A Week of Reading 4-1

It’s Thursday night again, so here are some more things I’ve been finding to read lately. Unfortunately, between less time on the commute than I expected and a bit of a distraction involving hemming a thermal curtain, this hasn’t been near as good a week for reading—or at least, for number of books or for learning rather than just squealing over what I’ve got in front of me. So…

The highlight of the week for both my family and me was taking home the new Dragonbreath book, Lair of the Bat Monster. The series is sort of an unofficial favorite among the mostly unofficial children’s librarians (…read, the ex-school-librarian who joined us about six months after I did and me—we haven’t quite gotten into a fight over the books, but we’ve come close a couple times) at my library, and equally popular within my household; new book comes in, we clear out some time, grab some cookies and do a mass dramatic reading. This one? Worth it. The stream of facts thrown in as side detail that I knew were true rather reminded me of the recent Extra Credits segment on tangential learning; Ms. Vernon is the queen of improbable but true setting detail to begin with, but this one managed to include more nifty facts without breaking story than any she’s done yet. (My one complaint was that, while the main action of the story is set in Mexico, at least a couple of the non-bat species that make cameo appearances are from the Amazon—but I’m detaily like that.) And this one took the series’ usual incidental adorability and turned it up to eleven. Here and there too, the dialogue (particularly when it splits into Wendell’s point of view) shows a tendency towards humor in narrative and similar things that are funny to the audience, but not near so amusing to the characters.

I also finally got around to taking a stab at the original Dracula. That one’s been on my pull list since slightly before the boss decided to replace our worn-out copy with a recent re-issue, mostly due to wanting to see some of the obscure vampire lore I’d blundered against, but since it’s in the fiction room and I keep getting shiny nonfiction titles just a table away from the circulation desk, things kept interceding; I finally picked it up when the lady who’d also checked out Escape from the Land of Snows brought it back and recommended it. This being a reprint of the original, I was struck by the language—fortunately, not just the verb tenses I wasn’t used to seeing, but some of the accents given to the characters. The epistolary format (letters, journal entries, etc), was slightly disorienting, moreso since it bounced about between three or four viewpoints, but I liked how it conserved suspense. And nothing really prepared me for Mina: I haven’t tended to be impressed with what happens when you put a girl and a vampire in the same plotline, and I was still a bit on edge from my adventures with the Scarlet Pimpernel and Marguerite’s informed wits. Mina, though, is proactive, a diligent typist, out-logics the gentlemen trying to protect her on several occasions (including at one point having memorized the train schedules), and shows an amazing resolve in the face of all the angst that gets heaped on her. Squee.

Happy reading!

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