Thursday, March 24, 2005

Book report

I haven't been reading much lately, but what I've been reading (and listening to), while meager in quantity, has been great.

The last book I finished was Terri Farley's Seven Tears Into the Sea. It hasn't actually been published yet--I do Terri's website, and she sent me an advance copy because I'm going to be designing a new site for her. Terri writes the "Phantom Stallion" series of books, but Seven Tears isn't part of that series, it's a young adult fantasy, and it's wonderful!

It's about a teenager who goes to a beachside resort to help her grandmother, who owns a bed and breakfast. The girl spends the summer with her cat in a little cottage on the property where she used to spend vacations with her parents when she was a little girl. On one of those vacations, something unusual happened that caused them never to go back, and she's a little reluctant to go back now, but her grandmother needs her. She's afraid that the townspeople will think she's strange because she claimed she met a selkie on the beach that day seven years ago. But they don't all think she's strange. Some of them believe her.

It's a wonderful story, and I loved every word of it.

I'm currently reading Lawrence Block's latest Matt Scudder novel, All the Flowers are Dying, which I'm enjoying, although the narrative switches back and forth between Scudder and Elaine, his former-callgirl wife, and a serial killer, told from his perspective, which is a bit unsettling. But it's good, Block's stories are always good.

I'm also reading Perfect Circle, by Sean Stewart. I started it after getting a free "extended excerpt" download from Fictionwise for my PDA. I loved what I read, and was surprised that Fictionwise didn't have the full-length novel for sale. I ended up requesting it from the library.

Perfect Circle is about Will "Dead" Kennedy, who sees ghosts, and has since he was a kid. He's a divorced dad who's still in love with his ex-wife, just got fired from his last dead-end job (he got fired for eating cat food at his petstore job; he only did it to prove to the harpy who brought it back that it wasn't stale) and who wants nothing more than to earn enough money to take his daughter to Six Flags. Which is why he agrees to try to "exorcise" a ghost for his cousin. Not surprisingly, it ends badly . . .

As far as listening, I'm currently listening to Twisted, from Jonathan Kellerman. In a departure from Kellerman's usual Alex Delaware novels, this one is about Petra Connor, Kellerman's female detective protagonist from his 1999 novel, Billy Straight.

I just finished listening to another Terry Pratchett book--Going Postal. It's set on the Discworld, where the protagonist, con artist Moist Von Lipwig, has just been hanged. Fortunately (or unfortunately, perhaps), he didn't die, but was rescued by the patrician who runs the city and given the job of reinstating the Ankh Morpork post office, which has fallen into disrepair, being made redundant by the advent of the "clacks," the semaphore-based message system.

It starts out a little slow, I thought, but I was soon riveted by the story, which includes some quite wonderful characters, including golems and the woman who runs the golem employment office.

previous | next

2 comments:

Randy said...

Hi Willa,

Just curious, what's a "selkie"? Can't find the word in any of my references, nor on-line.

Randy, your Australian reader

Willa said...

From Pantheon.org:

"The shy Selkies are marine creatures in the shape of a seal. They can be found near the islands of Orkney and Shetland. A female can shed her skin and come ashore as a beautiful woman. When a man finds the skin, he can force the Selkie to be a good, if somewhat sad, wife. Should she ever recover the skin, she will immediately return to sea, leaving her husband behind. The male Selkies are responsible for storms and also for the sinking of ships, which is their way of avenging the hunting of seals."

Basically, the Selkie is a creature of folklore, a shapechanger who can change from seal to human by shedding its skin. If you hide a selkie's skin, they can't go back to the sea.

Here's another interesting page about selkies, which mentions the "seven tears into the sea:"

http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/selkiefolk/