Every now and again, someone will say to me something along the lines of “Hey, you read a lot. Recommend me a book.” And I usually stand there, deer-in-the-headlights style unable to think of any books at all. Then I say something like “Um, well, you know, a lot of people really like Harry Potter.”
So, I thought I would post some recommendations, then I could print up business cards with the URL and hand them out should occasion arise. (Okay, I would never do that. I would just stand there like a deer in the headlights and realize I left my business cards at home.) Today’s theme is “Children’s Books – Is it Weird That I Still Like Them?”
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper: I first read this when I was eleven and loved it so much it left a permanent mark on my life. It has magic, Christmas, snow, sinister forces and a little bit of time travel. It was also made into a ghastly movie a few years ago, which will likely show up on some TV station desperate for Christmas programming. (While I’m not picky about movie versions being like the book, I don’t understand why you would throw out everything cool about the source material. Wouldn’t it be simpler to just start from scratch?) There’s a whole series (of books, not films) which I have read multiple times but this one is the best.
Larklight by Philip Reeve: This books asks “What if the Victorians had colonized space? And there were space pirates?” It’s a lovely easy reading train ride book with pictures (more books should have pictures!). I did read the sequel Starcross and it was … fine. I think perhaps the novelty had worn off for me. But I like novelty as long as, you know, it stays novel, so my fondness for book #1 is undimmed.
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner: This one is the first in a series and I often feel like reading a series has sort of diminishing returns but this time I love all the books so far, even the ones that have stuff that Just Does Not Work For Me. I love that there are so many schemes and some of them don’t work and some of them work even though they shouldn’t and some of them are mostly improvised. As Gen himself says “I love stupid plans.” (It annoys me when complicated schemes look really clever but actually only work out because of a series of coincidences that the schemer couldn’t possibly have orchestrated.)
The Phoenix and The Carpet by E. Nesbit: I think I’ve read the entire works of E. Nesbit but I like this one best. As promised, it has a phoenix and a magic carpet and hijinks (well, the promise of hijinks is implied.) As with so many old books it has some alarmingly racist/sexist/classist moments. Perhaps I’m just a bad person but I usually think of it as Part Of The Deal With Olden Times and it doesn’t bother me. But if it does bother you, I rescind my recommendation.