Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dan Wickett has been raving about Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell so much lately that I decided to bump it up to the top of my to-be-read list. I read it Monday and I completely agree with him that it's one of the best books of the year. It's about a 16-year-old girl in the Ozarks whose father jumps bail leaving her not only to fend for her two younger brothers and mentally ill mother, but also to find her father so they don't lose their house and land if he doesn't show up in court. Ree, the heroine, is a marvel - brave, stubborn, and matter-of-fact, with no illusions about her life or her relatives. Woodrell's writing is gorgeous and evocative without ever distracting from the story or even feeling out of place in the harsh and brutal setting. I loved it and have already checked out several more of his books.

Yesterday I read The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, the first in a planned series following 12-year-old Percy Jackson, who discovers he is the son of Poseidon and attends Camp Half-Blood with other kids like him. If you think that sounds like Harry Potter goes Greek, you'd be right. Normally I'd just write this off as a lame wannabe, but I have a longtime fascination with Greek and Roman mythology so it was actually kind of fun playing spot the mythical creature during Percy's hero quest to find Zeus' missing thunderbolt in order to avoid an all out war among the gods. The book has fun with the premise (including chapter titles like "I Become Supreme Lord Of the Bathroom" and "We Take a Zebra to Vegas") and, while not nearly as good as Harry Potter, I wouldn't be surprised if the series became a hit. It's far more deserving of it than the gawdawful Eragon.

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