[DWJ] What I've been reading was Re: anyone reading list on digest?

Kathleen Jennings kathleen.jennings at gmail.com
Thu Apr 16 18:57:47 EDT 2009

I've been giving myself literary whiplash: Meg Cabot, Steve Wozniak,
Meg Cabot, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, Helene Hanff, Dickens, AA
Milne. It may take me a while to recover.

The Hanff book was her Underfoot in Show Business, about not making it
as a playwrite, and was enjoyable (even including her antagonism to
Tolkien, whose name she hoped she spelled wrong) and charming and far
too short.

Re: Graveyard Book, I got it for Christmas and my thoughts at the time
(or at least, a month later when I did my monthly reviews!) were:
I grew up on The Jungle Book and I really liked the nods Gaiman gave
to Kipling’s story in the structure of this book, the echoes of
Mowgli’s childhood in that of Nobody, though this is not a retelling.
It’s an independent story of a boy brought up by ghosts in a
graveyard, and it charmed me. I found myself annoyed that the story
didn’t go further or deeper, but although it was the sort of annoyance
that reflects well on the book I really wish this could have been a
much larger story - a book that starts and ends in the same place but
covers much more ground, just like The Jungle Book does, where
Mowgli’s story is only part of a much larger world full of stories,
some of which link and others of which do not. Gaiman can do this  -
he does in Neverwhere and American Gods - and it can be done in
(so-called) childrens’ books too. I just bought a copy of T. H.
White’s The Sword in the Stone for my nephews, The Hobbit spins off
into a bigger world all over the place, even little books like The
Book of Three (leaving aside the series) have the feel of being a much
bigger story than they are. So I was disappointed that The Graveyard
Book was just a little book on its own. It was a very good little book
on its own, but knowing what Gaiman and the genre are capable of I am
feeling a bit sad for what it might have been.



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