My New Treasure

Some days vacation is about taking it slow and reading one or more books.  Some days it’s about doing all the things and only getting reading done in the car, on the way to the things, because on the way back the sun has set and you can’t see shit.  You can guess that’s where I’ve been for the past couple days.

Today I finished The Fair Folk, an anthology of six stories edited by Marvin Kaye.  The authors are Tanith Lee (the main selling point when I saw this one at the used bookstore), Megan Lindholm, Kim Newman, Patricia McKillip, Craig Shaw Gardner, and Jane Yolen (secondary selling point) & Miori Snyder.  And, of course, the subject appealed to me: the darker side of the Fey as they interact with humans.

I could talk about each story – considering there’s only six – but I’d rather not.  So, highlights.  “An Embarrassment of Elves” from Gardner is my least favorite of the tales.  It is part of his book series featuring the wizard Ebenezum, who apparently has an allergy to magic.  Except by the time this story takes place, he’s been cured and it’s his apprentice Wuntvor.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I have a harder time with short stories that are clearly part of a preexisting series that I’ve never heard of or read.  And then there’s the elves in this one.  I just really truly despise them.

My favorite in this book, which more than makes up for the tale mentioned above (which directly precedes it), is “Except the Queen” by Jane Yolen & Midori Snyder.  This story is unconventionally told by two fae sisters who have been exiled to the mortal world and separated.  They are, however, allowed to write, and the entire tale is told through their letters to one another.  It’s rather hilarious to imagine these formerly gorgeous women reduced to old, but knowledgeable, biddies thoroughly confused by our modern world and yet still able to do what they must.

The Fair Folk is mostly acceptable, with one real standout that justifies my keeping it.  However, that’s not the only book I finished today.

Even though I visited the “world famous” Haslam’s Books (Florida’s largest bookstore) in St. Petersburg (yes, there’s one in Florida too.  You know I’m not in Russisa.) I didn’t buy anything there.  However, before we went out there, I made my family stop in the shop of the Museum of Fine Arts.  Last time I was there, they had some nice stuff on the clearance table, so I figured it was worth checking out.  The clearance tables were clear today, but I browsed the shop anyway.  It’s like the museum itself: not exceptionally large, though they do have quality items.

In the kid’s section I found If I Were a Book, written by Jose Jorge Letria and illustrated by Andre Letria.  Before I even opened it, I knew I had to have this book.  The back cover describes it as “a…love poem to a reader’s best companion” and it is so true.  This book is about how reading educates us, encourages us, and comforts us.  It is every wonderful thing ever said about any book anywhere.  It is a book of why I love books.

And, in case you forgot, it is a children’s book.  A tool to, hopefully, instill that same love in the kids who are exposed to it.

If it had been cheaper, I probably would’ve spent a lot more money buying copies for so many of my friends who I think would be touched by it the same way I was.  As it was, I think $12.95 is a pretty decent price for an 6.5″ x 8.5″ 64 page hardcover color-printed children’s book.  And I’m happy to pay list price at a small museum’s store – plus amazon is not that much cheaper at $12.11.  I cannot reccomend this one enough for readers of all ages.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll treasure it.

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