Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's About Time...

I have appallingly neglected my poor book site! But I am determined to keep it more up to date.

Where have I heard that before?

At any rate, back to my childhood reading. Once I as old enough to go to the library myself, I went as often as possible, sometimes every day after school. More often in summer when it was hot and the library was a sanctuary of cool relief.

I plowed through fiction and biography in alphabetical order, starting over again when I reached the end in search of new books I hadn’t read yet.

I will describe my all time favorites one by one. I have copies of almost all of them and they are cherished. Even after all these years, they make for wonderful reading, whether you are an adult or a child.

The Good American Witch
Written and illustrated by Peggy Bacon

Peggy Bacon was an American artist (1895-1987) who led a Bohemian life early on and had studied with Ashcan School artists John Sloan and George Bellows.

The Good American Witch
is a series of stories within a story. George and Jenny, age nine, are neighbors and close friends. Jenny’s Uncle Robert comes to visit and tells them stories of Mrs. Manage, the Good American Witch. She can grant any wish, but will require something in return, something that you value. One example is Susan Dibble, who had Dreadful Black Hair. Mrs. Manage will grant her wish for glorious blond curls, but requests her eyebrows as payment!! What Susan chooses is the point of the story. George and Jenny want to know how to find Mrs. Manage. Uncle Robert tells them it is very, very difficult because when she is needed she disguises herself as someone familiar. So you could encounter her and never know it, completely missing your chance. George and Jenny spend the book looking for Mrs. Manage while Uncle Robert tells a variety of stories about her and the children she has granted wishes for.

It is a magical book with a wish-come-true premise, every child’s dream.


Current Reading

When Will There Be Good News?

Kate Atkinson

I recently read When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson. Atkinson is an eclectic English writer, the author of Behind the Scenes at the Museum (which reminded me of I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb) and Case Histories. This is the third in a loose series that started with Case Histories.

When Will There Be Good News?
opens with a horrifying crime that leaves a young family dead, with one little girl surviving. Fast forward to today and a series of events, some related and some unconnected to that original trauma, all build up momentum as people and occurrences crash together, sometimes literally.

While there are many coincidences, Atkinson paces one disaster after another so that while it feels relentless, you keep wanting to know how it will all turn out. A charming anti-heroine is the central character and you root for her with every hard knock that she accepts with equanimity.

The writing is excellent, the dialogue authentic and the ending, while melodramatic, worked for me.

I loved it. Atkinson is a great, creative writer and some images from the book will be with me for a long time.

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