Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 21 & 22 - 2012

Book 21: Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman – 274 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
He smiles. "Hello." It's a deep voice. I can feel it reverberate in my chest and echo all the way down to my toes. I know I should leave, but I don't want to. I want to keep my senses like this forever. I'm all eye, all ear, all skin. Persephone lives in the most gorgeous place in the world. But her mother's a goddess, as overprotective as she is powerful. Paradise has become a trap. Just when Persephone feels there's no chance of escaping the life that's been planned for her, a mysterious stranger arrives. A stranger who promises something more--something dangerous and exciting--something that spurs Persephone to make a daring choice. A choice that could destroy all she's come to love, even the earth itself. In a land where a singing river can make you forget your very name, Persephone is forced to discover who--and what--she really is.

Of all the Greek myths, the story of Persephone and Hades is my favorite. Persephone is my favourite Goddess, because she is the balance of light and dark – Goddess of Spring, Queen of the Underworld. She is the personification of duality. I seek out retellings and analyses of the Persephone/Hades myth like most people read crime novels. This is another of these – a young adult version. Of course, as in most retellings, the plot is romantic – Persephone’s mother Demeter is overprotective of her daughter, and then along comes a mysterious man who promises Persephone adventure and she takes it. My main problem with this retelling is that Persephone felt very young, and Hades felt very old (not like old man old, but like a forty year old seeking out a teenager), and it made the romantic aspect of the story feel lecherous and slightly inappropriate. Perhaps if the book hadn’t been aiming to being romantic, but was aiming for the ‘kidnapped and raped’ version of the story, it would have worked better. It was still an okay read particularly for a young adult novel, with more of a plot than a number of other retellings I’ve read, but it would have been better without the slight creep factor.

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

7371 / 15000 pages. 49% done!

Book 22: Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House: Official Souvenir Guide by John Martin Robinson – 56 pages

Description from amazon.com:
Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, built by the famous architect Sir Edwin Lutyens between 1921 and 1924, is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary dolls’ houses in the world. Standing over 2 meters (or 7 feet) high, it is a perfect replica of an Edwardian private residence of the grandest possible design, complete with Saloon, Library, Dining Room, private apartments, servants’ rooms, kitchen, wine cellar, and garage full of vintage miniature limousines—plus working lifts, running water and electric light. Every room is fully furnished with miniature replicas of the contents of a real Edwardian house—from the kitchen, with its copper pans and kettles, to the Saloon, with its tiny full-length state portraits. The wine bottles in the cellar each contain less than a thimbleful of vintage wine, the linen cupboard has a full complement of miniature sheets and tablecloths, and in the Strong Room minute replicas of the Crown Jewels are on display. It also has an art collection, by all the leading painters of the day, including Sir William Nicholson; and extraordinary Library, with miniature volumes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Hardy and Edith Wharton, among others, and as the final touch, a garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll.

When I lived in England I did a lot of travelling to all the tourist hot spots. One of the places I went was Windsor Castle. At Windsor Castle, the home of the British Queen (and my Queen, being an Aussie!), one can see Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, a magnificent dolls house created in the 1920s. I saw it while I was there, and it is truly extraordinary, with a million little intricate details that make it much more than a dolls’ house and instead something akin to a small functioning home for Thumblina people. This souvenir book takes one through the house’s creation and through the structure itself and many of the fascinating details. An interesting read for anyone who is interested in the British Royal Family or dolls’ house or exceptional feats of carpentry!

22 / 50 books. 44% done!

7427 / 15000 pages. 50% done!

Currently reading:
-        The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown – 509 pages
-        The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of the Iliad by Caroline Alexander – 277 pages
-        Flame by Amy Kathleen Ryan – 326 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages
Tags: myth and legend, non-fiction, pagan, young adult

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