With the aid of my trusty CD player (yes, I still use old, antiquated gadgets), I listened to Wendell Berry's A World Lost, another in his Port William series. I was rapturous about Hannah Coulter a couple months back, remember? Berry did not disappoint me in this book either. He writes with a beautiful simplicity and clarity about people I wish I knew. A World Lost is about a murder, but it's not a murder mystery; indeed, we know almost from the beginning who the murderer was. The story focuses on the nephew of the murdered man and his discovery over the years of what really happened to his beloved Uncle Andrew. Berry reveals few details about the incident; instead he shows the reader the imperfect but likable character of Uncle Andrew. If you're new to Berry, don't start with this book. Hannah Coulter is a better starting place. But you could read it second like I did. :-)
The Penderwicks is a children's book I've wanted to read since Girl of the House brought it home from the bookstore a few years ago. (I love children's literature!) The reviews on the back cover compare it to old-fashioned family stories like those of E. Nesbit, which I really like, but I found The Penderwicks lacking. The story was rather predictable and the writing lacked polish. Also, does anyone write children's stories anymore in which both parents are still living?? There were some clever aspects, such as the Penderwick daughter who works math word problems for fun, but I was expecting so much more. I'm guessing this book was written specifically for second or third graders, and as such it probably hits the nail on the head. Girl of the House told me she really liked it. I liked it but didn't love it and probably won't read the sequels. If your child wants to read it, by all means, let him. It is certainly superior to many children's books available today, but it does not live up to E. Nesbit.
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