Monday, November 30, 2009

Out of the Silent Planet, Jan. 17, 2010

The evil mad scientist, Dr. Westin, needs a human sacrifice to take with him in his spaceship to the red planet, Malacandra. He chooses Dr. Ransom, an early 20th century British philologist, as his victim. Ransom soon finds himself on a strange planet with strange creatures who are protected by super powered, almost divine, beings. He escapes the evil Westin and seeks help from Malacandra's denizens and their divine protectors. Ransom gradually learns there is much more at stake than his own life and becomes part of a celestial showdown between Good and Evil.

Out of the Silent Planet is C.S. Lewis' first installment in his space trilogy that includes Perelandra and That Hideous Strength. If you like Chronicles of Narnia, you will like Out of the Silent Planet. Join us for a Pig Skull discussion.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pizza and Mister Monday, Nov. 15

PIZZA PARTY at the Nov. 15 Pig Skull Meeting. We will have a discussion of Mister Monday to go along with the pizza.

"Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is, in fact, supposed to die an early death. But then his life is saved by a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock.

Arthur is safe but his world is not. Along with the key comes a plague brought by bizarre creatures from another realm. A stranger named Mister Monday, his avenging messengers with bloodstained wings and an army of dog-faced Fetchers will stop at nothing to get the key back--even if it means destroying Arthur and everything around him.

Desperate, Arthur ventures into a mysterious house--a house only he can see. It is in this house that Arthur must unravel the secrets of the key and discover his true fate" (taken from the back cover of Mister Monday).

Join the Pig Skulls as we gorge ourselves on pizza and great discussion.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ghost Canoe, Oct. 18

You can't beat Will Hobbs for adventure and mystery. We Pig Skulls have read his Wild Man Island and Far North which lean heavily on the theme of survival in the wilderness. Ghost Canoe is different. It is a Pacific Northwest mystery bristling with an island lighthouse, shipwrecks, Spanish gold, an ancient Indian canoe tomb, whaling, Makah Indians, a secretive "hairy man," unexplained footprints on a desolate beach and murder. Young Nathan MacAllister is determined to piece together the clues even if it means his own death.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Sword and the Circle, Sept. 20 Meeting

Author Rosemary Sutcliff is a master reteller of classics. We Pig Skulls read her excellent retelling of Homer's Odyssey some time ago. The Sword and the Circle continues this pedigree of excellence and makes the ancient Arthurian legend accessible to readers leery about reading Malory's version.

Learn how Merlin and London's Archbishop make it possible for young Arthur to claim his rightful inheritance as High King of all Britain at a time when Roman Legions have abandoned native Celts and Romans to invading Saxons. See the mysterious Lady of the Lake's hand bestow Arthur with the sword Excalibur. Read about the creation of the Knights of the Round Table and marvel at the knights' many quests. Experience knightly chivalry and damsels in distress.

The Sword and the Circle is the first installment of Sutcliff's trilogy that includes The Quest for the Holy Grail and The Death of King Arthur.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ender's Game, Aug. 16 Meeting

"Once again, Earth is under attack. Alien 'buggers' are poised for a final assault. The survival of the human species depends on a military genius who can defeat the buggers.

But who?

Ender Wiggin. Brilliant. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical and strategic master. And a child.

Recruited for military training by the world government. Ender's childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battle School. Among the elite recruits Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. In simulated war games he excels. But is the pressure and loneliness taking its toll on Ender? Simulations are one thing. How will Ender perform in real combat conditions? After all, Battle School is just a game.

Right?" (from Ender's Game back cover)

Ender's Game is the first installment of a series.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Seventh Son, July 19 Meeting

"Using the lore and folk magic of the men and women who helped settle a continent and beliefs of the tribes who were here before them, Orson Scott Card has created an alternate frontier America where folk magic works and has colored the entire history of the colonies. It is into this world, amid the deep wood where the Red Man still holds sway, that a very special child is born..." (from Seventh Son back cover).

Seventh Son is the first installment of Card's six-part Alvin Maker series. We Pig Skullers will be discussing this book at our Sunday, July 19 meeting. See ya there!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Lighting Thief, June 14 Meeting

"Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves" (taken from the back cover of The Lightning Thief).

Some interesting notes for the Pig Skulls: in The Lightning Thief Percy has ten days to find Zeus's stolen thunderbolt. This turns out to be June 21, the Summer Solstice. June 21 was the original meeting date for discussing this book. June 21 is also Fathers' Day and the birthday of one of our Pig Skull dads!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gregor the Overlander, May 17 Meeting

"When eleven-year old Gregor follows his little sister through a grate in the laundry room of their New York apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland beneath the city. There, humans live uneasily beside giant spiders, bats, cockroaches, and rats--but the fragile peace is about to fall apart.

Gregor wants no part of a conflict between these creepy creatures. He just wants to find his way home. But when he discovers that a strange prophecy foretells a role for him in the Underland's uncertain future, he realizes it might be the only way to solve the biggest mystery of his life. Little does he know his quest will change him and the Underland forever." (from Gregor the Overlander backcover).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Piggy Boots

I've heard of "pig in a blanket" but this little porker has other ideas. Cinders as a piglet didn't like getting her feet dirty. Her owners outfitted her with children's boots. She was one happy pig.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Soldier's Heart, April 19 Meeting

Soldier's Heart tells the story about 15 year-old Charley Goddard from Minnesota who joins the First Minnesota Volunteers in 1861 to fight the "Rebels" and prove he is a man. Charley's dreams of adventure, excitement and glory are quickly throttled by the brutal, bloody reality of fighting at Bull Run and Gettysburg. He quickly matures into manhood but it is not the manhood he envisioned. This is a short book, yet its quick pace and vivid details of battle contribute to the sense of authenticity. The horror of battle is real. The lingering sadness of soldier's heart (shell shock) is also real.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Captain's Dog, March 15 Meeting

Dogs, history, Lewis & Clark, canoeing, hunting, fishing, camping and swatting skeeters--The Captain's Dog bursts with all this cool stuff. The doggy point of view is a unique and entertaining way to present this important historical event. Author Roland Smith does a good job of fleshing out excerpts of Lewis' journal with Seaman's doggy recollection of a united team of superbly-led men braving uncharted territory, starvation, disease, numbing cold, doubts, disappointment and depression to find the fabled Northwest Passage. There is an interesting aside weaved into the story featuring White Feather, a mysterious crow that appears at odd moments only to Seaman. This reminds me of the equally mysterious ravens in Will Hobbs' Far North. There are some funny moments such as Seaman marking his territory (it's a guy thing) and his encounter with a cat that is bigger than any cat he has ever seen ("It's not natural!").

Far North Discussed At Feb 15 Meeting

What a great story. A bush pilot and his plane plunge over a thundering waterfall stranding two teenage boys and an old Dene Indian in Canada's desolate Northwest Territories. It's only because of the old Indian and his old Indian ways that the two boys learn how to cope with 60 below zero temperatures, near starvation and some mysterious ravens. The boys learn respect for the old ways and the old people who desperately desire to pass on their ancient wisdom.