Sunday, April 18, 2004

Another Neil Gaiman Book

I've been sick this weekend, which is why 1. I couldn't see Hellboy last night; 2. I couldn't go bicycling today; and 3. I'm back here so soon.

However, it was the kind of sickness that leaves you feeling that it's acceptable to read instead of cleaning, doing yardwork, and other weekend slave activities. So I finished reading Stardust. I thought the first two chapters were really ho-hum fantasy (little village near the land of Fairy, sometime in the past, lad of mysterious birth) and the ending was sort of flat. I prefer a big climactic scene like the ones in some other Gaiman books such as American Gods and Good Omens. However, the central material had lots of unique stuff that made me want to keep reading.

It was, though, one of those mythic journey stories about a guy finding his birth right and his beautiful maiden. While I know those have a long and honorable tradition in our culture, I do feel I've read it before.

I am still a Gaiman fan and will continue to make my way through his works as I stumble upon them here and there, now and again.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

A Busy April

No more whining! I have nearly finished my scheduled school and bookstore visits. All things considered, everything went very well. I only had trouble getting to one place, a bookstore appearance, and the manager was just lovely about it. The school presentations have gone well so far, even though I had to do four different presentations in one day. By four different I do not mean that I had to do the same presentation four times. I do that all the time. No sweat. I mean that I was speaking to kids in such a wide range of grades that I had to come up with new material for some of them. Then I did an evening talk on the history behind The Hero of Ticonderoga. I've done that before, but not often so I did have to do some planning.

What I have learned this spring: A. from talking to a bookstore owner and a young woman who joined her PTA rep mom and me for dinner, it appears that teenagers do read YA. Conventional wisdom suggests that they don't, that twelve and thirteen year olds read YA and older teenagers read adult fiction or nothing at all. Which just goes to show you can't believe everything you hear. B. After reading the first few pages of Prince Whiskers (have I mentioned that here?) to two kindergarten classes I now know I need to make some changes. What's more, I know what some of those changes should be. and C. Grade school kids really aren't terribly interested in the Puritans and Enlightenment philosophy. Which is so sad, because it's fascinating!

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Alex Awards

Here is something I found out about a while back and have been holding on to so I could post it here. (What an elegant lead in, huh?)

The Alex Awards are given for the 10 best adult books for young adults. That doesn't mean they were written for young adults. They are adult books that either the award committee members think young adults would like or would be suitable for them or improving in some way or something. I can't tell from the description.

I like the idea, though. And I like going through the list to see what I've read.

I have this fear that I've written about this award before, but I couldn't find a reference to it when I did a search. And, let's face it, who's going to look?