Saturday, December 30, 2006
Hello, all! So sorry that I haven't blogged in forever and a day. Things got a little crazy around here, come Christmas time. I did finish "New World Order" and absolutely loved the second half. The first half was excellent, but the second part of the book really took flight and I enjoyed it a great deal. A curious book, as I mentioned previously, that had no strong "Young Adult" characters in the first half. But in the end . . . ah, a great story! I also read the wonderful "Tomorrow When the War Began", and of course, my Christmas reads. I shall post this bit, and then put my recommended Christmas reads in a separate thingy.
My favorite time of the year, despite the craziness, and a time rich with amazing literature. Besides a wealth of charming picture books (Polacco's "The Christmas Tapestry", Joyce's "Santa Calls", Dylan Thomas' "A Child's Christmas in Wales") there are wonderful collections of short stories and novels to be had. First and foremost: Connie Willis' "Miracle and Other Christmas Stories". Every one is amazing and brilliant, some funny, some tender, and some even a little bit scary. Plus her intro and final notes suggest other reading and viewing ideas for the holidays. "Epiphany" is my favorite of the stories. Then we have the classic "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens (and the Muppet Christmas Carol is the best film version, I think), Barbara Robinson's "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever", Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story" (the collection of essays they based the classic film on), Wendelin Van Draanen's "Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf" and John Grisham's fun and heart-warming "Skipping Christmas". One of my all time favorites, I admit with a blush, is Marion Chesney's Regency romance novel, "Miss Davenport's Christmas", which is filled with fascinating information on English Christmas traditions, as well as being a charming little romance. And this year I added a new favorite: "The Legend of Holly Claus" by Brittney Ryan. What a great book! The details about Santa Claus and his family were delightful, and the story zipped along with plenty of magic and action, especially at the end, when I was bouncing up and down in my chair with suspense. I know it's after the fact, but keep these in mind for next year. I know! If you're like me, you got at least one bookstore gift certificate for Christmas. Use it to buy at least one of these, you won't be sorry! There's a new illustrated "Christmas Carol" (pictures by P.J. Lynch!), and I think "Miracle" is a must have. Go on, do it!
Sunday, December 3, 2006
I'm halfway through Ben Jeapes' "The New World Order", and all along I've been thinking that there's something a bit odd about this book. I finally put my finger on it: although it is ostensibly a YA book, the main characters are all adults. And not just twenty-somethings, but 35-40-somethings. There is one young viewpoint character, he's twelve and not all that engaging, the other youth is a snotty prince . . . not at all a sympathetic character. Perhaps that will change, but it was a startling realization, to be reading a book I had thought was for teens, and to find myself in the midst of a group of 40 year olds, and one twelve year old boy. The premise of the book is amazing, though, and I love the adult characters, so I'm not at all bothered by the lack of teens. I'll blog again when I finish, to give you my overall thoughts. A great book, though, very interesting. It has aliens in it, and Oliver Cromwell. (If you don't know who he is, shame on you! He started the British Civil War! Yep, they had one too!)