BOOK & BLOG
December 4, 2006
Books of the Week: HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE by J.K. Rowling; SUNSHINE by Robert McKinley
High stress times bring out the re-reader in me. When Im trying to work in putting up Christmas decorations, getting presents bought and wrapped, planning how to simultaneously pick up my mother and my oldest child from different locations, I dont want to be breaking new ground in my reading material.
So this is the season of re-reading. I tried starting two new books last week, only to set them both aside for when I felt I could begin a new adventure. It wasnt the fault of the books: they are both books Ive anticipated.
Instead, I decided to read HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX again, and it was so much fun I kept going with HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. I got all teary-eyed over Dumbledore again, and spent quite some time in useless conjecture about the next book. Is Snape really, truly, evil? Is Dumbledore really, truly, dead? Does Harry really have to face Voldemort by himself? Well all find out in due time.
Having raced through those, I found Robin McKinleys SUNSHINE just calling out to me. I enjoyed it so much the first time, I wasnt sure if I should read it again, but my second trip through this wonderful fantasy-adventure is just as much fun as the first. Sunshine is a great character, and its hard not to get hungry when she describes all the wonderful things she bakes. Her description of magic and its effect on humans is still wonderfully vivid. I am still hoping that Robin M. will make us happy with a sequel. Having been emailing back and forth with her, I can tell you she will only if she damn well wants to.
What to read next? I think Im still in rereading mode, and Ill just stand in our book room and spin a bottle.
The lights are up outside, and the tree is up in the living room. I have yet to work up the ambition to set up my Snow Village, which is a large project involving moving tables and opening many, many boxes. I havent ever figured out what the attraction of these ceramic houses and people are, except its world building on some level. I get to move the houses around, create neighborhoods and shopping areas, and put people where I can make up an interesting story about them. My family thinks its pretty amusing that I position the Snow Village animals where they might easily pounce on the Snow Village people, that those same people are often in danger of falling off bridges or being run over, or that the Snow Village Christmas parade takes up all of the business district and cannot march anywhere.
I know this seems a stupid pastime, for those not hooked on Snow Village, and half my brain thinks its dumb. But the other half of me loves trying to find a spot in some corner for a park, and putting all the carolers around a gazebo. Should the Snow Village coffee cart be there, or outside the bakery? Hmmm. And whats the deal with this man bending over offering a little boy something? Is he giving him a present, or is something more sinister going on? My Snow Village has dark undertones.
After the major effort of rethinking the Snow Village, Im pretty much done for the decorating season. I might hang something on my mailbox, put the wreath out on the front door, but thats it. Ill help decorate the church, and Ill wrap presents for the Angel Tree children our church adopted this year. Im Christmased out, after that.
When my children were younger, I felt capable of almost infinite Christmas production. That changed as they (and I) grew older, until now I feel Im doing the Christmas elves a favor by getting things out of the attic at all. Maybe Im turning into a Scrooge? Or maybe this is a natural progression. Now its not a questions of buying toys to see my kids faces light up on Christmas morning, its a question of whether theyll all be there for Christmas morning at all. Just their presence is all I ask, now. This will be my first Christmas without all my children here with us, and I know Ill be hurting some. I hope my soldier son can find some Christmas cheer in Alaska, and Ill be thinking about him as we open gifts.
Other mothers get over this, and I will, too. Ill count my blessings; two still able to be here, my far-away one at least somewhere cold and snowy rather than hot and sandy. And well all be grateful that we still have each other. Thats what its all about.
® 2010 Charlaine Harris