Monday, November 30, 2009

It Definitely Was Something We Said

On Saturday, my sister and I were at a family gathering where we started talking about The Sparrow, Twilight, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. After listening to what we had to say about the books, our aunt said, "I don't read, and now I'm glad I don't."

Well, I guess it's good to make your auntie happy.

Rest assured, we did sell one of our cousins on The Sparrow and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Can't Have Too Much Balance

I like to find balance in many situations, so I was attracted to the series of Balancing Acts posts last week at Through the Tollbooth. I particularly liked the first one, Writing for yourself vs. writing for an audience, for this bit: "...we are guests in a reader's hands. How long do we dare go on about our hemorrhoids, he asks? Yes, we have to write for us. But we have to remember there is a reader out there who will toss our book aside for another if we are too isolated, too acute in a personal agenda, too insensitive to his or her needs as a reader."

Repeat the part about "too isolated, too acute in a personal agenda."

Found by way of Cynsations.

Kids Understand Blurbs

Oz and Ends has a post up regarding a child's response to book blurbs. I will say nothing more.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas Explained For You. Or Not.

You will enjoy Diary: Malcolm Gladwell a great deal more if you have listened to Gladwell reading his book Outliers. Which I have done. In fact, if you haven't at least read one of Gladwell's books, you might not enjoy this Vanity Fair piece at all.

Sorry. I just had to send this link to somebody.

Dahl's Shift From Adult To Children's Fiction

Slate has a piece called Outfoxed about Roald Dahl's move from writing short fiction for adults to novels for children.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Thanks For Getting The Second Book In A Series"

I rather liked the first volume of Jellaby by Kean Soo. Well, except for the part about the book not having an ending, of course. But I try to be open-minded about the whole serial thing. I do understand that once the serial is completed, a reader can go through every volume and have a complete reading experience.

But you really do have to have access to every volume in order to get that experience. Jellaby: Monster in the City, begins with Chapter Six, the first five chapters appearing in the first volume. Even I, who had liked that first book, had trouble getting into the story and the characters again. I had trouble seeing how the actual monster carrying-on in this book was related to the first book. And I can't tell if this book is the end of the story. The first book ended right in the middle of some action. This one ends at a point that could be an ending or could be a calm between storms.

How might someone who is being exposed to this serial for the first time with the second book respond? "Thanks for getting the second book in a series," was what I heard from a family member who read Monster in the City after finding it here at Chez Gauthier. Read that "Thanks" as meaning "What were you thinking?"

While I do understand the attraction of a completed serial, as a writer I still have a lot of trouble understanding why I would want to intentionally write a book that won't be accessible to many readers as an individual work. Even once the serial is completed, so many libraries don't carry all the volumes of a series. You often can't find them all in bookstores. I want to communicate with readers. I want to be understood. A real serial puts up so many obstacles that can prevent that happening.

I will say, though, that Jellaby: Monster in the City had a cool twist on the Puff the Magic Dragon storyline. Think Puff the Magic Dragon meets Fringe or The X-Files. But you have to make your way through half the book to get there.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Love Children. They Are Delicious.

I don't usually read blog reviews, but the title of the book involved in this one at Tea Cozy was just too eye catching. The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children--the title is so brilliant that maybe the author didn't have to do anything else after he came up with that.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Fights are awful, and messy, and desperate, and things move so fast and one mistake could end it"

The above is a quote from Derek Landy, black belt in Kenpo Karate and author of the Skullduggery Pleasant novels. He is interviewed at Finding Wonderland as part of the Winter Blog Blast Tour.

You know what else fights are? Exhausting, meaning that it is highly unlikely they would ever last as long as they do in the movies.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I Missed The Real Fun

Check out Marc Tyler Nobleman's blog post about the Connecticut Children's Book Fair. Be sure to scroll down to the photographs that look as if they were taken at a crime scene.

By the time all this was going down, I was back from my trip to the ER, had finished my calm down reading, and was asleep. It's probably a toss up as to who got more sleep that night.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reading Is Manly

The Art of Manliness has an article up called 50 Best Books for Boy and Young Men. I can't help but notice that I've read maybe half of them.

This site intrigues me so that I'm going to sit down right now and send a link to all the men in my family.

Doesn't This Make You Want To Run Out And Find One Of Her Books?

I've never read anything by Enid Blyton, at least, that I'm aware of. However, learning that her work was banned by the BBC for thirty years make her sound very desirable to me. Evidently, her work was disliked by many people. And, yet, one of these articles says she is supposed to have sold over 600 million books. Hmmm.

Less Canoodling, More Dogging

It is Cybil season, and while I am not cybilizing, myself, I am fondly recalling days when I was. Thus, when I stumbled upon Bloodhound: Beka Cooper, Book Two by Tamora Pierce, I jumped right on it because I liked the first book in the series, Terrier, which was nominated for a Cybil...oh, I don't know. Back the year I was a panelist for scifi/fantasy.

The Beka Cooper books have a lot of things going against them as far as I'm concerned--made up worlds and words and names and societies. (No fairies or dragons so far, thank God.) What makes them so very readable for me is that they are police procedurals. Beka and her companions are "dogs," her society's equivalent of police officers, with crimes to solve. In this world, the dogs and the rats (or criminals) are sometimes not that different. But you see that in police procedurals of all kinds.

Bloodhound wasn't as strong a book for me as Terrier for two reasons: 1. Beka is given a love interest, and 2. I noticed a lot more attention to details.

The love interest seemed like a diversion that took away from the plot. Yes, we don't know if the love interest is a good guy or a bad guy but that wasn't enough to keep me from wondering when we were going to get away from Dale touching Beka here and there so we could move back to the story.

That story also kept stopping so we could get descriptions of clothing and jewelry--how many earrings this guy wore in his right earlobe versus how many and what kind he wore in his left, what kind of brocade was on this or that tunic. Sure, detail enriches a piece of writing, but there is a tipping point after which the reader is just buried in the stuff.

We also got more talk about who was sleeping with whom than I think we needed. I didn't think it supported the story or moved it along. Okay, this is a world that is cool with sex. I got that early on. I wanted to move on to the crime!!

Now, I was also a little put off by a bit of discussion of gender issues, as in some talk on the place of women. I like a world where women crack skulls and no one talks about whether or not they should be doing it. But evidently these Beka Cooper books are part of an extended world that Pierce has created, and in this world's future things will be different for women. Pierce discusses the "Cult of the Gentle Mother" in an interview at The Torch Online.

Clearly, I found this outing with Beka a little disappointing, but not so much so that I won't be looking for Mastiff, the final book in this trilogy, which will come out sometime next year.

Bloodhound has been nominated for a Cybil this year.

Would She Have Loved Him If He'd Lived In A Box And Walked To School?

Fair Hypocrites: Twilight By Way Of Pamela is a really interesting take on the Twilight books by Emily Colette Wilkinson. It appears at The Millions, which I only recently discovered. However, I was directed to this particular article by someone at Adbooks.

Money Changes Hands With Many Awards, By The Way

Salon has an interesting story up today called Vanity Book Awards about one specific award that appears to make a winner or finalist of every book that enters and pays the entry fee.

What many members of the book-reading public may not be aware of is that some very legitimate book awards require entry fees. According to its website, there's a $125 entry fee for the National Book Awards (not $69 as the Salon article indicates) and publishers, who must enter the books, have to agree to come up with another $1,000 if the book becomes a finalist. Some of the state book awards (not to be confused with the state readers' choice awards for children's books) also require an entry fee.

There's nothing wrong with this, but I think the public should be aware that awards are given for the best book entered in the event, that not every book out there is considered. It wouldn't be possible to consider every book out there (the Salon article says 400,000 books are published each year in the U.S), and, sure, not every book out there is worthy of consideration. But money comes into the picture when making the decision about what is worthy to consider. And that means the people putting up the money have to make some shrewd decisions about which books they're going to gamble on.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Like Memoir But Different

I was reading How Memoirs Took Over the World at Salon in which Laura Miller begins her article on Memoir: A History by Ben Yagoda with the question "Has the memoir become the "central form" of our culture, as Ben Yagoda insists in his breezy new consideration of the form, "Memoir: A History"?" She later says that today material that was once written as fiction (she uses The Bell Jar as an example) would more likely be written as memoir. And, of course, she mentions the story of how James Frey couldn't find a publisher for A Million Little Pieces when he was trying to sell it as a novel, but when he (or somebody) decided to call it a memoir, it was a go.

As I started reading this article about the ascendancy of the memoir, I immediately started thinking of all the first-person fictions in children's books and YA. Couldn't these "I" books be described as pseudo-memoirs? With the use of "I" isn't the author trying to create the illusion of a memoir?

So what's that about?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Good Times...Good Times

This year's Connecticut Children's Book Fair was a great day for me. My presentation went well, pretty well attended and with me coming in under the twenty-minute time frame I had been given so that the audience had time to ask questions. Plus my PowerPoint slides were some of the nicest I saw because my computer guy is an artist.

For my signings I was set up between Pegi Deitz Shea, who I've known for years, and P.W. Catanese, who, I learned when attending his presentation, has sold over half a million books. Pegi has a new book out Noah Webster, Weaver of Words, illustrated by Monica Vachula. Very attractive. And Paul (see, I'm among those people who know the "P" in "P.W." stands for Paul) has a new series, The Book of Umber.

Leslea Newman did a great presentation about her book Hachiko Waits. Marc Tyler Nobleman's talk was terrific, too, especially when he started in on Superman because who doesn't love Superman?

Remember Janet Lawler, whom I mentioned back in September? She is my new B.F.F. We bonded in the green room and then ate dinner together in the evening.

I also met the children's services librarian who maintains Jacket Whys a blog on Children's and YA book covers. I won't out her by giving her name (though I'm among those people who know it) because she doesn't use it in her "About" section.

Before I left the house yesterday morning, I explained to a family member that I hadn't invited anyone to attend the dinner with me because I didn't want anyone to see how poorly I schmooze. He agreed that it would be a painful thing to watch. However, I pretty much schmoozed all day (except for an hour break late in the afternoon when I did some more reading of Walden at the library.) I even made it through the forty-five minute pre-dinner cocktail ordeal pretty much unscathed, too.

Oh! Oh! Lois Lowry ate dinner at the table next to mine! I didn't notice until dessert, though. I had a camera in my bag, and I could have tried to sneak pictures of her, but it would have been tacky. Someone asked me if I could give Lois (I'm not among those people who can call her Lois, but she'll never know.) instructions on how to get back to her hotel, and I offered to give her a ride. But by that time, she'd already left the building. It was just as well, because while I know I could have gotten her there (it was within walking distance of the Dodd Center, where we ate), it might have taken me a couple of shots to find the right tiny, cramped road to turn onto.

So I left feeling very professional and more positive about work than I have been, but then...but then...but then I ended up spending an hour and a half or so in a hospital emergency room in the middle of the night with one of the elders!

Where, I am ashamed to say, I read still more of Walden while he was off having tests. And I read more of it today after we brought him home.

What a wild ride, huh?

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Connecticut Children's Book Fair Is Tomorrow

In my enthusiasm for moaning and groaning about the miserable situation for writers these days, I almost forgot to remind everyone that I will be at the Connecticut Children's Book Fair tomorrow. It's on the UConn-Storrs campus, in the Rome Ballroom. (Rome Hall.) I'll be there from 11 to 2 or thereabouts. I'm speaking at 12:15.

I have a PowerPoint presentation, for those of you who enjoy slides. Everyone enjoys slides, right?


Last night I was reading Straight Talk on Tough Times For Writers at Mitali's Fire Escape. (I'm not really stalking Mitali. I'm just catching up on my author blog reading; Concord posts will always catch my eye, and this year the same is true for posts on agents.) That post led me to this one at Pub Rants (which I would have read eventually because I read Pub Rants, but I'm behind on reading my agent and editor blogs, too). All bad news, my little lads and lasses, that is definitely affecting me.

Then this morning I received an e-mail announcement regarding the new issue of Narrative. They're headlining a piece about Robert Olen Butler writing forty-four stories, five novels, and (if you read the actual article) a dozen full-length plays that were never published. You have to sign up to read the material, but the article is short. I'm afraid it's a lot of the usual stuff about writing from the place where you dream, the unconscious, and what all. I am of the gritting your teeth and willing your work into existence school that Butler isn't so fond of.

Perhaps this explains why Robert Olen Butler is Robert Olen Butler, and I am Gail Gauthier. You might notice that we've both had books translated into Japanese, however. I'm Butleresque in that way.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Want To Go To Concord!

I so wanted to get back to Concord last spring. Or this fall. Or anytime. It's not going to happen this year. Knowing that Mitali Perkins has recently been to both Walden Pond and Orchard House only rubs salt in the wound.

Orchard House is wonderful.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Some Cybils Fantasy/SciFi Titles And Authors

Sheila Ruth has the list of 2009 Fantasy/SciFi Cybils Nominees up at Wands and Worlds. I noticed some familiar titles and authors. Among them:

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan.

Ottoline Goes To School by Chris Riddell.

Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman.

Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run by Michael Hemphill and Sam Riddleburger.

Authors I've read with nominated titles I haven't read:

Joni Sensel, Jonathan Stroud, Anne Ursu, M. T. Anderson, Angie Sage, Derek Landy, Michael Buckley, P.J. Haarsma, and Holly Black.

And, finally, I noticed that Pamela F. Service is nominated for Camp Alien. It's been years since I've read anything by Service, but she is memorable at Chez Gauthier for Stinker From Space.

For someone who isn't a major fantasy fan, I seem to have read a lot of it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Sweet Natured Little Devil

I have to say that if I had a gun pointed to my head and was told to choose a book from any book award list, I'd choose something from the Printz. I've had a lot more luck with finding enjoyable reads from those winners and honor books than with any other award.

Repossessed by A.M. Jenkins was a Printz Honor Book in 2008. It's marvelously witty but also very moral. In fact, at some points the book teeters on becoming a bit instructive--"girls with big butts are worthy of love," for instance. I think the sophistication of the moral issues saves it from going over the edge into preachiness. The book is too serious--in a funny way--to be a sermon.

Repossessed is the story of a demon who has had all he can take of hell for a while and steps into the body of a teenage boy who was about to step in front of a truck and buy the farm, as we used to say back in college. The kid wasn't going to have a use for the body in a couple of minutes, so our demonic friend, Kiriel, hasn't really done any harm. He's hell bent on experiencing material life, though he doesn't think he's going to get to do it for very long. He will be missed.

But not by the Creator, who has never noticed him. Kiriel clearly is suffering--or at least has an attitude--because of his separation from God. For those of us who taught Sunday school for years and years...and years...this suffering because of separation from God will sound very familiar. Jenkins is dealing with what appears to me to be a very Christian concept. (Though I can't guarantee it doesn't occur in other faiths, too.)

Hell is interesting in Repossessed. The damneds' eternal torment is due to the guilt they, themselves, feel for their human behavior.

One of the many things I liked about this book was the treatment of Jason, the younger brother of the boy Kiriel has replaced. Jason clearly has ADHD, but the term is never used. ADHD books often involve some of that instructive stuff I was talking about earlier, so that we all know what's going on. In this one we're just shown this poor boy whose behavioral problems have led him to a sad, solitary life.

A thought I had while reading this book--This is definitely YA, dealing with the theme of what will I do with myself? (Kiriel wants to make a difference, wants to have a hand in shaping things, which is what led to his becoming a fallen angel in the first place.) But if Jenkins had placed her demon in an adult's body and given him adult concerns, she could have easily turned this into an adult book. Not that I'm saying she should have. It was just something I thought about as I was reading.

You can catch an interview and question and answer session (in the comments) with A.M. Jenkins at YA Authors Cafe and another interview at Cynsations.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Interesting Bits From The Horn Book

Though I haven't read any of its articles, I have whipped through the new Horn Book's reviews. Two things jumped out at me.

1. I had never even heard of the Cathars until a couple of months ago when I read the second book in The Youngest Templar serial. Then I stumbled upon them again while doing some quick research on the historical figures in a book by Geoffrey Trease. Well, the Horn Book's review of White Heat by K.M.Grant tipped me off that the Cathars are back in another novel. White Heat is the second part of a Cathar story. K. M.Grant wrote one of my favorite recent historical novels, How the Hangman Lost His Heart.

2. In all the angst this past summer over the cover of Justine Larbalestier's new book, Liar, I totally missed that it's a...Oh, wait. Larbalestier makes a big deal at her website about not giving away any spoilers, and perhaps this is a big one. So I won't repeat what The Horn Book reviewer let slip. (Assuming she let anything slip, because the book is called Liar.) But, still, somehow I got the impression earlier this year that the book was just a teenage problem novel. I am much more likely to read it now that I know that it's

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I Want To Go To Concord!

I've been writing about reading Walden at my Amazon blog. Mitali Perkins was actually at Walden Pond last month! I have a family member going to Concord one morning a week for a while, and I thought of tagging along. But since I'm down to writing only three days a week these days, I can't lose that much time.

Besides, I do have a picture of myself standing in front of Walden Pond. It's just so old that it predates our digital camera. I may try to find it to post when I finally finish reading the book.

New Respect For The Original

I saw the Twilight movie last night. Wow. It really makes the book look like art, doesn't it?

I thought the thing Stephanie Meyer did very well in the original Twilight was create sexual tension. The first book really was kind of hot. The attempts to reproduce said tension in the movie were funny. My favorite sexual chemistry scenes take place in the biology lab, particularly when Bella poses in front of a fan like some kind of teen model with her hair flying around and looks over to see Edward with his hand over his nose because her scent is being blown toward him, and he can't stand it. Talk about meeting cute.

I've been invited to a private showing of New Moon on the morning of opening day. I'm planning to go because I've never been to a private showing of anything. I hope I don't laugh out loud the way I did last night.

I've heard there's a new director for this second movie, so I was thinking that maybe Edward would be allowed to hold his head normally this time around instead of keeping his chin on his chest. That looks so uncomfortable. And it would be terrific if someone did something about the weird lighting that makes all the characters look white with bright red lips. The trailer suggests that I can forget about that happening.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Are Formulas Important For Some Reason?

You may have noticed that I'm on a little graphic novel kick this fall. That's why I picked up Amulet Book One: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi.

What really struck me about this book is how incredibly formulaic it is. The word "rigidly" might apply. In a prelude, a child sees her parent killed. At the real story opening, the rest of the family is heading off to a creepy new home (new homes are always bad news) that has been in the family for years. (As I was reading this today, I thought about how these days, old family homes are probably sold to create new subdivisions.) Immediately, the kids find a of jewelry, are led into a strange world, and have to start a quest to save their surviving parent. (Did she seem just a little bit bitchie to anyone else?) A mysterious and brilliant ancestor figures into the story. (I'm not sure if that last part is original to this formula or if I just saw it in The Spiderwick Chronicles movie.) Some cute characters are thrown in as helpers.

Maybe there is some reason why adhering to formulas like this are important in children's literature. Isn't repetition of words and sounds supposed to help them learn to read? Maybe reading the same formula/pattern/storyline over and over again assists them in some way I've just never heard about.

As luck would have it, David Elzey has just reviewed the second book in this series at The Excelsior File. He liked it a great deal more than I liked the first one. In fact, if you do just a little bit of digging around on the Internet, you'll find that this is quite a well-regarded series.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Avoid All These Things

If you NaNoWriMoers have a moment to do something other than write, you might check out Why Your Manuscript Can Get Rejected (Part II) at Guide to Literary Agents. Among the most interesting of agent Donna Bagdasarian's top reasons manuscripts are rejected:

"4. Not having the protagonist involved in the climax." This seems as if it would be impossible to do. However, a few years back I read a YA novel in which the protagonist was unconscious in the hospital during the climax, heard about it afterwards, and, being a first-person narrator, told us about it at that point. I was somewhat startled, and not in the good sense of the word. (Assuming there is a good sense for "startle.") However, the book did get published and bloggers and listserv people, and reviewers for that matter, loved it. So maybe no one else noticed it. Or maybe this agent and myself are the only people who care.

"8. Know how much is too much. If you can cut a scene and the story still works, you must cut it." In my experience, this is absolutely the case. It's true of business letters and blog posts, too.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Science Fiction Formulas

I was reading some of the responses to last night's premiere of V. I thought it was better than I expected (I wasn't a fan of the original, though I did like the mini-series--I think they should have left well enough alone after that.), but, you know, it is just an invasion story. The character in that crowd scene last night who said, "This is Independence Day!" hit the nail on the head, as far as I'm concerned. An invasion story is an invasion story.

I feel the same way about apocalyptic novels. Have you ever read one that didn't involve civilization falling, leading to a dystopian world? Talk about a rigid formula. Did I have to read more than a half dozen? Or, for that matter, more than one?

I'm sure this was why I had trouble coming up with more enthusiasm for The Hunger Games.

One Issue Down, Another To Go

I'm feeling very good today about my presentation for the Connecticut Children's Book Fair on November 14 at UConn in Storrs, Connecticut. Now I just have to work out what to wear.

Sad to say, I actually have already been thinking about this and poking around at some of my possessions. When the seasons change, I sometimes am pleasantly surprised by what I find in the bins in my closet. Not so much this fall.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Repeat After Me, Class..."Ruritania"

I learned a new word today at The Trease Project. While referring to one of Geoffrey Trease's books, blogger Farah Mendlesohn writes, "This is a ruritania, set in an unknown Latin American country."

I must admit, at first I thought "ruritania" was some kind of typo. But I looked it up and it's for real. As used at The Trease Project, it means a "setting of adventure, romance, and intrigue." It is derived from the name of the setting of some books by Anthony Hope, including The Prisoner of Zenda.

Don't ruritanias appear quite frequently in fantasy novels? I'm thinking of a number of Shannon Hale's books, for instance.

My own favorite ruritania is Moldavia, scene of the Moldavian Massacre on Dynasty.

Monday, November 02, 2009

More Graphic Novels

I was in my favorite library last week, and what do I see on their new book shelf, but another Ottoline. I thought, What the heck, Gail. Give the series another shot. And that's how I came to read Ottoline Goes to School by Chris Riddell. I liked this Ottoline better than the first. It has a little more substance, what with Ottoline being attracted to a new friend and Mr. Munroe (whatever he is) feeling left out. The new friend is interesting because she is both upper class snotty and sympathetic at the same time.

The Ottoline books, this one in particular, use a lot of oddball names and situations, which always annoy me in a children's book. This one is so lovely looking, though, and the basic story good enough, that I was able to turn a blind eye toward all the Orvillises and Wilburtas. Plus, Riddell is British, and I should try to show compassion toward the British because no doubt they are still suffering from all those years of Monty Python's influence. That can't be a good thing.

I've also just read To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel, which is not a novel at all but a memoir by Siena Cherson Siegel, illustrated by Mark Siegel. Because To Dance is a graphic...I hate to say "novel" when it so clearly isn't...written for young readers, I was able to read it quickly. And reading it quickly made me feel immersed in Cherson Siegel's young life as a ballet student. It definitely made me feel that having such a strong vocation so young must be very special. Maybe it's not, of course. Maybe a lot of kids lose their youths to studying for a vocation. But that's not the feeling I came away with from To Dance.

Cherson Siegel writes about reading A Very Young Dancer by Jill Krementz. I wondered if her own book would end up being another generation's A Very Young Dancer?

I have only one reservation about this book. Though not a ballet fan, by any means, I recognize many of the dance names of the period when Cherson Siegel was studying ballet--Balanchine, Baryshnikov, Suzanne Farrell, etc. I think it's unlikely child readers will know those names, and I'm not sure how that will affect their enjoyment of the book. On the other hand, the fact that dance is visual and this memoir is written in a graphic format may mean that child readers can see who these people were and having previous knowledge of them won't matter.

An End Of The Year Gift

Another one of my obsessions, Louisa May Alcott, will be getting an American Masters special on December 28 at 9 PM. Evidently we're going to learn that she was another unhappy writer.

Is there any other kind?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

How Much Do We Want To Know?

Janet Maslin spills all kinds of juicy gossip in The New York Times about J.M. Barrie in For Starters, A Satanic Svengali, a review of J. M. Barrie, the Du Mauriers and the Dark Side of "Peter Pan" by Piers Dudgeon. But the line "But his real evil, in Mr. Dudgeon’s view, was more satanic than sexual, and “Neverland” goes into overdrive when it unveils Barrie’s cloven-hoofed side" left me going, "Which was? What? What was it?"

The monster of Neverland: How JM Barrie did a 'Peter Pan' and stole another couple's children by Tony Renell in The Daily Mail gets into a lot more dirty detail. And guess what--There's a Peter Pan/Rebecca connection.

Two of my favorite obsessions are linked. How marvelous is that?