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

Saturday, June 09, 2007

update on the reading challenge

So far it looks like I've spent about 9 hours reading and have consumed 1238 pages. Whew! So here's the report:

After Psyche in a Dress, I wanted something funny and silly, so I read Jasper Fforde's The Big Over Easy. I'm pretty sure I missed some of the twists, but the way Fforde plays with story is genius. Oddly, it linked up with my next book, Cupid, by Julius Lester, which is a retelling of Cupid and Psyche that's much more to my taste (this week, anyway) than the Block. Lester plays with story, too, though not at all in the same way as Fforde; the novel retells the tale with the voice of a black story-teller--one who doesn't, in many ways, seem too far from Lester himself. Interestingly in both Cupid and The Big Over Easy the question of what it means for a mortal to ally herself with an immortal comes up--in the Fforde novel, the immortal (Prometheus) relinquishes his status, while in Cupid Psyche attains immortality. I enjoyed both.

After Cupid I took a brief break and then began Chasing Vermeer, which Nick had just finished. I'm sure I'm not the first person to summarize it as From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler meets The Westing Game--a better description, I think, than the jacket copy, which calls it "The Da Vinci Code for tweens. " Ick. I fell asleep last night before I could finish, but got back to it this morning--what fun! I'm a sucker for codes (though maps leave me cold), and I want to make some pantominoes, too.

Continuing with the YA reads, I picked up Edward Bloor's London Calling next. I'd enjoyed Tangerine, and though I'd try this one out. Very different, but thematically similar. Martin/Johnny is an engaging narrator, and the novel does a nice job of opening up some of the stories behind the official history of the Battle of Britain.

So that's been fun. Now I've got to do some laundry and figure out what's next on the list. I'm not going to get much (if any) reading in tomorrow before my time runs out, so today's the big day. But I've got to say, the eyestrain has started.


  1. Hi Libby,
    I can't believe we both read Lester's book. I love his stuff anyway, and this one was no exception.
    I also love Chasing Vermeer. I use excerpts in my math class when we explore pentominoes.
    Happy reading!

  2. The eyestrain gets worse and then you turn a corner and you don't notice any more. Well, until the tearing starts.

  3. Funny - I just finished London Calling and was considering Chasing Vermeer for one of my next.

    Not really taking time out of the Challenge, but wanted to check what Cybils people had thought!

    ::Wave from another Challenged One::