Posted in Adult Fiction, Book, Book Review, Classic, Reading

THE GOOD EARTH BY PEARL S. BUCK

51zRzieodBL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_In my mid sixties, I have finally read this classic.  It was never a required book in my years of high school nor college, but I am glad I have been desiring to read some classic literature now.  It truly is “literature” –  written works, esp. those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit.”   The Good Earth was published in 1931, written of a time around the 1920s in China when the last emperor reigned in China.  Pearl Buck won the Pulitzer Prize for this novel.

Wang Lung is a farmer.  The land is his security.  The land becomes more and more important to him as he ages.  He begins small, but fears, life’s upheavals, social and political changes, destitution, lust and greed factor into how Wang Lung lives each new day.  Wang Lung has a faithful, selfless wife, O-Lan.  She has known hard times, struggling since she was a girl for she was sold to the “Great House of Hwang” as a girl slave.

The Good Earth is about this couple, their country, China, and the sweeping changes of both the man and the country over his lifetime.  The book traces the slow rise of Wang Lung from humble peasant farmer to great landlord.  He achieves this feat by gradually adding to his lands and making enormous sacrifices to retain them through hard times.  Fortunes were gained and lost, horded and stolen.  Times of fear, hard living, hard work, lives filled with passion, ambitions, and rewards, times of sorrow and weakness fill this novel to overflowing.  The country of China then was an agrarian country so times were different.  The people lived on the land and worked it to live or they lived in the towns and cities making life there.  There were the poor and the wealthy with very little in between.  China certainly was not a world power as it is today.

I found this to be a fine novel of its eighty-three years.  It is beautifully written as the characters feel real, the emotions sadly authentic, and the life cycle ringing true no matter what country or time period we face.  This family struggles falling into bad times, regains their footing, experiences poverty and wealth.  There is anger between family members, love and appreciation for others.  Some use others for their own gain, and sense fear and jealousy of many, be they family members or neighbors in the nearest town.

So much is encompassed in this classic novel.  It is a fine piece of literature.

Awards:
Bestselling book – both 1931 and 1932
Pulitzer Prize – 1935
Howells Medal – 1935
Nobel Prize in Literature – 1938  (first American woman to win this award as well)

Pearl S. Buck was born on June 26, 1892, in Hillsboro, West Virginia.  She began to publish stories and essays in the 1920s, in magazines such as The Nation, The Chinese Recorder, Asia, and The Atlantic Monthly. Her first novel, East Wind, West Wind, was published by the John Day Company in 1930.  In 1931, John Day published Pearl’s second novel, The Good Earth.  By the time of her death in 1973, Pearl had published more than seventy books: novels, collections of stories, biography and autobiography, poetry, drama, children’s literature, and translations from the Chinese. She is buried at Green Hills Farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780743272933
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2004
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

I ORIGINALLY REVIEWED THE PIECE OF CLASSIC LITERATURE ON 4-16-2014.

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

THE GIRL AND THE BICYCLE BY MARK PETT

6967500wordless…
simple drawings…
few colors…
a story of persistence…
harkening back to the 1940s & 50s of my childhood…
with a fun conclusion to the story.

The girl has her younger brother with her when she sees a new green two-wheeled bicycle in the store window.  She needs money in order to buy this bike so she empties her piggy bank, checks her pockets, the dryer, under the couch pillows, only to find that she hasn’t enough.  She contemplates her options as seriously as a young girl can.
She decides to find work raking leaves.  After several disappointing attempts, she is hired.  She works, not only raking leaves but any other chore the woman can find for her to do around her home.  Finally, the girl has enough money to buy the bicycle.  With money in hand, she heads to the store only to find it gone.  Surprisingly, she decides to buy her brother a tricycle instead.  Without giving the ending away, there is more to the story…and that is all I am willing to say!

The illustrations are simple and so perfectly clear, filled with expression and emotion in a quiet sort of way.  Mark Pett has given us a sweet story filled with thoughtfulness, persistence, and love.

Reading Level:  4 – 8 Years

Author/Illustrator
Mark Pett is the “authorstrator” of The Boy and the Airplane and The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes. He is creator of the syndicated comic strips Mr. Lowe and Lucky Cow. He lives in Salt Lake City. You can find more about him and his books @ MarkPett.com.

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9781442483194
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 4/29/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

I originally reviewed this book 6-7-2014.

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES BY B. J. NOVAK

9365438_orig“This is a book with no pictures.  It might seem like no fun to have someone read you a book with no pictures.  It probably seems boring and serious.
“EXCEPT…
“Here is how books work:
“Everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say.

“No matter what.
“That’s the deal.  That’s the rule.”

Thus this book begins…
Silly words to read and sentences to make the reader seem silly are at each turn of a page.  The reader talks back to the words with a notion not to read anymore.  PLEASE!  But the reader must go on for the children listening will want to hear it all and hear it all from YOU, the reader.
It’s fun, silly, and “preposterous.”

I smiled as I read it to myself.  I couldn’t help it. : )

“ma GRUMPH – a – doo
“Aiiee!  GLIBBITY-globbity….”
And I called myself a monkey and have a hippo friend named “BOO BOO BUTT.”

“Warning on the back to the adult being asked by a kid to read this book.  Beware.”  

It is just silly fun and kids will love to hear you read it again and again.

Reading Level: 5 – 8 Years

Awards:
New York Times bestseller

Author:
“B.J. Novak is well known for his work on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning comedy series The Office as an actor, writer, director, and executive producer. He is also acclaimed for his standup comedy, his performances in motion pictures, and his New York Times bestselling book of short stories, One More Thing. A graduate of Harvard University with a degree in English and Spanish literature, B.J. lives in Los Angeles, California.”
There are several places you can find Mr. Novak:  http://thebookwithnopictures.com
http://www.bjnovak.com
https://twitter.com/bjnovak  (@bjnovak)
http://instagram.com/picturesoftext

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780803741713
  • Publisher: Dial
  • Publication date: 9/30/2014
  • Pages: 48
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

My original review of this fun book was done 11-30-2014.