2017 Reading Challenge, Uncategorized

Popsugar Reading Challenge Book #26

Halfway done and nearly on track to finish the entire challenge by year’s end. This one was on me and I knew I wanted to grab a biography. Which one was not as clear, but I found one that seemed to fit the bill. My mom was not so enthusiastic at first, but ended up really enjoying it.

A book with a character’s name in the title: American Legend: The real life adventures of David Crockett by Buddy Levy

David Crockett grew into a legend, but first he was a man.  A man who loved the wide open spaces that the newly formed America had to offer. A man who lived for hunting, travel and the odd military battle. His life was not without its misfortunes, however much of his life was due to this own errors in judgement and inability to manage his own accounts. He lived a life in constant debt even after spending multiple terms in Congress and becoming a well known author.

His need for constant motion, his hunt for fortune and land, and his need to pay off debt eventually led him to Texas and the Alamo. Many people only remember the legends that surrounded the best known frontiersman, but he led a life that brought him out of the woods and into celebrity.

As a biography goes, this one was both informative and very entertaining. I didn’t know a whole lot about the frontiersman prior to reading this book and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. The author presents David Crockett in the raw, without glossing over the negative nor dwelling on it. By the end of the biography, I felt like I had a sense of the man as a whole with all his positive and negative attributes presented for inspection.

I really enjoy a biography that includes letters or other form of personal correspondence from the person as I feel it gives you a real sense of the person and this one did not disappoint in that regard either. There are several passages from letters or speeches that David Crockett gave and many more quotes from his peers of the time.

The novel reads quickly as well without too much time spent belaboring any one point in his life which ranges from his early childhood to his death at the Alamo. The author also tries to give motivation behind Crockett’s decisions, which while it is mostly conjecture, flows well with the narrative of his life.


2017 Reading Challenge

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Book #22

We have gotten a little out of order depending on which book becomes available first and the winner this time went to my mom with her next pick. I really enjoy the prompts that leave a lot of room to enjoy a book that suits your tastes. 

A book set in the wilderness: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

It is 1920 and Mable and Jack have been handed a heavy blow: their first child is still born and the grief that washes over them is complete. Being around family and watching their nieces and nephews run around is like a dagger to their heart. When Mabel reads an advertisement for cheap land in Alaska, she urges Jack to sell his stake in the family farm and move. 

They find themselves in a wilderness that fights back against their attempts at taming it and every attempt to create a homestead only reminds them that they are 50 years old and without a child to help them. 

Then, during the first snow of their second winter, right when Mabel thinks it would be better to drown herself in the icy river, a spark springs between the two and they build a snow girl complete with Mable’s red mittens and scarf. 

The next day they are visited by a young girl in the woods wearing the mittens and scarf with icy blue eyes and skin that does not melt the snow. Storms fly around with her anger, she throws handfuls of snowflakes in the air and she leaves every spring to only return again with the next snow fall. 

The burning question remains to them: is she a real orphan girl or a snow child brought to life by their longing and love? 

When Mabel remembers a Russian fairy tale book depicting this very thing, she reads through her old copy with bated breath and a sickening heart. 

The story dances with the fantastical: do snow sprites exist or is this just an extraordinary young girl who has learned to survive in a land that is hostile? By juxtaposing human needs and drama, like the death of a very real human father, with images of unearthly occurences, she dances over deep snow barely leaving a foot print and never sinking even when everyone else falters even in snowshoes, the author paints a picture that allows the reader to believe what they wish. 

This novel left me feeling a little haunted. So many gruesome scenes of hunting and trapping animals played along with the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness left me both reeling and in awe. In truth, by the end I wanted nothing more than to pack up and head north to tempt my fate as a homesteader in the Alaskan frontier. 

The theme of love lost, dreams abandoned but never fully forgotten and the desperate need for a future are hard, real and leave the reader feeling exposed. The truth behind the snow child is never fully revealed giving the reader an easy explanation for either scenario. 

I highly recommend this book to all.