Creepy TV and other Thanksgiving Fun

Back from Thanksgiving weekend with my parents: four days of non-stop eating and family and wine (I blame my sister for that last part). It was the first time in a long time that we, my parents, my sister’s family and my closest first cousin’s family were all in the same place at the same time, to celebrate the birth of my youngest nephew (or whatever the proper term is for my first cousin’s child).

We happen to be a family with strong introvert tendencies, even the men who married into the family, and we are also very loud, in that stereotypical ethnic family sort of way. So periodically, certain people would disappear from the gathering, to be found hiding in another room with a device of some kind…

Which is a long-winded way of saying that my ten year old niece has started me down a wormhole of recreational reading and tv-watching time sinks, just in time for the holidays. Follow me down the path: Continue reading

On Reading Children’s Stories as an Adult

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Adults do read children’s stories. I’m probably the only reader in the English-speaking world, of any age, who hasn’t yet read a Harry Potter book (I know, I know, me of all people…). And I have friends who admit to having read at least one Twilight novel. They usually say in the same breath that it wasn’t very good — but I notice they keep on reading them. The Hobbit is a children’s book. I read it over and over again when I was a child, and a few times in adulthood, too. Yet I couldn’t make it through a single chapter of whichever book is the first volume of The Lord of the Rings.

Well-written children’s fantasy, or a least the kind that appeals to adults (well, to me, anyway) has a kind of dancing, twinkle-toed language that one doesn’t usually find in books for adults, fantasy or fairy tale or otherwise. I adore Angela Carter, for instance, and as I write this, I am flipping through her Collected Short Stories and thinking that I must re-read them. Her prose is beautiful, but her words are more the kind that smoulder, they don’t exactly sparkle and dance. James Thurber’s words, on the other hand, do a nice jig (his collected works are sitting next to hers on my bookshelf, which is why I bring him up).

My latest children’s book binge started about a month ago, when I spotted a mention of the Sisters Grimm series on a children’s book blog. Curious, I picked up the first book, The Fairy Tale Detectives. It’s not bad — kind of a children’s version of the Fables comic book series, and if you have tween-age children in your life who like fairy tales (or whom you want to introduce to fairy tales), this seems like a good series. It’s not exactly adult-readable, though. My first thought after finishing it was not I have to pick up the next one, but rather It’s time for me to read Coraline.

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