Hi to all . . . It’s the first Monday of the month, and that means it’s time for a new Wicked Cool Overlooked Books entry (we’ll get back to a blogger interview next Monday; we promise). In case you still haven’t heard of it, this is the brain child of Colleen Mondor, in which any bloggers who want to participate can talk about books they consider outstanding yet did not get the attention they deserved. Last month was our first entry — sort of. We had this nice, long, lovely post, and Jules inadvertently deleted it, so you got the Cliffs Notes version instead. But this time her fingers are not as slippery.
I’m going to highlight one more Australian author for this month’s Wicked Cool Overlooked Book entry (there were quite a few Australian authors featured in the recent Summer Blog Blast Tour), and that would be Steven Herrick, an Australian poet who writes books of poetry for children, young adults, and adults. If you visit his site, you will see a complete listing of all his titles, but the book I want to tell you about is 2004’s By the River (the original cover is featured on the left, and the Front Street Books’ cover on the right). I reviewed it here at 7-Imp last September. I suppose it’s arguable that it’s overlooked, since it garnered many honors in Herrick’s home, including a Children’s Book of the Year Honor Book for Older Readers by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. But I think it’s safe to say it was at least somewhat overlooked here in the U.S., and besides, it’s so well-crafted that I’m taking this opportunity to recommend it to any one who wants a good read, particularly poetry-lovers (this is free verse — and free verse that is done well).
And, having just visited Herrick’s site, I see that Front Street Books has recently released here in the U.S. Herrick’s latest free verse novel, Lonesome Howl, under the title Wolf. Excellent. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on that one and reading it.You can read all about By the River here at his site, including the first poem included in the novel, “The colour of my town.”
If you generally trust my opinion and/or are intrigued by the book, my review of it from last year is here. Ciao!
Well, as long as we’re talking about Aussie authors, let’s talk about Margo Lanagan, shall we? I reviewed her second short story collection to be published stateside, White Time, back in February. And yet, I still haven’t found anyone else who’s read it that I can talk to about it. So, let me just tell you again how unspeakably excellent this speculative fiction collection is.In my original review, I compared Margo Lanagan’s writing to that of Ray Bradbury at his best, and I stand by that description. She’s got such an original mind, and such a talent with phrasing. She drops you without ceremony to make your own way into a world that’s almost like this one, except for… the way a person’s social status is determined solely by the color and volume of his hair… or the strange floating creature that comforts a boy whose city has become a war zone… or the girl who can see other people’s problems tethered to them like living balloons. And she makes it believable. And she makes you really, really care about these characters and their messed-up worlds.
Lanagan garnered a Printz Honor here in the US for her collection Black Juice, which is also amazing. And her third collection, Red Spikes, was released in Australia last October, and is due to be published by Knopf in the US this October. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it’s already getting awesome reviews, as well.
If you like short stories that are completely original, that are appropriate for teens and adults, that are exquisitely written, that have a hint of fantasy or sci-fi or alternate-reality about them, then please, please, pick up something by Margo Lanagan. And then email me so we can talk about it!
And this is off-topic, but I threw the Australian cover of Black Juice up there, all huge and everything, because I hadn’t seen it before now, and I think it’s maybe the most eerie-pretty cover I’ve ever seen. Doesn’t it make you think of Lavinia in Titus Andronicus? No? Just me?
Well, powers-that-be at Allen & Unwin, I want a poster. If such a thing exists, please let me know.
Note: Visit Chasing Ray’s entry for today to read about another Wicked Cool Overlooked title; Colleen will, likely, also link to other bloggers who are highlighting other titles on this first Monday of the month . . .