Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I've been so busy eating crackers and reading books that I forgot to post here about my two favorite activities.

One of the many books I read in the last month was Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale. It's a reinterpretation of a little-known fairy tale, Maid Maleen. It's categorized as a young adult book, but I thought the rich detail and and elegant style of writing would appeal to many adults as well. The book starts when the narrator, Dashti, (a maid), and Lady Saren are locked up in a tower for seven years because Lady Saren refused to marry the suitor her father has chosen for her. From there, the story spins out into a fantasy that is still grounded in excellent characterization and interesting culture. I kept thinking about this book for weeks after I read it, which is always a good sign. The only aspect of this book that bothered me was a sort of disconnect between the fantasy aspects and the realistic setting. The story takes place in medieval Mongolia, but obviously much of the details are fantastical (the villian of the story is a shape-shifter who takes on the appearance of a wolf, Dashti heals wounds by singing, etc). On the other hand, some of the details are true to what I know about Mongolia--Dashti's most precious possession is a yak. For some reason it bothered me to see real animal like a yak in this fantasy world.

Does this kind of disconnect ever bother you?

What kind of cracker goes with this book? I recommend a digestive (a type of english tea biscuit) and a glass of yak's milk.

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