Hello from beautiful Colorado. I am writing this on Thursday before Himself and I head off to Southern Utah and have no internet access. We had a long day and half of driving before reaching Rocky Mountain National Park where we had a lovely hike amid gorgeous scenery. We have spent the past two days at my brother-in–laws spending time with his wife and their three children. You can tell this is a house that values reading as children’s books are everywhere. The kids also love to read cartoons and are eating up Pearls Before Swine and Dilbert. My niece is a freshman in high school and we had a nice discussion of To Kill a Mocking Bird as well as the short story Brownies by ZZ Packer which appears in her collection Drinking Coffee Elsewhere. My niece is really into books and writing so I picked up a copy of Anthony Doerr’s Memory Wall for her to read. My big treat today was to go to The Tattered Cover bookstore where I had a lovely time perusing books and then met Himself and his brother at a brewery to have lunch and purchase beer for Eldest.
Here is what caught my interest so far this week:
I have enjoyed every Penelope Lively novel I have read and now, thanks to Nonsuch Book, want to read Heat Wave. The novel takes place in a long, hot summer in the English countryside in a two-family cottage occupied by Pauline, an editor of romance novels and her daughter and son-in-law. Like a lot of Lively books, the plot seems simple – a summer, a possible betrayal – but underneath lies a lot of complexity.
I grew up in a house where it was useful to be handy with words. Not only for the language games we would play, but also because my father would try to argue with you – being quick verbally could save you from a frustrating encounter. So I am reading a review of Lexicon by Max Barry (So Many Books) which sounded so interesting I looked it up and the description reads in part, “Students learn to use language to manipulate minds, wielding words as weapons.” The students do this at an exclusive school in Virginia where they become Poets. There is also a character known as an “Outlier, someone who is immune to the power of the Poets and their words.” I love the idea of words as weapons and Poets are people with power. Stefanie says of the book, “Lexicon is a fun book, a suspense novel for the bookish crowd. It’s a light, quick read. Not perfect, but enjoyable nonetheless.”
Eve’s Alexandria has a wonderful post about Frances Hardinge and her novel Fly by Night. While this is a book aimed for teens, it seems like it would be suitable for all ages. It has a twelve year old runaway girl (with a bad tempered goose as a companion), guilds in control, and a monarchy that wants to reestablish itself. Like Lexicon, there seems to be a theme about words and books and their importance to people. There is a sequel Twilight Robbery which would make this a good series for Christmas gifts.
Finally, Kinna Reads has an excellent list of African Women writers which would serve as a “good jumping off point” if you wish to expand your reading into this area.