Gettin’ Hooked

It’s been an addiction for the last two weeks. I jones, I worry, I debate in my head, I bargain for time. It’s Dianne Wynne Jones.

Anyone who thinks young adult literature can’t be serious should give her a good try. Her books cover all the magnificence, ridiculousness, and travails of “coming of age.”

From the characters who start as 8-year-olds adopting puppies, to Polly, whose story goes from the age of 8 to 19, to Sophie, who is in her late teens when her story begins and has a husband and child when it ends–everyone resonates.

Every event, no matter how objectively ridiculous (like finding a Goon in your kitchen) has weight. It’s all about growing up. And growing up is what life is about, no matter how old you are.

The Great Travel Read

The Great Travel Book. It’s a difficult beast to chase.

Should it be a new book? But then, there’s always the chance you won’t like it. Maybe, in spite of the publisher’s reassurances on the cover, you won’t be able to connect with the voice.

Should it be an old book? But what if it’s not distracting enough. What if you’re still aware of the airplane or train or bus around you?

And what about size? For an international trip, should you bring a big hardcover in your purse, so that you don’t have to worry about its weight in your checked luggage? Or should you opt for the small, used mass market paperback? But what if it falls apart during the third layover!

Genre. Literary fiction can take your breath away–but can it do it in a crowded airplane? Genre fiction can be great, but what if you can’t believe the alien world, or the implausible murder?

All these questions and more await. For now, based on 36 hours in which I flew from North Sulawesi to Jakarta and back, a re-read of Robin McKinley’s Sunshine is the best answer.

A