My sister kindly met me at the public library on Saturday and lent me her library card. She also gave me a baseball cap, which she assures me I should use any time I visit the public library because it will ward off the attentions of creepy old dudes. I did not take the baseball cap, nor was I bothered by creepy old dudes, but I mostly frequented the children & YA sections, which maybe is not where the creepy old dudes hang out. I checked out loads of books, and none of the ones I have read so far have filled me with joy. I am plainly reading the wrong books.
Hilary McKay’s The Exiles and The Exiles at Home
Not as good as the Casson books. In particular, The Exiles was not as good as the Casson books. The eponymous kids are not as fun and sympathetic as the Cassons, and I identified passionately with the paucity of books the poor girls were experiencing, though not to the enhanced enjoyment of the Exiles books themselves. Only two books each for a summer vacation, they had. It’s iniquitous to deprive children of books to that extent. The Exiles at Home was touching, because the protagonists wanted something I also wanted them to have, and it made me cry.
Noel Streatfeild’s When The Sirens Wailed
Merciful God, this book was depressing. Normally Noel Streatfeild’s books have fully realized children characters, but this did not. Normally they allow a certain degree of stability for the children as far as housing is concerned, but this did not. It was a vivid depiction of England’s suffering during World War II, and it made my heart sad. Except occasionally there would be a particular detail that charmed me, like when all the boys in the village where the kids got evacuated were told to turn the street signs in the wrong directions, and the girls in the village were taught to tell Germans lies about how to get to London. That sounds awesome.
Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth
The conclusion is inevitable. Zombies are not for me. Here I have seen all these reviews all over the blogosphere in love with The Forest of Hands and Teeth. If I do not love it, what conclusion can be drawn? Only that zombies, they are not for me. Zombiepocalypses. I do not love them. Zombies are not all about redemption. Dystopia and branding of sentient aliens and human women, I’m all over that (that was spoilers for something but I’m not saying what and thus it doesn’t count). Zombies, no.
Trying to Get Some Dignity: Stories of Triumph Over Childhood Abuse, Richard & Ginger Rhodes
Yeah, I know. There was no way this was going to be not depressing. I was reading it for research, and it didn’t even tell me anything I didn’t already know. I should have confined this weekend’s research to books about gender roles in fairy tales. Because there is nothing at all depressing about gender roles in fairy tales. If there’s one uplifting subject of study in this world, it’s gender roles in fairy tales.
Brian Boyd’s On the Origin of Stories
Oh yes, and I read this as research too, not at the library but at Bongs & Noodles, in a comfy armchair in the Christian Inspiration section because it was the only free chair, and not really read it but more zipped through looking for things that I would find useful. For a book about evolutionary psychology, I found this book to be surprisingly understandable, and of all the books herein mentioned, On the Origin of Stories is the one with which I was least discontented (by far). My favorite thing that I wrote down for myself to remember from this book is that people find stories most memorable when the characters of the stories cross ontological boundaries. That is an interesting fact.
Noel Streatfeild’s Tennis Shoes
I read this the night before leaving home, and I stomped around the house for a while carrying on about how disappointing I found it. I did find it extremely disappointing. The father pressures his kids into playing tennis because he wants them to be tennis champions for the glory of England, and none of them are particularly fantastic at it. There is no excuse for such blatant badness as there was in Tennis Shoes! She wrote it in between two of her most excellent books, Ballet Shoes and Circus Shoes (or The Circus is Coming as it was also titled)! Why, Noel Streatfeild? Why?
Does it count as a reading slump if you are reading loads of things, and they are simply failing to satisfy you? Also: Given my extreme dissatisfaction, might it not make sense to order Monsters of Men after all from England? And just buy it again when it comes out here in the fall so that I will have matching copies of the whole series?