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In Stone Spring, author Stephen Baxter imagines what we now call “Europe” as it existed 10,000 years ago, when the land mass that becomes Great Britain was joined to the rest of the continent by a great fertile plain. Mr. Baxter calls this land Northland, and tells us his version of what it would be like to live there in 7300 B.C.
The story focuses mainly on the community and families of Etxelur, located in the far northeast of Northland. Etxelur is a matriarchal community, inhabited by six extended families. They live in the Seven Houses and worship the Mothers, who they believe first created the world. They were known by traders for having the best flint. Flint Island, the source of their wealth, was accessible by walking across a narrow track built barely above sea level.
Other inhabitants of this land mass included the warlike Pretani from Albia, a male-dominated society who have little respect for women, and the snailheads, who call themselves the One People. The One People lived far to the south in the area of the white cliffs, but rising sea levels cause them to move north into Etxelur territory. The land is big and none of these communities wanted to live near one another.
From far away three strangers arrive in Etxelur, Novu, who grew up in Jericho, but was sold by his father into slavery with a trader, and Ice Dreamer, a young woman with a new baby, whose far western homeland had also been flooded. She ans her daughter were possibly the last surviving members of their people.
Changes were also occurring to the land and as a result affecting the sea.
“…ice melted and water flowed. Under this pressure the seabeds suffered their own spasms of compression and release. (pg. 179)…. The undersea landslip would not be a large event, on a planetary scale. Only a volume the size of a small country, a mass of mud, sliding deeper into the abyss. But an equivalent volume of water, pushed aside by the silt, would have to find somewhere to go.” (pg. 223)
This event formed three huge waves. Each wave forced a wall of water onto the beaches of Flint Island and onto the Seven Houses, with tides higher than anyone had ever seen before. Then before anyone could absorb the extent of the damage, each great wave receded, going out and down further than ever before. Fish and many other sea creatures are left wriggling on the newly exposed seabed, and there was more. The receding water exposes the shell of a wrecked boat, a stand of trees, remains of houses and earthwork ridges in circular arcs. These are the holy middens, sacred places told of in tales recited by the priest; and depicted in the tattoos painted onto the bodies of young Etxelur women when they come of age.
Those who survived the three great waves awoke to a different world. The changes caused by the waves were extensive. The fertile soil had been replaced with salty sand. The fresh water springs were now salty. A few of the original inhabitants survived, and all the houses were gone. Only questions remained. Who was going to lead them? Can they rebuild? Do they want to rebuild? Follow the Etxelur community for the next 33 years as they make choices about how to move forward.
Stone Spring is the first book of the Northland Trilogy.
Imagine waking up one morning to discover that the dream you had is being reported in the news and then your sister tells you that the dream you had is replicated in your mirror. That's strange. Moreover, when you visit the dentist, the dentist tells you that you will have to have your wisdom teeth taken out and that you will be his youngest patient ever from whom he has to remove wisdom teeth. As it turns out, John and his twin sister Phillipa, are the descendants of a long line of djinns, and they discover that they have super powers to do things that no one else can do, such as grant wishes, make people disappear, and to travel to exotic locales. The Akhenaten Adventure is the first in the series: Children of the Lamp by P. B Kerr, which includes six titles at this time. This title and some other titles of the series are available in audio. Recommended for children in grades 4 and up, this title and other titles in the series would make a great read for children who like action and a fast-paced story.
One of science fiction’s busier and more beloved authors, C. J. Cherryh is best known as a novelist whose books always deliver rich characters, meticulous plotting, and refreshingly impeccable grammar. However, the reader who does not forget that she is also a master of the short story format will be rewarded by The Collected Short Fiction of C. J. Cherryh. This all-in-one volume combines the classic Sunfall collection of cities of the far-future tales, the less-well-known Visible Light collection, and 15 additional, unrelated stories. This recently re-issued edition of the collection serves as a nice sampler of Cherryh’s styles, including science fiction, war, humor, and high fantasy. And the quick reads will help one pass the time while waiting for Cherryh’s next novel.
The BFG by Roald Dahl -- The BFG is one of those books that seems to harken back to the days where fairy tales had an edge. While the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is a nice guy who only eats snozzcumbers and gives people dreams and his fellow giants are large man-eaters whose favorite dish is children. The book stars a little orphan girl named Sophie who has the good fortune to run into the BFG. Together they plan to stop the BFG's marauding fellow giants.
Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster -- Milo is a bored ten-year old boy who swears there is nothing to do. This changes when a tollbooth appears in his room. Curious, Milo dusts off his toy car, pays the toll, and drives through. Milo finds his way into a strange world where he meets several interesting characters and is tasked with returning two princesses to the kingdom of Wisdom. Fans of Alice in Wonderland will love this book!
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konisburg -- Claudia runs away from home, inviting her brother to come along with her. They end up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Once the place closes up for the night, the two siblings come out of hiding to explore. It is then that Claudia encounters an angelic statue that entrances her. She must find out for certain who made it! To this end, she and her brother track down the statue's former owner, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli -- Maniac is a homeless kid living in the deer pen at the city zoo. He can untie any knot, outrun anyone on two legs or four, he helps out little kids with their problems, and tries to see the good in everyone. In a racially-divided town he doesn't see what the difference between people are.
Written by volunteer Robert D.
What if you could live forever? By forever, I really mean forever. You would never die, no matter what. You would be immune from all diseases, survive any accident or harm inflicted on your body. Better yet, you would never age. Living forever is an interesting idea to think about. Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt is a beautifully written and exciting adventure book about eternal life. Winnie Foster is a 10 year old girl who lives a perfectly sheltered life in a "touch me not" cottage at the edge of a wood. In the wood is a spring that bubbles up from the ground. No one knows about this spring except the Tuck family who once drank from it. Those who drink water from the spring never grow older. They stay exactly at the age at which they drank from the spring. On an August day, Winnie sneaks out of the cottage and ventures into the wood. Just by chance she encounters the Tuck family and learns the secret of the spring. The gentle and kind Tuck family must take Winnie with them to keep their secret from the rest of the world. Winnie’s family wastes no time in sending out a search party to find her, but unfortunately the search party includes a crafty and evil man who suspects the powers of the spring water and wants to possess the spring and the promise of eternal life. A confrontation at the Tuck home ends in disaster and the adventure that follows will keep you turning the pages until you reach the end of the story. This fine book received rave reviews when it was published in 1975 and was named one of the most important children’s books of the twentieth century by School Library Journal. It has become a classic that will remain timeless. Like a lot of good books, Tuck Everlasting was made into a film in 2002, but the film took liberties and changed important details in the book. Read the book instead, or try the audio book if you prefer to listen to the story. Tuck Everlasting is a book you will never forget and will want to read again and again.
Cara’s father is the Dragonmaster, in charge of Dragonsdale, a place where dragons are raised and trained. Cara works in the stable, performing a variety of chores. Cara loves dragons, especially Skydancer; however, Cara’s father forbids her to ride a dragon, because of a past tragedy. Will Cara follow her father’s wishes or follow her dreams?
The sequel to Dragonsdale is Riding the Storm.