I’ve been so busy writing the last few weeks, I’ve done less reading than usual! I have enjoyed rereading some old favorites, though, and trying a couple new books too.
Gordon Korman was my favorite funny author of my childhood. A couple of librarian friends tell me he’s known for survival stories now, but back in his early career he wrote some hilarious stories, including my favorite and one of the earliest reviews on this blog, A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag. I recently bought one missing from my collection of his early books, Son of Interflux. I got a used copy online, and was pretty delighted to open it and unexpectedly find a signature! The book was also as fun and hilarious as I remembered. In the same mold as Semester, it’s a high school setting full of kooky characters and increasingly escalating chaos. In this case, an art school takes on a big corporation to save a forested area – but it’s not remotely as serious as that plot makes it sound.
I expected my next read, A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher to be another funny one – I mean, how amazing is that title? And the story is about a girl whose magic only works on dough, with a sourdough starter for a familiar. Plus, Kingfisher wrote the amazing Paladin’s Grace, which was so much funnier than I expected! Well, this one was very good and had funny notes, but was also darker than I anticipated from the title. It did open with a dead body in a bakery, so… Still an enjoyable read!
Going back to the humor vein, I also reread Bagthorpes Besieged and Bagthorpes Battered by Helen Cresswell, Books 9 and 10 in the Bagthorpes Saga. I read these from the library probably 10 years ago, and have been recently tracking them down (some are surprisingly harder to find than others!) Focused on the Bagthorpe family, they’re basically a group of kooky characters who careen from one chaotic situation to another. They’re not that long so I’ve been rereading them two at a time, and by this point in the series (the final two) each book does not have any particularly clear plot. Around Book 5, I think, Cresswell basically just threw the characters into a situation and let chaos unfold with no particular plot arc to it, and the second half of the series is largely one long, ongoing story. Despite the lack of plot, the books are great fun and very funny.
In the midst of my funny YA rereads, I read one book that was very, very different: The Guest List by Lucy Foley. A murder mystery set on an Irish island during a destination wedding, it was grim but fascinating. Told from multiple points of view, everyone has secrets, and the murder was only one mystery. I really enjoyed it – even though most of the characters were terrible people and I probably wouldn’t want to spend extended time with any of them in real life!
After spending so much time on my own shelves recently, I have a good stack of books from the library to go through, so I’m looking forward to some new reads ahead!