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I struggled with this week’s prompt because I’ve seen so many examples of genuinely great story ideas that were stretched out into more books than their premise actually required in my opinion. If they’d stopped after the first or third or fifth book they would have been much better.
This isn’t to say that I dislike sequels in general. Some of my all-time favourite stories were written in this format! There simply needs to be enough conflict and character development to actually warrant two or more books in any universe if I’m going to keep reading them.
Due to this, my list is going to be shorter and quirkier than usual.
Christy by Catherine Marshall
This is one of the very few inspirational novels I’ve ever read, and it’s been many years since I read it. The plot was loosely based on the real life experiences of the author’s mother when she was a schoolteacher in a rural Appalachian community in the early 1900s. Christy, the main character, had been quite sheltered growing up, so she was horrified by the poverty, dysfunction, and terrible living conditions of her new home when she accepted this teaching job.
As smart and energetic as Christy was, I didn’t like how judgemental she was of the families of her students or of how quick she was to meddle in their lives. She seemed to have good intentions, but I would have been pretty offended by her attitude and how much she thought she should have control over what other adults did if we’d lived in the same area.
There was still a lot of room left for her personal development by the final scene. It sure would be nice to revisit this character later on in life to see if she’d overcome these flaws. Part of the problem was that she was a very young teacher when she accepted this assignment. With some more life experience, I think she would have reacted to this culture quite differently.
Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
This book was written by one of Canada’s best science fiction authors, and it’s about a Royal Ontario Museum palaeontologist who meets a friendly sentient alien.
They strike up a friendship and begin to share information about their cultures, histories, and physiologies. There are far more similarities between Earth and the alien’s planet than should be possible.
Both the main character and his alien friend have their own opinions about why their planets have so much in common. I can’t give away what those theories are without sharing spoilers, but I really liked seeing how they debated the evidence and came to their own conclusions. (No, this is not an inspirational book despite what the title may hint at. It’s far more science and philosophy based).
Oh, and The R.O.M. is a real museum here in Toronto. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re ever in the area. They have everything from Egyptian mummies to rare gems to dinosaur fossils there. If you do visit, I can even tell you how to get in for free no matter how big your group is if you have some flexibility as far as the date and time of your visit goes.
Well, this was a short list this week. I hope all of you were able to come up with lots of books to talk about on yours.
Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. The image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.