A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker

A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker
Publisher: Knopf Books
Genre: Historical, Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

From the best-selling author of Longbourn, a remarkable imagining of Samuel Beckett’s wartime experiences. In 1939 Paris, the ground rumbles with the footfall of Nazi soldiers marching along the Champs-Élysées, and a young, unknown writer, recently arrived from Ireland to make his mark, smokes one last cigarette with his lover before the city they know is torn apart. Soon he will put them both in mortal danger by joining the Resistance.

Through the years that follow, we are witness to the workings of a uniquely brilliant mind struggling to create a language to express a shattered world. A story of survival and determination, of spies and artists, passion and danger, A Country Road, A Tree is a portrait of the extremes of human experience alchemized into one man’s timeless art.

Was this book rather academic? I have waffled back and forth about that question. It has been a topic of discussion many times. In my opinion, there are two ways to read this book. One is as merely a story, which is what I did. It is an interesting tale of a writer and his girlfriend leading a somewhat Bohemian lifestyle in Europe. Its setting in the European countries during the tough war years of WW2 describes the hardships many of the people in those countries lived with.

However, being the curious person that I am, seeing James Joyce as a character in the book made me do a little research. During that research, I found that this is really not just historical fiction as it is classified, but rather a sort of fictional biographical picture of Samuel Beckett’s life and his time in France during the occupation. This somehow made me feel differently about the book. Was I supposed to just enjoy it as a story or was I supposed to learn more about Beckett? Maybe it doesn’t matter.

It may be that my previous ramblings are what made this book read somewhat slow at the beginning for me. It sped up and flowed quite smoothly as I continued to read. In fact, it became that story I was talking about in the first paragraph. A well-written story of a young man with writer’s block and a young girl wanting very much to help him, both living with a couple trying to make it through the occupation. Jo Baker seems to be an author who is able to write so that the frightening times, the hunger, and the cold and uncertainty, are vividly felt.

Jo Baker has other publications, one has more than 3000 reviews on Amazon. I think everything she has written is worth checking out.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Publisher: Knopf Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy
Length: Full (544 pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 5 Suns
Review by: Cholla

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.

It all started with a beautiful stone. A stone that, as in all good fantasy novels, isn’t quite what it seems. While waiting for a trader to come to town so that Eragon could sell it and buy food, the stone hatches into Saphira, a beautiful blue dragon. Discovering that he is the last of the Dragon Riders, Eragon is forced to flee his home and strike out on the adventure of his young lifetime.

Having been thrust from his small-town home and out into the wider world around him, Eragon is like a country bumpkin visiting the big city. With the aid of his world-travelling friend and wizard, Brom, and the ever intelligent dragon, Saphira, Eragon and his companions are in a race against time. Despite being only fifteen at the outset of the story, Eragon is not afraid to do what needs to be done. Having worked hard all his life, he is the first to step up and do his part. And we train others how to be with us as long as individuals need recuperating. buy viagra online It acts when one is sexually get energetic or is enthused set of mind. see these guys now cialis tadalafil 5mg Tubal Infertility – This fertility problem is no best price viagra cause for concern in today’s world. For example, in case of heart disease such as congestive heart failure, diastolic dysfunction etc, buy generic levitra try address (Sildenafil citrate) has proved to be beneficial. He has the makings of a very fine young man and a true hero as he grows older and more experienced.

Saphira, the only known dragon, choose him to be her rider from inside the confines of her egg. She waited many years for him to find her. More than anything, she is his guiding force and conscience throughout. Saphira acts almost as a big sister to Eragon, gently prodding him to stay on the right track, to remain, steadfast, and to have a little fun. In addition, she can keep him in line with a look, help him channel his magic, and crack wise on the most serious of subjects, given the opportunity. She is the perfect complement to such an inexperienced young adventurer.

From the very first words of Eragon you will be swept away into the author’s world. You’ll meet dragons, elves, dwarves, and so many other creatures you never even dreamed of. You will also never know that the author was a mere fifteen years old when he began the adventure. Between the amazing world building, the flowing prose, and the dry wit, you will be hooked from the first page. So, come on over, step into the world of Alagaesia and let the magic flow.