I have a steaming cup of chai tea and a delicious Date Bar on the table in front of me as I enjoy this sunny, cool-ish morning, an extra day off before the new school year begins. Since it is Labour Day, I got thinking about this blog. What began, in part, as something to add to my resume while I was looking for a job has become, after eight years, a labour of love. I really look forward to sitting down at the start of each week to write about what I’ve been reading, listening to, or thinking about regarding books and reading. I appreciate the comments I’ve received from readers who have said they enjoy reading my blog; some have even discovered some great books by reading my recommendations. Thanks for letting me know. That makes this even more worthwhile. As a bonus today, I get to listen to CBC Radio Two, as it is a weekday, not a Sunday, and so they have my favourite radio show, Tempo, airing. This is a win-win situation, and hopefully the start of a delightful day.
Because I went back to work last week, and I also had something planned every evening, I only had time to read one children’s book, but it was a good one. The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch, the first in the “Secret” Series, tells the story of Cass and Max-Ernest, two children who form an unlikely bond as they investigate the mysterious death of magician Pietro Bergamon and the kidnapping of one of their classmates. Cass and Max-Ernest both have unusual home lives; Cass’ father is a mystery, and Max-Ernest’s parents have a, hmmm, let’s say “curious” way of dealing with their divorce and shared custody. When Cass and Max-Ernest go exploring at the dead magician’s house, what they discover leads them on an adventure both dangerous and exciting. This novel reminded me of The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket, the first in the “Series of Unfortunate Events”, in many ways. The narrator warns readers at the beginning that they should not read this book, that it is dangerous (or unpleasant), but if they choose to continue, they do so at their own peril. The narrator speaks directly to the reader, and uses challenging vocabulary that fits in naturally with the narrative. All of the characters are a bit unusual, but they have special abilities, the usefulness of which become clear as the story progresses. It reminded me so much of Lemony Snicket that I thought perhaps it is the same author using different pseudonyms. But according to my basic internet search, they are not; Bosch is Raphael Simon and Snicket is Daniel Handler. If this book was not so long, I would read it aloud to my grade four classes this year, but I think kids would have a hard time staying interested for such a long time when they only get to hear me read once a week. I think I will recommend it to teachers, though, as they read aloud to their classes every day. If you choose to read this, beware! You may become addicted to this series!
That’s all for today. Enjoy this gorgeous holiday Monday, and embrace the new school year when it starts tomorrow.Bye for now…