Posts filed under ‘Children and Young Adult’
I’ve always been struck by how affected we are by books we read (or, more likely, read to us) in our early years. The ones we read ourselves in our remembered childhoods are less surprising; of course they resonated—they were the first books we actually, personally devoured. But the ones I find truly shocking in their emotional and psychological effect are the ones we don’t necessarily remember. The ones read to us before we have particularly firm memories of anything, let alone books.
I think fairy tales often fall into this category since they are so commonly (and strangely, considering much of their content) read to children. There’s plenty of opportunity for subconscious internalization with stories like these, but even I didn’t know how much until some recent chance book encounters. (more…)
Everyone knows they shouldn’t, but we all judge books by their covers. And maybe we should. In today’s publishing world, a good cover represents an investment in the sale of that particular book. If a book isn’t expected to sell well, why would a publisher shell out for a talented cover designer when they can have an intern cobble something together for barely nothing?
A bad cover might also be the sign of a bad publishing company, or a company that doesn’t really care about books in general. But there have been some absolutely stunning cover designs coming out on books from across the spectrum, from classics to popular fiction. (more…)
I am writing this to you because you seem like the type of person who would enjoy a book like this, even if you are much older than Charlie, this book’s protagonist. The book is written as much to you as it is to me, though I suppose if you are the type of person who would sleep with that person at the party, you may feel as though this book is a misdirected letter, perhaps sent to the person who rented your P.O. box before you.
Regardless of your feelings about parties and sleeping with the people at them, Charlie is probably very much like you, only about ten or twenty years ago. (more…)
just came in
From the County of Keck
That a very small bug
By the name of Van Vleck
Is yawning so wide
You can look down his neck.
Warning: this is not technically a fairy tale, nor is it strictly fantasy. But I am writing this post sort of late at night (though most of you are reading it in the morning), and I found myself thinking about my favorite bedtime stories.
We were never huge on bedtime stories in my family, but there was one I loved and still read to kids when I babysit — The Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss. Did any of you love this book, too?
Plant the clear stone by the northern end of your doorstep, then the red by the southern. Then sleep, child. Rest your sore heart and your insulted frame, and begin again tomorrow.
A few weeks ago, I discovered “Snow-White and Rose-Red,” a fairy tale about two little girls, a dwarf, and a bear (and a lot of German beer, behind the scenes). This tale was new to me, but apparently it is well-known enough for Margo Lanagan to have turned it into the award-winning novel Tender Morsels, a hard-hitting and rather dark retelling.
One thing I love that Lanagan has done is to give the story some background and context. (more…)
For the last week or so, I’ve been throwing my own private Neil Gaiman festival. Fondly nicknamed “Neil-a-palooza” for the sake of giving this post a funny name, this festival involved me scouring the LA County Library Catalog for all of their available Neil Gaiman books, checking them out, and reading them in rapid succession.
So much fantasy in so short a time is a little, oh, muddling. Still, as someone who considered herself a Neil Gaiman fan without actually having read more than three of his books, I believe it was worth the experience, just to familiarize myself with the Gaiman canon. Too bad the man is insanely prolific, or I’d feel more accomplished. Still, for those of you who are looking to expand your Gaiman horizons, the books below are a good start:
Hello, fellow book geeks! It’s time for this week’s Weekly Geek, which centers on the announcement of the winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal. When I was in elementary school, my librarian told me than any book with a shiny Newbery Medal on the cover was sure to be one I would like. More often than not, she was correct, though as I grew older I no longer relied as much on this method of book-finding.
However, a lot of amazing books that have been honored in this way, books that are definitely worth revisiting. In honor of the award being announced this week, follow the jump below to read about my top five picks from previous Newbery honorees. The 2010 winner is sure to be checked out of every library around within the next week, so why not read some that are new-to-you?
Welcome to our newest series: Rereadings. Rereadings will alternate Friday-duty with our long-running series Fairy Tale Friday. Partially inspired by the great Anne Fadiman (who edited a collection of essays of the same name), we’ll be rereading books that we absolutely adore but haven’t read for years (decades in some cases!) and sharing how our second read changed our experience with the book.
We welcome your input and guest bloggers for this series, so if you have books to share, remembrances to write, or suggestions for us to read, definitely drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
I first discovered The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder sitting innocently on my fourth grade teacher’s bookshelf. It was love at first sight. I have no idea why, since I was not a particularly devious child or one remotely interested in ancient Egypt, but I fell immediately in love with the book without reading a word and squirreled it away in my desk for weeks before actually cracking it open. (Hey, I had to finish reading Dear Mr. Henshaw first before jumping into something else.) (more…)
His face was now smooth and angled as an elf’s, with ears tapered like theirs and eyes slanted like theirs, and his skin was as pale as alabaster and seemed to emit a faint glow, as if with the sheen of magic.
People‘s review of Eragon calls Christopher Paolini and his debut novel “precocious,” a word which brings to my mind not exceptionally bright children, but enfants terribles who have been told all their lives that they are exceptional and are, therefore, spoiled for any real accomplishments.
The trouble with Paolini is that I still find myself looking at Eldest as yet another work by an enfant terrible who, unfortunately, has been so successful with his earlier book that he hasn’t pushed himself hard enough to make his writing as good as it could be.
Paolini has a strong vocabulary, I suppose, and his invention of two languages is certainly impressive. However, many of his larger words (circumnavigated, splendiferous) smack of being ones he found in the Microsoft Word thesaurus, or words one learns for the SAT or GRE and never uses in real life. The word “plethora” is like that for me — Paolini doesn’t use that one, but he does misuse the word “prowess” in such a way as to suggest thesaurus use.
Paolini also has a tendency to drift into the world of teenage boy-targeted fantasy pseudo-porn. (more…)