Monday, October 12, 2015

Our Man In Charleston

Robert Bunch was the British consul in Charleston South Carolina before and during the American Civil War. He found himself in the impossible position of furthering the British political cause while maintaining neutrality when all around him demanded he side with them in the Civil War. Bunch is against slavery, so finds his situation even more difficult as he tries to thwart the plans of those who would seek to maintain slavery, and would find his actions treasonous to their cause. Bunch must convince his neighbours he is one of them to protect himself and the intelligence he can provide to his government.

I found this to be an excellent book on the American Civil War. The new perspective was an exciting way to approach familiar history. Although I knew the Confederates had hoped to persuade Great Britain to support their side in the war, I did not realize how close Britain had actually came to supporting them despite their abhorrence of the slave trade. I found myself very intrigued from the start of the book. I wanted to learn more about the American Civil War from Bunch, and Great Britain's perspectives.

Our Man In Charleston is a must read for anyone who is interested in the American Civil War. Dickey writes in a very engaging way, and you are swept up in the tensions of the time. I liked the descriptions of the events leading up to and during the war, and how they were combined with Bunch's view and actions. I had not heard of Robert Bunch before, but I am glad I read this book. I was very interested to discover how he reacted to the events as a foreign diplomat. I enjoyed this view of American history, and would recommend reading it.

I read this book as an ebook on my Nook and had no problems with it. The only issue was one of personal preference, and that was when it told me how many pages were left in the chapter it did not do this by individual chapter, but by section of the book. I like to know for the individual chapters to make it easier to find a stopping point.

**I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review**

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book I would not have gotten to as soon or heard about otherwise.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

When Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are sent to the country to be safe during World War II, they have no idea the adventure that is in store for them. They discover a door to Narnia inside a wardrobe. Narnia is a land that is always winter and never Christmas thanks to the White Witch. The children try to help Aslan and the creatures living in Narnia defeat the White Witch and make Narnia wonderful place to live again.

I have read this series several times, so I was excited to share it with the Bookworms. We read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. There is a book that comes before this one chronologically(The Magician's Nephew), but I decided that The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe would be a good place in the series to start for those who had not read any of the books before.

The Bookworms enjoyed reading this book together. This was the fourteenth book we read as a group. I picked this book out for us, because it has been a book I have liked reading repeatedly. We had some great discussions about the story, the symbolism, and the author's motives for writing parts of the book. Here are some of the Bookworms' thoughts on the story. Warning! There may be some spoilers.

Q&A With The Bookworms Book Club

How many stars out of 5 would you give this book?
Alejandro 5 but I would give 6 really because I loved it!
Paige 4

What was your favorite part in the book?
Paige I didn't have a favorite part, but I think I liked the ending the best. When they became kings and queens.
Alejandro When Aslan breathes on all the creatures that have been turned to stone to bring that back as to life again.

Did you have a least favorite part?
Alejandro I liked all of it except when they took Tumnus away.
Paige I did not have a least favorite part.

Could you tell when the story took place?
Alejandro It was during World War II because they talked about them bombing cities.

If you found snow in a wardrobe, would you keep exploring?
Paige Yes! I would be curious why there was snow and where it was coming from.
Alejandro Yes! That is exactly why I would too.

Would you follow Mr. Tumnus a faun?
Both: Yeah, to know more about him and this place I was in.

Why do you think the Professor believed Lucy when her siblings did not?
Alejandro Probably because he had been there himself.
Paige And he told them to find out for themselves.

Would you return to Narnia?
Both: Yes!

Why do you think it is always kids that go to Narnia?
Paige Because adults are more mature and do not always believe in these things.
Alejandro They are the ones with bigger imaginations.

Alejandro brought up the point that some of the things that happen in the story seemed Christian to him. So we discussed which parts seemed to have symbolism and what they represented. We also talked about why C.S. Lewis did that, and what they thought about authors including symbolism for religion or other things in their stories. I think this is a great story to introduce young readers to the idea that there are often layers to the books they read.

Thank you to the Bookworms for reading and reviewing this book with me. I think this was one of my favorite discussions, although I have fun with them all. I look forward to our next book.