I can’t believe it is the end of July already! Summer goes by so quickly these days–our June vacation seems like it was a lifetime ago.
Life’s been a little crazy with a new job complete with new hours and new responsibilities but I found solace in some long reads.
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
It’s been a good while since I read a good whodunnit and this book satisfied that itch in such a splendid way. We step inside a book editor’s shoes as she reads her successful mystery writer’s latest installment, set as a book within this book (complete with title and copyright pages which I thought was a nice touch). But then the author ends up dead himself–supposedly a suicide. Almost immediately our editor turns detective herself when the story doesn’t quite line up.
Of course the measurement of success for a whodunnit is to keep the reader from discovering the “who” until the end. Horowitz was successful at least from my vantage point and as a first time reader I am looking forward to adding his other titles to my read pile.
Wildwood by Colin Melody
You may recognize Colin Melody’s name even if you’re not a fellow bibliophile. As part of the Decemberists, his words grace the radio waves but in this collaboration with his artist wife, Carson Ellis, he takes on the long form in this captivating young adult novel. At almost 550 pages, this book is definitely too much for a young reader but as an adult it brought back everything I loved about reading as a kid. Imagine the epic-ness of the Chronicles of Narnia, meets the wittiness of Roald Dahl a la James and the Giant Peach and Matilda in a background of Robin Hood.
The first installment of the Wildwood Chronicles follows big sister Prue who sets of to rescue her baby brother after he has been captured by a murder of crows–yes, the birds. She is joined by tag-along Curtis as they cross into the Impassible Woods and find themselves not only struggling to find baby Mac but merely to survive amongst the political treachery of a secret world.
Plume by K. Lynn Smith
I had the great pleasure of meeting K. Lynn Smith at the 3 Rivers Con here in Pittsburgh earlier this year. Her and Dirk Manning were promoting their new collaboration, HOPE, that you may have recognized from FCBD. K. Lynn is also the complete creator/writer/illustrator of this western style comic which came out in the omnibus edition about a year ago. Plume is a story of revenge mixed with some mysticism as Vesper Grey avenges her father with the help of her eternal protector Corrick. I’m hoping once my life is calmer I’ll be able to do a full review on this as there are SO MANY THINGS I want to say about it. While I’m sure this story would have made a great novel too it’s K. Lynn’s art that brings it to life and I’m fairly certain I will read everything this talented woman is ever associated with.
The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King
Kids of so many generations have grown up knowing the kind melody of Fred Rodger’s voice. I know I watched as a kid but more recently obviously it was my kids who were new fans of the Neighborhood. Only now in retrospect can I see and recognize the power that this gentleman possessed, trying in his own little way to make sure children knew their value and knew how kindness can change the world around us. He also showed us not to be afraid of what was “different” from ourselves, showing that handicapped children were really just children too and that a black man is worthy of sharing a cool pool of water with a white man on a hot summer day (even in the turbulent times of the 1960s).
Here in Pittsburgh Rogers’ celebrity status is kicked up a notch, rightly so, as this was not only his home but the very neighborhood in which his beloved show was made. There are a lot of books out there about Rodgers and I invite you to read at least one. Or if you aren’t the reading type be sure to check out A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood which comes out this fall, with none other than the impeccable Tom Hanks playing Rodgers. Just the recently released trailer has tears forming in my eyes.
Cheers to one more month of summer before the routines of fall are upon us. Happy reading!