What I've been reading most, lately, are IMLS grant guidelines, my own draft of a grant, my own abstract for a paper that I'll be presenting in January, my own draft of what I thought was the same paper but actually turns out to be quite different than I expected, and my own journal. I keep journals in 3-ring binders, and I look at the pages twice; once when I write them and once when I revisit them to put them in the binder, usually 1-3 months later. It helps me remember what I've actually been doing, where I've actually been, and keeps me from setting unbelievably unrealistic goals for myself.
Now on to the really fun and juicy stuff that I read over Thanksgiving break but haven't yet blogged...
Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst
The Wild is a mass of green vines that lives under Julie's bed. Her mother, Rapunzel, and other fairy tale characters want to keep it that way, and keep the wild from trapping them in their old stories and making them play out the same scenarios again and again. Until, one day, the Wild gets loose and starts to expand again, taking over familiar landscape in Julie's Massachusetts town. Her mother and grandmother are among the first to be re-assimilated into the Wild, which seems to have vicious plans of its own for those it captures. Julie is thrown into multiple tales, but she learns to survive because, as some of the more helpful people-becoming-characters tell her, she will keep her memories of her real life so long as none of the stories that she enters in to ever comes to a logical end. When she's pulled into the tale of Snow White, she's almost gone for good. Even though 7th grade is less appealing on many levels than the Wild, Julie fights the good fight and saves the world from becoming an endless mass of repeating tales.
My favorite quote from the book (with spoilers):
"On the other side of the door was the real world, with all its embarrassments, disappointments, and losses. In here was happily ever after. Here was the father she'd always dreamed of having. Yes, he was the Wild's puppet, but he was here. She had a chance to make up for all those lost years. If she stayed with him, she would always have a role, the prince's daughter. The future wouldn't be a scary unknown. [...] And yet...five hundred years ago, Mom had chosen the real world over the Wild, and Dad had sacrificed himself to give it to her. [...] Julie felt as if she'd swallowed a tornado, and it was churning inside her, tearing her up." (pgs 243-244)
The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones
Anita discovers that she is really Tania, the lost faerie princess of 7 sisters. What at first seems like a dream when she is hospitalized after a boating accident just won't end. The faerie kingdom was plunged into a gloomy twilight for the 500 years of her disappearance, and no one wants to see her go missing again. However, Tania/Anita is eager to get back to her real world parents and tell them she's okay.
The book is great for a frilly escape, complete with romance and a deceptively charming villain. There are some problems with the logic, like the insertion of reincarnation as the explanation for her 16-year-old current life and the 500-year gap since she went missing. The ending is also mildly annoying in that it's all set up for the sequel... I always feel like I've been had when I read an ending like that. After 200+ pages of sticking with you, don't I, the reader, get an ending of my own? Complaints aside, this was great fun, and I'd recommend it for a holiday.
Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson
Okay, first... this book is scary! I was scared when the kid was just lost in the underground river under an enormous mountain with a dead body. You'd think it would get really scary when he meets a live guy who has been there for 3 years and seems to have some screws loose. But no, the scary part is when his mother is tied up on her bed by a bunch of guys who are eager for the treasure lost in the mountain. She's helpless and unable to contact anyone who might legitimately want to rescue her son, Tom. I was glad I held back from giving this one as a gift to my friend's son Isaac, because I think it's really too scary for somebody 8 years old. The protagonist is 11, and I think an adventuresome 11-year-old could handle it, especially if they're slightly desensitized to violence already. This is a great read, but if you're like me you'll have to finish reading it all at once in order to go to bed without nightmares.