I have had a most lovely read this past two days. We are beginning to get our book orders in at both my schools, and I snatched one of the books as I was cataloging them and could not put it down (an awesome perk of my job). It is a YA (young adult) novel, which is my favorite category of good reads. I just can’t get past them. I hardly ever read “adult” fiction anymore, I have such a wonderful supply of great literature at my fingertips.
This book, The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde, is just spectacular! I could not put it down. Wonderful characters, great plot, and a lot of action go a long way to making this a book I was sorry to leave.
An alternate UK reality is the setting for the book. Magicians and sorcerers have been losing their powers and they fear the old magic is going to disappear. The main character, Jennifer Strange, is an indentured foundling who runs the Kazam Mystic Arts Employment Agency for wizards and magicians, and she is very creative in trying to keep the agency afloat. Of course, the 15 year old Strange is in for some riotous adventures as she discovers some things about herself along the way to helping ‘Big Magic’ return to the Ununited Kingdoms. My favorite character in the book was Jennifer’s loyal Quarkbeast (“a small hyena-shaped creature. . .often described as one-tenth Labrador, six-tenths Velociraptor, and three-tenths kitchen food blender”) who tries to protect her and can only say”Quark!”.
I have not read any of Fforde’s adult novels, but I may have to take a look. The Last Dragonslayer is a funny and clever send up of politics in general, and also takes a big stab at consumer-driven culture. Very witty and an altogether fun read. There is a sequel out which I am going to get as an audiobook so I can listen in the car (Song of the Quarkbeast). If you love Terry Pratchett, Jasper Fforde will not let you down!
I keep hoping that time will slow down and that somehow a few more days can be slipped into each of these precious summer weeks. Too much to do, and some relaxing fun things would be lovely as well.
The weather has had quite a few ups and downs… with some extremely hairy storms this past Tuesday evening. I was at a meeting a little way down the peninsula and the wind was blowing and the rain came down in sheets for quite awhile. After it began to let up, we all pointed to the slightly yellowy-grey weird sky color. It’s what I call a tornado sky. We all joked that it couldn’t be the case, but today I heard on the news that a tornado did touch down in Woolwich, which is just about 10 miles south of here on Route 1. So we really weren’t crazy. Of course, it measured a “0” on the Fujita Scale, but nevertheless, it was quite dramatic. (Not that I want to see one come through here as more than a “0” at all. We have enough crazy North Easters to deal with during the year).
Yesterday was fantastically gorgeous and I had serious intentions for dyeing or felting, but I ended up at work for the morning and when I came home I couldn’t resist sitting down with lunch and reading just one more chapter of the second book in Carol Drinkwater’s series about the olive farm that she and her husband took on in the south of France. Being home alone, I ended up having another cup of coffee and I kept reading! It was a delicious way to spend the afternoon, and now of course I want to read the third book, but sadly, do not have a copy yet.
Some of our daily entertainment involves our remaining two laying hens. Bad Chicken #1 (aka Henny Penny) lives up with the sheep and goats, while Bad Chicken #2 (aka Chicken Licken) hangs out behind the house and in the garage. They have both had a bout of broodiness which we tried to use to our advantage by adding some fertile eggs to Henny Penny’s nest. We really should have bet on Chicken Licken as she gave those 17 eggs of hers almost 7 weeks. Henny Penny’s nest was raided a short time after we got some good eggs under her and all of her eggs were eaten. But our clucky #2 gave it her best. And now she is really becoming a pest… during her broodiness she only left the nest about twice a day, looking for food. She puttered around under the bird feeder by the back door and so we began to throw some scratch out there for her. I guess that wasn’t the smartest thing to do as now she comes right up onto the back steps and pecks at the screen door, making a big fuss, and leaving us other surprises on the stairs as well. She and the chihuahua have faced off a little on each side of the door, but the chicken always wins that war of nerves!
Wow. That’s all I can say. What an amazing and wonderful book. Not just a description of living with milking goats and how that changed his life, but a commentary on pastoralism and how we as human beings have removed ourselves from what helped make us human thousands of years ago.
We have had a lot of unnaturally warm weather this November and I have to say that I have been enjoying it. It’s not winter yet, but the brilliance of October has definitely gone past. I always feel as if I want to hold onto those brightly colored leaves on the skyline, but when the leaves are down and it’s not really winter yet, there is a certain feeling of expectancy, first of the Thanksgiving holiday to come, and then of the winter. I have been thinking about that as I do chores and am enjoying even these gray Northeast skies, the clouds and the birds. It didn’t seem like something I would bother to blog about, but I happened to visit the blog of one of my favorite children’s authors, Cynthia Lord of Brunswick, Maine, and I just had to put a link to her beautiful and simply written thought about November, as well as the other in-between months that come to us in northern climates between the drama of the 4 seasons. Here it is: The Concept of November. Thank you Cynthia!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!