With the snow queen by Joanne Greenberg (FICTION):
Well, this is a collection of short stories and one novella. The novella is interesting… if you could go back in time would you fix things to turn out differently? What happens when you return to ‘normal’ time? Several of the other short stories are interesting enough, but somehow, these stories seemed a little bit random to fit together nicely as short stories. Maybe I missed something.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Macguire(FICTION):
This one has seen a lot of hype due to the Broadway musical. If you enjoy fantasy (especially the Wizard of Oz), you will most likely enjoy this one, although there are several significant deviations from the Baum classic. Overall, an enjoyable read and interesting take on a character considered to be ‘wicked.’ I think this book also follows in the vain of the latest Star Wars movies in that it explores the fall of a character (although in the case of Wicked, I am not sure it is truly a “fall”). I think these books Wicked & Son of Wicked attempt to recast the world of the Wizard of Oz in shades of grey vs. black and white, evil vs. good which I think that is part of the appeal of these books for modern readers.
Clay: The History and Evolution of Humankind’s Relationship with Earth’s Most Primal Element by Suzanne Staubach (NONFICTION)
While a very interesting book, especially for those interested in the evolution of man, social history and anthropology, it sorely lacks in better illustration. There are many references to how things look, which could have been wonderfully illustrated with a drawing or photo. I found this especially true when the author was speaking of the different colors/textures of clay. I really yearned to see an image to illustrate her words. Other than that, I found the book overall interesting, and certainly relevant.