Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “Lois Lowry”

Author Snapshot: Lois Lowry

Sometimes a novel is similar to a wave in how its impact builds momentum, breaks, recedes, and begins the cycle all over again. The Giver by Lois Lowry is such a book. First published in 1993 it pushed societal paradigms, gathered a following, and is once again building another following due to the film adaptation. It’s still considered controversial some twenty years later. The story is deceptively simple, yet profound in its impact. There are so many issues presented: government control, euthanasia, loss of innocence, and dystopia versus utopia. Lowry presents these heavy issues with a light hand and leaves reader with hope in its ambiguous ending. It deservedly won the prestigious Newberry Award.

For many years The Giver remained a standalone title. And then Gathering Blue came out in 2000; however, it wasn’t a true continuation of The Giver and frustrated many readers looking for answers, because it teased a bit, alluding only slightly to Jonas’s world. Readers had to wait until 2004 for Messenger, which served as a bridge between The Giver and Gathering Blue. Alas, answers still weren’t totally available and finally in 2012 closure arrived with Son.

Having read The Giver when it first came out, I was impressed with its message, although a bit dissatisfied with its ambiguity at the end. “That’s it?!?” I felt like shaking the book to see if I could render out the last drop, maybe find the missing resolution or at least find a denouement of sorts. I wasn’t aware of the succeeding books that formed the quartet and had the distinctive pleasure of reading the quartet in succession after watching the 2014 film adaptation of The Giver. Due to the sizable waiting list for The Giver (could it be the movie stirred people to seek out the original?) I began reading the other three and saved The Giver for last. Glad I did so, because the library (love my library) bought the newest edition, which is a twenty year celebration of the novel, and it contains an introduction, a reflection, by Lois Lowry. Her humor and unique outlook is prevalent and added a dimension to the reading I wouldn’t have probably gained reading the standard paperback issue. A bonus section (special features?) included interviews of different actors from the movie including Taylor Swift.

Yet, there is more to Lois Lowry than The Giver. Her talent extends to comical middle reading found in the Krupnik series which is about the plucky Anastasia and her rascally brother Sam. Another notable book, her first Newberry Award, is Number the Stars, which covers the Danish Resistance in WWII. Lowry’s diversity is evident when scrolling through her impressive book list of thirty plus titles which range from picture books to historical fiction, and include young adult reads. I have been exploring other Lowry titles and I am amazed by her diversity. For instance, I just finished an audio reading of  Silent Boy, which reminds me of Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird recalling her childhood memories from an adult perspective. Another audio novel, The Willoughbys is radically different from any of her other works. This a parody of all those long ago old-fashioned tales starring orphans who make good after much travail. Think Lemony Snicket meets Pollyana. The reading was enhanced by the reading talents of Arte Johnson, best remembered by his Laugh In days. The humor varies between lampoon and subtle, the vocabulary rivals SAT prep exercises, and there is a constant anticipation of “What next?” right up there with “This is a kid’s book?”
Lowry is one of those authors who provides the reason why adults peruse the kids’ section when searching for a good read.

Interesting bits about Lois Lowry:

  • she’s been a contestant on Jeopardy
  • traveled to Antarctica
  • had The Giver turned into a play, opera, film, and musical
  • she’s been a clue in a New York Times crossword puzzle
  • has owned numerous dogs, cats, and horses
  • has a great little author website


I have become a victim of over booking, and I have only myself to blame. No, I didn’t get postponed at the airport, or delayed at the restaurant. Actually, it’s all my fault I got caught in this dilemma. Life just happens sometimes, you know?

For the first time since fifth grade I am conscious of how many books I am reading this year. In fifth grade Mr. C, my fifth grade teacher, challenged us to read over the summer and bring him the list in fall. I think I read a 100 books–memory tends to fade the accuracy of details. I do recall the look of surprise when I trucked in my list on my way to sixth grade next door. I’d like to think I was the only one who took up his challenge. I would have read all summer anyway. Too bad I didn’t keep the list. It would be fun to revisit what I was interested in reading at eleven years old.

This year I have taken up the GoodReads Challenge and I am diligently marking off my books with reviews. My goal is 50 books, because I think I can manage that amount. I now realize how idealistic that amount might actually be. Therefore, my dilemma. I calculated I will need to read at least 4 books a month to hit my goal. And for honesty sake (former Campfire Girl) I will double or triple up on children’s books because they are so much shorter. Then again, does a 400 page plus book count as double? War and Peace count as triple? I’ll figure it out.

This is why I am currently reading 4 books 3 books (just finished the newest this morning).

  • In the car I’m listening to Lois Lowry’s Silent Boy, a mesmerizing story of a young girl, Kate, remembering back to the time she befriended Jacob, who everyone in town referred to as “touched.”
  • On the living room side table is Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt. I have been gnawing away at this one for a while because it is so fabulously rich in content. I should just buy it, since I put a sticky marker in every other page. If you are interested in the texture of Shakespeare and his times, this is THE book to read. Probably explains why it earned National Book Award Finalist.
    • By the bed, and in the bookbag, and at school it’s a rereading Jane Eyre. As long as I teach it, I tend to read it. JE is one of favorite heroines, so it’s a pleasure, not a chore. In fact, there are times that I miss my Jane time because I get so busy I can’t sit down and relish her story. I am involved with this novel. I’m studying it, analyzing it, researching it, and most of all enjoying it. Again.
    • Back to four books. Make that five. Both holds came in: Way of the Peaceful Warrior (saw the movie and I’m curious) and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller–a recommendation from one of my many book review blogs.
    • Actually six–I picked up Number the Stars by Lois Lowry as a reread.

Sigh. Anyone else overbooked this week?

The movie definitely got my attention… image:

Will I be able to NOT think Brad Pitt as I read this? image: GoodReads

I have to read a Lois Lowry I haven’t liked image: Wikipedia




Hungry for Another Series?

After reading the Hunger Games series I cast about for something else as a continuous read.  Fortunately I found Divergent by Veronica Roth.  Although the next book is not due out until May I am set to move on to the further adventures of Tris.

What is it about getting involved in a series?  Is the lost-in-a-plot feeling?  Is it the invested interest in characters?  Perhaps it is the convenience of not having to find and audition yet another book (hmm, shades of dating and staying in a monogamous relationship).  Anyway, here are some suggested series, tried, true, and some still new to me:

1. Divergent by Veroncia Roth(next up will be Insurgent in May)

2. Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

3.  Enders Game by Scott Orson Card

4.  Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

5.  The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

6.  Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

7.  The Giver by Lois Lowry

8. The City of Ember by Jeanne Du Prau

9.  The Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert

10. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

11. Sisterchicks by Robin Jones Gunn

12. Arthurian Saga by Mary Stewart

13. Redwall by Brian Jacques

14. This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti

15. Dragon Riders of Pern series by Anne McCaffery

16. Janie Johnson series by Caroline Cooney

17. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

18. The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

19. The Zion Chronicles by Bodie Thoene

20.  Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

21. The Outsiders, That Was Then This is Now, Rumblefish by S.E. Hinton (shared characters)

22. Ramona by Beverly Cleary

23.  The Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman

23.  Constable  Evans series by Rhys Bowen

24. The Mars Diaries by Sigmound Brouwer

25. Chronicles of Fairacre byMiss Read

26. Amber Chronicles by Roger Zelazny

27.  Horatio Hornblower by E.M. Forester

28. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

29. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

30.  Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald Sobol

31. Little Britches by Ralph Moody

32. Diary of a Teenage Girl by Melody Carlson

33. Stonewycke Triolgy by Michael Phillips

34. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachan

35. Paddington Bear by Michael Bond

If these don’t work for you, or if you’ve already devoured them, try the GoodReads link.  There are over 1200  entries and over 100 pages to browse through.  Book Boosters need their choices, ya know.

I’m interested in your thoughts.  Try out my first Polldaddy attempt:

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