Monday, January 21, 2013

Accepting the 2013 Award-Winning Books Challenge

I really enjoyed participating in the 2012 Award-Winning Books Challenge sponsored by the folks at Gathering Books. I read books I had meant to read long ago and discovered authors new to me, like Ray Bradbury. I am still singing praises for his Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes, which I read after Fahrenheit 451 whet my appetite for more Ray Bradbury. Thank you, Myra!

Dandelion Wine reminds me of Howard Frank Mosher's beautiful book of growing up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, Northern Borders. 12 year-old Douglas Spaulding comes of age in Green Town, Illinois in the summer of 1928. I will never forget Bradbury's passages describing the afternoon teas where 95-year-old Helen Loomis and 31-year-old William Forrester get acquainted. They meet over a dish of lime vanilla ice and come to realize they have been born too early and too late for one another. After Helen dies and William processes the loss, he says, "A thousand gallons of tea and five hundred biscuits is enough for one friendship."

Something Wicked This Way Comes is a fantastical treat. I haven't read much magical realism, but this book feels like it's in that genre. Two 13 year-olds, Will and his friend, scramble down hidden ladders outside their respective windows and get into nighttime mischief. When the carnival comes to town, the carousel spins backward and strange things happen; it speeds up going forward and how can a boy resist the result? The temptation is palpable. And what unlikely person steps in to save the whole town from an evil that's been ruining lives for years and years? It's a wonderful read.

Here's a list of the thirteen titles I reviewed for the 2012 Challenge.

Janice Joplin, Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel
Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto by Paul B. Janeczko
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Leaving Gee’s Bend by Irene Latham
BookSpeak! Poems About Books by Laura Purdie Salas
Won Ton, A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw
The Good Braider  by Terry Farish
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Dark Emperor by Joyce Sidman
MONSTER by Walter Dean Myers 
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I have discovered some terrific authors due to other reviewers who took up the challenge. I might otherwise have missed Arundhati Roy, Walter Dean Myers and even Ray Bradbury.

So I am committing to another year of Gathering Books' Award-Winning Book Challenge and reviewing them here at Musings. I'll continue with the Silver Medal level. Check back to see what I'm reading.

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