Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review of 'A Thief in the House of Memory" by Tim Wynne-Jones, and 'To Rule the Waves' by Arthur Herman

Reading is great.
Lately I've been able, finally, to make a dent in the list of books I've decided to read. Some of them are books by Y.A. authors. I just finished reading "A Thief in the House of Memory by Tim Wynne-Jones, who I knew years ago at York U. where he taught Visual Arts. I like his writing because there are so many layers of details the reader must gradually peel away. The main character, Declan, is haunted by images of his mother who had disappeared years before. He mistrusts his father and his step-mother and attempts to solve the mystery of his mother's disappearance. There is a beautiful, large, ornate, fully furnished house (Tim's books always have a strange house) which contains clues to most of the mystery. A good read for good readers.

A friend of mine, also a visual artist, told me about the next two books I am reading: Island of the Seven Cities by Paul Chiasson, is an almost believeable read about a supposed colony of Chinese explorers on Cape Breton Island sometime before the Spanish and British and French came to the area. Hmmm. Not a book kids could appreciate (and it is not meant to be) but their teachers may get into it.
The next one, a big fat history, is called To Rule the Waves by Arthur Herman, and it chronicles the growth and formation of the British Navy. I should have read this when I taught history because it gives some entertaining insights into the first explorers and the so-called 'heros' of early seafaring. Shipboard life on armed merchantmen is well described, as is the lives of the shaker & movers. I always enjoyed peppering my lessons about history with true tid-bits to hold the students' attention, such as the detail that Italian navigator de Verrazzano was mooned by North American natives as he sailed past what is now New England. Who knew?
I always showed Master and Commander to my classes because it shows such vivid ocean scenes. Descriptions in this book appeal in much the same way, without the fiction.


  1. Hi Rene,

    Both the Rule the Waves and Seven Cities books look very interesting. I'll look for them in my library. I love to read history, and just about the only fiction I read is historical fiction, my favorite being just about anything by Bernard Cornwell. Say hello to Werner for me. Maybe I'll see you in Canada one of these days. Carl (aka Corey)

  2. "I check the email for responses from publishers."

    You forgot to say "every five minutes". That's where I am now. I sent a grammar book to several publishers a few weeks ago, and I check and check and check.

    Sorry, I'm not as techno savvy as you are. I can't figure out how to sign in as anyone other than "anonymous". It makes me feel like such a nonentity.

    Carl (aka Corey)