Monday, September 7, 2009

#41 The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

Some women become doctors, some become lawyers and others become warriors.  Maxine Hong Kingston is a warrior. She uses this phantasmagorical memoir to battle the many “ghosts” of her childhood.  Some of these are the ghosts of her mother’s talk-story about life in China.   Others are the unfamiliar and frightening faces of her American neighborhood: mail-carrier ghosts, meter-reader ghosts,  teacher ghosts, white ghosts and black ghosts.  Maxine, a Chinese-American, must make her way among these specters while trying to find her place among the Chinese who believe that it is “better to raise geese than girls.”   But in becoming an American, she finds that she has become a ghost herself.








Tuesday, September 1, 2009

#40 A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

 Their parents perish in a mysterious fire and three children’s lives go up in smoke. Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudalaire are orphans.  They must live with Count Olaf, a  man with a creepy tattoo on his ankle and two menacingly shiny, shiny eyes. Olaf immediately becomes the “bane of their existence”, a phrase which here means, “he schemes to lay his filthy hands on the fortune the children have inherited” and his treachery haunts the Baudalaires ad infinitum. Fortunately, Violet’s clever inventions, Klaus’s skillful research and Sunny’s four unusually sharp teeth help to keep them out of Olaf’s clutches.  Unfortunately, their gifts are constantly required in a series of unfortunate events.