Posted in Reviews

Review: The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Recommended: yep!
For a cold magical adventure, for children who are cleverer and braver than adults, for surprising philosophical discussions, for a really masterful balance of chaos and calm to keep you pulling effortlessly through the pages


Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal–including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want–but what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other.

Edit: the above blurb does not do this book justice. That is the absolute bare bones of it all, and I’m astonished that such a long-lived and excellent novel has such a lackluster blurb. I guess they figure it doesn’t need any help at this point…? But trust: it’s a wonderful and exciting story!


This is one of those books that I thought I missed the boat on because it came out when I was too young to read it. Technically it came out when I wasn’t even 1 year old, so definitely not on my radar at that point. Kind of like with Harry Potter, I figured that even if it was a good book it wouldn’t have the same impact on me as it might have at that time. Essentially, my expectations were kind of low going into this. I didn’t think it would be a bad book, but I wasn’t sure I was going to be the target age or audience at this point.

Having just finished it today, I’m not sure what the target audience is! This is one of those books that has a main character who is a child and yet it’s extremely entertaining and accessible for an adult. I assume there’s a lot in it that a child would like as well, such as adults being terrible, magic bears, shape-shifting demons, and children outwitting adults. Frankly, three out of four of those are things I enjoy as well at my age. And enjoy it I did!

Continue reading “Review: The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman”
Posted in Chatty

Memories of & a confession about the first book I remember reading

Now to be honest, my first book memories are of those super simple learn-to-read stories. The large, square, orange books. They had simple characters and probably used a total of 20 different words. Spot, Dick, Jane, Baby… they were obviously basic. Monosyllabic and no tricky words. Probably under ten pages.

I can’t find any examples of the actual kind I remember having bins and bins of in my classroom, but here’s another example from a popular series that pretty much hits the mark. Not the most challenging or interesting read, of course.

The first real book

For my purposes, I’m going to argue that those are more like a learning tool. Because there was one book that I distinctly remember checking out from the library so many times that I probably should have just asked my parents to buy a copy. Frankly, that never even crossed my mind.

It was probably when I was 7 or 8 that I discovered the joy of Snot Stew by Bill Wallace. It’s a chapter book that’s just under 100 pages. The story is about two kittens who are adopted into a human family and learn what it’s like to eat human food like stew, have to put up with the games the human children like to play (like “Dress The Cat”), and play some risky pranks on the neighbor’s big dog, Butch.

Knowing myself, it’s completely unsurprising that one of the first books I loved enough to wear out completely and remember years later was from the perspective of animals. I love that! Still do. The Warriors series was near and dear for a long time. I should make my next Khajiit named Fireheart….

Oh man, I digress. Taking a trip down memory lane, here. Anyway, the story is really cute with hints of danger and some character growth through lessons of morality. I loved this book.

And now… the confession

I might have stolen this book. Kind of.

To be honest, I really do mean that “might” because I have no idea anymore if my child self was scheming enough to deliberately not return this book to the library, or if I just forgot because I re-read it so often. I have no idea. But regardless of why, this was definitely a library book, and it was definitely in my bedroom for years. (Though I did eventually return it before I left that school.)

It lived between the plants on the window ledge over my bed, right in reach from my reading spot. My cat also had a penchant for getting up there and knocking the book, as well as the plants, onto my bed. She was as mischievous as the kittens in the story! Good thing I was prepared after reading this. 😎

Do you remember?

Do you remember what the first book you read was? Or the first that made a big impression on you? Have you ever long-term borrowed one from the library? 😬 I feel like it’s so hard to remember that far back, and especially the details. My mom once confirmed that she read to my brother and me a lot when we were kids, but I absolutely do not remember that at all.