Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chasing the Nightbird

Book menu for Chasing the Nightbird by Krista Russell

ISBN of edition I read:  9781561455973 (hardcover).

This historical fiction won the 2012 Massachusetts Book Award in the children's/young adult category. Set in 1850s New Bedford, MA, this quick read is filled with the serious business of slave fugitives, whaling, and child labor. Yet, Russell's tale also offers wonderful humor and wit.

Food mentioned in Chasing the Nightbird :
Roast beef and fried potato, 3
Plum duff, 3, 76
Chachupa, 16, 19, 122
Salthorse, 54
Fish stew, 81

Great vocabulary in Chasing the Nightbird :
bilgy, 1
offing, 1
doffed, 3, 18
landlubbers, 3, 7, 11, 14, 23
roil, 5
visage, 7
waylay, 10
bilge, 11
berth, 14
mete, 27
dissonant, 30
leviathan, 57
caul, 60
stevedore, 86
addled, 93
scrimshawed, 109

Literary elements in Chasing the Nightbird :
Personification: page 26 - "Tall windows were menacing mouths with rows and rows of teeth."
Simile: page 33 - "A boy with skin dark as a moonless night at the equator smiled at him."

Discussion questions for Chasing the Nightbird :
1. Each chapter begins with the name and image of a marine knot. How does each knot relate to the novel and to each chapter?

2. Which of the whaleman's "commandments" is your favorite? Which helped Lucky the most?

3. In the first paragraph the narrator explains the belief of seagulls possessing the souls of dead sailors. Whose soul might Delph possess?  What is this seagulls significance to Lucky and his story?

4. Why do think the author named her main character "Lucky"?  What significance does the name "Fortuna" have?


Monday, November 12, 2012

The Hobbit

Book menu for The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

ISBN of edition  I read: 0395071224 (hardcover)

I just reread The Hobbit since the long-awaited film adaptation is coming soon. What a wonderful story!  The first time I "read" this book I listened to the audio book version, narrated by Rob Inglis. He also narrated all three of the Lord of the Rings books.  They are my favorite audio book recordings to date. For me, the best passage of The Hobbit is when Thorin (on his death bed) says to Bilbo: "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.".  Amen!

Food mentioned in The Hobbit:
Cake, 15-17
     Seed-cake, 16, 18
Beer, 16
     Ale, 17
     Porter, 17
Coffee, 17-18
Scones, 18
Red wine, 18
Apple tart, 18
Mince pie, 18
Pork pie, 18
Cold chicken and pickles, 19
Eggs and ham, 31
Bacon and eggs, 65
Mead, 112, 114
Bread with butter, honey and clotted cream, 114
Nuts, 116
Dried fruit, 116
Twice-baked cakes, 116
Apples, 166
Cram, 207, 220, 225

Discussion questions for The Hobbit:
Why does Bilbo finally agree to join Gandalf and the dwarves on their adventure?
Provide examples of humor throughout the story.
Describe the tone of the story.
What lessons does Bilbo learn during his journey? What lessons does Thorin learn?
Find examples where the narrator directly addresses the reader.