Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Book of a Thousand Days" by Shannon Hale

Why I read it: Part of the Cybil awards last year.

I'd requested it from the library on January 2, 2008 (1) and about five days ago the library website started listing it as "in transit". You know how ominous those words are to me, after the Nicola Barker "Darkmans" episode. Anyway, so yesterday was Kagami Baraki in my dojo (I kept calling it Kobiyashi Maruk, but I know that's wrong), which ran from 10am until 6pm. The only time I can ever get to the library is on a Saturday (it's across the street from karate, which is why I request books be sent there, since I go there 2x per week).

So I wasted half of my lunch break getting out of my gi and running across to see if the book was there, because if it was, then the clock starts ticking, and if I don't pick it up within the seven days or whatever (and I'm not totally believing of when those days begin, because I've had some bad experiences in the past) then I go to the back of the line. And I've already waited longer than a year. So I looked on the shelf, and it wasn't there. I checked on the computer, and it said it was "available". I was going to get in line and wait to be helped by a librarian, but then I decided to poke around on the carts first. And it was there.

Bookmark: Library receipt.

Tastes like Chicken: "Skin Hunger" by Katherine Duey.

What I liked: This book totally charmed me. I read it in a day. Interesting to me is that this is the second book in a row that I've read, in which the magical power of song is a big part of the story.

The story is set in a mythical Mongolia-like place, and one of the awesome things about it was that women seemed to have a reasonable place in the society. The story is narrated by a maid, Dashti. She has a wonderful voice, innocent and knowledgeable at the same time. It's written in diary format, and for this story it works, because the diary becomes a greater part of the story when it gets into someone else's hands. That was a nice effect.

Not so much: There's this weird thing with people who don't read YA books, where they are sort of confused and think that all kids' books are like fuzzy bunny or something. And then they read one, and they're all surprised, and they compare that book really favourably against all the books they imagine in their heads. That bugs me. This book was totally horrifying in spots. Maybe that's because all rats give me the willies, but, like true, un-sanitized fairy tales, this one has a lot of darkness in it.

What I learned: Based on a Grimm Brothers fairy tale, Maid Maleen, which was neat to read through just now to see where SH changed the basic storyline.

Next up: This book didn't have any vampires in it, but it did have a werewolf. I don't think that's ruining it for all my readers who haven't read it yet. However, the next book I read will, or the book after, I think.

No comments: