Just in case you haven’t seen this….
The Reading Cave — a bookshelf with a built-in reading nook. Not my style, but interesting nonetheless.
I was browsing a few weeks ago among the fabulous displays done by the Lit staff at the Central Library and happened across a familiar author writing in an unfamiliar genre. Jill Paton Walsh has been one of my top 10 favorite young adult authors ever since Ellin Chu made me read A Parcel of Patterns years ago. Imagine my surprise and delight when I fouund that she’s now writing mysteries for adults.
The Bad Quarto is the latest in her Imogen Quy (rhymes with “why”) series. Imogen is a nurse at St. Agatha’s College, Cambridge University, but moonlights as a part-time sleuth. Devoted mystery readers know that the Universities in England are awash with mystery and intrigue, and in the grand tradition of Dorothy Sayers, St. Agatha’s is no different. This time around, Imogen must unravel the mysterious death of a promising scholar, which becomes tied up with a production of Shakespeare’s “Bad Quarto” version of Hamlet, which which leads her to the daring “night climbers” of Cambridge, and finally to a sad and dangerous young woman.
Imogen is everything we want in a sleuth – single, self-possessed, empathetic, smart, funny, daring — a real Nancy Drew. She handles all the (many) characters throughout the story with aplomb. The story is short, a mere 265 pages, but Paton Walsh packs a lot into that small space — almost too much. There is an over abundance of characters here and I did have some trouble keeping them all straight at times. However, Paton Walsh ties up the ends into a neat little bow, leaving me wanting more of Imogen Quy. I will be looking for her earlier titles now, and waiting for the next in the series.
Here’s an interesting post about the next Harry Potter. Apparently, the editor who discovered Harry and gang has just discovered the next great thing to hit children’s literature — Tunnels, a series about a boy archaeologist who discovers a world of tunnels beneath London. H’mmmmm. Kiki Strike fans? Anything sound familiar?
Am I the only one getting tired of the “Next Harry Potter?” It seems to me that much of the children’s fantasy I’ve read lately is derivative of HP, which of course is derivative in and of itself. The boy hero fighting immeasurable evil supported by two stalwart friends? You children’s lit afficiandos out there should remember the “rule of three” from a multitude of folktales. If not, go find a copy of Best-Loved Folktales of World by Joanna Cole and read a few. You’ll see what I mean. I read Rick Riordan’s newest Percy Jackson book, The Titan’s Curse, last weekend and again was struck by how much the whole plot and character ensemble resembles HP. Of course, the mythology is slightly different but the basic ensemble is the same.
I remember first reading Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone and loving it to pieces. It was something new and exciting and very, very special. I want to feel that way again about a children’s book. Don’t you?
No time to write full reviews right now, so here’s a quick-n-dirty lowdown on my weekend reading for the 48 Hour Book Challenge. Started at 4:00 pm Friday, ended 4:00 pm Sunday.
Total books read: 6
Total pages read: 1773
Books started but not finished: 1
Here’s what’s in my pile of reading for the 48 Hour Reading Challenge.
I’ll be back on Sunday to report…Happy reading everyone!
MotherReader is hosting the second annual 48 Hour Book Challenge June 8-10, and all you readers out there should take this opportunity to do nothing all weekend except read! I threw my hat into the ring last year and spent a very enjoyable weekend getting a head-start on all my summer reading. Here’s my list from last year:
Not sure what I’ll be reading this year, except I know the new Percy Jackson/Rick Riordan book will be in that pile, and perhaps the newest Cotton Malone/Steve Berry thriller.