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.”