Musings on children's and YA literature, the academy, and the relationship between them, from an English professor and mother.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Up too late

I stayed up late reading last night. I finished one novel, John Green's An Abundance of Katherines, at about 11:30, and instead of turning the light out (it was already way past my bedtime) I picked up Knitting, by Anne Bartlett. Two very different novels, and I didn't turn the light out until I'd finished Knitting. (I'd started it earlier, don't worry; I'm not that fast).

I can't even begin to say how pleased I am that Green will be the featured speaker next fall in our children's literature speaker series. I had not even heard of him (but again, I do live under a rock) until about a month ago, when a couple of folks here who work in children's lit and related fields recommended his work. (One of those folks was Tricia of Miss Rumphius--thanks, Tricia!) I may like Katherines even more than Alaska, though both are original, funny, poignant, and terrific. As Mariah said after reading Alaska, "he's doing a lot of things you find in other books, but so interestingly that you don't notice they're the same kinds of things." Or something like that (quoting directly from speech is not my forte). What she means, I think, is that Alaska is a boarding-school novel, it has much in common with A Separate Peace, Good Times/Bad Times, Prep, and even Catcher in the Rye, the grandddaddy of all American boarding-school novels, and yet it is very different from them as well, and reminds us not of why we are glad we did or didn't go to boarding school, but of why we read, and why we tell stories. Katherines, too, is about story-telling in profound and fascinating ways, though it's also a buddy story and a road-trip story (both genres I think of more in relation to films rather than books--hmm, interesting!) Green also keeps a really funny blog, one I've been enjoying over these last few weeks. It includes a video-blog he's keeping with his brother, and it's a hoot.

(I'll have to talk about Knitting another time...)


  1. hey, Libby, your Knitting link clicks over to the first book...

    both look like great reads and are now on my futures list.

  2. thanks for catching that, Kelly. It's fixed now...

  3. mmmm... your post + the powells' synopsis have sold me on the Alaska book I think...

    but I have to admit a little something cringed inside when I realized "next fall" isn't going to be spent here. I know this, but you know... quite odd.

    happy happy break (of sorts)! don't go being TOO productive, now ;)

  4. Hi Libby,
    Thanks for the Larbaleister suggestion. I found my way to her blog one day, but have yet to read any of her books. They sound like something I would enjoy.
    I love it when math and other puzzles creep into books. That's one of the reasons why I liked An Abundance of Katherines so much. And I did like it better than Looking for Alaska.

    I will admit that my guilty pleasure each morning is catching up with the Green brothers. I started watching with the post where John found out about the Printz honor. I was hooked and went back to watch from the beginning. Now, it's an obsession!