I've finished several books in my long silence... let's check out a few of them.
I want more Zahn!
The really great thing about The Green And The Gray, other than the fact that it's alien/mythological fiction with various of hostage situations, weapons being tossed around, and an intelligent writing style/plot, was the development of the relationship between the first two characters you meet - Caroline and Roger Whittier, a married couple. The psychologist of my brain was in raptures.
Also, it features a guy-girl friendship that's platonic. (Okay, fine, they're like 12 years old, but whatever.)
Jacob Have I Loved reveals the things that girls never tell anyone about growing up. I identified with the girl in some ways so deeply that it made me fidget.
There are "abnormalities", "phases" that come when growing, especially between 11 and 16, that we girls never think anyone else goes through or would understand.
But here they are, glaring up at the world from the page, because Katherine Paterson has written them down... indelibly so, due to the Newbery Award gracing the cover.
Not uncomfortable or disturbing enough to mar the story's beauty, however.
Two random things that come to mind about the writing:
1) Paterson spans years easily. This isn't a story that develops over a week. These aren't lessons or experiences that can climax and resolve in a month, a year... it's a lifetime.
2) I rather worry about Paterson, to be honest. She writes gorgeous stuff, but both of her books that I've experienced (Jacob Have I Loved, and Bridge To Terabithia) include good guy-girl non-romantic friendships of the closest kind... and in both, something screws it up massively and beyond repair. We all know that the girl dies in Bridge To Terabithia, I'm not even going to bother with spoiler protection for that one, but I won't ruin the ending to Jacob Have I Loved for anyone.
I will say that what happens is suitably horrid. I would have rather he died.
Reading Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead felt rather like doing drugs. Am I spinning, or is the room, or there any point asking?
'Twas a trip, to be sure.
Poe's a good read.