Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A Gem

I'm reading the most awesome book right now.

I'm still plodding slowly through my plan to read Newbery award-winners and honour books, and I'm reading them in reverse-order, going back through time. 2000-1998 was rough, because there were a total of four dead babies in the books I read from that time period (oh, the crying...) - some sort of odd thematic thing, dead babies? Am firmly ensconced now, however, in 1997, with no dead baby in sight so far.

The book of the day is "A Girl Named Disaster" by Nancy Farmer. I'm completely hooked. It's about a girl from a small village in Mozambique (not clear on the time setting (1960s?)), and it's fiction but based on serious ethnographic study (Nancy Farmer doesn't get on the Newbery list so often for nothing!) I was sold by page two. Not only is the storyline good, but oral storytelling plays a strong part in their culture, and so stories keep popping up in the middle of the text.

I was recommending it to Jimbo last night, because he's a serious science fiction reader. The food, the spiritual beliefs, and the setting are all so foreign to me that I feel like I'm reading science fiction at moments, and yet it's solid on raw human experience.

(And it has no dead babies. What else can you ask for from recreational reading.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched "all about my mother" last night and cried all through it (because 3 people die (including a kid) and it's all so tragic) and thought "that must have been a great movie cuz I cried so much". But this morning I thought "would it still have been a great movie if no one died?" I decided yeah, in this case, it would, but I wouldn't have been so emotional about it. Death (and particularly death of a child) is such an easy shortcut to the viewer's or reader's emotions. And once you let go with emotions it's easier for the book or movie to get to you, I think. It seems like cheating. Could 4 books in a row with dead baby themes possibly be really good enough to win the Newbery or did the themes lead to emotional mis-judgement on the part of the judges?

Laureen (I'm not really anonymous, just not ready to link to my little blog in training yet).

1:44 pm  

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