Hot damn! I knew it had to happen sometime, and I was right! You got it, my lovelies...I'm reading again! In the spirit of my Reading in Order Challenge, I picked up the next book on the TBR and zipped through 50 pages immediately. Briar Rose, by Jane Yolen, is just as good as you all said it would be. This is my first time sampling Yolen's work, and now I'm really sad that I didn't see her speak at Texas A&M University - Commerce (my alma mater) this past semester. I suspect she would've been fascinating to listen to. But back to Briar Rose...
If you've been under a rock--as I've been--here's an Andi blurb for ya:
Becca is one of three granddaughters to Gemma. Gemma spent her lifetime telling stories to her granddaughters...mainly the tale of Briar Rose. Before her death, Gemma makes Becca promise to investigate her story as she insists that she is Briar Rose. What follows is a lot of investigative work on Becca's part, and I know this all leads to Gemma's experiences during the Holocaust, but I haven't read far enough yet to know exactly how that transition happens or how Becca will stumble upon the truth of Gemma's mysterious past.
I know this one is considered young adult fiction, though I consistently find myself surprised by Yolen's authorial choices in this regard. Becca is a grown woman...no angsty teenage narrators here. This is one of those novels that rides the fine line between teen and adult fiction. The only thing that seems particularly "teeny" about it is the cover. I'm very much enjoying Yolen's take on the "Briar Rose" tale since you all know what a fairy tale whore I am. Yeah, I said fairy tale whore. It's true...why hide or sugar coat it, right? Ha!
I'm also reading a SECOND BOOK! No one is more shocked than I am, I assure you. I'm a lazy one, and I left my copy of Briar Rose in Pandora the Prius last night when we got done running around and doing Fourth of July things. I didn't feel like venturing out into the rain sprinkles in my pj's this morning, so I picked up the nearest book (toootally not in order for Reading In Order Challenge): Saving Fish From Drowning, by Amy Tan.
I freely admit that I'm probably the only person on earth to have not read ANY Amy Tan. My friend Beth assures me that I will fall over and worship at Tan's feet if I read The Joy Luck Club. After just a few pages of Saving Fish From Drowning, I am quite sure that Tan will be a new fave, and I can't wait to get to my copy of The Joy Luck Club on my stacks. An Andi-blurb about Saving Fish:
Bibi Chen narrates the book after her death. She's an art patron and generous benefactor to numerous Asian organizations during her lifetime. She arranges a trip down the famed Burma Road for eleven of her friends, but she mysteriously expires before the trip can take place. On a hazy Christmas morning her friends take off on a boat tour and never return.
I just have to say, Tan's "voice" for Bibi Chen is freakin' fantastic. I can totally picture her as a little fireball of a woman...outspoken and excitable. I'm not very far into the novel yet, but the premise is fantastic, and I'm totally hooked on Bibi as the narrator of her friends' trip and her own life. There's also a really interesting author's note in the beginning of the book wherein Tan describes a chance trip to a psychic research center and archives in an attempt to escape a New York City downpour. She happened upon the premise for the book after reading some supposed "channeled writings" from the real life Bibi Chen.
If you need a pick-me-up book, either of these should do the trick. They sure have for me. In fact, I think I'm going to finish tallying midterm grade reports right now and head back downstairs to my cozy bed and curl up with one of these books.
Have a great night, everyone! I hope all you American readers had a fantastic Fourth of July! I'll be posting fireworks pics soon!