Haven’t read much this past week. Or completed much, anyway. I finished Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s Dream a Little Dream on the 8th, and got a bit sick of reading the series by then. I’d still borrow the other books from Tesvin, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it, lah. The fourth Chicago Stars story is a little more grim than the others, and is actually a better read. But I’d been reading romances for almost a week and have had enough for the time being.
It took me a couple of days to decide what to read next. I kept starting and then discarding books at random, without finishing anything. Then I realized that I still haven’t read Nancy Farmer’s The Land of Silver Apples, which is the sequel to The Sea of Trolls. Last year I decided that The Sea of Trolls was the best book I read the entire year, hands down. Reading the sequel made me not so sure. The thing is, it’s not bad or anything. It’s a GREAT book. I absolutely loved it. Like the first book I got hooked so easily, and it was hard to tear myself apart from it. But I still have this nagging feeling that I would have loved The Sea of Trolls more if it was a standalone, rather than the first part of a trilogy. But like I said, there really isn’t any logical reason for me to dislike the sequel (which I don’t), so it’s probably just me being crazy. Maybe I’m just sick of so many trilogies and series being published for the YA audience.
After finishing Nancy Farmer, I went back on a short detour to romance. This time because I rediscovered an old Nora Roberts book that I haven’t read in a long time. I knew I’d finish it in less than a day, and I knew that I liked the story, so started reading The MacGregors: Alan ~ Grant. It’s really two novellas in one book, individually titled All the Possibilities and One Man’s Art. I love Roberts’ family oriented stories. Her characters are always so much more alive, and so interesting to read about, in these stories. I loved her Concannon sisters trilogy, and the Quinn brothers quartet. I think her strength lies in these books, probably when she’s writing about what she knows best – family, and the relationships between family members. Her other novels, like the more recent vampire stories, or the mystery novels, are entertaining at most, but really don’t stand up to her older work.
Other than the MacGregors book, I also found some of the older Judith McNaught books. I was sorely tempted to reread those as well, but I felt guilty about not finishing any of the books that I brought with me for Raya reading. I’m always like that, though. I’d arm myself with a stack of books, and then I’d put them down to chase after others. *Sigh* Anyway, I resisted temptation and instead began reading Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl.
The Goose Girl had always been one of my favorite fairy tales, together with The Wild Swans. I always wondered why the princess never said anything when her lady-in-waiting took her place. I always wondered why she was so meek. And I had always been curious about the songs she used (like the one to control the wind) and the way she could converse with Falada. It seemed too much like witchcraft to me, reading the fairy tales. And the part where she spoke to Falada’s head had always remained with me since the first time I read the story as a child. It seemed like a kind of sadness no one should understand, and yet, somehow, I did. This novelization of the fairy tale used the story as it is, and made it richer, more believable.
So far this completely beats The Land of Silver Apples or Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse in my favorite YA book of the year list. I can’t decide whether or not it beats Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin, so they’ll have to tie, and no, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows isn’t even in the running. This book makes me want to write three more in response; it makes me not want to read the next book in my list (because how could anything else even compare?); it makes me want to reread it again slowly and savor the words this time; it makes me want to find as many versions of The Goose Girl as I could and read them all, it makes me want to do the same with my other favorite fairy tales, it makes me want to devote the rest of my life to reading and writing fairy tales. It’s that gorgeous.
Note: the Susan Elizabeth Philips was borrowed from my colleague Tesvin, the Nora Roberts was purchased from the used bookstore in Central Market, and both the Shannon Hale and Nancy Farmer were purchased from Books Kinokuniya KL.
~ originally posted on blogspot