My reading became extremely scattershot over the last week or so. Irritation with A Game of Thrones led me to pick up C.J. Cherryh’s Downbelow Station, a book I previously attempted last spring in the wake of the Brain Incident. Now both are sitting on my nightstand, stacked atop two from the library, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, because the movie adaptation was excellent and I’ve never read anything by her before, and Jo Walton’s Among Others, which brings us full circle since it was some her writing that led me to try Cherryh’s work. These last two I haven’t started yet, but I couldn’t avoid the temptation to bring them home with me. The library is bad like that, and strolling through the stacks in the children’s room with Madeleine I kept noticing all sorts of titles I wanted to read – necessary to scout out good books for Madeleine and Dash to read when older. I also noticed that (Ursula) LeGuin and (Madeleine) L’Engle sit side by side on the shelves, ready for lucky first-time readers to discover them together, which I believe to be an excellent arrangement.
After all that, the non-fiction front feels like a bit of let down. I finished Storm of Steel, which despite being a slim volume seemed to go on forever, and moved on to The Missing of the Somme. I remain in the trenches.
I’ve also been thinking of more ‘lost’ books from way-back times. In both 3rd and 4th grade, my teachers read to the class. Some of these books I remember clearly, How To Eat Fried Worms for example, but I’m not having much luck in fully recalling some of the others. There was the one about a family of dolls, living in a dollhouse, who came to life when their owners were absent. This may have been The Doll’s House, by Rumer Godden, but I’d have to read it to be sure. Another book concerned the adventures of a child, or children, who discovered a mysterious grease that when applied, allowed perpetual motion in machines. I haven’t been able to track that one down, nor another story of which I have even vaguer memories: children using museum-piece civil war cannon to defeat the bad guys. I think maybe there was an island involved.
During the same years I also remember reading The Wolf King, by Ann Turnbull, and several entries in the Three Investigators series, which back then still had the Alfred Hitchcock name attached, or at least the editions I read still did. Mostly I remember liking it for the hideout the Investigators used, a trailer buried in the middle of a salvage yard.