I was starting to feel all “oh, poor me, I never get to read books anymore because I’m so busy,” but then last night I tallied it up and realized I’ve finished 9 books in May, which equals a book every-other-day. Which is pretty much my standard for acceptable reading dosages. And pretty remarkable considering I had two papers due yesterday. And taking the papers into consideration, I managed to have a pretty good weekend. Lis came for a quick-but-wonderful visit, and we tried the new Staccato Gelato in the neighborhood. Kate and I used to mourn the absence of a gelato shop in this neck of the woods, and one has arrived just in time for the terribly hot weather. It was perfect. I also managed to fit in a trip to the farmer’s market, several books, and an afternoon spent sitting in the shade in the yard, with my laptop plugged in through a series of cords to enable the simultaneous torture of homework and pleasure of the fresh air and sunshine.
I read a few quick-and-delightful juv titles, which felt very in keeping with the summery weather. I felt like I should write the titles on my reading log and pop into the library to get a prize out of the prize box. Except 1) summer reading doesn’t start until June 1 and 2) I’m too old for summer reading.
The first was Hilary McKay’s Forever Rose, the sequel to Saffy’s Angel, Indigo’s Star, Permanent Rose, and Caddy Ever After, by the ever-fab Hilary McKay. I would love to see what her house looks like. At any rate, it was the usual blend of some issues (poor Rose is feeling quite neglected and alone in the house, the dad is absent as usual and the mom has bronchitis and all her siblings are off and busy, her new teacher is hilariously terrible, and people are trying to get her to read but she doesn’t want to) and humor and characters with heart.
Then I picked up the sequel to Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks, called The Penderwicks on Gardam Street. It’s been a while since I read the first one, so I just have vague memories, but this one was thoroughly enjoyable and could stand on its own. It runs a real range, from pre-school Batty and her adventures around the neighborhood, to 8th grade Rosalind who is learning Latin in an attempt to figure out what their botanist father is talking about. The plot is quite predictable, but somehow that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of it. It seems like it would make a good family read-aloud, and I would be curious to know actual results of such an experiment. Would a middle school student think it too babyish? Would an elementary-aged child miss too much of the humor and find it boring? Is it really just a book for adults feeling nostalgic? I have no idea.
Now I’m reading Elizabeth Knox’s Dreamhunter – I read the sequel after it won a Printz Honor, and now I’m going back to see how much backstory I was really missing. I still thought the sequel – Dreamquake – was great, and I’m looking forward to spending more time in the world of the books. I also just noticed that Knox has handful of other books, which I might have to try later. It gives me a delicious sense of the world of possibilities expanding – more books to read! (As if I would ever run out.)