Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Books o' the Month: The Scottish Prisoner, Opened Ground, The Kingdom of Carbonel

The Scottish Prisoner was the last of the Lord John books by Diana Gabaldon I had left to read, and it was my favorite.  The "Scottish Prisoner" is, of course, Jamie Fraser, hero of the Outlander series, and he had a prominent role in this novel.  It was great fun, and if you are an Outlander fan and unsure whether or not you want to read the Lord John books, at least read this one.  If you enjoy reading about Jamie Fraser, you won't be disappointed. 
I have been listening to Snow Patrol lately, loving Gary Lightbody's lyrics so much.  I read that Lightbody has been influenced by the poetry of fellow Irishman and Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney.  I was inspired to check out Opened Ground.  It is not easy to sit and read poetry with two kids running amok around you.  You have to be in a certain place, a certain headspace, at least.   But I have managed to appreciate the beauty of the words and images in the pages of this book.  One afternoon I sat on a folding chair in the driveway as the kids rode their bikes on our quiet street, and read several poems in the shade of the oak tree, cooled by a breeze.  It was quite heavenly.  I find many of Heaney's poems exploring his place in the world in terms of family, country, environment, history.  His work speaks to me (my favorites are Digging and Act of Union) and I can see why (and sometimes where) Lightbody has found inspiration.
The Kingdom of Carbonel is the second of a series by Barabara Sleigh published from 1955-1978.  I have been reading it to Valerie before bed.  She is very into cats right now (including all the Erin Hunter books).  I would highly recommend this as a read-aloud chapter book for kids aged five to ten.  It has magic and cats and nothing horridly inappropriate that you will want to edit out.  This is the second author I have had great luck with (see also Esther Averill) as part of The New York Review Children's Collection.  I am eager to discover more!

I am on time for Turn the Page ... Tuesday today!  Please take a minute or ten to check out other reviews here.

P.S.  Do you read poetry?  What are your favorite poems?  I think I can see a poetry post in my future...


  1. Yaeh!!!! You made it ;-) Thanks for the link to the poems - I enjoyed reading them. I have got to get my hands on the cat books - my boys love cats. I guess I'm a gonna have to shell out a bit of change for 'em! My favorite poem when I was a teen was something about the past being the only dead thing that smelled sweet. For the life of me I cannot locate who or what it was. Probably is just as well - I recall it was a bit morbid (can we say teenage angst!).

  2. I used to love eecummings when I was in high school and college. He's pretty unconventional but I had an English teacher who introduced us to him. I loved that he didn't use capital letters or punctuation!

  3. Your post made me realize how long it's been since I have read any poetry. My Grandpa used to read us Robert Service poems about the Yukon, so he's always been one of my favorites. "The Cremation of Sam McGee"!

  4. The Faces of children by Elizabeth Spires is one of my all-time favorite poems. Her book, Now The Green Blade Rises is really good...