Here’s some of the books that we’re reading this week!
Starting: My Dad’s a Birdman, in which award-winning author David Almond wields magic realism and our suspension of disbelief to show us how a family challenged by the loss of a parent can heal itself, with a little help and understanding.
Starting: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Robert C. O’Brien’s Newberry-Award-winning modern fable about a widowed field mouse, Mrs. Frisby, who seeks the assistance of a colony of uplifted rats in moving her home, a cement block nearly buried in a farmer’s field. It’s a Herculean task for a group of rodents, but one that must accomplished if Mrs. Frisby’s pneumonia-stricken son is to survive.
In the home stretch: Belly Up, by Stuart Gibbs, who puts an ingenious, tween-ish twist on the classic whodunit by placing it in a megalomaniacal billionaire’s wildlife theme park and featuring said billionaire’s daughter as one of the sleuths.
Concluding: The Old Man and the Sea, the tale that would earn Hemingway his Nobel Prize in Literature and the final significant work of fiction written and published during his lifetime. The titular old man is a fisherman who struggles against his quarry (a gigantic marlin that dwarfs his ramshackle boat), ferocious sharks, and the sea itself, as well as against his own apparent ill-luck and pangs of self-doubt. He triumphs, but at a terrible cost to himself.
Getting up to speed: The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel-length return to the world of Sherlock Holmes after an eight-year hiatus. Doyle had meant to kill Holmes off permanently to give himself the time that he needed to write a string of, now largely forgotten, works of historical fiction. Heeding fans’ pleas at last, Doyle sent Holmes and Watson to the misty mire-ridden moorlands of Devonshire to foil an effort to use an old family legend to steal an inheritance.