Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Read This, Listen To That: Get Your Creepy Fall On

Our reviewer, Katie is here with a new take on our Read That/Watch this series... Read That/LISTEN to this:


I had really good intentions in preparing for this post. I was going to read this--Trouble Is a Friend of Mine--and recommend you watch either that--Veronica Mars: The Movie--or that--Sherlock (Robert Downey Jr. or BBC), but life and summer got in the way. You know how it is with the best laid plans. And while chances are you should still probably do yourself a favor and read and watch and watch, I come bearing other recommendations instead, the sort of recommendations that come from wandering the shelves and just sort of going with the flow. That’s what summer is all about anyway.

Having loved Kate Milford’s Greenglass House last year, when I found myself picking The Broken Lands off the shelf by chance the other day, it didn’t take much self-persuasion to take it home with me and dive in last week.

First off, if you’re looking for another wintery holiday treat, keep on
moving. Rather this is a summer tale--a creepy 19th century summer complete with fireworks in Coney Island tale to be specific--in which two teenagers Sam, a card sharp, and Jin, a fireworks expert, find themselves caught up in the age old fight between good and evil. This isn’t historical fiction in the most traditional sense, but rather a taut, imaginative thriller mixing folklore and alchemy and the supernatural. Sam and Jin are drawn into the battle to prevent a New York, still struggling with the aftermath and repercussions of the Civil War that ended just a decade before, from becoming hell on earth as evil forces (not quite men) seek to take down the five pillars protecting the city.

And if that sounds like your cup of tea, you should also listen to this: Neverwhere, written by Neil Gaiman and narrated by Neil Gaiman. (I know, I know, I’m supposed to give you a “watch that” but the truth is, I know books way better than movies, so these things happen. It’s better this way for everyone, I promise.)

Neverwhere is the story of Richard Mayhew, an unassuming fellow like Sam in The Broken Lands, who is pulled into a dark, dangerous shadowland world complete with trickster characters and downright evil villains. Although set in present day London (or London Below) rather than 1877 New York, Neverwhere shares with Kate Milford’s novel a certain atmospheric cozy creepiness (anyone whose been down this road will understand), as Gaiman and Milford both seem to intuitively understand darkness and somehow manage to find the light in spite of it, most often through touching friendship and immense courage.

More to read:

Counting Down til 2015: Katie's Top Ten of 2014

Listen Up: Middle School Monday Edition--The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Radio Week: "City with No Children" by Arcade Fire

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