The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
A baby arrives at a graveyard. Mrs. Owens, one of the graveyard's inhabitants, sees the ghost of the baby's mother, and promises to take care of the dead woman's son. He is assigned to the guardianship of a graveyard denizen with the ability to step into the outside world, and spends his days learning from ghosts and generally growing into a sharp and probably very attractive young man, while also wondering, in the back of his mind, who killed his parents.
All of this is presented in a very matter-of-fact way, as British authors are wont to present things, but as it is Neil Gaiman it is also beautiful. It's last year's Newberry winner, and I do believe it perfectly fits the bill for what a Newberry should be: a coming-of-age tale for children
which yet has layers upon layers meant to be read and reread at all stages in life. Also it is creepy and involves lots of death without being ridiculously depressing about it--most of the main characters are dead. That's life.
It's been probably about a month since I finished it, so I'm a little rusty on how to talk about it--and having another book on the brain that I want to talk about isn't helping. So let's see, what are my criteria for judging a book that I made up last time? Plot: It's really a series of connected short stories with an overarching plot that I found a bit unsatisfying--more on that in the spoilers section--but the general Bod-grows-up was just so beautiful
. And there's suspense and mystery and fun too. Characters: Very quietly drawn, and I really really liked Bod and how he turned out, and Liza is fantastic. Setting: GENIUS. GAH. GENIUS. SO GOOD. SO GOOD
. Sentences: It's Neil Gaiman. He presents the reader with information and trusts the reader to do their job with it; he's subtle, and fun, and quietly wise, and also I love hearing him say the word "book," which has nothing to do with his sentences but sort of does because you have to have an appreciation for the way words sound in order to write well.
ANYWAY, GO READ IT, IT'S EXCELLENT.( spoilers/fangirly reactions/criticisms )
BUT REALLY, I LOVED THIS BOOK. I need to purchase it. It would be good to have around.All's Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque
Paul and some of his classmates are in the German army towards the end of World War I. They have PTSD and severe detachment issues, although this was before people knew how to diagnose such things, let alone help people heal from them. There are lots of bombs and viscera and bullets and bayonets and some French girls and lice and war sucks and I hate it.
So this book is fabulous but I don't understand why they're giving it to the sophomores
to read because they're right smack dab in the middle of the infallibility phase of adolescence, without the catch of being close in age to the protagonist of the story, like seniors or second-semester juniors. Also I am mildly concerned about whether or not the students will get adequate background before jumping into this novel. Like, it is not enough to say Germany lost WWI (although I certainly hope that gets said). I think you need to at least provide a general sense of the devastation of WWI...which, yes, is the point of the novel, but idk.
Anyway this novel was very depressing. I threw it on the floor when I reached the last page. There are two types of novels that get this treatment: Twilight
, and Of Mice and Men
. AQonWF belongs to the latter category of "Classic Novels of Literature Meant to Make You Feel Bad About Everything
," although it gets many more points for being about WWI and being from the POV of the loser
and for being about real war in real places (not that Of Mice and Men
is about fake things, but seriously, that novel exists to make you feel bad).
So I didn't...like it? I mean I deeply respected it and appreciated it and think people ought to read it, but jeeze
, you guys. Although a tiny book it is not to be taken lightly. (Also, it satisfied my Gross and Violent quota for the year. Rather like dystopian works, I can do one, maybe two a year, but I have to space them out a lot because I do not enjoy them much at all, and I try to read only the good ones so at least there's something salvageable when I'm done.)
"Okay," I said, when I finished it, "I could go without reading about intestines and stomachs outside of people's bodies and blood for like the next year now."Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
So this book tells the story of Piscine Molitor Patel, who goes by Pi, who is living life grandly with his family in India while his father is a zookeeper until such time they make the decision to move to Canada, and the boat they're on sinks, and Pi get stuck on a lifeboat with a tiger. And then he has to survive.
Lots of animals die in the reading of this story, and their guts are discussed at great length. What did I do wrong in a past life
Seriously, though, um, I don't really have a review of it that doesn't involve spoilers, and I'm kind of hoping to find someone to discuss me out of my rage, and to convince me that there was a point to reading this book and that it is not simply yet another example of "Classic Novels of Literature Meant to Make You Feel Bad About Everything
." So onto the spoilers!( SERIOUS SPOILERS. SERIOUS SPOILERS FOR THE ENDING OF THIS NOVEL. )
OKAY I HAVE TO CLEAN MY KITCHEN NOW. <3<3<3<3ETA:
IT IS SNOWING LOVIE WILL NEVER MAKE IT HOME ONOEZ DAUGHTER OF EVE EDIT: LOVIE MADE IT HOME YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY
OUR OVEN IS DYING PLEASE PRAY FOR IT
ALSO PRAY FOR SNOW DAY TOMORROW? SON OF ADAM EDIT: SNOW DAY TOMORROW WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
but most importantly
today I stopped by the library and picked up the two books that were on hold for me. Granted, they're going to the bottom of my TBR pile, but they areThe Blood Confession
by Alisa Libby
andThe Bone Key
by Sarah Monette
FINALLY BOOTH YOU ARE IN MY HANDS AND MINE, ALL MINE
*does a dance*