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Portable Magic

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

The Bungalow Mystery
P.M. Carlson, Russell H. Tandy, Carolyn Keene
The Remains of the Day
Kazuo Ishiguro, Simon Prebble
Duel of Eagles: The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo
Jeff Long
Progress: 11/431 pages
The Secret of Shadow Ranch
Carolyn Keene
I am No One You Know
Joyce Carol Oates
The Return of the King
J.R.R. Tolkien, Rob Inglis
Progress: 13 %
The City of Ember - Jeanne DuPrau I'm tempted to attribute the dumbed down world building, logic flaws, and flat characters to the fact that this is written as children's literature, but I've read far too many excellent stories in that category to accept that children don't need or deserve better. Much of the ignorance of the people of Ember is explained at the end - that the adults who were chosen to populate that world were under strict orders to not pass on knowledge of the world before, but that just seems like a cop-out to me. Children ask questions, and their caregivers didn't have anyone preventing them from answering after they were dropped off in Ember. There was no satisfactory explanation for why the Builders demanded that their history be erased. In fact, it's nonsensical, if they expected that their descendants would need to emerge from Ember and re-integrate into the outside world some 200 years later. This is just one of the many logical flaws that kept me disengaged from the book. The characters and their relationships with one another had no depth. Lina feels very little grief for her grandmother, and forgets her death almost immediately. She seems to feel very little for her sister except concern when the child wanders off and is lost. When she refuses to leave Ember without her sister later, it seems borne of a sense of responsibility rather than any actual connection. She might as well have been refusing to leave without her only pair of shoes. I finished the story mostly because it was on audio and kept me company while doing some chores around the house, but if I had been actually reading the book, I probably would have put it down halfway through and not picked it up again.