56. Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones (222 pages) Dalemark is divided between the oppressed, tyrannical South and the more free North. Moril's family is a band of traveling singers between the two earldoms. When his father is killed, Moril must take on his powerful musical instrument, the cwidder, in order to keep his sister, brother, and their passenger, Kialan, safe. But, soon, he finds all them embroiled in the political struggle between the two earldoms. A struggle for their lives. Cart and Cwidder is more standard fantasy, not quite up to DWJ's style of magical twists and turns, but it's definitely DWJ with its clever and refreshing depth to the magical and emotional elements. And, as with all DWJ works, it is a classic. Grade: A
"Women have come down off the pedestal lately. They are tired of this mysterious feminine charm stuff. Maybe it goes with independence, earning you own living and voting and all that."
"Her philosophy is carpe diem for herself and laissez-faire for others."--F. Scott Fitzgerald
"The flapper was, in effect, the first thoroughly modern American."
57. Flapper by Joshua Zeitz (338 pages) In the 1920s, the flapper, a modern woman of materialism and relative independence, reinvented the world with her drinking, partying, and sexual exploits. In consuming mass-produced fashion, make up, products, movies, and food and drink, she gave birth to Modern America and an entirely new definition of woman. Zeitz analyzes the flapper, from her birth after WWI and the death of Victorian mores, to her own death with the Great Depression, detailing the biographies of those that created the flapper, from the movie industry (Louise Brooks, Colleen Moore, and Clara Bow) to the fashion industry (Coco Chanel), and, most importantly, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, the first flapper, Zelda. Fascinating, engaging, brilliant book about the decade and the woman who reinvented America and made it modern. So modern, in fact, that the 1920s are a nearly disturbing mirror to the 2010s. Grade: A
58. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (248 pages)
59. The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking (216 pages)
I think I understood about 4.7% of these books (The Universe in a Nutshell is basically the same book as A Brief History of Time, only slightly more accessible, briefer, and slightly more focused on things such a time travel, extraterrestrial life, and human evolution, that is, the stuff of "science fiction"). From what I gather, it all boils down to this line from Doctor Who: "Most people think that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but, really, from a nonlinear, nonsubjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbley wobbley timey wimey stuff." Fascinating, mind-warping book that explains the nature of the universe, from the cosmos to the microcosms, the nature of black holes, light, and time itself. But, as I said, not exactly accessible to the lay person. Grade: B+
60. Savvy by Ingrid Law (342 pages) As Mibs' birthday approaches, so does her Savvy, the special magic power that each member of her family possesses. But when her father is comatosed by an accident, she figures her savvy will awaken him. With her brothers and two tag-along friends, she embarks on a road trip with a wayward Bible salesman and a recently fired waitress. The writing style of the book is clumsy (too much "whimsical" language and overdone similes--like three in one sentence). The story is cute, but far from original. The characters never seem to have real personality or autonomy, and the message of the book (coming of age) isn't quite really portrayed with success. Grade: B-