Sunday, March 25, 2007


My colleague Karl Kroeber has some interesting thoughts on Columbia's Literature Humanities curriculum at the Spectator. (I mostly keep a fairly clear line between work thoughts and recreational thoughts, at times it amounts to a pretty effective cordon sanitaire but at this point in the school year the work stuff seems to be taking over!)

I did find time to read a couple much-anticipated young-adult novels over the past couple days, it is both a good and bad thing that these books are so short (bad because we want more): Catherine Gilbert Murdock's quite lovely The Off Season (sequel to Dairy Queen--these books are particularly indispensable reading for young-adult authors, I really love them--thanks to L. for getting me an advance copy BTW) and the immensely satisfying Magic's Child, the final installment in Justine Larbalestier's Magic or Madness trilogy. And the ending of this one seems to leave room for further installments! How excellent, I like it when trilogies turn into series--and I assume that Murdock will write more of her character's story also.

Bonus link: Magnus Linklater at the Times on the tyranny of the long-running hero (Rebus, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes et al.). It's a somewhat tongue-in-cheek piece, I think; I heartily deplore the over-long-running series myself (one of my betes noires is the kind of series where the main character doesn't age with the times, leading to implausibilities of many sorts--this is why certain writers would be better off adopting the Dick Francis-style "my characters are virtually indistinguishable from each other but just different enough that I can happily relocate them in the appropriate year with a cellphone and e-mail" method), but as a reader I always want more. Lee Child has said that Jack Reacher will die a couple books further along in a lonely motel room--this makes me sad, I want an infinite number of Reacher books, and yet it is certainly a more shapely way of concluding things than the option of continuing indefinitely...

1 comment:

  1. Did you know that Catherine Gilbert Murdock is Elizabeth Gilbert's sister? I am not so into YA, but I do want to read hers.