Jim Maher has been one of my favorite “indie” writers for some time now, and I’ve recommended his books several times so it was with great interest that I clicked on a link in a tweet about a new story he’d posted called “Lyric”. I was glad I did because he’s since removed the title from Amazon while a publisher considers it, as happened with his excellent Hemingway Man. When it becomes available again I’ll provide a link.
Lyric is a dystopia, certainly, but one that’s drawn with such a broad brush that you can’t start nit-picking about this or that aspect of its world-building. Basically, there’s a girl who doesn’t want to practice her violin. Next thing you know the world is enveloped in some sort of blackness all the way up to 100 meters. Above that level, survivors eek out a meager existence. Lyric Bell, the young musician, finds her own voice in a series of exciting and unexpected adventures in this chaotic situation, As always, Jim’s characters are drawn with compassion and humor. His young heroines – here as in his wonderful Seamus and Tessa – are charismaric and shine in his stories.
I only wish I could wave a magic wand and spread the word about these books to more than the tiny ripple I am able to reach. I hate it that these books don’t have more than a few reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and elsewhere. Jim has such a sweet style and his stories are so engaging and fun that I know that with exposure he’d find great popularity.
I’m reading Locos by Felipe Alfau (a wonderful book I’ll be reviewing and recommending her soon).
It begins with a story about a man named Fulano whom nobody ever notices, no matter how many times or how loudly he introduces himself. Today at the local town swimming pool I met him for real, in the form of a 10 year old boy who insists that everyone is his friend, even though they all ignore him desperately. They boy follows other kids around in the pool as they swim away from him. He speaks in a weird Peter-Lorre-like voice which is startling coming from a pale, freckled red-headed kid. “Do you know my name?” he asks the fleeing swimmers, but they dive under water pretending not to hear him. It’s pathetic, and you feel sorry for him, until he places himself directly in your lane when you’re trying to do laps, and he attempts to introduce himself to you as well. Then the pity ends and you just want the brat to get out of your way.
My son said, of Seamus and Tessa, “it’s the best nonsense I’ve ever heard, even better than Alice in Wonderland”. High praise! We’ll never look at a bald patch quite the same way again
It’s nearly eleven years and my wife and I are still taking turns, alternating nights, reading to our son at bedtime. Sometimes the boy and the parent will read their own books, but for the most part there’s still a lot of reading out loud going on. I’ve read quite a few books this way, and it’s really brought out a sense of what works and what doesn’t (for me). Some of the more popular books which we’ve read (Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter, Rick Riordan’s, Hunger Games) have been the worst – wordy, repetitive, and full of stale cliches and plots you could navigate in your sleep. On the other hand, there have been so many that have been a joy – including nearly every Lemony Snicket, every Roald Dahl, all of Shel Silverstein and Maurice Sendak, Lewis Carroll, Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series.
Right now we’re in the midst of a very fun book, Seamus and Tessa by Jim Maher (author of the marvelous Hemingway Man). This one is wildly inventive, engaging and amusing, featuring a pair of goofy parents (I’m an all-day sucker for those, being one myself) and a host of really bad bad guys. It’s the kind of book that makes me look forward to my turns. Wait, I think I hear him calling. Can’t wait to see what happens next (I don’t read ahead, no matter how much I want to, just so we can discover it together)
A kids ebook recommendation. Stick Dog Wants a Hamburger. linky. It’s fun
A blog post from 4 years ago has been popular this week, so I figure I’d re-post it.
I met this kid with A.D.D. – Asshole Dad Disease. Nothing wrong with him that trading in the dad for a better model wouldn’t fix.
My son and his friends (all eight years old) had decided to perform the Lumberjack Song (by Monty Python) at their school’s “lip sync” program this spring. The idea was shot down by the Woman in Charge, who thought it too inappropriate for young people. She’s a fairly “moral” person, as we know (in this case, meaning “one who imposes their version of morality on others whenever they can), and yet, she promised them she would allow them to do it next year, when they were nine! I have to admit, I don’t understand either of her decisions, the no this time, or the yes next year. If they want to do it, let them do it. The idea is to have fun and it’s funny. I was proud of them for being brave enough to do it. At the same time, whatever … It’s not a federal case.
my son (eight) says that at school, whenever they ask him “what’s the theme?” of any book they happen to be reading, he always answers, “never give up!”
am i raising a cynical little bastard or what?
johnny heading to first, tom in the coach box there
this was during the thrilling comeback victory in last night’s AAA tournament game – our most inexperienced player came through on the last pitch with two outs, two strikes, one runner on in the bottom of the last inning to drive home the tying run and all the kids went wild.
My son has been wanting us to make “random wooden things” together – this was our first project. the second is underway