October 14, 2003
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: while I have always heard about this book, I had never actually read it. So, when a bookring was started for it at BookCrossing, I jumped at the chance to read this classic children’s novel that chronicles the adventures of Rat, Mole, Frog, and Badger as they live their lives by the river near Wild Wood.

At the start of the book, Mr. Mole is doing a bit of spring cleaning when he suddenly decides that he must be out in the lovely day. He begins to wander when he finds himself near the river. Never having seen such a thing as a river, he becomes immediately entranced and soon makes a friend of Mr. Rat, a water rat living right on the bank. Mr. Mole is soon introduced to Mr. Toad and, eventually, to Mr. Badger, the other key characters in this delightful book.

I very much enjoyed reading The Wind in the Willows and only wish I would have come upon it when I was younger. For some reason, the concept of the animals having things like motor-cars bugged me since I could not see how a toad could fit behind the wheel of a car to drive. I could readily ignore that, however, since the book itself was so charming. I particularly loved the relationships between all of the friends and how much they cared for one another.

Recommended for children of all ages, especially the younger ones who would probably most enjoy the concept of a toad driving a car.

June 27, 2003
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) by J. K. Rowling: the fifth, and longest, installment in the Harry Potter series.

This book was very different from the previous books in the series. Lots of moodiness from Harry (of course he is a fifteen year old boy; which of them are not moody?), far more injustices and horror than the previous books, and a general darkness that the other books just did not have.

Despite all of this (and the death of a major character, though I won’t say whom), I still enjoyed this book and would come home from work and just read for a while.

Lots of readers have said, however, that they don’t feel that this book was on par with the rest of the series and I do agree. Lots of the “magic” (pun intended) that the other books have really wasn’t here - almost like Rowling’s writing style had changed in between books. I think a lot of it had to do with the subject matter and the darkness of this book compared to the previous, but I did miss that certain something.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this book simply because by this point, I am so wrapped up in the characters that there is no way I simply cannot find out what is going on with them in their world.