Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Four Girls at Chautauqua: Isabella Alden

By Arielle Potter, 10/1/07

Four Girls at Chautauqua tells the story of four worldly girls who go to a two-week Bible camp for a lark. While there they are one by one convicted and saved by the working of the Holy Spirit and the Christian influences surrounding them, while they unwittingly witness to other reprobate souls. Isabella Alden well portrays the girls’ struggles with the Holy Spirit and their own consciences. This book is not just for girls! Everyone will find it enjoyable as well as convicting! Are you living for God or the world?

Friday, December 12, 2008

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Jules Verne

By Rachel Potter, 9\19\07

The book 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is an excellent novel written by Jules Verne, a French author and novelist. The book features four main characters: the knowledgeable Professor Arronax; his scientific assistant, Conseil; the peppery harpooner, Ned Land and the mysterious Captain of the dreaded monster submarine. The Professor, Conseil, and Ned Land are on a warship on a chase that will change their lives forever. The warship is chasing a monster that has sunk several ships already, but when they encounter it the three friends fall overboard and are taken onto the submarine monster. The captain, Captain Nemo, takes them all over the world, including the South Pole. This captain is so mysterious, the Professor can’t even tell what nationality he is. Danger awaits them as, while travelling back, they get trapped under the ice of the Great Ice Barrier. The crafty captain must find some way out--but how? Then one day they see this strange man sink a ship. Ned Land, who always wanted to leave the submarine, must find a way to escape, and soon. Will the Professor ever find out the secret of the captain and his ship, and will he and his friends ever escape?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Robert Louis Stevenson

By Rachel Potter, 9/12/07

Robert Louis Stevenson was born November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland. His full name was Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson. He married a divorced American in 1880.
In 1881 Stevenson amused his stepson with a little tale about pirates which turned into his first and most famous novel, Treasure Island. Other novels include Kidnapped, his best long novel (the character in which, David Balfour, is probably named after himself), the sequel, David Balfour, The Master of Ballantrae, New Arabian Knights, More New Arabian Knights, and others. Stevenson was both popular and successful in writing literature and if he is not remembered much today it is because his optimism is not fashionable anymore. Robert Louis Stevenson died of a stroke on December 3, 1894.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hans Christian Anderson

By Arielle Potter, 8/22/07

In 1805 in the city of Odense, Denmark the writer Hans Christian Anderson was born. His father was a cobbler and very poor so young Hans was sent to a school for poor children. He did not do well in school however, for he preferred making up stories and poems to studying, and he was so tall and ungainly that the other children made fun of him. Having no brothers or sisters, Hans generally played by himself, singing or playing with a little toy theatre his father had given him. The townsfolk thought he was crazy and his fancies wild and foolish, such as the time Hans believed the land of China was underneath the river and if he sang sweetly enough a Chinese emperor would emerge from the water and take him away to that magical country.
When he was fourteen Hans set out for Copenhagen, determined to become an actor, but no theatre would take him because he was not educated enough. He made friends with a man named John Collins who convinced the king of Denmark to grant Hans a royal scholarship. So, at the age of 17 Hans returned to school but still found it hard to learn. He completed school several years later however, and went abroad during which time he wrote the novel The Improvisatore. He wrote other plays and novels but they were generally ill received and he gained no recognition.
In the midst of all his trials he still had friends and it was his delight to tell fairy stories to their children. Some of his friends suggested that he have his fairy tales published. This he did, not expecting much to come of it, but readers were charmed by his simple style and lively fancy and soon many copies of his work were in print. Anderson became very famous and his tales, such as The Tinderbox, The Ugly Duckling, and The Emperor’s New Clothes, became some of the most widely read works of world literature. The story of the ugly duckling that became a swan is a sort of autobiography of Anderson’s own life, for although he was scorned and rudely treated at first, in the end even his home city of Odense did him honour. And so, in Anderson’s own words, “It matters not to have been born in a duck-yard if one has been hatched from a swan’s egg.”

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Heidi: Johanna Spyri

By Jewel Potter, ?/07
Heidi is an interesting book about a little girl named Heidi who lives with her aunt in Switzerland, until Aunt Diti is invited to Frankfort by some people who stay at the hotel where she worked. Aunt Diti finally decides to go. Not wanting to take Heidi with her, she leaves her with Heidi’s grandfather, the feared Alm Uncle. Heidi lives there for some time, when out of nowhere Diti appears to reclaim her. Read the book to find out what happens as Heidi trots along the dusty pathway of life.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Prince and the Pauper: Mark Twain

By Arielle Potter, 8/29/07

Edward, Prince of Wales and Tom the beggar boy are as different as possible. However, when chance throws the two together they discover that they possess a startling resemblance. They switch clothes for fun, each thinking that the other’s life is better than his own, but they discover their mistake when Edward is cast out of the palace and Tom is taken for the prince. Edward is rescued from Tom’s cruel father by a kind soldier who is returning home after many years of absence. The prince intends to repay his friend with an earldom when he regains his throne, but will he ever regain it—for King Henry VIII dies and Tom is proclaimed king. Now it is more important than ever that Edward reach London before the coronation. The prince and pauper’s adventures during their mix-up masterfully portray life shortly before the Elizabethan period in England, and Mark Twain’s book deservedly remains on the list of classics.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lewis Carroll

By Samuel Potter, ?/07

Lewis Carroll was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgeson in 1832, in Daresbury, England. As a young man he attended Christchurch College of Oxford University and graduated in 1854. He went on to become a mathematics professor at Christchurch in 1855. Carroll also became a deacon in the Anglican Church in 1861. Throughout his life one of Carroll’s hobbies was writing. His two most famous books were Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Carroll loved children and the Alice books were written for a little friend of his named Alice Liddel. One day he was boating with Alice and her two sisters and started to tell them the story of Alice in Wonderland. He enlarged the story and it was published in1865. Carroll also wrote other short stories and several books on mathematics. He was also an excellent photographer. Lewis Carroll died in 1898 at the age of 66.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

By Samuel Potter, ?/07

Alfred, Lord Tennyson is considered one of the greatest poets of his time or any time.
Tennyson was born on August 6, 1809, in Lincolnshire. The marshlands of eastern England where Tennyson grew up later became the setting for some of his poems.
In 1828 Tennyson entered Cambridge University. While at Cambridge, Tennyson joined a philosophical society called “the Apostles”. Meanwhile, Tennyson and his poetry were gaining popularity. In 1850 he succeeded William Wordsworth as Poet Laureate of England. In 1883 Queen Victoria awarded him the title Baron Tennyson. Tennyson died in 1892 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

William Cullen Bryant

By Arielle Potter, 9/19/07

William Cullen Bryant was born in 1798 in Cummington, Massachusetts. One of seven children, he grew up on a farm surrounded by beautiful forests. Life on the farm—corn husking, ploughing, and exploring the woods around his home—was later eulogized in his poems. At age 13 he wrote and published a poem satirizing Thomas Jefferson entitled The Embargo, which received some acclaim. Bryant attended Williams College for a few years, but could not complete his education at Yale as he wished because of the lack of necessary funds.
In the fall of 1815, when he was seventeen years old, Bryant wrote the poem Thanatopsis while wandering in the woods. He put the poem away and forgot about it, but six years later his father found it and had it published. The poem instantly received recognition and Bryant found himself a famous man. Up to that time no work by an American author had come close to it in excellence.
Although Bryant had studied to be a lawyer, he continued to write poetry and also edited the New York Evening Post. One of America’s finest journalists, he was extremely opposed to slavery and used the newspaper to gain sympathy for the abolitionist cause. He was influential in nominating Abraham Lincoln for president and through the bloody civil war which followed was one of the president’s most loyal supporters and friends.
Bryant died in 1878 at the age of 80. His poems include "To a Waterfowl", "The Fountain" and "The Battlefield", earning him the title of Father of American poetry. Later poets, including Longfellow and Whitman, fashioned their writings off of his style. A true friend and loyal supporter of the cause of humanity, Bryant was not only a great poet, but also a great American.