Monday, March 23, 2009

where did I leave off

I was on such a roll, getting into a good blogging groove when illness struck our family. My six-year-old had one of those 24-hour viruses where the main symptoms are a high fever, muscle aches, and joint pains. Win was a pitiful wreck, and, for two days, I held him close…close enough to catch his bug and have it mutate into something approximating the bubonic plague. For at least a day, I lay on the couch with a headache too fierce to focus on the printed page—which, in my opinion, is the biggest insult. After the fever broke, I felt, amazingly, not better, though I was eventually able to read.

Here we are on a cold, drizzly day in March—the counterpoint to gorgeously sunny and warm spring days—and I am getting my groove back.

I gave up on faithfully reporting on the Tournament of Books. The early-round upsets were exciting, to be sure. The commentary was uninspiring. But, now that I’m feeling better, I have a little more energy to get caught up and will more closely follow the final rounds.

While on my sick bed, I read Little Bee by Chris Cleave, and I think I really liked it. My friend Caryl and I have had many conversations about the novel and the author. While my initial reaction was that story is an important one, I felt it was told in a manipulative way. The reader knows from the flap copy that “something” is going to happen in the story and that it’s probably sensational and that the story hinges on it so the reader needs to keep it a secret. I find that coyness so annoying. And the plot turns really go off like A bombs, with big explosions and lingering effects. As Caryl and I talk, I’ll find myself coming around to really liking the book. There’s certainly a lot to talk about, and I will write more later. My monthly roundup is due soon. Yikes! Are we already at the end of the month?

I went right from Little Bee to Neil Gaiman’s Newbery Award-winning, Hugo Award-nominated The Graveyard Book, which I adore. I know I will read this again. The characters are fantastic, the premise is a Gothic twist on a classic story, and the writing is flawless.

I’m in the middle of a few books that I’d like to finish reading by month’s end so as to really clear the decks for the piles and piles of things I’ve purchased and picked up from the library recently. I’m looking at you Little House on the Prairie, which I started reading back in October after seeing the musical adaptation at The Guthrie, as well as Cold Comfort Farm. Both are 41 for 41 titles, and I'd love to make some progress on that list as my reading year is nearly half done. It would feel so good to put these gems back on the shelf rather than risking their loss in any of the tall piles that populate my house.

It feels good to be back. I'm off to the coffeehouse, where, this morning, I left the library's copy of The Graveyard Book. Thank you Nice Person, who turned the book into the lost-and-found!


Caryl said...

It's good to see you back! I still haven't gotten back to mine after our crazy month of illness. There have been some fun TOB rounds recently; checking on it every weekday morning has become a habit, and I'll miss it when it's over.

We'll talk about Graveyard Book soon. Gaiman rocks. Did you see him on The Colbert Report? I just watched the clip yesterday.

jennifer said...

Hi Caryl, I really miss my blog when I'm away! I miss you on your blog, too! But I know you'll be back soon as you can. Yes, let's talk about Graveyard Book soon--just have a few pages left. Loved, loved, loved it. Saw The Colbert Report yesterday, too, and Gaiman was FANTASTIC, cuz who in their right mind would go on that show. Colbert is CRAZY. Going to go check in with TOB, saw that literary giants were bracketed against each other in advanced rounds...exciting stuff. l8r!