Monday, February 5, 2007


The books below are so high on my list of favorites, it's surprising I haven't talked about them sooner. They have three things in common: 1. They all feature female protagonists. 2. They were all made into animated movies (if you haven't seen them, check them out!) 3. They're all lots of weird fun, and an awesome first choice if you haven't read much lately. Please give them due consideration, they're all exquisite choices, if I do say so myself...

The rating system is based on how difficult a book is to read, not how good it is. All the books at Hansisgreat come highly recommended.

* <-----------> ** <-----------> *** <-----------> **** <----------> *****
Easy - - Pretty Easy - - Moderate - - Pretty Challenging - - Challenging

Alice In Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
$3.99 (cheap!) at ISBN: 0439291496
* (easy)
The story is familiar: a proper English girl falls asleep and dreams of an trippy world loaded with insane characters. My favorite is the Cheshire Cat: she feels like she can almost reason with him, but he keeps slipping back into the delirium of his world. And everyone enjoys a caterpillar using drugs. It gets even more interesting in the less familiar second half of the book: Alice's Adventures through the Looking Glass, in which Alice must find her way to the eighth square of a giant chessboard to get home. Advancing to Square Three involves riding in a train. It'll take a chapter or two to get used to the olde englishe style, but this is wacky fun that you'll never forget.
Charlotte's Web, by E. B. White
$7.99 at ISBN: 0064400557
* (easy)
The story revolves around Wilbur, a pig who's afraid to die. Some of the other barnyard animals told him he's destined to be butchered with a farmer's ax. Bummer. To his rescue come a friendly spider named Charlotte, who comes up with a plan to save Wilbur's life by writing messages to the farmer in her web each morning. A charming book about someone doing something kind for a stranger. Included in the barnyard is a rat who does chores for Charlotte in exchange for scraps of rotten food, his sarcastic attitude gives a heavy story a few laughs, and a little bit of edge. Written in the auspicious month of May 1974, it's easy to see what has kept this classic alive for 32 years.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O'Brien
$5.99 at ISBN: 0689710682
* (easy)
Mice, rats, and birds make up the cast of this fast-paced thriller. Mrs. Frisby struggles to save the life of her son. It seems he's too sick to leave bed, but his home is about to be crushed by a giant tractor. It sucks to be a field mouse. To her aid she enlists a team of super-intelligent rats who are the escaped by-product of a mental health experiment gone wrong, and have build a vast subterranean city she must navigate to find the help she needs. A spooky wizard rat guest stars, who knows the haunting secret of Mrs. Frisby's past, and an owl who chooses to give her directions rather than eat her alive. Don't let the fluffy, smiling mouse on the cover fool you! Mice lead very violent and tragic lives.

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