Booknotes: Last Week’s Reading

June 14, 2010 @ 7:37 pm | Filed under:

Finished The Whisper of Glocken, Carol Kendall’s sequel to The Gammage Cup. It was even better than Gammage, though The Firelings still holds the top spot in my heart. I want to write at more length about Kendall’s beguiling, quirky, suspenseful books, especially her fondness for bands of unlikely heroes whose faults turn out, Meg Murry-like, to be their strengths. For now I’ll just say that I highly recommend all three of these novels as family read-alouds or as satisfying read-alones for boys, girls, and fantasy-loving adults.

Received an advance review copy of Mindblind, a new YA novel by Jennifer Roy about a 14-year-old boy with Asperger’s and a genius-level intellect. I enjoyed it, was fascinated by the way Nathaniel’s mind works, and simultaneously appreciated and felt wistful over the general awesomeness of his mother and circle of friends. It is clearly a book with a mission, seeking to help readers understand Asperger’s and autism, but it mostly puts story first. Anyway, I’m all for helping readers (including me) better understand Asperger’s and autism. Once again, I’m working on a better, deeper-digging post about this book and a few others that have moved me recently: Kathy Erskine’s brilliant and powerful Mockingbird; Cynthia Lord’s Rules; Charlotte Moore’s memoir about her sons George and Sam. All enthusiastically recommended. (But George and Sam is not for younger readers.)

River in the Desert, that book about the LA aqueduct I’ve been dabbling in for two months. I’m not going to finish it (I see that now), but I’ve learned a lot and it’s certainly a fascinating piece of history, with far-reaching consequences.

And then Scott brought home A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book, which I’ve been in line for at the library for months and months. When did it pub? Since that day. It’s as big as my first NYC apartment, so yeah, there goes the rest of my summer reading plans. LIKE I CARE. Two chapters in, I’m riveted, and I have very high hopes.

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  1. coffeemamma says:

    We have an aspie, and are always on the lookout for books with Asperger’s as a theme, or a character with AS. There have been so many that have come out lately, that Hubby asked the other day if AS was the ‘new vampire’. Heh.

  2. Pam says:

    What is the Children’s Book like? I started Possession but gave it up (so regretfully because I loved her writing) because the adultery was so central to the novel. Then I tried another of hers and it was all about incest… I can handle these topics but when they are so all-encompassing and treated so sympathetically I just have to let them go. Please tell me this one is different and I’ll run to the library!


  3. Sherry says:

    You need to read Marcelo in the Real World (Stork) and Anything but Typical (Baskin) if you haven’t already. Yes, there have been a lot of books featuring Asperger’s and autism in general, but these two are exceptional.