BOOK & BLOG
June 13, 2011
Books of the Week
Michael Griffo was kind enough to credit me with paving the way for writers who include lesbian, gay, and transgendered characters in their narratives. (I would dispute that; I really think the times are changing, and that maybe we’ve turned the corner, however cautiously, on society’s acceptance of people whose sexual preferences are not hetero.) However that may be, Griffo’s Unnatural is an interesting variation on the ‘school for vampires’ YA novel. Michael Howard, a closeted gay teen, is sent to a mysterious school in England where he meets Ronan, and almost instantly develops a crush on him. There are many obstacles and revelations as Michael and Ronan learn to know one another, and there’s the strong supernatural element, of course.
Hunt the Moon is Karen Chance’s latest Cassie Palmer book, and I think that’s really all I need to say. Chance writes great action scenes and in a book that has an action scene every other page, that’s an essential talent. The Cassie Palmer books move so swiftly I’m never sure if I’m keeping the plot lines straight or not, but I’m along for the ride all the way. I always grin like a maniac when I’ve got a new Karen Chance to read. For those of you who haven’t dipped into these books, Cassandra Palmer was brought up in the household of vampire Tony, a thug who has killed both her parents and values Cassie because she’s a seer. When Cassie escapes and tries to hide in plain view, a whole cascade of events is set in motion. A ton of fun.
Ransom Riggs’s first novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, is truly suitable for teens and adults. Sixteen-year-old Jacob is permanently scarred by discovering his dying grandfather in the woods behind his home, and the words the old man whispers eventually set Jacob on the path to discovering the world in which his grandfather grew up a world beyond imagination. This startlingly original book is illustrated with bizarre and genuine photographs. It’s seriously weird. I’m really enjoying it.
Finally I have held in my hands an ARC of The Sookie Stackhouse Companion. For a while, I thought this day would never come. The Companion went through a few incarnations on its way to becoming the sturdy book it is, and I hope many of you enjoy it very much, so all the work and worry will have been worth the effort.
I’m not saying compiling all the elements of the Companion wasn’t fun. It was, in many ways. I’m not used to embarking on projects which depend on so many other people for completion, and I’m not used to being completely ignorant about the status of a project, and I made some mistakes about choices.
But anyway, the project finally came together. There’s a map of Bon Temps and its surroundings, drawn by bffpaula and myself and beautified by her daughter and a friend (though I think it’s much changed, now). There’s “Small Town Wedding,” the original novella I promised you. There’s an interview with Alan Ball and one with me (we collected those questions here on the website). There are recipes selected from those submitted here, and we were very sorry not to be able to include them all. Some were duplicates, some were things that Sookie would never cook because she couldn’t get the ingredients, and so on.
There are secret conversations between Bill and Eric, written by the fabulous Victoria Koski. I also have Victoria to thank for the most valuable part of the Companion, “A Guide to the World of Sookie Stackhouse.” The Guide is a character compendium, chiefly, and I think you’ll wonder how you managed without it once you have it at hand. I know I did.
Beverly Batillo, moderator emeritus, also contributed a couple of pieces, including a history of the fan club and a history of my work. Thanks, Beverly.
And this isn’t all. Oh, no. There’s more! A Sookie family tree, for example.
I know this blog seems like an extended self-promotion for the Companion. And in a way, yes, it is. But it’s also a huge sigh of relief, and a chance to tip my hat to people who contributed, and to Ginjer Buchanan and Kat Sherbo at Penguin who had to listen to me moan and wail and furthermore, had to whip a very unruly manuscript into shape.
There probably won’t be a new Book & Blog next week, since I’ll be on the road. After my gig in Cincinnati, bffpaula and I will meet in the airport in Dallas and continue together to Los Angeles for the “True Blood” premiere on June 21. I’ll be made up and wearing my new outfit, and I look forward to having a blast. I’ll be talking to you afterward!
© 2011 Charlaine Harris