Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way

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100 Books by 40: THE TWITS

Book: The Twits
Author: Roald Dahl
Published: 1980

I am not sure I needed to read The Minpins and The Magic Finger, but I did. All three of these stories came packaged together in the audio book. I am not sorry for it as I loved The Minpins. I suppose read isn’t the right verb to use in this context. Listened it is.

Roald Dahl is obsessed with our ethical responsibilities to the other living creatures we share this planet. His sense of ethics are clear in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. All of the children aside from Charlie suffer unfortunate ends due to character flaws and poor behavior. Hints reveal his concern for life apart from human; in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he’s careful to justify how the Oompa Loompas turned up in the factory.

I wonder if the current trend toward sustainability isn’t in part due to a generation raised on Roald Dahl books coming into middle age. Dr Seuss was a contributer here too with The Lorax. I never considered the role that writers might play in shaping the minds of the next generation until now. This is due to my own struggles with reading as a child.

I didn’t have any favorite books growing up. I didn’t read. Couldn’t is perhaps a more accurate word. I am dyslexic and failed to sort out my reading issues until I was 16 or 17.

When people describe a love of childhood stories, I can’t relate. But had I been a little reader, I would have loved The Minpins. This is about the secret world in trees. And I loved that world. One of the characters rides a swan to other hidden worlds. The story is beautiful and fantastic. I loved every word of it.

I know that I’ve not mentioned The Twits. It was an entertaining read, but my heart was stolen by The Minpins. Roald Dahl would have captivated me as a child. He continues to captivate me as an adult.


100 Books by 40: MATILDA

Book: Matilda
Author: Roald Dahl
Published: 1988

Adults have numerous opportunities to tyrannize children. Teachers, coaches, church elders, parents have ample opportunity to be cruel. Their reasons aside, it’s a wonder that so many of us grow into kind adults.

This book tells the story of some very cruel adults and a few kind adults, and how they influence the children in their lives. I was the kind of kid that took cruelty personally. When and adult humiliated or shamed me, my natural assumption was that they were right and I was wrong. This served me well in that I was open to correction, but it was damaging when emotionally stunted adults would cross my path. I could have used a little Roald Dahl in my life.

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100 Books by 40: ARTEMIS FOWL

I listened to this as an Audio book. It’s about trolls and twelve-year old villains. The book explains that this boy has been left unattended due to his mother’s hysteria over his father going missing. This boy is a genius, and attempts to trick fairies out of their gold.

I’m glad that I listened to this book. As stated in other blogs, I don’t enjoy children’s books for the most part. Half-listening while cursing the rolling-speed-bumps on the highway couldn’t have been more perfect. I get why the boy’s autonomy and hired help would appeal to kids. There’s so much of their lives that they can’t control. It’s probably a shared childhood fantasy to have control. Isn’t that the main reason we long to grow-up?

But as an adult reader, I just find the boy’s behavior so implausible. One would think that I would say the same about the fairies. They are less obnoxious, as they are wholly fictional entities. I know twelve year-old boys. I don’t know any fairies. Fairies have flying suits? Sure. Twelve year-old boys are genius criminal masterminds? Not so much.

Had I found this book as a child, I would probably like it. As an adult, I notice that the best developed characters are the non-human ones. I won’t ever read this again, but I would be happy to suggest it for anyone under the age of fifteen.

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Kids books. I’m not that into them. I don’t have kids, and I am thirty-eight. I’m not going to have kids. I have no reason to be into kids books. The Magic and Faraway Tree is a kids book.

They climb through the trees. They see magical lands. They get into scrapes.

This book told me nothing useful about life. it’s cute, but wholly useless. There’s a lot of things like that. Cute but sans use. Do I suggested it? Not really. Will I read it again? Certainly not.