Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

December 21

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Sunday Salon: Keys & Graveyards, Unicorns & Interludes, and a Few Ghosts for Good Measure

by Ann-Katrina

Welcome to another edition of the Sunday Salon where I discuss the book of the moment, along with titles I’ve finished (and are still in need of reviews), and what’s upcoming on the TBR list.

I know that there was another book on the TBR list ahead of this, but I couldn’t resist Duma Key any longer.

Plus, I’m not quite in the mood for another historical right at this moment; it seems my internal gearshift is stuck in fantasy, horror, thriller mode and won’t easily come out.

As a result, my eye-sockets are firmly glued to Mr. King’s words. It’s a nice change of pace from the fantasy, fairytale style reading I’ve been consuming lately—not that it hasn’t been wonderful. (See the ‘in need of review’ section for more details.)

That said, I’ve already read the first few pages of The Reluctant Widow and based on that, something tells me I’ll enjoy the experience. (Keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t sink somewhere in the middle, but that’s doubtful.)

Completed and In Need of Reviews

The reading of The Last Unicorn took me a bit longer than expected, not because I wasn’t enthralled by the book, but because of time constraints. Luckily I was able to finish it this week and upon closing the book, I felt a sadness plucking at my heart. Although I know that all fairytales must eventually come to an end, I didn’t want this one to.

One thing I loved about this fairytale was that each of the characters were flawed in some way, including the unicorn (and she is flawed in a somewhat unexpected way).

I even felt compelled to watch the DVD (which recently arrived) and, being the absolute softy that I am, found myself tearing up. It’s amazing how true to story the animation is—with only a few noticeable changes.

Definitely a story that will live with me forever and one I will be happy to share with my future children and hopefully they will see fit to share it with their children. Full review to come.

Into the Land of the Unicorns Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville was not a planned title. It arrived a few days ago, just as I was finishing up The Last Unicorn and was still reeling from the loss. When I held up the book, it was slimmer than I expected with a large font and only 160 pages.

On a whim, I decided I wasn’t quite ready to let go of the unicorns just yet and I started reading it. A few hours of leisurely reading later, I was closing yet another book I didn’t want to end. In fact, the story floated by so quickly, I consider it more of an interlude between books. *sigh*

At the end of the day, let’s just say that I absolutely must get the second (and third) book in the Unicorn Chronicles. A full review to come.

A Technique for Producing Ideas A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young was the final interlude before Duma Key.

It was an even quicker read coming in at roughly 45 pages, with large print. Though some cursed it for its length, it was the selling point for me.

A nice pithy guide on the process of preparing yourself to mine your mind for ideas. I’ll also review this with time permitting.

Next on the Reading List

The Graveyard Book Once I finish Duma Key, I will be starting on The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

I’ve been hearing so many wonderful things about this book, and after my reading of Coraline, I’m hooked on Gaiman. Plus, the book was also recommended to me in the comments.

And with a description like this, how could I possibly go wrong?

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family. . . .

Plus, I’ve always found the retelling of classic fairytales and stories from a different or modern perspective rather interesting.

A Certain Slant of Light Assuming that my macabre trend continues, I’ll start on A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb next.

I remember hearing about it, but can’t recollect where. At first, it didn’t call to me. The cover seemed relatively creepy, but I had no idea what the story was about and even less desire to find out.

Then, after finishing up with a recent purchase, I saw it recommended by Amazon and thought why not? so I clicked over and read the description.

Helen died 130 years ago as a young woman. Unable to enter heaven because of a sense of guilt she carried at death, she has been silent and invisible but conscious and sociable across the generations.

Her spirit has been sustained by its attachment to one living human host after another, including a poet and, most recently, a high-school English teacher.

While she sits through his class one day, she becomes aware of James and he–unlike the mortals all around them–is aware of her as well. James, who also died years earlier, inhabits the body of a contemporary teen, Billy.

James and Helen fall in love, he shows her how to inhabit the body of a person whose spirit has died but who still lives and breathes, and the two begin to unfold the mysteries of their own pasts and those of their adolescent hosts.

Enough said. Hooked.

(If my macabre trend does not continue, it will be The Reluctant Widow as originally scheduled. :) )

Comments on Sunday Salon: Keys & Graveyards, Unicorns & Interludes, and a Few Ghosts for Good Measure

  1. # Brie wrote on December 21, 2008 at 11:46 pm:

    I saw Duma Key in the store the other day and thought about getting it, but held off because I wanted to wait for your review. Fingers crossed that it is good.

    Are the Unicorn Chronicles YA, Children’s or Adult Fantasy?

    A Certain Slant of Light sounds like something that I would enjoy reading. I’ll have to look it up. Hopefully it’s on paperback swap.

    Happy Sunday Salon!

  2. # Ann-Kat wrote on December 22, 2008 at 12:03 am:

    LOL, Brie. I’m almost certain Duma Key will be good, but keep those fingers crossed…just in case. :D

    The Unicorn Chronicles are children/mid-grade literature, but from the first book, it’s quite well put together. I found myself feeling Cara’s tension and emotion as she journeyed through Luster, the land of unicorns and I actually squealed when the book ended. LOL

    I’m still a bit upset that I passed up A Certain Slant of Light (it’s a YA title, btw) like I did. If you do happen to get it before I have a chance to start it, I’d love to hear your review. :D

  3. # Brie wrote on December 22, 2008 at 1:30 pm:

    Thanks for letting me know. I was looking for something to read to my daughter’s and I’m not sure if the book will be too advanced for them to follow. I’ll have to check it out further before buying.

    I couldn’t find A certain Slant of Light on PBS :( . I’ll probably have to order it.

  4. # Ann-Kat wrote on December 23, 2008 at 12:56 pm:

    How old are your daughters?

    This would be a lovely book to a child who’s 7 or 8+. There’s nothing overly complicated about the storyline (Cara is sent to find “The Old One” in the land of Luster when a hunter comes after her and her grandmother) and there are plenty of interesting creatures to captivate them.

    You may need to pause and explain of a few things, define a few words, but the gist is easy to grasp.

  5. # Brie wrote on December 24, 2008 at 1:14 pm:

    They are 4 & 2 so a bit too young for it, I think. But I will probably still look into it for myself. Thanks!

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