Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Just finished: The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise

I just finished reading a great novel! It's called The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart. I really enjoyed the writing style. It was witty, suspenseful and informative, and some of the characters were particularly hilarious. I also learned a lot about the Tower of London, which I had previously only heard of, and knew nothing about. Now I'm determined to visit it one of these days. The story is about a beefeater (a tower guard) who works and lives there. He owns the oldest tortoise in the world, Mrs. Cook. As a result, he ends up being put in charge of the royal menagerie. The main plot involves him and his family, but there are many other funny twists and side stories that made this one of my more favorite books.

Here is a quote from when the beefeater's wife goes to work:

"Hebe Jones unbuttoned her coat next to the drawer containing one hundred and fifty-seven pairs of false teeth. It was a ritual she performed every morning upon arrival at London Underground's Lost Property Office, even during the summer, a season she vehemently distrusted in England. She hung it on the stand next to the life-size inflatable doll, a deep red hole for a mouth, which no one had yet dared to claim. Turning the corner, she stood at the original Victorian counter, its shutter still closed, and studied one of the ledgers to remind herself what had been brought in the previous day. As well as the usual several dozen umbrellas and bestselling novels, some with a bookmark tragically near the end, the yield included one lawnmower, a Russian typewriter, and sixteen jars of preserved ginger. The last item brought in was yet another abandoned wheelchair, increasing the office's hoard to the spectacular figure of thirty-nine. It was proof, if only to the staff, that London Underground could perform miracles."

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