Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Illustrated by Quentin Blake
(Puffin Books, New York: 1998)
First published in 1964.
READ: July 2005
A children's classic, of course. If you have not read this book, you must do so. The recent movie with Johnny Depp is not, in any way, a substitute. While the storytelling is not always the most subtle in tone, kids love this story and adults get a kick out of it too, as bad children end up where we only wish we could send them in real life, and the good kid comes out, for once, ahead of the others.
From the back of the book:
Willy Wonka's famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Buket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!
A History of Western Science
(Pearson Education Canada, Toronto: 1992)
READ: July 2005 (incomplete)
I didn't finish this one either, but don't blame it on the book - blame it on the reader. This is actually a text used in introductory science courses at university ("science for arts students", if you know what I mean). It can be a little dry at times, but mostly it is actually quite interesting. I didn't make it very far - up to the end of the Greeks, if I remember correctly - so all I can do is repeat over and over that "it is actually quite interesting." It is well-written and explains much of the history and workings of science in fairly plain language. I've shelved it for now, but I do plan on returning to it someday. I only know the very basic outlines of science's history, and with some of the other books I've been reading, I'd certainly like to learn more. But sometimes, you're just not ready to tackle a book, and Western Science, today was not your day. (To be fair, part of the problem is that this was the book I accidentally dropped behind my bookcase, and it took a few weeks to fish it out again, by which point I had completely and utterly lost any desire to continue reading it.)