During my trip to Idaho this weekend with my family, we enjoyed good friends, exquisite art, delicious food and the great outdoors. An unexpected theme of the trip, however, was the books some of us were starting and finishing over the weekend. Our son Theo has been so caught up in reading his Land of Stories book series that for the first time on one of our trips I felt a little sorry for his electronic devices because they were rarely pulled out of his luggage. Instead, Theo snatched every chance he could get to race to the end of Book 2 in the series, reading it hungrily, only stopping to giggle at certain parts and explain his favorite moments to us. This morning he excitedly (and proudly) began Book 3. What was even more surprising than Theo’s newfound love of reading was that during some downtime yesterday, he asked to borrow my laptop and began Chapter 1 of the book he has been planning to write for the last couple of weeks – apparently the first in his own fantasy book series. He is not a fast typist, but he managed to write the first draft of the first page, which to me was highly commendable. I have never dared to even try to write the first page of a novel!
Meanwhile, I too finished a book that I have been reading for a while, not with the same fervor as Theo perhaps, but with a building fascination and eagerness to discover the fate of its unusual characters, including an ancient tortoise. The book was The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart, a quirky, sweet story tinged with sadness that has as its main characters a Beefeater called Balthazar Jones and his wife Hebe Jones who works in the Lost-and-Found office of the London Underground. Set primarily in the Tower of London, the book cleverly weaves together their story with those of several other inhabitants of the Tower, including several hundred animals sent to live there by Her Majesty, the Queen.
My good friend Lynn (see January 4) had bought me the book a couple of years ago, and I am so pleased I finally found the time to read it, especially at a moment when I am trying to push myself as a writer. It reminded me that there are many different flavors of writing. I am also very glad that I finished the book while staying with Linda in Boise (see October 23), a good friend who loves to read, write and discuss books. Because it was the most enjoyable book I have read in a while, and because I know Linda will appreciate the whimsical but tender writing style, I gave the book to her before we left Boise to return to Los Angeles. Now that we have rekindled our friendship, I am eager to continue our conversation about books, starting perhaps with this one, hopefully including one of hers sometime soon, and maybe one day Theo’s too!