Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Novel #88

These days, my free time is not only infrequent, it is a precious commodity.  Clearly, when said free time commences, I run to my To Do List and try to cross off as much as possible.  Um, yeah, someone needs to learn how to relax.  *cough* Organizational Freak! *cough* 

While I may not be the picture of zen, I have learned to add relaxing activities to my list.  The bonus there is I get to do something I enjoy (Hello pedicure!) and then…THEN, I get to cross it off my list.  Cha-ching! 

A constant on my list is “read the next chapter in ______ (insert children’s novel and/or semi trashy magazine and/or book about baby sleep here).”  ‘Cuz in my world, no matter how busy a girl is, she needs to make time to read!  *cough* Nerd alert! *cough*

Sadly friends, novel #88 made it hard to cross this off my list.  After my colossal fail with Swallows and Amazons, I have become more determined than ever to give each of these books a chance.  Following the sage advice I received from many of you, I vowed to give each book at least 50 pages.  (Originally I was thinking of giving each books 100 pages to catch my attention, but honestly?  That’s a serious time commitment for someone with a serious lack of free time.) 

In my many years as a nerdy-nerds-a-lot-lover-of-books on this planet, I have rarely come across books that I struggle to finish. 


What I’m trying to say is….I didn’t make it through novel #88.  I gave it the old school try…and just no.

Before we continue, novel #88 is The High King by Lloyd Alexander.

The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain)  (Click for a link but hold on to your credit cards!)

And now I shall commence defending myself. 

First of all, within the first three pages…no three paragraphs of this book, like fifty ho-jillion characters were introduced.  And they all have these crazy old-timey names like Taran and Gordick or whatever.  Basically, I needed a family tree or a road map or a side tutorial to follow this puppy and on two hours of sleep?  No.  Just no.  Mama is not that smart.  Or motivated. 

I gave it 25 pages….25 long name filled pages.  Then I re-read the synopsis on the inside back cover.  Story about good versus evil?  Battles?  Love?  Sounds good, right?

25 pages later.  I still have no idea who anyone is, what they are doing and when the battles start. 

So, my internet friends and colleagues, tell me.  What is the draw to this book?  Should I suck it up for another 50?  (By the by, totally already started book #87 and am loving it, so the idea of me jumping back in with The High Kings?  Unlikely.)

Another week, another book.  Next time we’re checking out novel #87 The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg.  (And I’m loving it!)

Enjoy your weekends! 


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  • O HI, new reader! =D

    Poor Mimi! That was kind of an unfair start for you: the High King is the last in a series of 5 books. So if you start at the beginning you get the easy introduction, but basically it's like you started at the last 100 pages of another book. It's definitely a very linear process with THESE Particular novels.

    Don't feel bad! But do feel out the start to the series (the Book of Three is the beginning), because they're very charming and unique. They've been some of my favorite books since I was a child. ^^

    July 30, 2010 at 1:08 pm
  • Oh my! I totally agree! I felt like I had to go back and get the whole series. I went straight to my local library after my workshop today to take The High King back and get A View From Saturday. The first two paragraphs of that were amazingly good and refreshing after struggling through whT little of The High King I read.

    July 31, 2010 at 3:27 am
  • When you mentioned this one was next, I was fairly sure you wouldn't like it. It's the fifth book, and it's based on Welsh legends. Two huge strikes.

    I mean, people wouldn't like Harry Potter if they started with #5, and Potter is a lot less demanding than Taran. These might be good books to listen to on audio, when the Welsh turns into music instead of unreadable names.

    July 31, 2010 at 3:27 am
  • Oh my gosh, hilarious. I just started this book as well and was just telling my husband the vast amount of characters there are. And Fflewddur? Seriously? Almost as bad as Titty from Swallows and Amazons.

    July 31, 2010 at 3:27 am
  • Nah, give up. I never got into the series either. And starting with the last one seems totally unfair if that is true. (As for Swallows and Amazons, I don't think it is really usable in the classroom so giving up was the right thing to do there too- even though I love it to pieces- it is SLLLOOOOOWWW moving. A pace from another era.)

    July 31, 2010 at 3:27 am
  • Glad to hear it's not just me! I "had" to read The High King for a Children's Literature class and just couldn't force myself to finish it.

    I feel better now. 🙂

    July 31, 2010 at 4:17 pm
  • I have to agree with Beverly…you have to read the other books in the series for the High King to make sense. But I will say that I think the series is very worth reading. The Book of Three is much easier to get into and is a great adventure tale, although Taran Wanderer (the 4th book, I think) is my favorite. These are some of my husband's favorites, too.

    July 31, 2010 at 4:17 pm
  • I agree with everyone else, it's really hard to read this book unless you've read all of the others in the series. It also really helps if you have some background knowledge on Welsh fairy tales and language (makes the names easier to read). I enjoyed these books, but my family is Welsh so it was like a rewrite of some old favorite stories for me.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:58 pm

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