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I just finished up Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley. I've really come around to loving McKinley - she writes in a truly genuine kind of way. The first book I read of hers was The Hero and the Crown, which to be frank is likely her weakest. Still enjoyable, but definitely on the weaker side. One of her other books, Deerskin, is one of the best representations of how sexual assault is overcome and emotionally dealt with over time in fantasy. It's really uplifting and great to see.

Dragonhaven is a modern day fantasy novel based in modern (90s-ish) USA. It's about a kid who grows up in a dragon sanctuary/zoo, which is really more of a reptile zoo. The only "real" dragons live out in the enclosed wilderness and are rarely seen at all, until he encounters a mother dragon slain by a poacher. This has some hefty political ramifications, as the parents of the poachers are quite wealthy and would rather campaign for dragon eradication than acknowledge that their son wasn't such a great person and was trying to kill a critically endangered species for fun. This is more of a side story, however; the narrator is largely sheltered from these events, as he's managed to "adopt" the newborn dragon of the now-dead mother, which happens to be quite illegal in and of itself. Most of the book focuses on how this impacts his day to day life, his relationship with his father, and his relationships with his friends. It's told in the voice of the narrator as he's relating the experience after the fact, and is genuine without feeling overly juvenile in a way that would be offputting to adult readers (a fairly fine line to walk, but one on which McKinley seems to balance effortlessly).

Dragonhaven is arguably a YA novel, but it doesn't entirely come off that way. Many of McKinley's books fall into that "in between" category wherein there's nothing that would be objectionable to a young reader and are easily accessible, but aren't excluding adult readers either. There's not necessarily a clear audience - it's more like McKinley simply wrote a good book that happens to be about young people and their experiences without any "adult" content, if that makes sense.

Deerskin, despite dealing with sexual assault and rape, definitely could be read at a younger age without issue. It's delicate and yet also dealing with difficult concepts. I'd recommend it to people who are in middle school or high school despite it also being a wonderful read as an adult largely because it's able to capture hard parts of life in a way that can help prepare people for what might happen as they get older. I wish I had read it at that age; I think it can be best described as hopeful. It's easy to relate to for anyone who's been in that position, and I think it could give a lot of younger kids and teens who have experienced sexual assault a healthy way of relating, understanding they aren't alone, and seeing that you can work through it to become the person who you're really meant to be. There aren't many books that can do that with such a hard thing for that age group - hell, there aren't many for adults either, and that's part of why I enjoyed it so much. It upsets me when authors just brush away the "recovery" part of dealing with the aftermath of rape and just jump to the happy ending (cough cough, Robin Hobb [an otherwise lovely author] cough).
I made it through Finders Keepers and I'm waiting for The End of the Watch to arrive, so in the mean time I'm reading Cujo.
I'm probably going to have to take a lot of leisure reading time away into school reading time, but recently I've been reading through A Series of Unfortunate Events and watching the show afterwards. I just read The Vile Village. Otherwise, I've read recently Breakfast of Champions (which I liked but not as much as Slaughterhouse V), some of The da Vinci code (which I didn't like all that much), and A Visit from the Goon Squad (which I really loved and would recommend and would love to talk about with anyone who's read it)
The old man and the sea by Ernest Hemingway. A story of an old fisherman, who after a long period of not catching fish, travels further out into sea, and gets the largest swordfish in his life to take the bait. He pulls on the fish as much as his line can take, but it is not enough and the fish pulls him and the boat out to sea. After three grueling days of pulling the fish, he finally harpoons it and starts sailing home with the fish tied to the side of his small boat. However, the fish is hit by many sharks. He tries to fight off the sharks, but eventually, there are too many of them. By the time he returns home, there is nothing left of the swordfish but its horn, head and skelecton. He returns home a defeated man despite all the struggles

I see this as a story of going all in on a single difficult to obtain dream. However, you must be well prepared and have people to help you; the old man only had a small boat and limited tools and supplies, he also didn't want the boy who follows him around to join him. You realise this in hindsight but too late, and can only focus on the objective at hand. The swordfish was also unpredictable and the old man could only react to his circumstance, leaving him unable to prepare for the future. In the end, even if you do somehow complete your task, bringing home that success will prove equally difficult as trying to complete that objective, requiring more preparation than on the spot wits and determination.

I think this story is very symbolic and has many life lessons to learn. Not too complicated for my first foray into literature
I haven't been able to look through all the threads. Anyone else here reading Sherlock Holmes?
It depends. There are plenty of rip-offs made by unoriginal authors who wanted to write a children's book. I assume we're talking about the original Arthur Conan Doyle novels?
Grit by Angela Duckworth yay for required school reading
Today I read Flowers for Algernon. They all said "that book will make you cry" and I scoffed "pssh, no book with a warning like that is going to make me cry" but here I am... a snivelling wreck.
It's a goodie.

For an antidote, try "Monument" by Lloyd Biggle, jr.
I'm starting The Weird Compendium (an anthology of short stories put together by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer) tonight, and I'm already extremely impressed by the short stories that I recognize in the table of contents. I bought it based largely on recommendation and the author list, but these are the ones I see that I've read previously:

Sredni Vashtar by Saki
Saving the Gleeful Horse by KJ Bishop
The Specialist's Hat by Kelly Link
Axolotl by Julio Cortazar
Bloodchild by Octavia Butler

all of which are excellent. I can tell this is going to be an amazing collection.
My parents had a Saki anthology in paperback. I didn't understand all the stories the first time through...
Children of time by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

An excellent bit of "hard" SF. Recommended.
I finished Cujo, End of the Watch, then read Under the Dome for a month (that book is huge T T). Now I'm starting the Dark Tower series.
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