Shadowtails, Ferishers & Graylings - Oh My!
I finished a wonderful book today. Really. I may become a fantasy genre reader yet.
It's called, "Summerland," and it's written by Michael Chabon. (He won a Pulitzer for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which I have not read, but I did read Wonder Boys quite a few years back and enjoyed that.) Once again, I found myself in the realm of "Children's Literature," and again found myself so presently surprised to have enjoyed it as much as I did.
I mean, Harry Potter certainly has gotten me on a a series of new paths in reading. First of all, I never thought I would enjoy children's literature so much as an adult. I love the imagination of it all. The characters who are so often untouched by the grizzled old hands of "real life" and their ability to have hope against all odds because they haven't been disappointed as many times as we adults.
And then there's the science fiction/fantasy genre itself. I mean, I NEVER as a child read this kind of stuff. I never read The Chronicles of Narnia and I found myself bored to sleep, literally, by "The Hobbit," and there were a few books my dad had suggested to me (he's a big Sci-Fi guy) which I read, but have long forgotten having made no real impression on me. But this - this is GOOD stuff.
I love Chabon's use of language when he uses words we know, but gives them a twist - scampering to mean moving between worlds or quite possible my favorite two words in the book: careful abandon. I also love the names of the characters and the words he simply makes up - ferishers, graylings, skrikers, Cinquefoil, Cutbelly, Skidbladnire, Applelawn, Spider-Rose . . . I could go on for days.
Then there is the story itself. One filled with all kinds of Native American folklore, a central baseball theme (that you don't have to be a player to enjoy, but if you are or ever were it will tug at your heartstrings and you will truly be able to smell that fresh cut outfield grass once again), a story about loss, about growing up but not so much that one forgets to be a child, it's about hope and imagination, good versus evil and most of all it's about Believing.
I highly recommend this book. I got off to a slow start with it, but once I read a few chapters in I found it hard to put down night after night. It's not so much a page turner as it is an adventure that involves characters I really grew to care about. I wanted to see where each new day was taking them. I would suggest it to anyone in the "tween" to early teen set as well.
So now I get to do my second favorite thing after reading a book. I'm going to pass it on to someone else. It was passed to me after two of my friends read it and enjoyed it and now I will be passing it onto another who I'm quite sure will enjoy it as well. (He reads my blog from time to time so I didn't want to give too much away :)
Sharing a book is one of the great things we get to do in this life. It's one of those things that separates us from other animals. And while I like writing little reviews in order to spark the interest of others, there's nothing like receiving/giving a physical copy of a book as it travels among friends.
Good night, all, and happy reading.