Favorites from Anywhere

I thought I was pulling together a selection of works not at all alike each other… but no, I really do like my adventure stories with moral or ethical consequences. Read The Count of Monte Cristo aloud – the language is musical. Island of the Blue Dolphins might need note taking or drawings of the details O’Dell offers. Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse is actually two stories bound together in a graphic novel as the last (and smaller) story was originally printed for Free Comic Book Day.  -Cinda

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The Count of Monte Cristo | Alexandre Dumas

Summary: Before he can marry his fiancée Mercédès, Edmond Dantès, a nineteen-year-old Frenchman, and first mate of the Pharaon, is falsely accused of treason, arrested, and imprisoned without trial in the Château d’If, a grim island fortress off Marseille. A fellow prisoner, Abbé Faria, correctly deduces that his jealous rival Fernand Mondego, envious crewmate Danglars, and double-dealing magistrate De Villefort turned him in. Faria inspires his escape and guides him to a fortune in treasure. As the powerful and mysterious Count of Monte Cristo (Italy), Dantès arrives from the Orient to enter the fashionable Parisian world of the 1830s and avenge himself on the men who conspired to destroy him.

Recommendation: Dumas wrote elegantly. Of his swashbuckling works, this one has the least amount of French for me to stumble over when trying to read a story aloud. It is beautiful and painful and joyous and harrowing. How would you have reacted in Edmond’s stead? Does a need for vengeance keep us alive in beleaguered circumstances?

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Island of the Blue Dolphins | Scott O’Dell

Summary: Island of the Blue Dolphins is a 1960 children’s novel by American writer Scott O’Dell, which tells the story of a 12-year-old girl named Karana, who is stranded alone for years on an island off the California coast. Based on the true story of Juana Maria, a Nicoleño Native American left alone for 18 years on San Nicolas Island during the 19th century. 

Recommendation: Karana is the first example I’d ever read of a girl who was ingenious about surviving by herself. Self-discipline and practicality keep her alive for years all alone after a series of events remove (or kill) her community. She is inventive and cautious, smart and observant, stronger than she could guess and brave beyond imagining.

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Serenity, Firefly Class 03-K64: No Power in the ‘Verse | Chris Roberson

Summary: The events in this volume follow the events in Serenity: Leaves on the Wind. It collects the miniseries Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #1-#6, originally published October 2016 through March 2017, and the short story ‘The Warrior and the Wind,’ from Free Comic Book Day 2016. 

Recommendation: My affection for ‘The Warrior and the Wind’ is unparalleled. Like the stories told by Kitty Pryde in the X-men comics, this blend of reality and mythos reintroduce beloved characters from new angles.

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