As I keep several books going at once these days, sometimes they all wrap up about the same time. This week has been exceptional. Listening to Norman Mailer's Castle in the Forest, a 15-CD audio book, I found the going tough sometimes. The book is a story of Hitler's childhood and his parents' lives, and the narrator is the devil responsible for looking after young Adolph (Addie), so I had a hard time finding a sympathetic character. Mailer had done extensive research to put together this background tale of one of history's most infamous characters--a real monster. As I neared the end, though, I discovered that CD #15 was missing. I turned my car upside down, looking everywhere I could imagine, then realized that I had a book on my shelves, so I finished the old fashioned way.
At the same time, I've been re-reading Serena on the same reading schedule I've assigned to my students in preparation for Ron Rash's appearance at our Writers Symposium on April 23-24. I finished it within twenty-four hours of finishing Castle in the Forest.
Then before bedtime last night, I happened to pick up Stitches, the graphic novel/memoir by David Small. Until now, the only graphic novel I've read is Maus. This story came through recommendations at the November NCTE convention (where I get so many of my good titles). The story is dark--Small's dysfunctional family let him go through surgery as a preteen without ever telling him he had cancer. Even the book cover reflects the dark nature of the book, a picture of Small's parents and grandparents. A close look shows that around the author's name is a dialogue balloon in which his (insane) grandmother says "...by my durn grandson David Small Durnit !!" Not exactly ideal bedtime reading, but original and thought-provoking enough that I may have to look for Persepolis, the graphic novel I hope to read next.