Thursday, 28 June 2012

Catch-up post

Unfortunately I didn't manage to complete all my reading for the Once Upon a Time challenge. I'll get it all done eventually, but thought that I'd do a catch up post for now, to show where I'm at with it.

I've completed Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire and The Watchtower by Lee Carroll. I was looking forward to both of these but I was disappointed by both of them. The blurb for Confessions describes it as 'Set against the backdrop of seventeenth century Holland, Confessions of an  Ugly Stepsister tells the story of Iris, an unlikely heroine who finds herself swept from the lowly streets of Haarlem to a strange world of wealth, artifice and ambition!' It was a lovely setting, and Maguire described it well, but the story just didn't grab me. I still love his novel Wicked, and would definitely look for more of his work.

I probably wouldn't have finished The Watchtower if I hadn't been reading it for the challenge. It is the sequel to Black Swan Rising and it follows Garet to France as she searches for Will. I thought that it was just a series of set pieces, one after the other (something I also thought about Black Swan Rising) and she overcame her challenges so easily that they might as well not have been there.

I also finished The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis, which is the seventh and final book in the Narnia series. I read it aloud to Billy for his bedtime book. In this story a wicked talking ape - Shift, is parading his simple minded donkey friend Puzzle around in a lion skin, pretending that Puzzle is Aslan. This false Aslan is enslaving the Narnians. Eustace and Jill return to Narnia to help. I think that the Christian message is strongest in this of all the books - not worshipping false idols etc. And more than in the other books I felt that the story played second fiddle to the message. I think that The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is my favourite of the series. I don't think that Billy was overly impressed with any of them, he much prefers Harry Potter.

So those are the books I've finished. I'm part-way through The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. I'm loving it and will definitely be reading it to Billy at some time in the future. Bilbo Baggins is such an appealing hero. He is so reluctant to leave his comfortable home, but really proves himself when he needs to.

I'm also part way through Arabian Nights, which is a book for dipping into. I borrowed Arabian Nights: A Companion by Robert Irwin from the library to read alongside it and hopefully add to the experience.


  1. The Last Battle does have a stronger Christian message than the other books, and Lewis' treatment of Susan always annoys me - the way she has grown up, and become interested in other things, and is therefore flawed in some way, and unworthy of going to Narnia. My favourite is the Silver Chair.

    1. Yes! I wish I'd thought to mention Susan in the post. I was genuinely shocked when she didn't appear with the others. And they didn't seem to care, they didn't miss her at all.