Thursday, March 17, 2011

Princess Academy

The village on Mount Eskel is a poor place. Life is difficult for the families up there who all work in the quarry extracting linder, a beautiful and rare stone something like marble. Meet Miri, the daughter of a quarry man. She is not allowed in the quarry because her father forbids it and thus she feels useless and unwanted. But soon enough, Miri will learn that she is marvelously talented and a true girl of Mount Eskel.

The Princess Academy is a wonderful young adult book about mountain girls who must go to an academy to make them princess ready for the prince. It has been told that the next princess will be from Mount Eskel, so the girls who are of age must be taught how to behave, read, curtsy, and dance. Out of this academy and story emerges the hero, Miri. She's a girl who is unsure of herself, yet is confident and ready to strike when needed. She has a great sense of justice and is an adorable literary figure.

I enjoyed reading this book. It was sweet, somewhat predictable, but it had its twists and turns as well. You'll learn to love this Miri and cheer for the changes that she makes in her life and the lives of those around her. This is a great book for a young girl. It has a little love story, adventure, and the angst of youth. What else could a pre-teen want? Although I do have more favored YA books, this one was cute and worth a read.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Michael Caine in written form

I love Michael Caine. He seems like a down-to-earth, funny guy who appreciates a good time and a good conversation. I was excited about finding his new autobiography on the shelf a couple months back and immediately added it to my requests at my local library.

The book is rather general. Caine doesn't go into much detail about events, movies, friends, or reflections on his life, so the whole book felt a little surface level. To me that was a bit disappointing. Some of his reflections seemed cliche, but then again, I suppose many life experiences and our thoughts on them become cliche. As is expected with a Hollywood actor, he name dropped...a lot. Some of the instances felt unnecessary. Why did he need to include a part about talking to Julia Roberts on the phone? I don't know.

I was a little disappointed by the lack of insight and detail in the book. I would like to know more about his experiences in the '60s or some depth about what it's like to work on a film set. Caine is not a writer, however, so I feel I can't judge too harshly. He tries and he does a pretty good job. I can feel his personality shining through the pages, which I very much appreciate. It's an easy read and it is pretty fun, but it just isn't deep. I still love the man and I feel like I better understand him. If you like Michael Caine, give it a read. Just expect a fluff piece.