Tag Archives: Ella Minnow Pea

Friday 56, 23-January-2015

23 Jan

Welcome to the “get to see my niece tonight’ edition of The Friday 56 hosted by Freda on Freda’s Voice. Head on over there and check out the other participating blogs.

Friday 56

The way this meme works is pretty simple. If you want to join in, head over to Freda’s blog and add your link.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book (I grab the one I’m currently reading)
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.

I’ve given a quote from the books I’m reading now, so I took a look back on the shelf and found one I read before I started this meme. This quote is from Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. I really liked this book and recommend it as a great quick read.

Nollop said as much, even challenge the pert stenographer to come up with a sentence of her own measuring thirty-five letters or less and containing all of the letters of the alphabet. She tried. She failed.

This adorable little book focuses on the fictional island of Nollop where Nevin Nollop (the man who penned the pangram ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”) is praised as a deity. This particular sentence comes from a letter written by the island’s high council explaining why the citizens should follow the divine will of Nollop and remove the letter ‘J’ completely from their vocabulary. This isn’t as much of a shock as you would think because ‘Z’ and ‘Q’ have already been removed.

It’s a great little book; I highly recommend it!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 3-September-2014

3 Sep

Time for MizB’s WWW meme! This week was moderate progress but I’m still slugging through a few.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  I’ve stalled reading Canada by Richard Ford but i can almost see the light of when I can pick it back up. I think it’s in about a month? The audio of Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan is getting close to the end. I’m on the second-to-last disk and I can’t wait to finish it. I’m loving and making good progress on The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. It’s written in a very compelling way, using a first person plural voice. I like it a lot. I’ve also just started  The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, which is my next book club selection. My mom recommended this a few months back and I was excited to see it on our book club list.

Recently finished: Just one this week,  Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. I read this so fast it was never on my ‘currently reading’ section. A co-worker lent it to me and I read it in three days. I want to talk to her about it, but this is her vacation week. Dang it.

And one book review for you all! Check out my review of Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn that I put up yesterday.

Reading Next:  I’m still waiting on Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett to come in at the library. I asked about a library bounty hunter position, but I don’t think she realized I was serious. I’ve got the audio for The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory in my car, ready to start as son as ‘Sky’ is done. This will fill in the 1400s for my When Are You Reading? Challenge and then I’ll only be one from finishing. Yay! Pretty soon I’ll be starting Read Along #2 and the book we’ve chosen is The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. I met Umrigar about a year ago and she blew me away; what a wonderful woman. I’m excited to read this book! If you’re interested in joining the Read-Along, check out my post explaining what it’s all about and drop me an email.

Hopefully I can finish ‘Sky’ early this week. I’m ready for it to be over. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn (5/5). A word lover’s dream book.

2 Sep

I almost read this book in 2012. There’s always an ‘almost,’ isn’t there? I saw a poster at library advertising that a book club was read this and I decided to sign up, only to learn the meeting was the day before. Drats. So it went on the list and when I found a second-hand copy, I bought it, but it stalled. When my work book-club was looking for something, I suggested this and I’m so glad I did. What a wonderful read.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

Ella lives on the fictional island of Nollop where the people are more than happy to forgo some modern advances to keep close to their first love; words. Nevin Nollop is the man attributed with crafting the famous phrase The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. To commemorate the man, there is a statue with the phrase erected in the town square. But what should they do when one morning the letter Z has fallen off and shattered? What about when more letters start to follow? Is this a sign from Nollop that these letters should be removed from the vocabulary, or merely a result of faulty glue?

This book is perfect for word lovers. As the letters fall off the statue, they disappear from the book. After the first Z falls off, other letters soon follow and the words Dunn chooses become more and more selective and his pool of options dwindles. The amazing part is that the prose doesn’t seem choppy until very late in the story (after some vowels have lost their way) and despite his self-imposed limitations, Dunn’s words sing. Ella is a great character and as outlandish as her predicament seems, it’s a very real analogy for oppression around the world. Bravo, Mark Dunn!

I loved the different ways the characters reacted tot he oppression of the island council. Some were defiant, using the band letters and quickly being banished from the island. Some, like Ella’s aunt Mittie, tried very hard to follow the rules even if they did not agree. There was Georgeanne who would snoop and report those close to her for slight violations. Nate, an American student interested in the island, helped lead a revolt along with Ella because he knew the culture was going to be destroyed if the council had its way. More than anything, these characters wanted a way to communicate their thoughts and share what they thought about the things happening around them, but there was censorship. And in the end, even the council realized they’d taken censorship too far.

Nate was my favorite character. He was interested in culture, which is something I can appreciate. (One of my majors was Spanish and I wrote my thesis on Basque national identity.) I related to his initial reaction to use technology to solve the problem, but loved how accepting he was of the limits of Nollop’s culture and his eventual determination to solve the problem by hand. I think his romantic interest was a bit forced (no spoilers!) and unneeded, but it was still nice to see how well he acclimated to the island.

I could relate to the freedom of speech issues that the characters endured. I’ve never directly suffered from speech oppression, but I’ve sometimes felt that I can’t write about things I want to because of how it will tinge my other writing. The beginning of the story, when it’s only one or two letters that have fallen, reminded me of this.

I loved the ending of this book! I’m trying not to give too much away, but Ella was so inventive in how she solved the problem and I thought that was an amazing way of ending the issues. I was sad to see the characters that were lost along the way and I liked that it ended on a note of redemption.

Mark Dunn Image via Goodreads.com

Mark Dunn
Image via Goodreads.com

I also enjoyed when the words started to be spelled phonetically based on the remaining letters. I thought that was fun to read.

The only part of the book I didn’t like was when Nate returned to the island. I felt that his ability to return to the island illegally almost undermined the credibility of the council to be so overbearing. But as my dislike was so minor, you can tell I really liked this book!

There are so many themes to discuss with this selection! Freedom of Speech is the first. Not only are the people’s written communication monitored for the forbidden letters, but they aren’t allowed to publicly speak out against the oppression. A person trying to re-attach a letter is a heretic (because of course it’s Nollop’s will that it fell). Ella and her friends have to rebel to fight back.

The other is freedom. Is it better to be free or to follow the rules and avoid punishment? Ella toys the line; following the rules so she can be able to fight for freedom. There are others who care more about their freedom of speech (Amos) and those who care about following the rules (Georgeanne). The book gives a spectrum of everyone.

Writer’s Takeaway: The biggest thing I took away was not to be afraid to play with language. Dunn crafted a beautiful novel with great themes. The letter’s disappearance made the book fun to read, which is a great way to engage readers. Also, the subtle references to language were fun to find. (Ella Minnow Pea = LMNOP, Rederick Lyttle = little rhetoric)

One of the best books I’ve read in a long time and a welcome breath of fresh air in literature! A full five out of five stars.

This book fulfills ‘South Carolina’ in my Where Are You Reading? Challenge.

If you’re interested in doing the next Read Along event here at Taking on a World of Words, check out this blog post to see the details and send me an email!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Ella Minnow Pea | Tales from the Reading Room
Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn | Lulu’s Bookshelf
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn | Sarah Says Read

WWW Wednesday, 13-August-2014

13 Aug

I’m proud to say I made the progress I promised for MizB’s WWW meme. All the books are progressing nicely; hopefully there will be progress next week, too.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  I’m still making slow progress on  The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I’m really not surprised, because I keep this to be my ‘slowly yet surely’ book. It’s living up to its name. I promised to say I made progress on it yesterday because Katherine takes forever to try on clothes at H&M! My carpool buddy and I are almost done with Looking for Alaska by John Green. He’s already ‘John Greened’ us and I’m curious to see how this will end. While I wait for my next audiobook to get in, I’m listening to Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. I thought I’d put this aside soon, but the audiobooks I have on hold are taking forever to get in! I’ve only got a few minutes left, so this should be off the list soon. I started reading Canada by Richard Ford. It’s been on the top of my TBR pile for a long time, so it’s good to get this one off. The way it was on my shelf, the huge picture of the author on the back looked like he was watching you while you watched TV on the couch. I think my husband’s glad it moved.

Recently finished: Just one finished this week: Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. I stayed up late to finish this one but it was sooo worth it!

I’ve been trying to get through my backlog of reviews, so go check out my review The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.

Reading Next:  Same as last week because nothing came in at the library: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett on audio, Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors, and Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan. Keep your fingers crossed that something turns up soon!

I’m hoping to finish ‘Alaska’ and ‘Leonard Peacock’ this week.’ How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 6-August-2014

6 Aug

I’m proud to say I made the progress I promised for MizB’s WWW meme. All the books are progressing nicely; hopefully there will be progress next week, too.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  My husband is off of work this week and my progress on  The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien has slowed as well. We’re talking during breakfast, which is when I mainly read this. So maybe another 5% by next week? My carpool buddy and I are getting along nicely on Looking for Alaska by John Green. I think we’re on disk 4 of 6 and we’ll probably finish that one tonight! While I wait for my next audiobook to get in, I’m listening to Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. Soon this one will go on the back burner, but I did a lot of baking last week so I’m about half way done. My work book club chose Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn from my massive pile. I couldn’t be happier. I’m half way done and this book is reading super fast! It’s a book lovers dream of a book and I’m happy to get it off the top of my pile!

Recently finished: Two this week! The first is  The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen. I was disappointed in this book, but I still sped through it. It was well written, but not much happened! The other book was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs which I listed to on audio with my husband. It was interesting to do a very visual novel on audio, but the PDF of pictures made it doable and enjoyable. I think it had too much exposition, but I’ll get to that in my review.

I was able to post just one review this past week; The Coward by Kyle R. Bullock. Please go check it out!

Reading Next:  I’ve put three things on hold at the library: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett on audio, Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors, and Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan. The Follett is a personal challenge and the Shors and Horan is for my When Are You Reading? Challenge. I’d really like to tackle ‘Pillars’ but whoever has it checked out from the library is already two weeks overdue and I don’t see myself getting it back any time soon.

I’ll probably finish ‘Ella’ this week; maybe ‘Alaska.’ How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!