't bother to learn which student is which,
just goes along for the ride. Remy is giving much more thought
to the hunk, Morgan Campbell, and how to get him to spend time
with her than to anything else. Lark proposes a class "project"
to steal street signs - no student gets their license without
taking a sign first. She must have some sense as she manages
to excuse herself from the first actual expedition. Remy, Morgan,
and a creep with a license and car, Nicholas, head out one night.
The "Thickly Settled" sign in the middle of nowhere
is the first to be taken. Remy then gets "Morgan Road",
naturally. Nicholas pulls over and encourages Morgan to take
a stop sign. They each go home happy and excited. The excitement
fades when they learn that an hour later a woman failed to stop
because of the lack of the sign. Her car was totaled by a truck
and she is dead. Her husband is furious. Her two year old is
without a mother. and Remy and Morgan are in their own private
hell. Too bad more teens don't read this book and learn to think
ahead before they get into trouble like Remy and Morgan.
- There's a big difference between romantic fantasies of being
a thief and the reality of actually doing it. Emlyn has always
dreamed of committing the perfect crime. Four classmates want
to steal the mummy from the local museum and hang it from the
school's bell tower as a Senior Prank. They think Emlyn can be
a big help.
- Emlyn "cases the joint." The theft is possible.
In fact, she's already acquired a copy of the museum's master
key! Faced with her big chance, Emlyn has second thoughts but
despite her conscience, she finds herself standing in the museum
with mummy in hand. Then her real problems begin.
- "Mummy" is typical of Caroline B. Cooney's writing.
She starts off with a normal person or group and each act follow
plausibly from those preceding. Yet somehow the characters find
themselves in some exciting, dramatic dilemma. There are often
a few curves along the way as well. In this novel, getting out
of trouble is not as simple as returning a stolen mummy, though
not for the reasons you might expect. The author explores the
characters' thoughts and feelings while still keeping the plot
moving at a satisfying pace. I find myself identifying with the
main character so thoroughly while reading, that it takes a few
moments for me to be able to return to my own reality when I
quit. Days later, I find myself still thinking about the issues
- I'm sure I'll never again see a mummy in a museum without
thinking of Emlyn and her adventures. Enjoy!
- Until next time...
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