On a Silverwing and a prayer
Book inspiration comes from many places. Sometimes I hear about something on the New York Times book review podcast, or on Plus on est de fous, plus on lit (best podcast ever if you understand French), or in other books, or even Twitter. This one was thrust onto me by my 10-year-old daughter, who’s read the entire series (if I know her, she’s read it more than once) and loved it.
It’s about bats. (…)
Not a great start. As a rule I don’t like animal stories, and especially not animal stories written for children. But my lovely daughter insisted. What was I supposed to do?
I read it, of course. That’s not surprising. What I wasn’t expecting was that I might like it.
I did. It’s really well done. The scenes are vivid, the action moves swiftly, there’s bad characters and good ones (and some in-between), there’s courage and failure and redemption. Also gore and death. Animals interact the way humans do, and that’s an irritant as far as I’m concerned. But even though it’s not especially didactic, it also, I suppose, helps children understand valuable life lessons through the eyes of their favourite tiny night-flying runt.
Result: Unlikely success.
Speaking of important life lessons. Tuesdays with Morrie is one of those books that I should have read a million years ago but somehow didn’t. This title remained under the surface, never reaching the bedside table. Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda is there, too. Inside the bedside table, never on it. But I’ll get to that one too, eventually.
On the cover of Tuesdays with Morrie it says “an old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson,” which is vague yet enticing. But nothing works as much as the text itself. It’s short, we breeze through the backstory but somehow it’s evocative enough that we have the impression we know both men quite well anyway. And at the end, we cry. Not because it’s sad even though is. But because it’s beautiful.