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Month in review

The ABCs of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond by Steven Charney and David Goldbeck
At Her Majesty's Request by Walter Dean Myers
Bleach Volume 14 by Tite Kubo
Blind Side by Penny Warner
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
Castrato by Michael Collins
Character Flu by Robert Reed
Chronicle of the City of Havana by Eduardo Galeano
Color for Thought by the 5th grade class of Coast Episcopal School
Crescent Moon Volume 1 by Haruko Iida
The Cuba Journal by Sophia Peabody Hawthorne
Cuba Revisited by Martha Gellhorn
Cuban Childhood by Fidel Castro and Frei Betto
Diary of the Boy King Tutankhamen by June Reig
The Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer
Dora's Backpack by Sarah Willson
Dreaming in Cuban (excerpt) by Cristina Garcia
Dreamland by Clarence Budington Kelland
Fables from the Mud by Erik Quisling
Fergus by Mary Patterson Thornburg
The Ghost of Lizard Light by Elvira Woodruff
The Girl Genius Omnibus by Kaja and Phil Foglio
Go Green by Nancy H. Taylor
Image of Josephine by Booth Tarkington
Jewel in the Skull by Michael Moorcock
The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter
Litany by Rand B Lee
Local Rites by Paul Daffey
Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann
Monkey See... by P. E. Cunningham
Nature's Children: Ostriches by Merebeth Switzer
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda
No More Monsters for Me by Peggy Parish
OPEN Brand by Kelly Mooney and Nita Rollins
Operation Ghost by Jacques Duquennoy
Ophie Out of Oz by Kathleen O'Dell
Our Man in Havana (Excerpt) by Graham Greene
Peacocks by Ruth Berman
Picture Purrfect Kittens by Erika Tatihara and Masaru Mizobuti
The Pigeon Loves Things That Go by Mo Willems
The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl
The Salting and Canning of Benevolence D. by Al Michaud
The Sea Shack by Mark McNulty
She Who Hears the Sun by Pamela Jekel
Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter
Shoes by Debbie Bailey and Susan Huszar
Show Me Your Smile by Christine Ricci
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
State Birds by Arthur and Alan Singer
Still Hot by Sue Mittenthal and Linda Reing
A Superior Death by Nevada Barr
Tundra Swans by Bianca Lavies
The War with Spain (excerpt) by Henry Cabot Lodge
Where's the Big Red Doggie? by Norman Bridwell
What to Wear by Consuelo Hermer and Marjorie May
Wheels, Wheels and More Wheels by Ed and Ruth Radlauer
Wild Turkeys by Julian May

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3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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Dreamland: 06/22/08


Dreamland is fairly typical of Kelland's novels: a protagonist with a heavy chip on his shoulder and an unrequited love. To prove himself worthy to his dream girl, he must take on a herculean task. He'll always end up with a girl (though not always the one he thinks he wants) and he'll usually end up being the best man for the job (whatever it may be).

In this case, the hero is Hadrian Pink (renamed to Eddie Pink in the film). He's an academic who has been taking tutoring jobs to stay in academia without the added responsibility of lecturing. To get over his shyness he starts following the "Character Builders" method of self assertion in hopes of winning the attention of Adriadne Joyce, a senator's daughter he's only ever seen in newspaper clippings.

Hadrian, though, can't settle for using his new-found voice to be a better tutor or even a lecturer. No, in true 1930s screwball comedy fashion, he talks himself into being the president of Dreamland, a new (and yet to be opened) amusement park. Hadrian though can't keep his mouth shut and ends up taking on the mob in the process of getting Dreamland opened and profitable.

From the small selection of Kelland books I've read so far I found Dreamland to be rather average. Hadrian didn't strike me a very believable academic even if he was a humorous executive later on. Hadrian's dialogue throughout the novel tends towards overly wordy as an attempt to make him sound educated and perhaps out of step with the general public. The dialogue comes off as forced and painful to read at times.

As a screwball comedy, though, it was still entertaining. I kept on reading to see if Hadrian Pink would get himself out of the trouble he had created and if Dreamland would open. What Kelland does with Adriadne Joyce at the end took me by pleasant surprise.

My other Kelland reviews to date include:


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