December 18, 2015

What does it mean to be human?

Oddly enough, when I came up with the title of this blog I was really only thinking about the second book that I read this past week but it actually applies to both in a strange way.

Some of you might recall that I started reading a series which was a retelling of The Wizard of Oz with Dorothy as a villain. The last novella that I read (a prequel) concerned how Dorothy ended up back in Oz and how she came to be worse than all of the witches combined. This time around I learned about the Tin Woodman in Heart of Tin. I have to admit that I didn't find as much enjoyment in this book as I have in most of the others. I'm not sure if it's because I finished up The Lunar Chronicles and it kinda blew this series out of the water or if I just didn't care for the Tin Woodman's storyline as much. (In point of fact, I think it's a combination of the two.) This book is fairly straightforward. We see just how far Tin is willing to go to win over the heart of his one true love, Dorothy. I'm trying to come up with a delicate way of describing his preoccupation with Dorothy who is a teenager but all I can come up with is icky. The best part of Heart of Tin is that we get a few tantalizing glimpses of the schemes that Scarecrow and Glinda are cooking up behind Dorothy's back. I have a feeling that his story, The Straw King, is going to be a doozy. (Don't worry, I've already placed it on hold at the library.)

The next book that I read over the last week was Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy by Jostein Gaarder. It's an international bestseller which for some reason I had never heard of until suddenly I found it on my library holds list (I don't remember placing it there but I guess one night I was cruising the library website half asleep). It's translated into English from Norwegian so that might be why it caught my eye (Remember my obsession with Swedish translations? I'm branching out.) or it could be because it's a book on philosophy. I had little to no knowledge about the great philosophers of the past or even what it meant to be a philosopher. I can happily say that is no longer the case. Not only did I learn about it but I experienced what it means to think philosophically...and I may have had an existential crisis as a result. The book starts out with Sophie who discovers a letter in her mailbox asking her questions such as "Who are you?".  It snowballs into packets of lecture notes and suddenly she finds herself enrolled in a philosophy course with a professor who prefers to remain hidden. I don't want to give any more away because it's better to experience it for yourself. I guarantee you'll be scratching your head and asking "Who am I?" by the end.

And now a tantalizing little teaser! I was recently contacted by a publishing company, History of the World, which is interested in creating educational books for children. Of course, I'm on board with that! The book they're starting off with is called The Amazing History of Technology and from the sample I was sent I can tell that this is a winner. It's full of beautifully illustrated scenes from history which chart the history of technology through the ages (I mean duh look at the title. I doubt it was going to be about hairstyles.). Each illustration is accompanied with the name of the creator and/or the name of the device along with the year it was created. This would be a fantastic gift for either the educators (hello, teaching aid!) or the tiny information absorbers in your life (that's children if you were confused). And for the techno geeks among you, it's accompanied by an educational app. Maybe you were looking for the perfect stocking stuffer. If so, you're welcome. ;-)

You can go here to order it

By the way, this is my 200th post. *confetti falls from the ceiling*

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