But most of all I loved to know I was in safe hands. There's nothing more comforting than that. Whatever happens, you're going to enjoy it, because it's Terry Pratchett and because it's Neil Gaiman and that's that. So I did. I laughed and I giggled and I was sorry when it ended, just like with every good book, although the ending was absolutely perfect, and probably my favourite part of the story.
Now I'm looking ever more forward to what that photo promises. How long do we have to wait?
About a boy by Nick Hornby
Again with the comforting here. It's Nick Hornby, I won't be disappointed. At least, it hasn't happened yet, so don't start listing all his worst books now, OK?
Anywho, this was brilliant and I wanted to hug it and the characters lots. Especially Marcus, the boy of the title. For those who never heard of this book, it's about a boy, (!), who is too grown up for his age and sticks out a lot. It's also about this other guy, Will, who hasn't grown up at all and still feels like a teenager. In a way they complement each other but they take a while to realise that. The funny bit is that I identify with both, at different times. It's easy to identify with Marcus, the outsider, generous, bullied kid. With Will was different. He's shallow at first, with no real purpose in life except to just get on with it. But I could sympathise with him when people criticised his seemingly aimless life. Since he doesn't have a job and doesn't have a family, people fail to see what use his life is. Sometimes, being unemployed I feel in a similar situation. I know I'll have to get a job, but even though I tell people I don't do anything, I do lots of things. Things I enjoy, but that I'm not paid for :P I'm great at filling my life with these little things, and if I could keep doing them for the rest of my life, I'd be happy. But for some people, it still looks like I don't do anything.
But anyway, the similarities with Will end here. He's a bit of a wanker to be honest, and even Marcus doesn't understand why he keeps going back to him. But he does, and their relationship gets stronger and stronger, until even Will starts seeing that Marcus is good for him. And how couldn't he? He's ADORABLE. And wise, and kindhearted and everything that's good in the world.
I can see this book making the top list of best books I have read at the end of the year :)
Gifts by Ursula Le Guin
This one was a slow burner. For a while I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it, because the introductory part seems to go on forever. Nothing much happens for a long time as we're introduced to the world and powers of the Domains. But sure enough, almost without realising it, I found myself caring deeply for its main characters and enjoying the time I spent with them. It definitely isn't an action-packed story, but aside from the start I can't say it's slow either. It's definitely unusual. Intimate. And ultimately very powerful. I couldn't expect anything else from Ursula Le Guin.
The story take places in the imaginary rural Uplands where its communities are plagued by perpetual feuds and where each lineage has a particular power called gift. The story is told by Orrec, a teenage boy whose lineage possesses the power to undo, to destroy. But Orrec's gift only manifests itself wildly, and since it can't be controlled his father is forced to blindfold him, so not to harm anyone accidentally. Orrec's dear friend is Gry, a girl who has the gift to call animals. Traditionally this gift is used to call animals to the hunt, but Gry refuses to do so, putting her in a similar situation as Orrec's. They both struggle to be accepted and to find a suitable role in their rural society. Their relationship is beautifully portraited. You can feel their strong bond any time they're together, in very gesture and word. I really liked the two of them together. I also liked Orrec's mother, Melle. She's an outsider, a lowlander, and all her life she struggles to understand the ways of her husband's people, never fully grasping the meaning of the gifts and their importance. She's the only one in the Uplands to know the beauty of the written word which she teaches to both her son and Gry. Her love for storytelling is her gift to Orrec, and one that he treasures more than anything, his only moments of light in his blind dark years.
It was a wonderful book, one that shows its beauty little by little and will stay with you for a long while.