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Directed by Guthrie using experimental techniques, the play failed with critics and folded after six performance. Disappointment over this experience all but drove Davies away from theater, though he did continue to write and lecture on the subject. As his creative reputation grew, Davies found himself in demand for academic appointments.
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He served as a visiting professor at Trinity College from to and was named to the Master's Lodge at Massey College, a graduate wing of the University of Toronto, in He quit his newspaper post at the Examiner in to concentrate on these teaching endeavors. In , Davies published a new novel, Fifth Business, the first installment of his "Deptford Trilogy. Davies weaves into the story many religious and psychological themes, prompting L. Davis of Book World to brand the novel "a work of theological fiction that approaches Graham Greene at the top of his form.
Again set amongst the Canadian upper classes, the book follows David Staunton, an alcoholic attorney, on a spiritual odyssey of self-discovery. Davies' dry, analytic style put off some readers, while others found his command of symbols and allusions masterful.
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Rounding out the Deptford trilogy was World of Wonder Comprising the story of Paul Dempster, a character who had appeared in the previous two novels, the book was judged "a novel of stunning verbal energy and intelligence" by Michael Mewshaw of the New York Times Book Review. Readers and reviewers generally found it a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. In the s, Davies completed another trilogy of novels, revolving around the biography of Francis Cornish. The so-called "Cornish Trilogy" was another dense, erudite chronicle of upper class Canadian life.
Davies also wrote novels outside the trilogy format. The Cunning Man , a novel in the form of a memoir by an aging physician, was called "as substantial and entertaining as any he has written" by Isabel Colegate in the New York Times Book Review.
Davies retired from teaching in , but maintained his membership in various literary and academic societies as he worked on his various novels. He died of a stroke on December 2, His last book, a collection of non-fiction essays entitled The Merry Heart: Reflections on Reading, Writing, and the World of Books, was published posthumously in Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 68, edited by W.
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James, For most of the past year or so, Leah and I have entered the world of Starclan, with the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. We read only the first six, but, even with that small a sampling, we were impressed with the detailed description of feline communities within a forest.
Leah thought that the descriptions of everyday life in the forest, and the detailed and thoughtfully planned character development reminded her a lot of the social structure of her school. Thus, she was able to bring meaning to the books and make personal connections which, as you know, makes for a deeper and more meaningful reading experience. One of the good things about having a reputation as a reader is that as you grow up, other like-minded peers will seek you out. So, not surprisingly, as Leah has moved through the Junior grades at school, she and the girls who have become her fast friends spend a regular portion of their free time reading and talking about books with each other.
It was a recommendation from a dear friend that led Leah to request that we read The Hunger Games trilogy.
So, we did. Leah liked that she was a strong young girl.
The Snow Spider (Snow Spider Trilogy, #1) by Jenny Nimmo
She liked that Katniss would fight for what was right and for those she loved. Leah also liked how the politics of both the Capitol and the Rebels had flaws that made supporting them untenable. She respected how Katniss sought out her own truth and reacted accordingly at the conclusion of The Mockingjay.
What gorgeous language throughout! What an intricate tale of childhood innocence, the power of love, friendship, and loyalty, and as well, the redemptive value of forgiveness. It features another strong female character called Lyra Belacqua and an almost equally strong, nasty female character, Mrs.
Highly, highly recommended! As mentioned earlier, Leah and I read together each night and, Leah also reads her own books throughout the day. So, in compiling this post, I felt it was prudent to ask Leah for some of her personal recommendations. Although she enjoyed them all, the one that continues to get pulled out is Matilda. Of all of the female characters in all of the books that Leah has read or has listened to, Matilda might be the one who is the biggest reader. Leah completely gets how i mportant books are in terms of the information they transmit, as well as their ability to transport the reader away from where they are to anywhere their imagination may take them.
Leah is, at this point in her life, kind of like Matilda……but with a better family life, I hope! The theme of animals in captivity is highlighted in this powerful book by Katherine Applegate called The One and Only Ivan. Told from the point of view of Ivan, a gorilla who lives his life in a glass cage in a rundown shopping mall, The One and Only Ivan is a terrific portrait of loneliness and the deep set yearning within us all to lead a life of purpose and meaning. Liesl and Po concerns a lonely girl Liesl and an equally lonely ghost named Po.
In the midst of all this, a young man, smitten with Liesl, drops off a box of magic that sets off a chain reaction of events that change all of their lives. The characters are quirky and likeable and the writing is terrific. Wonder by R.
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Palacio is about a boy named Auggie who possesses a severe facial deformity. Because of how he looks, people often judge him without ever getting to know the real him. What lifts this book above the cliched premise of not judging a person based upon looks, is how masterfully Palacio creates realistic characters that the reader can relate to. Leah, once again thought that this was very representative of her school experience, and it got her thinking about body image in a more positive and upbeat manner than is often the case for young girls.
Not every book Leah has read has been heavy or serious. Leah enjoys a fast-paced, funny story , too.
The Dear Dumb Diary series is school-based, and has a cast of pre-teen and tween age characters that Leah relates to well. Like many books of this sort, the female character, Jamie Kelly, always gets into and out of plenty of jackpots, and provides many moments of silliness and slapstick humour. Not surprisingly, Ella gets into lots of trouble because she literally has to do whatever she is told, no matter how wrong, dangerous or silly it turns out to be. Leah enjoyed watching Ella cope with this curse and develop strategies to circumvent the terms of the curse.
Generally speaking, Leah is not a fan of stories about princesses who live happily-ever-after in the company of a prince, but every now and again, a good old-fashioned fairy tale type of book is just what the doctor ordered. When Leah discovered graphic novels , one of the series that she was most drawn to was the Thea Stilton series. This was a spin-off of the Geronimo Stilton franchise, and involved a troupe of female mice who were investigative journalists-in-training. Needless to say, they got involved in mysteries from around the world, and used their ingenuity and intelligence to solve crimes.
Leah really enjoyed that the settings were famous foreign locales, and that the five girls worked together so well and used their brains cohesively as one unit. Leah read Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin in school, and raved about it whenever she talked about books that she thought were original and creative. Everyone ages backwards until they reach the age of seven days, and then they are reborn and start life on Earth anew. Leah has said that she has never read a book like Elsewhere, and she recommends it to anyone who enjoys the kind of book that keeps you guessing right until the end.
Leah received Pax by Sara Pennypacker as a gift, and we could not tear her away from its pages from the moment she opened it. The story takes place amid war. The book begins with a boy and his pet fox being forced to separate because the boy is going to live with family members while his father goes off to war.
The rest of the story involves the boy trekking back home in hopes of finding his fox, and the fox learning to survive in the wild, all the while maintaining faith that his boy will return. Lots of interesting characters help out along both journeys, according to Leah. She says Pax tugs at your heartstrings and is a great read. Leah recommends this book because of the strong female character Meg Murry. Leah found this book a little more challenging than she did enjoyable, but having said that, she has re-read it several times this year.
I would like to hope that if I were ever trapped on some distant outcrop, Leah would go to the ends of the universe to rescue me. She also likes that Nancy has a sister, just like she does.