"Always look on the bright side of life!" - Eric Idle
"It is better to fail at originality than to succeed in imitation." - Herman Melville
"Read to your heart's content. Though if you are a reader, the heart is never content." - Jenny Hubbard, Paper Covers Rock
The year of 2011 was my first in a local library's Mock Printz book club. We had lots of fun over the course of the year (and a little into this one) and read some truly great books - and some bloody awful ones as well. We had to narrow down our choices to a "top three" list. Mine were as follows:
- Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard
- Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
- The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier
My first choice (which ended up winning) was one of the best books I've ever read. It details the guilt-burdened life of Alexander Stromm, written in the form of a journal - which works out tremendously, as it seems so real. As one member of the club pointed out, "Alex is not a character, he is a person." And I fully agree to that statement: he just felt so real. The story is very realistic and well-crafted; the writing was simply beautiful. I'm not surprised to learn that the author is a poet and playwright.
The second is the first, and so far only, piece of work I have read by David Levithan. The prose is also very good here (not Paper Covers Rock, but still great) and the characters feel a similar guilt for a friend (I'd hate to spoil it, so I'll keep it vague). The cool thing is that Mr. Levithan asked a photographer, Jonathan Farmer, to send him random pictures, which he based the story around - and nailed it. This is a wonderful novel.
And I've reviewed The Floating Islands in the past, but I still agree that the descriptions are breathtaking, similar to Redwall in their majesty. This is more my preferred style of book, although I can easily accommodate other genres. But I think this is good to show I am not biased.
The competition was keen; Paper Covers Rock was closely tied with a novel I have yet to read, titled A Monster Calls - so closely, in fact, that our lead librarian had to step in and give her vote, which was for Jenny Hubbard's piece of art. I honestly think it will become a classic.
Overall it was a great meeting and I cannot wait for the new season.
Wishing the best,