I remember a joke from my childhood that says, "What's black and white and red all over?" The key to the answer was that the word 'red' was really supposed to be 'read' and the answer was: a newspaper. I thought that would make a good title for a blog section about what I'm reading.
I'm a big reader - always have been. I Love Books - can't have too many books. It is a serious addiction, but a healthy one, I think. So, it makes perfect sense for me to share what I have read here.
I read a wide variety of books so I will identify the books by the following: C (Children), JFic (pre- and early teen), YA (Young Adult), A (Adult)
My ratings are as follows: 5 Star - Excellent; 4 Star - Very Good; 3 Star - Just OK; 2 Star - So-So; 1 Star - Don't Waste Your Time
I'm finally getting to the Pulitzer Prize novels that were on my reading list more than a year ago. And the first one I decided to read was Edith Wharton's "The Age of Innocence". Based on the New York rich of the 1900's, the novel swells with the self-importance of its characters whose focus in life appears to be the judging and criticizing of others in their circle, in particular, Madame Olenska. Separated from an abusive husband, Ellen seeks solace and comfort by returning to her family and friends. But if only for conformity reasons and the strict rules of that time , they believe her place is with her husband the tyrant. They all play by the rules of the times and believe she should as well.
Unfamiliar with the name Neil Gaiman when I saw it on the cover of my July/August 2013 issue of Poets and Writers magazine, I didn't read the article that was written about him. If I had, I may have searched out his books sooner.
But having remembered seeing his name in print, I found "The Graveyard Book', the 2009 Newbury Medal winner, at my local library. And I wasn't disappointed. A very engaging book, The Graveyard Book has it all: murder, mystery, ghost and ghouls, and the most frightening of all, the order of the Jacks of All Trades.
Carl Hiaasen is becoming one of my favorite JFic authors. I just finished “Scat” and found it to be perfectly aligned with his other books. What I have come to admire in his novels is his subtle inclusion of those who are determined to damage and destroy the environment or the animal life living in it. I say subtle only because he doesn’t really throw it in our faces, as I fear I would do if I were to tackle a similar subject in my novels. I have often thought about it and wondered how I could approach the topic, without sounding too offensive (should I care if I offend?) of careless polluters or “great white hunters” who kill for sport without concern for anything except their own egos and/or potential for money in their pockets. See, too much anger. I’m not sure how he does it because he does seem to have an interest and concern for all things ecological.
A fan of J.C. Oates from my college days, I thought this was a great YA choice that my librarian, Holly, introduced me to. I was involved from the first page and although I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I was a little disturbed by the subject. A timely topic, Oates did a fantastic job of showing what happens when an off-hand comment, over-heard by “trouble-makers” is passed on to adults as the truth.
I first saw "Crispin" by Avi at my local library. A Newbury Medal winner, the book did catch my eye mostly because it was by Avi but I never took it out of the library to read it. Then my sister-in-law Kathy, who loves children's books as much as I do, was visiting recently and told me how much she liked this book even though 'it looked like a boys' book'. My thoughts exactly which surprised me that I would even let that stop me from reading a book that had the potential to be a great read. That did it. The next time I drove uptown, I stopped at my library and checked out "Crispin".