Sunday, August 30, 2009
Book #3 & #4 - Z for Zachariah & A little history of the world
Z for Zachariah - Robert C.O'Brien
This is a young adult's book set in a small village in America following a nuclear attack. 16 year old Ann is the last person left alive in the valley, which seems to have escaped the effects of the attack by having it's own weather patterns. With the help of the stores in the village shop, her chickens & cows, Ann has settled into a reasonable existence. One day a stranger appears in the village dressed in a "safe suit" - while Ann initially hides from him and watches, when he is struck down with radiation sickness, she comes to help.
She nurses him until he is well - while recovering, he is able to help her by designing more mechanical ways they can do things eg he shows her how to use the gas pumps so she can drive the tractor.
Unfortunately his behaviour towards her becomes increasingly threatening - he tries to rape her, cuts off her food supply and tries to bring her under his control.
I won't spoil the ending by saying any more :)
I think I have read the book some time ago but enjoyed it again as a quick read. The ending was left in the air a fair bit - I found myself longing for another chapter, but then I like things to be wrapped up neatly in a happy ending! If I was at school, I can imagine I would've been given an assignment to write an extra chapter :)
If you've read it, what did you think of the ending?
A little history of the World by E.H. Gombrich
In 1935, 26 year old Ernst Gombrich, with a doctorate in art history, was given 6 weeks to write a history of the world aimed at younger readers. He succeeded very well!!
Just before his death in 2001, he revised the book, and added extra chapters to bring it up to date.
Written in a delightful conversational and story-telling style, the book is not heavy with dates or facts, but gives an overview of the marvels of history. It shows how events relate to each other, and draws parallels between things that are happening in different eras or areas.
I originally bought it as a read-aloud to use in history studies with Billy - I will still do that but I think I'll hold off for a year or two. I just don't think he's at the right level yet, but that would depend on the child.
In the meantime, I've picked it up and had a thoroughly enjoyable read! I learnt heaps that I hadn't known before, and put together some connections about things I thought I did know.