Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Lost Book Library Reading Round-Up no. 9

The Memory of Eva Ryker by Donald A. Stanwood

Status: Abandoned, p. 132

I was disappointed by this Titanic-themed mystery thriller, as it looked like the best novel ever written by anyone ever.  After over a hundred pages of the hero improbably jetting all over the globe to the point of silliness and casually hitting a woman in the face very hard along the way, I decided to call it a day.  It's not all bad, however.  The cover has a peephole in it, and there's actually an inner cover underneath.  Do you want to see it?  Of course you do.

Emu and Little Red Riding Hood by Michael Sullivan

Status: Completed

Not much to say about this basic retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood story with Emu (but disappointingly, not Rod Hull) shoehorned in, except that it contains this extraordinary picture by artist Elphin Lloyd-Jones:

The Caretakers by Dariel Telfer

Status: Abandoned, p. 54

This was actually pretty decent, and I only abandoned it because it was very long, I'd got the gist, and life is short.  A fictionalized account of a working life in a mental hospital from the early '60s, it shows a disturbing world that has only very shortly departed, with trainee staff terrified of the patients they are sent to treat simply because they are mentally ill.  The book posits the then-radical notion that the patients are just normal people who just happen to be sick and deserve to be treated with dignity.  It could be argued that it tries to have its cake and eat it, in the manner of Tod Browning's Freaks, with the case studies presented both for our understanding and our titillation.  Nevertheless, it's a brave work for the time, and should certainly be read by anyone with an interest in changing attitudes to mental health.

A Garden of Sand by Earl Thompson

Status: Completed

I've expressed my admiration for this book earlier, and recommended you all go out and buy it.  That some of you may not have done so fills my heart with sadness.  Meanwhile, here's Earl Thompson's impressive author pic.

The Grounding of Group 6 by Julian F. Thompson

Status: Completed

Very enjoyable '80s teen lit about a sinister boarding school and its unorthodox way of dealing with problem students.  Can't say too much about it without giving away the big twist (which I think I already did last time I mentioned it but anyway).  Although something of a sensation in the US at the time, it's not so well-remembered over in the UK.  This is probably because it is rooted in the banal truths of American high-school life, rather than the mythic version we lap up so voraciously, and so feels a bit alien.  Nevertheless, it's a great premise leading to a strong story, enthusiastically told.  Anybody interested in the growth of the YA genre should check out this landmark title.

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