Misc notes from a weekend with books

Actually, my weekend was spent more with a kitchen cupboard (which I was stripping of its nasty toxic blue paint) than with books. But here are some misc. things from the book part:

Here is perhaps the best review I've ever read of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, by Joan Aiken, with asides on orphans, card cataloguing, Beany Malone, etc. The article is written by Laura Lippman (a writer for grown-ups I've never read), and the website that it appears in, Jezebel, is not one that in general appeals to me (celebrity, sex, and fashion are the topics in its banner). On Fridays, however, Jezebel asks guest columnists to write about their favorite children's and YA books, and I will be going back again to read more. It was also rather nice to see 57 commenters saying how much they loved this book too...

It was my son's birthday on Saturday--he is now 8. Along with Queen's Greatest Hits, which he had specifically requested, and other stuff, we gave him five books, all of which were non-fiction (I guess he's not yet in on the shared secret about fiction vs non-fiction). And it was very gratifying to see him take one of his new books (Building Big, by David Macauley) to camp with him.

He will be reading some fiction this summer, as there are no non-fiction books on his summer reading list. The theme is Mysteries, and they are required to chose three books from a list of authors/series. Surely there are some non-fiction books that follow a mystery format, that could have been included?

And speaking of summer reading books, I was at Barnes and Nobel, buying Queen's Greatest Hits, and wandered over to the summer reading display tables. I was very surprised indeed to see Forever, by Judy Blume (1975), prominently displayed, and have been brooding ever sense about what the person who picked it was thinking. The sex ed part? the historical portrayal of the 70s? the controversies books can stir up? It was banned in my private girl's high school, but we all of course read it anyway.

While I was in B. and N., I just happened to pick up The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which I had tried to buy the day before in the independent bookstore next to the toy store where I spent way too much money on a T. Rex erector set, but they didn't have a copy. I read it in one sitting. It is ironic that when all the reviews shout that there's a spoiler they aren't going to talk about, the book actually acquires a slight spoiled-ness, because you know a twist is coming. I had vaguely thought that Jenna becomes a goddess in some futuristic setting, and was a bit disappointed when I figured out very soon (page 2) that this wasn't going to happen.

Then I went back to the kitchen and did some sanding.


  1. How funny you should mention Jenna Fox. I think that that is true. Even without meaning too, us reviewers have given away what kind of book it is. Not the details just the type. It's the type of book that's hard to review. You want to say, "just trust me it's good. Read it when you can!" But yet you feel you owe it more than two sentences. :)

  2. I know what you mean--I'm kind of glad I feel no obligation to review it, since it's been written about so much elsewhere!


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