05 January 2012

The Angel's Game, Wonderstruck and Peculiar Children

I bet you thought that I fell off the face of the earth.

Hell, I think that I may well have.

I am not sure exactly what my problem is, but I do know that I am in a slump. If you live in a snowy climate you know what doing a donut means. You get in the middle of a deserted parking lot filled with ice and then you race your car around in a circle really fast. You go nowhere and you may get a bit woozy, sort of losing your bearings. That is where I feel I am, doing donuts in the parking lot. I seem to be spinning my wheels a lot lately. I am not sure what direction I am headed and I feel like even if I got pointed the right way I wouldn't know how to drive anymore. Have you ever felt like that?

Over break I spent a lot of time just sitting in a chair with the fireplace going reading books. In fact, in December alone I completely read three books (of course one I had started months earlier, but still. Record!) Three! I know! I can barely read three in one year let alone in one month, and the last two were read in one week!

I like books that transport me to another time and place. That is what I got with the first one that I had been reading a long while. I read Carlos Ruiz Zafon's Shadow of the Wind a few year ago. He is an enchanting storyteller. This book, The Angel's Game takes place in Barcelona in the 1920s. Every chapter was a new twist that kept me hungry for more. This is a tale of obsession both in literature and in love as we follow the main character David Martin into a spiraling chain of events. In Zafon's books there is a connection to the Cemetery of Lost Books. That part is always fascinating to me, and I wish that he would spend more time on that. I hear that there is another book that is set to come out this summer that goes back to the same bookstore, different characters. The Angel's Game is a haunting book with whole passages that I will go back and read again someday, particularly the funeral of his friend Sempere the bookseller. If you are looking for intrigue and the mysterious world of a writer, this is a great read.

I was excited to read the book that my daughter got for Christmas ~ Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. Selznick is the author The Invention of Hugo Cabret (in theaters as Hugo ~ which I saw and would HIGHLY recommend! And in 3D!). This novel is only similar to Hugo in that it is graphic, the pictures tell half the story. But this one is even better than Hugo. I do hope that they make it into a movie. The cool part is that this is truly two stories that seem to be unrelated 50 years apart and merge in the end and intertwine. I was most impressed that Selznick is an artist and a writer and a storyteller and a researcher. All the things I love. He really delves into making sure that the the events in the book are true-to-life. And it is incredible how one little thing can spark the imagination of someone like Selznick. If you are so inclined, please check out this video of the author explaining this new book.

The last book I read is a bit more bizarre - or peculiar as the case may be. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. The haunting cover with a strange woman-child hovering in mid air was what sucked me in. I bought this last summer when we went school shopping. Took me this long to get around to reading it. This is also a book that has a mysterious twist and pictures that tell part of the story. The story is fantastical, involving time travel and monsters, a mysterious island and a strange cast of characters. Watch this YouTube video and see for yourself. I have read that Tim Burton is set to direct the movie. That would be fantastic!

What about you? Have you read any good books lately? Since I finished all of those I am on the hunt for something new for 2012!
Do tell!


adlinah said...

I love that you spent Dec reading. I made a promise to myself at the start of 2011 that I would read 50 books by the end of the year. I only made it to 42 by 31 Dec. This past month I enjoyed Frank Cotterell Boyce's Framed; it's really a children's book but I found it funny and smart. I think it's being developed into a movie. Probably a UK one though. Paul Magrs' Exchange was interesting though I probably wouldn't have picked it up if I hadn't been bored. And I've enjoyed re reading Nigel Slater's Toast.

Alice said...

Doing donuts can be fun. As a teen, we did it on loose gravel, and more than once I was sure we were on two wheels. And yes, I feel like I'm doing donuts myself with most of our Christmas frenzy still sitting around not knowing where to start.

I don't have time to read books anymore, but I wish I did. My daughters are reading the 'Peculiar Children' book right now. It sounds very interesting! We're big Tim Burton fans so I do hope it becomes a movie.

I think its great that you took some time for yourself! You deserve it!

Have a wonderful day.

Amy said...

These are some great book recommendations, Erin - thank you! I just finished reading The Glass Castle, and absolutely loved it. Another recent favorite of mine is The White Mary.
I'm putting The Angel's Game in my wish list right now!

SummersStudio said...

I did nothing but read for the last couple of weeks. I get lost in those other worlds and times and it is the most delicious pleasure imaginable to take (steal) the time to do that. Oddly enough, I've found myself reading my way through Jane Austin. It really isn't a genre I ever thought would capture my fancy but it has. Slowly I will get back to the studio, blogging, the rest of it. I am so happy to hear that you've been able to steal away those moments in the world of books.

Kristen said...

No good books lately unless you count beading books. I was a bit worried that you hadn't posted but then again with all the craziness here I was also hoping I had missed something. I am glad you took time to just sit. I think we all need that at times. And the donut thing OH Yeah I totally know that! Here if you need or want me as always!


peacockfairy said...

My husband and I find ourselves reading during Christmas break too. I guess you could say it's kindof a tradition. Sometimes it's hard for me to take the time to do it because of all of the other tasks "nagging" at me, but Winter certainly is the time to cuddle up and allow yourself to relax. I just finished "A Walk Across the Sun". It was a real page turner, set in many different countries. And as interesting as it was, the story did have some sadness regarding loss and the terrible underground society known as human trafficking.

Gardanne said...

Thanks Erin I am going to buy that Ransom Riggs book, its right up my daughter's alley.

stacilouise said...

I actually just read Miss Peregrines and LOVED it! No harm in taking a nice break to read!!!!

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

Taking a break to read is a great idea!

I am currently reading "Friday Nights" by Joanna Trollope. It is about an older woman inviting two neighboring single moms over to her house on a Friday night. None of them know one another. It then progresses into a weekly event with other women joining the circle and all becoming good friends.

I bought that book and about 8 others when Borders went out of business :( , so I have a nice collection to hold me over for a while! I'd list them for you, but they are packed up already (we are moving to Virginia)!

Happy new year Erin!

moonlitfantaseas said...

I read Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children over the holidays too! It was an amazing read, but then I have always enjoyed whimsical things books like this, do you think there will be a sequel, it seemed to end in a way that there could be

sharon said...

I haven't read a book in quite a while, and I do miss that. I used to read my books on the treadmill or bike, but with my illness it is not possible to do those things, so I concentrate on art and jewelry, and when I am in a slump I just veg out, and it feels good.
We cannot always be creatib\ve constantly......your body will tell you when!

Starstruckbooks said...

Books feed your creativity. I get antsy when I don't have a book at least available to read and I can devour them in a single sitting if the mood takes me! (Quite partial to re-reading favourites too)

This doesn't really sound like donuts, it sounds like recharging your batteries and filling the corners of your brain with the sparks of ideas to be pulled out and reshaped into beautiful things when the time is right.
Enjoy taking time for yourself, you deserve it and it will make things richer later. Hugs x

CraftyHope said...

What wonderful book recommendations!! I'm always on the lookout for a new good book. I've got a bunch on my list right now and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is definitely on that list already. I just have to finish the last Game of Thrones book and then I can get started on the rest of my list. Boy is it a long book though. . .
I can't wait for more recommendations from you.

lunedreams said...

I'm on the last installment of Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander books. Devastated when I heard he had died! I'm savoring this last one. I'm kind of a mystery/adventure girl. Anymore, I only read when I'm exercising so the story needs to make me forget I'm on the bike.

When you don't know what direction to go in, sometimes it's best to just stop where you are and stop thinking about where to go. Relax into the present, like you did with your books. Pausing your forward movement and just resting in the present does not mean you will be stuck--every traveler needs rest stations. You will know when to get back on the trail, and which way to go!

SoulsFireDesigns said...

Erin, I'm so glad you took time out to read, you deserved the break. I have been struggling over her myself... doing donuts ;). I have been fighting off this persistent infection for quite some time and it got extremely bad right about the time my eldest got off for the holidays... so I got stuck in this cycle of illness and trying to continue taking care of everyone... then everyone else got sick.. I felt like a little hamster stuck in a wheel, just keep going mode... so I kind of let a lot of things slide and just spent what little free time I had reading popcorn books lol. Anything the online library had available that sounded vaguely appealing.

Now I am going to have to look up the books you recommended and see if Overdrive has them! Happy New Year, sweet lady, I hope it is a fantastic one for you!

maryharding said...

Erin, so good you are taking out time to read and recharge. I have StarStruck and am looking forward to reading it.Sooner now that I have your input. I have Hugo on my list to see as a movie. The book is so awesome. If you go to my blog I have restocked my Shelfari with books I really liked in 2011. My two best favorites are Swamplandia by Karen Russell and Place of Wonder by Ann Patchet. Both take place in tropical settings and are rich in detail with fascinating stories. I just love that combo for a book. The hotter the weather the more likely I am to enjoy it.
I think the beginning of a New Year seems to bring the need to have a new direction or plan and seems many, including myself are having mixed feelings about this this year. Not sure why. For one thing, this warm winter is a bit confusing to the internal bio clock so it doesn't really seem to be January. We have yet to have enough snow to put on a snowshoe etc. Thanks again for the great book suggestions.

indigo heart said...

it's a blessing to take a little time to veg. everyone needs to recharge and winter is the perfect time to do it. my main spirit animal is the bear and he loves to hibernate in the winter. i totally do that! it feels good to nest, doesn't? not nesting as in cleaning, but nesting as cozying up with hot tea or cocoa, an electric blanket, and a good book. my eggs are incubating, you see, and when they're ready, they'll be FANTASTIC. in the shape of jewelry, beads, and hopefully, a clean and organized studio space. wish me luck on that last one! i just finished peculiar children and absolutely loved it! yay, books!

Michelle said...

I just read this book for maybe the 6th time or so. I told a friend about it and she called me at the shop and said that she loved the book. Leaving Unknown by Kerry Reichs...I want to move to this town and get to know the people. Must read!



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