Gardening and not too many blackflies on this stunning mid-May Saturday! Rain last night and rain due tomorrow, so I got some good weeding, transplanting, and new plants in (or out, as needed). Bike Safety Rodeo at the school next store provided a wonderful backdrop of squeals, cheers, and little kids zooming around like fish in an aquarium. Very nice. Soon A and I are off to dinner and a play--imagine!
In the meantime, some books!
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Reading Neil Gaiman makes me think of a darker, modernized Terry Pratchett--he may kill off the people you love, and he does go into a bit of detail about torture, but overall, you can trust him to tell a rip-roaring story and to reward your faith in human nature. Neverwhere (at least the "Author's Preferred Text" version which I read) is an interesting, dark, original tale--much to think about and pay attention to. While there's a lot of Sir Terry in it, I also felt some Patrick Rothfuss overtones, too. In any case: a good read!
Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Many of my incoming 9th graders have read (and liked) this book, and I gave it to my nephews this winter, intending to read it myself, too. Eventually I ended up getting the audio so I could listen to it during my commute, and I liked it. The reader might've been what kept it from being 4 stars, as he was way overstated, and I do like an understated reader. Jacobson traces the boy's trip precisely: I could tell exactly where he was on the island and the towns. It was an odd feeling to be driving by the LL Bean outlet as the book was describing the night he spent sleeping there! I can't decide how I felt about the boy's (I forget his name) mom, who was clearly suffering from unmedicated bipolar disorder: the topic came up subtly, and in a pretty realistic way, I felt, but I also thought the story let the mom off the hook quite a bit. However: the adventure was interesting, the writing solid, and I can see how any middle reader, especially one living in our area, would really enjoy the local adventure of the book. Would make a fun pairing with "The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler"!
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