Austenland

by Shannon Hale

{ 2007 | Bloomsbury | 208 pgs }

This piece of fluff had a disappointingly happy ending. I read it because there was nothing else to read in our house (aside from the Romgi’s other textbooks, which I didn’t want to pick up at 11pm).

The main character, Jane (!), has a secret Mr. Darcy crush, and compares every man she meets to her Darcy ideal. When her great-aunt, who knew about the secret crush, dies, in her will she gives Jane a trip to a Jane Austen pretend-a-thon. Basically there’s an estate in the English countryside where you pay to play make-believe, like you live in Regency England and are an attractive, eligible young woman. The whole point was really for Jane to get over her fantasy, but [SPOILER] she has a happy, blissfully romantic ending anyway.

Dumb.

(For the record, this is why sometimes I won’t read other books by favorite authors.)


The Anatomy of Peace

by Arbinger Institute

{ 2006 | Berrett-Koehler Publishers | 231 pgs }

I was originally planning to take a class on campus this semester, titled Self & Society. It examines how we form our identities and how we interact with other people, among other things. This was one of the assigned texts, and I figured I might as well read something before I got busy with school and the Bwun and so on. It took me about an hour and a half – it isn’t a textbook, and on top of that, it’s fiction. Ea-sy read.

At a wilderness camp for out-of-control teenagers, parents are asked to stay two days with the camp’s leaders and learn how to resolve the conflict in their homes – not by fixing the teenagers’ behavior, but by adjusting their own attitudes and behaviors. The philosophy of the book is that when we act with our hearts at peace towards ourselves and those around us, harmony is possible; when we act otherwise, we invite conflict.

Definitely an interesting book, and I’d recommend it to those who feel angry, bitter, slighted, or resentful – so, to all of us, at times.


The Candy Shop War

by Brandon Mull

{ 2007 | Shadow Mountain | 358 pgs }

Mull, author of the Fablehaven series, has written a thoroughly delightful book about kids, candy, magic, bad guys, time travel, and more candy. I’m just going to tell you it was great, and leave it at that. Go find a copy! Now!

(Ok, if you have to know more, a candy shop opens in this little town, and the owner, a grandma-type woman, tells this group of four friends that she’ll give them magical candy if they do a favor for her. Foot-in-the-door, people. That’s really all you need to know.)