Books to curl up with: a librarian's musings

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Since riding in the car is a major way for my daughter to take a nap, I have been revisiting a favourite. I grew up in a family in which having nothing around to read was traumatic, so I keep a book in the glove box. Then when she conks out, I pull over and read until she wakes up.

So what book is worth of being an emergency book. The same one worth of owning in 2 paperback copies and one hardback. Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams, of course. Tad Williams is the master of the epic, zillion page, multivolume saga. Dragonbone Chair was his first.

It is the story of Simon, the scullion. He is convinced that he destined for a dreary life. He listens to the stories of heroes and dreams. When the king dies and brothers confront each other, Simon finds himself thrust into the kind of adventure he only heard about from minstrels. He learns that minstrels never sing about being scared and hungry and alone.

Williams is not content to bringing Simon to life. He creates a wide canvas of characters, all of whom you care about. It reminds me of Tolkein in its sweep. If you fall in love with Dragonbone Chair, book two is Stone of Farewell; book three is To Green Angel Tower. Beware this story is addictive!!!!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Food Fest

There are some cookbooks like the Joy of Cooking, that you whip off the shelf to answer a question. There are some you just look at the pretty pictures in because you would never take the time to make that complicated dish.

Nigella Lawson's books fall somewhere in between. Feast is the latest. It works its way through various holidays. There are a couple of recipes I want to try. I am passing on to my brother Vietnamese Turkey and Glass Noodle salad. It seems like a great way to use up the leftovers. mmm I want to make the Eggplant Involtini too. mmm

However the recipes are almost a secondary to me. I love the way she talks about food. Her sensual love of food makes you hungry just reading her text. She is after all the person who shared the recipe for Slut Red Raspberries with the world. :D scroll down to Slut Red Raspberries.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Sorrow at passing

Trina Schart Hyman was a wonderful children's illustrator. Her wonderful work brought to life many tales. She passed away in December, but left behind a rich inheritance. Among my favourites:

Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas 1985
The Kitchen Knight: a tale of King Arthur by Margaret Hodges (one of a number of collaborations with Hodges)
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel

The Boston Globe had a nice obituary, which quoted from an earlier interview.