Friday, September 17, 2010

Of Mice, Mad Cow Disease and Charlie Chaplin

Hello all you cool hepcats out there in the "Land o Blog!!!" I know it has been awhile since I last posted but between work, a new home, and reading, ya only got so many hours in the day. So any way, I have two really cool books to talk about along with my usual bit of nonsense. So let's start, shall we?


It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Cheese was short and mice became unruly. Call me Ishmael the mouse. Long had I followed my Captain Ahab in his obsessive search for the great white whale made entirely of  Monetary Jack cheese. Um....I've just encountered writer's block, but with a great beginning like this I think I'm surely on to something!!!!!! 

Okay enough Silliness, I say enough!!!!
And Now Some Book Reviews!!!! Quite Right!!!!!

The first book I'm going to talk about is a YA Book (Teens) and contains language and situations that may not be appropriate for our younger followers. Please don't check this book out or read it unless your an older teen or it is cool with your parents.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray - This book is the 2010 Printz Winner which means (if you don't know already) it exemplifies literary excellence in young adult (Teen) literature. The main character in the book is a 16 year old boy named Cameron who one day starts to see crazy things like Fire Giants which no one else notices. Well right after this happens he is hospitalized and finds out he has Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease or as it is more commonly known as Mad Cow disease. It turns out that not all is lost, however, when an angel named Dulcie appears to Cameron. She gives him a mission to find a Dr. X who is responsible for the Fire Giants and other things that could possibly result in the destruction of the Earth. It also turns out Dr. X can cure Mad Cow disease. Cameron accepts this mission because he very much wants to live through the end of the world and Mad Cow disease.

He recruits help through the most unlikely an odd assortment of characters: Gonzo, a dwarf who is an extreme hypochondriac, but has mad gaming skills; Balder, the Norse God, who just happens to be trapped in the form of a yard Gnome; and others. He also faces an assortment of enemies that range from the downright scary, The Wizard of Reckoning and Fire Giants, to just the downright silly such as CESSNAB (The Church of Everlasting Satisfaction And Snack 'N' Bowl).

This book is full of laughs and thought provoking material on the nature of life and death. It definitely deserved winning the Printz Award and is a great read. I highly enjoyed it (again this book has subject matter that may not be appropriate to younger readers so please don't read this book if you are 15 or younger without your parents permission --- I really don't want anyone getting upset or mad at me)

Okay that was an older reader book, so let's talk about one that is not just for older guys:

Sir Charlie Chaplin, The Funniest Man in The World by Sid Fleischman - This is a great biography on the life of Charlie Chaplin, one of the greatest comedic actors of both the silent and early talking movies. I learned a great deal about Mr. Chaplin that I had not a clue about. This man, who would become known worldwide and through time for his comedic genius came from, to say the least, a horrible childhood in England. His father left the family when he was a young boy and his mother was in and out of mental institutions for most of her life. This left Charlie and his older brother Sydney to either fend for themselves on the streets or be picked up and put into schools for the homeless and poor. Now this was 1896 so such places at that time were not very nice to live in and the children were treated and worked without compassion or much love. Fortunately for Charlie he was a natural comedian, especially when it came to slapstick. He got into vaudeville and was a smash hit. Not long afterword he would be noticed by the budding silent movie studios and become both rich and a star. This biography covers such interesting times in Charlie's life such as how he made his wonderful silent films and came up with his most famous persona "The Little Tramp," how he dealt with the witch hunt that was McCarthyism in the 50s, his troubled relationships due to his huge ego, the honor of being knighted by the Queen of England and much, much more. This is a comprehensive biography with many great pictures. I highly recommend this to all fans of comedy, for he was one of the best!

If you have never seen Chaplin in action check out this short clip from one of his movies. He really was extremely funny and talented.

From his 1928 film The Circus, Charlie Chaplin gets himself locked in a lion's cage. This is a real lion and all the stunts in this clip were performed by Mr. Chaplin.

Well that's it for now me buckos!!!! Until next time, happy trails,

Library Ninja Bill

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