Megan some time ago tagged me to blog about three not so very well known books that mean a lot to me.
This caused something of a raging internal debate, because one book I'd love to blog about I can't. Because if you go look it up at Amazon, there, for all the world to see, is a review by my Diego de la Vega name. Sometimes this ever so attractive "scrap of black silk" gets pesky.
So let's just say that my aunt wrote a series of children's fantasy novels. Well, they were originally marketed for children, but now they would be straight fantasy or YA fantasy. And my favorite is the second one. But I can't really blog about it. Damn.
So, for the other three books, lets see...
Roustabout has to be a first choice.
Michelle Chalfoun worked at the Big Apple Circus around the time I did. Dear Butcher knew her well (and actually had a major crush on her). She left just as I was coming in. But this book REALLY gets the gritty backbone of the circus. The passive aggressive hatred of the backlot, the beauty of the circus, the strange sexual manipulation that goes on, and the wonder or the scary magic of it all. There's a description of the shower room in this book which is absolutely dead on. Great book. Try reading this right before you dive into SEP's Kiss an Angel, and you'll begin to see why that book never rang true for me.
Another book would be, um, The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue.
A very good ghost story, one that unexpectedly made me cry while I was on an airplane. Razi, the ghost in the story, is trying to discover what happened to her one great love, and bumps into a modern day couple. (I didn't like the parts about the relationship problems between the young kids so much.) There's an emphasis on the smell of a person, and hungering after a memory, and trying to work out what trust and love and memory have to do with each other that was very well done.
And for my third, I have to pick one that is probably fairly well known, but not often read. Actually, it's two books, Twenty Years After and Ten Years Later. They are the second and third books of a four part series, but somehow they get left out of most movie adaptations and discussions of the characters. I'm sure you know the title of the first, and you may know the title of the fourth, but not necessarily know that it's number four in a series.
First in the series is The Three Musketeers, and the fourth in the series is The Man in the Iron Mask (which was DREADFULLY dramatized by Hollywood in the Leonardo di Caprio version. Ugh. John Malkovich, please, I BEG you, please, use some sort of accent if you insist on showing up in these French period dramas. Please.).
Anyroad, in Twenty Years and Ten Years, you follow the four Musketeers through various adventures involving Charles I of England, and various nefarious plots involving Milady and her nasty son. In these two novels, you really see how Athos, Porthos and Aramis, although they remain friends, begin to follow their inner urges and grow forever apart. When they are brought together for The Man in the Iron Mask, they do so out of extreme loyalty to each other, but for entirely different reasons. Dumas does such a great job of building those characters, tearing them apart and bringing them back together again.
I read both books during summer camp. (My copy of Twenty Years smells completely of summer camp--sort of faintly mildewed with a spruce overtone.) I wasn't getting along well with my cabin that year, but those two books saved that summer for me and created a rich fantasy life of stalwart heroes, accomplished with the sword, that carries me through to today.