Monday, September 29, 2008

review: The Graveyard Book

In his new children's novel, The Graveyard Book, literary rockstar Neil Gaiman gives it to us straight: sometimes death isn't fair and there's nothing you can do about it, but life can be as fair as you're willing to make it. After the loss of his living family, Nobody Owens is taken in by a nonliving one. Though the particulars of his existence are unusual, anyone who's in the process of growing up (and please note that many grown-ups still have some of that to do) will sympathize with Nobody's frustrations (studying, authority, social interactions) and joys (friendships, hard-earned skills, packets of crisps).

Graveyard seems to have been written for a slightly younger set than Gaiman's previous (and, for me, far scarier) children's novel, Coraline. Older readers, and those better-versed in the supernatural horror genre, might anticipate the twists and reveals a good while before Nobody. But even with the usual monsters and mayhem all in their usual places, right down to the Lovecraftian Thing What Lies Beneath And Speaks All In Caps, Gaiman's blind-casting of the characters and Nobody's fabulously pedestrian treatment of thoroughly extraordinary things will allow The Graveyard Book to take turns at delighting, educating, and creeping the good wits out of anyone who's willing to let it.

Look for The Graveyard Book in stores on Tuesday, September 30th in the U.S. and on Friday, October 31st in the U.K. Also look for Gaiman himself on his 10-city U.S. and 4-city U.K. book tour -- though in case you won't be able to attend in bodily form, HarperCollins will be posting free video recordings of each of his U.S. appearances, during which Gaiman will read one chapter of the book each day.

Chapter illustrations by Dave McKean are online, but were not published for review.

In summary, I liked it, and you should find some children to read it aloud with while doing all the voices.

Monday, September 22, 2008


It was almost chilly this morning! This makes me want to drink coffee, bake squashy pie, find my sweaters, go for a walk under oak and maple trees, procure apple cider, snuggle, wear a scarf, read a ghost story, and be in elementary school again. Not necessarily in that order.

Welcome to Autumn and this blog, folks. I'm Lauren, and I'll be your dorkful host. Pardon my Webdust as I figure out how the hell this thing works, and stay tuned for actual content, including a recipe that involves nearly equal parts chocolate chips and bacon.

This is what I looked like as recently as Labor Day weekend. [Photo by Cyclone Larry, who was really excited that I wasn't wearing the cupcake shirt that I am mysteriously always wearing when he sees me.]