Friday, December 18, 2009

Book Pairings

I would like to write a brilliant introductions to explain exactly WHY I feel the need to hype some of my favorite books and explain the ideal conditions in which to read them, but alas, I don't know why. Instead you will have to live with the introduction of "Here are some of my favorite books and the ideal conditions in which to read them"

Here are some of my favorite books and the ideal conditions in which to read them.

Straw Into Gold-- by Gary D. Schmidt
Mmmmm. Comfort pressed between pages. This was the first book I ever read, honest to goodness, cover to cover, by the light that trickled into my room from the bathroom while I was supposed to be asleep. I recently reread it to see if I would still find it as spellbinding and . . . I did. True, it has a very innocents, maybe even naive, storyline, but if you're feeling a little lonely or tired there's nothing wrong with a little innocence. This book is best read (cover to cover) with a steaming cup of hot apple cider and a bowl of oatmeal smothered in honey.

The Thirteenth Tale-- by Diana Setter
This is a November book. True, it could be read in January or December or September if the night (yes, this book must be read at night) were stormy enough, but if it can be helped at all read this book in November. Pour yourself a glass of wine or your favorite hot tea, curl up with a soft blanket next to the window, and read. But only a chapter or two at a time. Some books just make your skin crawl better when you let them fester in your mind a little longer.

Swordspoint --By Ellen Kushner
This book is nothing if not decedent. Elaborate. Luxurious. Read on a long morning when you have nothing at all to do but pamper yourself. Climb into a bath full of bubbles with a glass of champagne and a plate of iced cakes and enjoy. Or sit outside in a silk dressing robe (do people still wear those?) while eating the fanciest breakfast your imaginations can conjure up. The point (ah, a pun on the book's title. How quaint.) is to be absolutely ridiculously comfortable --so you can savor the blood.

I Capture the Castle --by Dottie Smith
I have less detailed instructions for this one. Mainly I think a copy should be given to every girl dealing with a break-up and though I have not yet tried cherry brandy if you read the book you will understand why that is the beverage to drink while reading it. It is an outside book to be read somewhere quiet and secluded in the spring or summer. Preferably barefoot.

Beauty; a Retelling of Beauty and the Beast --by Robin McKinley
Give to your friends when they are sick and can't go anywhere. Also give them roses.

Though I have not followed these instructions myself in every detail I remain convinced that this is the surest way to achieve maximum enjoyment out of these books, however, as a warning I also have a few books that, while fabulous in and of themselves, you may NOT want to read in certain conditions. A assure you, this is the voice of experience this time.

The Queen of Attolia --by Megan Whelan Turner
DO NOT read in the dentist office while waiting to get a root canal. Specifically the scene where a certain character is tied to a chair so he can get his hand lopped off. Just don't ok.

Briar Rose --by Jane Yolen
DO NOT read while you have fever, are in pain, and need something to keep your mind distracted. Delirious dreams about the holocaust are just not cool

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