Thursday, September 6, 2012

An English Assignment

*sighs* I have an awkward way of writing.

Dear friend,

This summer I read books. I read a lot of books, because I read too much, but I’m just going to tell you about two. I had to read them for school, but since I enjoyed the books so much I didn’t mind. Of course, these were the ones I picked and not ones that were opicked for me but, what the hey. I still enjoyed them.
The first book I read, I picked off a list. Of books. The school wanted me to read. It was entitled: Pygmalion. Written by: George Bernard Shaw. I know the title is weird, but we’ll get back to that later. It was actually a play. A really interesting one. In fact, the movie “My Fair Lady” starring Audrey Hepburn, was based off of this play! I’ve read the play before. It’s less than 80 pages long. Really really easy read. And a funny and enjoyable one. It’s about this man, Professor Henry Higgins who studies phonetics and the basic way people talk and say things, and how he takes a Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, under his wing to teach her to become a lady, to speak, dress, and act properly. He has a bet with his friend to see if he can pass off Eliza as a proper lady. Along the way, Eliza meets this boy named Freddie. Shaw ends the play in such a way that you are left guessing: Does Eliza go out on her own, does she marry Freddie, or marry Professor Higgins? It’s a long running debate that has changed with different movie adaptations, musicals, commentaries, and so on. It’s a fun and easy read though, with an interesting twist at the end. The title, “Pygmalion” is derived from an ancient Greek myth where King Pygmalion of Cyprus fashions a statue of a beautiful woman and fell in love with it—creepy, I know. But Aphrodite hears is prayers and pleas and comes and brings the statue, Galatea, to life. (Magical!!)
The second book I read is one I picked myself and happens to be an old favourite of mine: Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld. The first in a trilogy, Leviathan is a steampunk novel set in the early 1900’s—World War II. But it’s not the same as it was. In fact, in this science based alternate time, the Allied forces, France, Britain and Russia, are called Darwinists. They’ve taken the life threads of various animals and mutated them together to make amazing ‘fabricated beasties’, and the Axis powers, the Ottoman Empire, Germany, and Austria Hungary, are Clankers. They base their economy off of machines, gears and pistons. Our main characters are from each side. Deryn Sharp longs to be in the Darwinist army, sailing miles above the ground in jellyfish-like ‘Huxleys’. But Deryn’s one problem—she’s a girl! So she disguises herself as Dylan Sharp, a boy, and ends up aboard the great whale-ship, Leviathan. Meanwhile, Aleksander Hohenberg’s parents have just been killed and he is left, heir to Austria-Hungary’s Clanker Empire, and hide his secret, because he is next in line to be killed. He is left with his fencing master and a few mechanics to get out of the country on nothing but a walker. As soon as he gets to his destination in Switzerland, though, he witnesses the crash of a fabricated beastie: the great ship Leviathan, and through a series of events, Alek and Deryn (Dylan?) meet, both with secrets that could drastically change everything. I personally adore this book. It’s well written, the art in it is fantastic, and it’s a well thought out book. The next two in the series, Behemoth and Goliath, are well done too, and though the way Westerfeld ends the whole series is unsatisfactory, they are still enjoyable reads. 

1 comment: