Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Meeting Shannon Hale

So I have read her blog for four or five years, devoured her books, preached her gospel of fantastic fantasy, spread her good literature like a virus... and finally got to meet her. Shannon Hale, authoress extraordinaire, winner of the Newbery Honor, best-selling writer and wonderful person.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Brief Aside: Marley and Me

What college students do in their nonexistent free time (and you think I'm kidding) is read five-year-old bestsellers that everyone else read before it was popular and quotes on a daily basis.

Marley and Me: The Collegiate Perspective

I can't review a book that's been made into a movie. It's impossible. But I told myself that I would not cry during this book and found myself devastating the one Kleenex box I packed. John's story of his home life, his kids, his writing and above all his dog was just too heart-breaking for this first-year, however free from homesickness.

When in South Florida, John Grogan missed trees and hills and beautiful places. I have trees and hills and beautiful places, but I miss dogs and kids. Not even my dogs and kids. I miss seeing little runny noses and "MOM! I WANT THAT!" and dogs urinating on city property and running up with the most intelligent looks on their faces. There is a world outside of eighteen-year-old scholars; I think I've read about it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Bell at Sealey Head: A Review

The Bell at Sealey Head
by Patricia A. McKillip

In this 2008 release by a World Fantasy Award winner, the inhabitants of sleepy Sealey Head are shaken when a mysterious stranger arrives to inspect the mystical bell that rings every night. His arrival sets off a chain of romances, adventures, discoveries and unravelled secrets full of magic and mayhem.

The best quality of this book is its sense of place. McKillip does a superb job of adding details and story tidbits to make you feel like Sealey Head exists. It's a British-esque town in an unnamed magical land, just enough removed from history to make it fantasy. Her style of writing-- halfway between formality and casual banter-- suits the telling, reminding me of Victorian fairy tales. I quibbled a little with the character developement: none of her protagonists seemed to change. They may get lost or get married or free themselves from an overlord, but inwardly they remained the same. Some of the romantic sections seemed a bit childish.

Overall, this is a stunning fantasy and suited for readers of every age. Don't miss Sealey Head, and don't be put off by the "small town" mindset.