What I’m Reading

Dodger

by Terry Pratchett

Harper Collins, 2012

Michael L. Prinz Award Honor Book

 

Dodger, by Terry Pratchett, offers a delightful romp through 19th century London. The reader encounters many famous personages as s/he follows Dodger in and out of the sewers and streets of the city. We meet Charlie Dickens, Sir Robert Peel, Sweeney Todd, and even Queen Victoria.

I guess I’m very late in discovering Pratchett. He has written tons of books in his Discworld series. I don’t know if I’m ready to plunge into such a huge collection. But Dodger was really fun to read, clever and humorous, and the language was superb.

dodger cover

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What I’m Reading

Bone Gap

Bone Gap

by Laura Ruby

Balzer & Bray, Harper Collins, 2015

ALA Michael L. Printz award for excellence in young adult literature

National Book Award finalist

 

I picked up Bone Gap from the library shelf because it had two awards on the cover. The story held my attention, particularly because there was MAGIC involved.

Brothers Finn and Sean O’Sullivan live alone. Their mother left a few years ago to start a new life in Oregon. Young, beautiful Roza appears in their barn and stays on, but then goes missing.

Finn knows Roza was kidnapped–actually saw her speaking to the man and getting into his car–but he can’t recall the man’s face. No one believes Finn.

How Finn continues his search for Roza, and what he learns about himself, includes beekeepers, a magical horse, and other surprises.

Ruby tells a good tale of “love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness.”

 

*The book is definitely young adult level.

What Am I Reading?

Jennifer Castle, YA Author

the beginning of after

An article about Jennifer Castle in our local paper prompted me to search for her books in the teen section of Elting Library.

First I zoomed through her award-winner, The Beginning of After, about a teen that loses her family in a car accident. That was so good that I jumped into You Look Different in Real Life.  This story’s characters are teens who have participated in a documentary that filmed their lives every five years. The first two films, when they were five and eleven years old, were hugely popular. Now the students are sixteen years old. Castle explores their relationships and how each of them reacts to another filming.

I couldn’t get hold of the next book, What Happens Now, so I read her latest, Together at Midnight. Of the three books, I liked the first two best. In her stories, Castle deals with serious life situations and changes. I can almost hear her asking questions. How does a young woman deal with losing her parents and her brother? What is it like to be famous because you were filmed at age five and eleven? Will you agree to being filmed now that you are sixteen? What do you do if you have a learning disability, but everyone expects you to go to college? What if you are gay and your family is super-conservative?

For me, the character’s voices were totally authentic. I can’t wait to get my hands on What Happens Now.

           

           

 

 

Mid-Hudson Authors

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I am proud to be included in the display at Elting Library in New Paltz.

Last Friday, Elting Library hosted a reading of Tangled in Magic, and a preview reading of the second book of the Karakesh Chronicles, Guided by Magic.  I gave a short talk about how I did the illustrations using carving blocks and tools.

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Then I invited the audience to make art using stamps.  My collection includes store-bought stamps and others that I carved myself.

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Stamps lend themselves to multiple uses besides illustrations.  I’ve used them to print stationery, cards, and logos.  The trickiest part is remembering to reverse the image.  The part that is carved out will be the color of the paper, and all lettering must run backward.

 

 

When Is It Finished?

GBM cover no spine

I remember reading about an artist—it might have been Degas—who wouldn’t let his dealer take away his paintings because he felt they weren’t finished. Not that my efforts can be compared to great artists, but—I get it.

 

Now that I’m editing and proofreading Guided By Magic, Book II of the Karakesh Chronicles, I keep finding bits that need changing. Either there are two of the same words too close together, or the object mentioned wouldn’t be used in that way, at that (mythical) time. Paper, for example. Old Erta, the metal crafter, would not have wrapped beeswax in paper, as paper was valuable and too scarce to use as wrapping.

 

And then there’s the voice of the main character, Miela.   There are certain words, like “innumerable,” that she wouldn’t have used. So those must be replaced.

 

Some mistakes are so obvious that they are laughable, such as when the illustration shows a baby carriage, but the text refers to a baby basket.

 

As I go along, reading the story again—and again—I worry. What are we missing? It would be dreadful if the reader slams the book shut in disgust, because of a foolish, embarrassing error. I’ll admit that I’ve done that myself, especially if the grammar and mechanics are faulty. “What was the author thinking?” I ask myself. “Did the editor even read this?”

 

If you readers have similar reactions to these typos and errors, please weigh in with a comment. I’d like to know that I’m not alone!

Tangled in Magic Crosses the River!

oblong books

Tangled in Magic is in good company at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck.  It will be prominently featured for a month, so stop in, buy a copy, and have a look around this wonderful bookstore.

In the last week or two, I finished the linocuts for Guided by Magic, Book II of the Karakesh Chronicles.

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If you’ve read Tangled in Magic, please leave a review on Amazon.  And comments on this blog are welcome, too.