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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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The Golden Compass: Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition (His Dark Materials #01)

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The Golden Compass: Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition (His Dark Materials #01) Cover

 

Awards

1997 ALA Best Books for Young Adults
1997 ALA Notable Children's Book

Staff Pick

A gorgeous new edition of a gripping book that's officially for children but adored by adult readers as well. New "document" additions to this edition include letters from Lord Asriel.
Recommended by Robin, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Published in 40 countries, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy — The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass — has graced the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Book Sense, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. In 1996, The Golden Compass changed the face of fantasy publishing, and 2006 marks its 10 Year Anniversary — and an opportunity to celebrate with a deluxe hardcover. Pullman created new material just for this edition (archival documents, scientific notes and "found" letters of Lord Asriel) which has been illustrated and handlettered by renowned British artist Ian Beck and will be included in the back matter. The deluxe edition also features Pullman's own chapter opening spot art. A quality collectible — with the enticement of never-before-seen new material — for Pullman fans.

Review:

"As always, Pullman is a master at combining impeccable characterizations and seamless plotting, maintaining a crackling pace to create scene upon scene of almost unbearable tension. This glittering gem will leave readers of all ages eagerly awaiting the next installment of Lyra's adventures." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Superb...all-stops-out thrilling." The Washington Post

Review:

"[A] multi-layered fantasy adventure." KLIATT

Review:

"Arguably the best juvenile fantasy novel of the past 20 years....It's sheerly, breathtakingly, all-stops-out thrilling." The Washington Post

Review:

"Very grand indeed...scene after scene of power and beauty." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Fantastic....A shattering tale that begins with a promise and delivers an entire universe." Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Philip Pullman is the Whitbread Award-winning author of the bestselling His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spylass, and Lyra's Oxford. His books for young readers also include I Was a Rat!, Count Karlstein, and Spring-Heeled Jack. In 2005, Pullman won the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in honor of the body of his work. To learn more about his books, please visit www.hisdarkmaterials.com. The author lives in Oxford, England.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

thomasn528, November 27, 2007 (view all comments by thomasn528)
Pullman's books have subject to some angry scrutiny by some Christian and other believers, and this is intended to provide an alternative point of view.

Pullman's "Dark Materials" series is, it's true, in part an attack on _organized_ religion -- on the worldly power it wields when it takes a bureaucratized, theocratized, Catholic Church-like form. True, Pullman goes further, arguing essentially that if such organized religions are truly representative of God... well, then there's a problem with God, too.

But much more importantly, the series is a discussion of the consequences of an obsessive focus on eternal life after death rather than on a productive life before it. And they are a discussion of what it means to grow up and understand that. Indeed, Pullman is more ally than antagonist to Christians (and other believers) in one very important way: he doesn't dispute the notion of a "soul" -- rather, he extends and elaborates on it with the daemons accompanying humans in the alternate universe he describes.

But for those who believe the books are necessarily an "attack on Christianity," there's arguably an even more important point about Pullman's books: there is no mention whatsoever of Jesus in any of his discussions of either the Church or its ethereal counterpart, the Authority. Indeed (or instead), the chief protagonists Lyra and Will play a Christ-like role when they make a great but utterly necessary sacrifice at the end of "Amber Spyglass" -- moreover, after essentially "harrowing" Hell, admittedly with a decidedly different goal in mind than Jesus had in the New Testament.

To me, Pullman's books are ultimately not so much an attack on religion as an alternative vision of spirituality: sentience and mature purpose are the great goods of the universe, to be cherished, husbanded, and multiplied. That, it seems to me, is not such an awful vision for a Christian -- even for a conservative Christian -- to contemplate.

Pullman himself has called his books an attempt to kill God, and God's death is indeed ultimately part of the story -- though a strangely lesser part than one might think. But if your faith in God is unshaken by evil in the real world, it ought to be unshaken by a fantasy trilogy as well. Meanwhile, readers of all faiths (or lacks thereof) would do themselves out of a singular feat of the imagination and a powerful challenge to their beliefs about "children's books" -- if nothing else -- if they don't give these books a fair chance.
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Melissa Kinsey, November 28, 2006 (view all comments by Melissa Kinsey)
I read this book after reading an article in the NYer about Philip Pullman, in which he said that good literature has the responsibility of teaching morals in the context of an engaging story. He lambasted writers who shy away from the big questions as well as those whose stories are not compelling, Tolkien being guilty of the first and C.S. Lewis the second. I wanted to see how he measured up to his own standards. Not a fan of science fiction, I nevertheless devoured not only The Golden Compass but the other two books in this trilogy: The Amber Spyglass and The Subtle Knife. Great stories all, and straight from, as Pullman calls it "the literary school of morals."
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375838309
Author:
Pullman, Philip
Publisher:
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Fantasy
Subject:
Action & Adventure - General
Subject:
Fantasy & Magic
Subject:
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Deluxe Tenth An Hardcover
Series:
His Dark Materials
Series Volume:
01
Publication Date:
20061024
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 7
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9.28x6.34x1.36 in. 1.47 lbs.
Age Level:
12-17

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Related Subjects

Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Young Adult » General

The Golden Compass: Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition (His Dark Materials #01) Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 432 pages RANDOM HOUSE TRADE - English 9780375838309 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

A gorgeous new edition of a gripping book that's officially for children but adored by adult readers as well. New "document" additions to this edition include letters from Lord Asriel.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "As always, Pullman is a master at combining impeccable characterizations and seamless plotting, maintaining a crackling pace to create scene upon scene of almost unbearable tension. This glittering gem will leave readers of all ages eagerly awaiting the next installment of Lyra's adventures." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "Superb...all-stops-out thrilling."
"Review" by , "[A] multi-layered fantasy adventure."
"Review" by , "Arguably the best juvenile fantasy novel of the past 20 years....It's sheerly, breathtakingly, all-stops-out thrilling."
"Review" by , "Very grand indeed...scene after scene of power and beauty."
"Review" by , "Fantastic....A shattering tale that begins with a promise and delivers an entire universe."
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