It’s been way too long since I posted anything, so, um…let’s see. The last book I finished was Mavis of Green Hill, by Faith Baldwin. I enjoyed it, but I might have enjoyed it more as several books–three, at minimum. I liked each part individually, but by the time the book ended I was exhausted and glad that it was over. And, I mean, I get the impulse. When you’ve got a story in your head, there’s a temptation to put down all the parts you know about. But sometimes that’s too much, and as an author, you probably really don’t want to wear your readers out. Or maybe you do? Who knows. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been having a really hard time writing about Play the Game! by Ruth Comfort Mitchell, and I don’t know why. I liked it but I didn’t love it. It wasn’t what I expected. And that’s the way I feel about a lot of books that I have no trouble writing about.
So there’s this girl, Honor Carmody. She’s kind of tomboyish and motherly at the same time. She’s got a stepfather who’s not super relevant to the plot, but who is easily the most enjoyable character. She’s got a boy-next-door best friend, Jimsy King. She does a lot of his schoolwork for him so he can continue to be a football star, but it feels supportive on her side rather than exploitative on his. Also, Jimsy comes from a notoriously wild family, and everyone expects that at some point he will develop an alcohol problem. Read the rest of this entry »
Sometime I’d like to read a book set in the silent film industry that’s not full of drug addiction and divorce and debt, and Linda Lee, Incorporated definitely isn’t it. But it does have a wealth of detail about how movies got made circa 1922, and it doesn’t take too many offensive moral stances on its characters’ behavior, so I’ll take it. It also doesn’t have much in common with The Lone Wolf, the only other book I’ve read by Louis Joseph Vance. He, as you may remember, was the one who spontaneously combusted. Or not, I guess, but, you know, let’s just say he did. Read the rest of this entry »
There’s a range of weirdness levels in books by Eleanor Hallowell Abbott. Molly-Make-Believe reads like it was written by someone who doesn’t not know what to do with a coordinating conjunction. The White Linen Nurse is full of mental breakdown-y things, but in context they sort of work. If you told me the only kinds of punctuation used in The Fairy Prince and Other Stories were periods and exclamation marks, I would want to double check before I told you you were wrong. And Old-Dad makes no discernible sense. I’m not really sure what else to say about it. Read the rest of this entry »
Shorty McCabe is no Torchy, but sometimes that’s okay, like when you stop your Torchy reread before the last book because the dog stories make you inexplicably uncomfortable, and switch over to an excellent children’s book about pirates and then a super weird Eleanor Hallowell Abbott book, but then you sort of start to have regrets? But you can’t go back to Torchy as a Pa, because you can’t start a Torchy reading with Torchy living in the suburbs; you have to work up to that. Read the rest of this entry »
I really like to reread things. Especially things I loved the first time. Especially things I loved the third or fourth time. There are a lot of books that make me think, when I’m reading them, “This is the best thing. This might be my favorite thing.” I love Tracy Park the most, and I love the Hildegarde series the most, and I love Pam Decides the most, and those are just the ones I’ve reread recently. But also I love Torchy the most, and I don’t understand why no one else seems to.
I think I talked my mom into wanting to read the Torchy books last night over dinner, so I should be able to talk people into reading them over the internet, too, right? I won’t be able to reproduce the slightly alcohol-fueled “I just love these books so much,” but I think my explanation of how awesome Torchy’s boss thinks he is was more convincing anyway.
So, look. This one time Old Hickory Ellins, who’s kind of a robber baron I guess, gets worried about some sculptor his cousin Inez has taken up with, so he sends Torchy out with $20 and tells him to find out more about the guy. Torchy comes back the next day and reports that the affair is definitely off and the money is gone. And Mr. Ellins says, “Huh!…That’s as far as I care to enquire. Some day I’m going to send you out with a thousand and let you wreck the administration.” Isn’t that great? I think I want it on my gravestone.
Also there’s the time Mr. Ellins returns from a trip to find that Torchy’s been promoted. He asks Torchy about salary, and Torchy says, “I only want what I’m worth,” and Mr. Ellins says, “Oh, be reasonable, son…We must save something for the stockholders, you know.” Isn’t that beautiful? I think that’s beautiful. And then there’s the time Torchy proposes to Vee with a ring from a hoard of pirate treasure. And–oh man, the indoor golf story. And Torchy’s conversation with Piddie when he first gets promoted. And the guy who builds his own airplane. I just. I love these books so much. Maybe give them a try?
Jenn left me a comment about Joseph Crosby Lincoln the other day, and I suddenly found myself thinking about him, and wanting to read one of his books. The last couple of times that’s happened, I’ve just reread Galusha the Magnificent, but this time I went for something new: Fair Harbor. And it’s a good one — it’s got most of the things I like about Lincoln and none of the things I don’t. I mean. Maybe some of the things. None are coming to mind at the moment. Really the only thing that’s missing is a competent spinster. Read the rest of this entry »