Posted by Sari
Category 33, YA Book: Diana Wynne Jones: House of Many Ways and Kij Johnson: The River Bank
This, again, is bit of a cheat. These are not precicely YA books, rather nearer middle grade ones. But they are both books with enough craftmanships and layers for adults to enjoy and not just nostalgically. House of Many Ways is situated in the same world than Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Air. Charmain Baker just wants to read and work in the king's library, but gets mixed up in all sorts of trouble when she is ordered to take care of the house of his great-uncle, the sorcerer. I am rationing DWJ's novels because there will sadly be no new ones, and I want to savour every word.
This is a delightful romp but also has things to say about gender roles and responsibilites. I also loved the very real pre-teen/teenagery ways Charmain and Peter tackle the problems of taking care of magical house.
Kij's The River Bank takes us back to see Ratty, Mole, Badger and of course Toad of the Toad Hall who is naturally getting into all kinds trouble. It captures the magic and the language of the original but interrogates the all-male world of Wind in the Willows by adding female characters who are not there for the male characters but have their own stories and own agendas. Really succesful intertext which respects the original but updates it to this day.
TeeHelmi: Lapsang Souchong Grand Jardin
It took me some time to get used to the smoky flavour of Lapsang Souchong, and it is still not my favourite tea. But there are times when the strong flavour is just what the doctor ordered. This is a very nice and soft Lapsang Souchong, the smoke does not overpower everything, though it is dominant. Water 95 degrees and brewing time 2 minutes, says the instructions, I usually brew it for little less time as I don't want the tea to taste too smoky and bitter.