I’ve been thinking about rereading A Spoonful of Magic for a while now. Maybe it’s because some time has passed or, more likely, because I knew to expect it, but the fundamentalist Christians bothered me less this time and I was able to enjoy Daffy’s exploration of her new world with her family. Like I said when I first read this book, it only came out last year, so some of the political aspects, sidelined though they may be, can hit home a little hard.
Irene Radford opens the book on Daffy and G’s unlucky thirteenth anniversary, out at a nice restaurant. And drops the first bomb that Daffy wants a divorce after someone sent her an incriminating photo of her husband’s infidelity. In many books, that would be more than enough to get the story started, but this is Irene Radford and this is a fantasy. Once the two get outside the restaurant, they’re set on by would-be muggers and G not only defeats them, he magically compels them to do community service. All in full view of Daffy.
It’s a little much for the poor woman, you understand. She went to dinner thinking just that he was unfaithful. The fact that he’s a practicing wizard, that this is his job, and that their three kids are also going to be wizards? Far more than she was expecting.
But, it’s not so bad. This is Eugene, Oregon which is essentially Salem West. It’s a nexus of magical power and many of the residents, though they may not know it, have fairy ancestors. (Which is something never really brought up because I would be very interested to know if the fairies are still around and what happened to them if not.) Daffy long ago cut ties to her own Christian fundamentalist family and pastor father, remembering the love she had for her grandmother with the second sight. She’s now one of the owners of Magical Brews, a coffee shop in the downtown area of Eugene.
They say never to get between a mother and her kids, and that’s exactly what it seems someone is trying to do. So while Daffy has to deal with the divorce and what to do about her ex, she also must protect her family and friends, all while learning that magic is far more deeply ingrained in her life than she ever realized.
A Spoonful of Magic is a fairly light read (aside from political subplots that evoke stronger worries from readers) and just what I needed at the end of the week. It’s not what I had planned on reading next…but I forgot that until I was already a third in. Oh well.
Then I was further distracted by the Gerber Hart Library & Archives book sale. I think I mentioned yesterday that this is the LGBT+ library, and if that wasn’t clear enough before, or when I saw the fabulous people in line before the sale opened, it was made abundantly clear once I made it into the room. The two largest sections were, of course, Fiction and Non-Fiction. There were also tables of Straight Fiction and Straight Non-Fiction, a tiny Kids section, and a separate Erotica area.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much nonstraight literature before. Oh sure, I’ve been to that one bookstore…I can’t remember the name offhand…where they have an LGBT+ section in the back and it’s a decent-sized space. But as with so many bookstores today, the shelves are not as stuffed full as they could be, with a great many books piled cover-out, instead of spine-out. More display than volume. I suppose overall there would be a comparable amount as this was a fairly small sale, but still, having everything mushed together and books on the floor makes it look like so much more.
I found a few books in the main fiction section. Actually I found one that looked like sci-fi (okay, it does say right on the front cover that it’s science fiction) and it was in between two other books by the same author. Since I’ve never heard of her, I figured I might as well grab all three. Worst comes to worst, I dispose of the ones I don’t want later. I found two books on the straight fiction table, one of which I thrust at a friend who came by later (he likes cats a lot) and one I kept for myself.
The real find was the kids’ section, where the friend I traveled with found Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall.
Now, I don’t read a lot of picture books anymore. I’m not the target audience and I don’t spend much time with small children. My friend used to work at a daycare and does work with special needs kids, so knows a lot more of these books. They said Red was something they’ve wanted for years. So, we read it on the bus back.
I could immediately see why this book would be found at Gerber Hart. It’s the story of a crayon, Red, who is…blue. Everyone keeps trying to get Red to color red, but it’s physically impossible, because it’s a blue crayon, even though the factory screwed up and put a red wrapper on. Until, one day, another crayon asks it to color something blue. It’s a story about labels and acceptance, about identity and being yourself. My friend said its about being transgender but I say, why should transgender people alone be able to claim Red? It’s a book for anyone who has been told to be something they’re not, whether it’s gender, sexuality, romantic orientation, etc. I’m glad my friend was able to find it, and I’m even gladder that I got to read it.
As for myself, my quick read (of today’s finds) is Cat Love Letters: Collected Correspondence of Cats in Love by Leigh W. Rutledge. It’s an utterly adorable read, as you explore the relationships (or lack thereof) between Miss Tonya Gabbeldoff & Mr. Peaches L. Keen, Snowball & Spitfire, Shasta & Mr. J.B. White Socks, Nefertiti & Boo, Miss Mindy Softpaw & D.W.Y. (Desolate Without You), Mabel Lightfoot & Mr. Grouch. Each story is a different take on love as seen though the eyes of the cats in question and they’re all entertaining and most are quite touching.
There’s young love, hatred, desperation, forbidden love, and old age to deal with. Some stories have happier endings than others, but mostly things end well. The entire premise is somewhat ridiculously hilarious, but it works and I truly enjoy it. It’s no surprise to hear that the author is a crazy cat lady, but I’ll admit that thirty is a bit much. Still, if it inspires such entertaining work, who am I to object?
I grabbed this on a whim and instead of passing it on to my cat-loving friend, opted to keep it for myself, at least long enough to read it. Unfortunately for him, I’m not giving it up, it’s just too wonderful. True, my copy has long since lost its dust jacket, but what do I care? The inside is intact. And what I thought to be a random childish stamp on one page turned out to be the cat’s letterhead, so it’s in good condition. I should note that each cat has their own specific paper, font, and writing style, the better to distinguish them visually. Each page also denotes who is writing to whom. Except for the news clipping pages which are, well, obvious. Suffice to say, I am so glad I found this little book as it’s helped brighten my day.
As for that other book I meant to read after Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, that is definitely happening next. For real this time.