Friday, August 31, 2012

Something Light, Something Dark

I've been doing some emotionally heavy reading recently. No reason in particular; just the way my choices/holds list have turned out.  My two recent children's books were a welcome relief from the more serious historical fiction and nonfiction that I've been reading.  All are highly recommended:

(no cover image)

Earwig and the Witch

Here's a rarity: a short fantasy novel. Not only that--it's not the first in a series! For those daunted by 400+ multi volume fantasy series, Earwig and the Witch is ideal.  Plucked from her orphanage that was quite nice, thank you very much, Earwig is dismayed to find herself "adopted" by a witch and a demon.  Fortunately, Earwig has her wits about her, and turns her new found knowledge of magic to outwit the witch.  This saucy and entertaining read is sadly, the last novel written by Diana Wynne Jones, who died last March.

The Adventures of Beanboy

I didn't get a chance to read this before it was removed from the new shelf book (it was published in January), and I'm so glad that I finally picked it up.  Tucker McBean is a comic book fiend--he loves reading comic books, collecting comic books, and dreams of drawing his own series one day.  A comic book contest promising publication and money might just be the ticket to help his family's financial situation, now that his parents are divorced.  Although there are plenty of laughs and fun comic drawings, The Adventures of Beanboy touches upon serious subject matters--divorce, financial hardship, and bullying.  Luckily, it's never melodramatic or unbelievable, and is most satisfying. 

The Sandcastle Girls

I read the first two reviewed books after reading The Sandcastle Girls, for I very much needed something light after reading this phenomenal but emotionally intense adult historical novel.  The stories of two women are intertwined in this novel: Elizabeth Endicott, an extremely sheltered nurse serving in 1915's Armenia, and Laura Petrosian, a 21st century American author seeking answers about her Armenian past.  The horrors and tragedies of the Armenian genocide are starkly and heartbreakingly rendered through Chris Bohjalian's unforgettable prose.  These characters are simply unforgettable; Bohjalian is apparently known for surprise twists and turns in his novel; this is very much evident in this novel, especially in the last 50 pages of the story (the ending is just fantastic, incredibly moving, and after such volatile subject matters, very satisfying and hopeful).  Historical fiction fans yearning for something unique and sublime should pick this up.  It is extraordinary.

Have a great Labor Day weekend! The library will be closed this Sunday and Monday in observance of the holiday.

No comments: