Akhenaten Adventure

Kerr, P.B. The Akhenaten Adventure: Children of the Lamp, Book One. New York: Orchard Books, 2004.

This was really fun! I think I read the first 150 pages in only an hour. I finished the rest of the book at the end of the day. I even surprised myself.

John and Philippa are not your ordinary twelve year old twins. On the surface they look like typical rich kids living on New York’s upper east side. That is, until they both need their wisdom teeth pulled. At twelve. From there things get even more strange. Turns out, John, Philippa and their mother, Layla are from a long line of djinn. In order to explain this to the children they are shipped off to their djinn uncle in London, England. He is supposed to teach them how to control their powers, give them the history of the different tribes of djinn, and of course, get them involved in a little murder mystery on a trip to Cairo…
While this is supposed to be “just” a book for kids I found it completely entertaining. Like, how does a one-armed man pretend to tie his shoelaces? I kept picturing a movie.

Great line, “The English themselves speak a very mangled mashed-potato form of English, which has no obvious beginning and no obvious end, and is just a sort of thick mess that they dump on your plate and expect you to understand” (p 78).

Reason read: There is a really big fantasy convention that happens in November. I’m reading The Akhenaten Adventure in honor of that convention.

Book trivia: The Akhenaten Adventure is book one of the “Children of the Lamp” series. It’s the only one I’m reading.

Author fact: According to the back flap of The Akhenaten Adventure P.B. Kerr write his first story when he was ten years old. But, I think this tidbit is much cooler – he grew up without a television.

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Fantasy for Young and Old” (p 83).

October (2009) was…

October has always been my “hang on”” month. It’s the month I hold my breath for while waiting for September to release me. This October was no different. It started with a trip to Maine to see West Coast family (and a great foggy run), a trip homehome andandand Kisa got to go (yay), Hilltop got a much needed haircut, there were a ton of new Natalie sightings, and, dare I say, the promise of a Hilltop Thanksgiving? The end of the month was a little stressful – a lump in the breast and a missing ovary. No wonder I read so many books and here they are:

  • Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis ~ sci-fi story about a man who is kidnapped and taken to Mars.
  • The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis ~ coming of age story about a young girl who is a chess playing phenom.
  • A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle ~ a ghost story about a man who lives in a graveyard for twenty years.
  • Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters ~ a mystery about two unmarried women traveling through Egypt and being pursued by a mummy.
  • The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan ~ nonfiction about the role of women through the ages (up to the 1960s when the book was written). Oh, how far we’ve come!
  • House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier ~ a spooky tale about time travel.
  • When Found, Make a Verse of by Helen Smith Bevington ~ a commonplace book full of poetry, proverbs and excerpts.
  • Empire Falls by Richard Russo ~ a novel about small town life (read because October is the best time to visit New England).
  • The Natural by Barnard Malamud ~ a novel about a baseball player (read because October is World Series month).
  • In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu ~ a compilation of short stories all on the dark side (read in time for Halloween – you know…horror, fantasy, mystery, etc).
  • The Life You Save May Be Your Own: an American Pilgrimage by Paul Elie ~ biographies of Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy in one book (read for Group Reading Month).

For fun, I am rereading Mary Barney’s Ring That Bell (2003) because I want to challenge my cooking and make every recipe in the book. So far I’ve cooked/baked my way through nine recipes.

For the Early Review program from LibraryThing I was supposed to read Ostrich Feathers by Miriam Romm. It hasn’t arrived as of yet, so it may very well turn into a November book.

Crocodile on the Sandbank (with spoiler)

Peters, Elizabeth. Crocodile on the Sandbank. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1975.

Right away I knew Crocodile on the Sandbank was going to be funny. In the opening scene, Amelia Peabody, the novel’s main character, fakes needing an interpreter in Italy so that she has someone to carry her parcels and run her errands. She is a tough-minded, strong-willed, and independent woman on the verge of 20th century modernism. Of considerable wealth and edging towards spinsterhood, Amelia decides she wants to travel to Egypt. It being the late 1800s, she needs a female traveling companion. Enter Eveyln. Evelyn Barton-Forbes is a beautiful young girl with a not-so-innocent past. Amelia takes to her immediately and the two set out for an adventure of a lifetime. What starts out as a harmless journey to Egypt turns into a mystery complete with a murderous mummy and stop-at-nothing suitors. This is the first book in the Amelia Peabody series. Other series by the same author are: Vicky Bliss, art history professor and Jacqueline Kirby, librarian.

Favorite line: “…scarcely a day went by when I was not patching up some scrape or cut, although, to my regret, I was not called upon to amputate anything” (p 78). This is after she packs instruments to help with amputations!

My only source of irritation was when Amelia meets Radcliffe for the first time. Their hatred towards one another is so exaggerated and so comical I knew they would end up getting married. It’s the kind of scene you would see in a movie and predict the end…

Note: Elizabeth Peters is a pseudonym for Barbara Merz and Barbara Michaels. If you ever get the chance, check out her website. It’s fun!

BookLust Twist: In both Book Lust and More Book Lust. In Book Lust in the chapter called, “I Love a Mystery” (p 119), and in More Book Lust in the chapter called, “Crime is a Globetrotter: Egypt” (p 61).