Thursday, June 30, 2011

Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones

Enchanted Glass
by Diana Wynne Jones
Harper Collins, 2010
332 pages

I haven't read any Diana Wynne Jones in a long time (evidence: she shows up nowhere on this blog) and I didn't read any of hers as a kid, when I probably would have loved them the most. As an adult, I enjoy her books very much, but I always feel a little wistful after reading something by her, like I have missed something truly wonderful by reading them so late and with an adult point of view. Something akin, perhaps, to the people who read L'Engle's Time Quartet as adults and realize, kind of sadly, that they have totally missed the point when they should have read those books. They see there's something there, but it's out of their reach.

It's not as pronounced as that, for me, here. But some authors really, truly write for kids without talking down to them, but in such a way that there is a point at which it becomes difficult for an adult to access the book. I don't think this is a bad thing, by the way -- authors who can do that are very, very special. It's just a matter of getting to the book at the right time.

Part of it may be that I find her books, and Enchanted Glass especially, to be a little... brief? I am not sure of the right word. It's hard, because I'm not sure I feel like this with any other books for kids, and I'm not sure why I do with this one. It's like I skip across the surface of her books lightly and easily, enjoying the trip as a tourist would, but knowing I will never be one of the locals. I desperately want to get deeper, to move into the courtyards and wear the appropriate clothes and eat the food, but I am stuck in the tour bus looking out, appreciating the view. It leaves me feeling a little wistful.

Anyway! On to this book specifically. My teeny tiny book club of 9 - 12 year-olds picked this one unanimously from a pile of suggestions I had. I'm glad they picked it, because I've wanted to read it since Darla did. In a world similar to our own, but steeped deeply in magic, a man by the name of Jocelyn Brandon dies. When he does, his grandson Andrew, an academic at a local university, inherits Brandon's house, grounds, and his field-of-care -- that is, a special magical place to be protected and cared for in a particular way. Andrew does know magic, but he has a hard time remembering much of what his grandfather taught him as a boy -- and he wants to work on his book, anyway. However, his plans are being constantly derailed by Mr. Stock, his groundskeeper, and Mrs. Stock, his housekeeper (completely unrelated, and barely even civil to each other). His poor book gets left aside completely when Aiden Cain, a twelve-year-old orphan boy shows up in rather dire straits on his doorstep.

The cast of characters is diverse and, as always, one of Jones' strengths. Not everyone is completely likeable or dislikeable, though there are some clear black-and-white characters too. No matter whether they are strongly on the side of right or wrong, they each make mistakes (some more than others) and they each have their strengths, and they are all somewhat quirky and eccentric in a way that I thoroughly enjoy. The perspective swings back and forth easily between Andrew and Aiden, often between paragraphs, which can be somewhat confusing if one is reading too fast. Both are excellent main characters. And I like that in a children's book, we get an adult as a main character, and even see events from his perspective. That doesn't happen very often, and I thought it was a great touch.

I also really enjoyed the magic, and the fact that Jones leaves so much to the imagination. She doesn't explain everything for us, and I think I've probably over-harped on how I don't like everything explained to me. I think it can have a detrimental effect on the world-building and authenticity. Even some plot points are left somewhat unexplained, leaving the reader to think for themselves, and I like this very much. I'll be interested to see if some of the more literal-minded kids in the group are as enamoured with this strategy as I am.

Overall, a light and original fantasy, a great romp really. I enjoyed it quite a bit, even if I spent most of my time feeling like I was somehow on the outside looking in. Recommended for all fantasy fans, but especially the younger ones.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn, and a long comment on ebooks

It's interesting reviewing an ebook vs. having read the other two in this series as paper books. When set so close together, the reading experience was a different one; not completely, not necessarily bad different. I prefer reading an ebook to not reading at all, for sure (er, how's that for a ringing endorsement?) but if I am honest with myself, I do prefer paper books. I like having the object in my hand, I like the feel of turning pages, and I like the, for lack of a better phrase, "mind-feel" of reading paper.

There is something about reading on a screen that blurs the experience for me. I've always been the sort of person who can remember exactly where on the page a certain thing was said or a certain thing happened; I don't tend to need bookmarks or dog ears to remind me where I've stopped reading. There is a 3-dimensional component for me in the reading experience, something that appears to be inextricably linked to the overall experience of the words and the story. That is entirely missing from the e-reading experience, at least on a laptop. It might be different with an actual e-reader, but the story blurs together for me. I can't tell you approximately how long a chapter is, or even how long the book is. I'm not sure where certain things took place, exactly; I can tell you what came first, and second, and third, but I can't tell you necessarily how close that was to the beginning, middle or end, unless it was something that was strongly dependent on internal chronology. For example, in Silent on the Moor there are puppies born; right now, I can't tell you whether that was closer to the middle or the end, and if I had to find it again I'd have to start somewhere around chapter... 18, maybe? And just keep clicking through until I found it.

This is not to say that I don't remember the story itself or that the experience of the story was somehow less vivid. As I say, reading on the laptop is better than not reading at all, and I'm not positive that it changed how the content sticks in my head, other than the structure of it. Though I'm not even sure about that. It is a faster reading experience, and it does feel like a less permanent one; but I do still remember large swathes of The City & The City, more of that than of many paper books I've read.

All of this to say that I am now confident in saying that I don't think all of my e-reading reluctance, my small anxieties when people proclaim that paper is finished and going the way of the LP, is based in curmudgeonly clinging to the past. Reading an ebook is a fundamentally different experience for me than reading a paper book, one with some distinct and identifiable changes to the way I experience reading flow if not necessarily the story (I will need to read a few more ebooks and maybe read the same couple books as paper before I can say whether or not my experience of story changes significantly). Whether or not these changes are something to bemoan is still up in the air, but I do know that my current preference still lies strongly with paper, and now I can point to why.

***

Silent on the Moor
by Deanna Raybourn
Mira, 2009
351 pages

As stated, I couldn't wait for the library system (both my local library and the library I work at have copies of this book, but in both cases they were checked out such that I would have to count on the person bringing it back on time, and still days from now even if they were on time) so I actually bought this book via eHarlequin. I am glad I did. It's a book worthy of ownership, like the previous two in the series (although I am, for reasons discussed above, more than likely to buy a paper copy eventually as well).

Fair warning: though it's not necessary to read the previous two books before this one, I think there are significant benefits to doing so and I would strongly encourage it. As such, the following paragraphs may contain unintentional spoilers for the first two books in the series. I don't think there's anything startling or unexpected, but they may be there.

Julia, with her sister Portia and their brother Valerius, are off to pay a surprise visit to Nicholas Brisbane at his new manor in Yorkshire, the ominously-named Grimsgrave. Portia was really the one invited to help Brisbane set up his household and get things in order because she's very, very good at that sort of thing; but Julia isn't about to let a chance to see Brisbane slip through her fingers despite the fact that he has explicitly instructed Portia that Julia is not to come. Julia's rather had it with not knowing where their relationship stands and she intends to figure it out once and for all. But perhaps Brisbane was right; when they arrive at Grimsgrave, they find it not only a terribly rundown, impoverished old place in the middle of nowhere, but a couple of unexpected inhabitants in addition to Brisbane. Before long there will be a mystery for Julia to solve beyond her relationship with Brisbane.

I've added the "romance" tag to this book, having left it off the other two, because the relationship between Julia and Brisbane is a significant focus. Not to the exclusion of everything else, but Julia states up front that she is going to Grimsgrave to sort things out with Brisbane, and so it is necessarily a major component of the story -- even though Brisbane himself is pretty scarce for significant portions of the book, particularly in the beginning.

Once again, the setting of the novel changes the tone. Here we have a much, much more gothic piece of writing than the previous two books. Grimsgrave is an ancient, crumbling hall on the moors of Yorkshire; the season is a rainy, grey spring; the unexpected inhabitants of Grimsgrave are themselves somewhat stereotypical Gothic players: the aging matriarch and beautiful, aloof daughter of a dying bloodline, along with a second daughter who is distinctly unfriendly (although Hilda isn't particularly menacing; I quite liked her). The tone is somber, dreary, and damp, and fraught with dark tensions that the reader feels but Julia is occasionally oblivious to.

The crime to be solved in this, or the main one, I suppose, is suitably gothic too. It's melodramatic and very, very creepy. Actually, it occurs to me that if you haven't read this book yet, even if you have read the first two you might want to stop here because I might be a little heavy-handed with the hints. Suffice to say I knew what was up well before Julia did.

Okay?

Interestingly, I knew almost right away what had happened; Raybourn wasn't as subtle with her clues, or perhaps because of the mood of the book I was already looking for something sordid and insane. The nice thing about the fact that there were sub-plots I was invested in, along with the main two of the crime and the relationship, was that though I solved the crime early it didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the book. I did get a little frustrated with Julia here and there, because it seemed so obvious to me, but I can excuse her inability to see the truth because I suspect in her place I wouldn't want to see it, or even consider it as an option.

/possible slight spoilers done

There are other things that happen in this book in relation to Julia's family that were as interesting to me as the first plots. The family was largely absent from this book, even though Valerius and Portia are around for portions of it, but what does happen is in some ways monumental and I believe sets up the fourth book in the series. It's sad, too, and a reminder that happy endings are not always possible, and not permanent. I wanted more of the family, but that's a good thing; it wasn't a problem with the book, just a marker of how much I enjoy these characters that Raybourn has created to surround her main two.

Dark Road to Darjeeling is sitting on my desk right now, but I am thinking that, having finished the first major arc of the series (many, many loose ends get tied up) I will maybe try to get some of the reading I have to do for work done first. I have a couple of books I've been meaning to get to, as well, that sort of died on the pile when I fell into my slump. Now that Deanna Raybourn seems to have pulled me full out of it, and in style, I might try something different for a bit before going back to see what Lady Julia and Brisbane get up to next. Well, that and the fact that book six isn't available yet, and book five is going to be a couple weeks in getting to me, so there's no point in rushing and putting myself through Potter-like agonies.

Other books in the Lady Julia Grey series:
1. Silent in the Grave
2. Silent in the Sanctuary

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn

Silent in the Sanctuary
by Deanna Raybourn
Mira, 2008
552 pages

Perhaps you thought I was kidding when I suggested I would be reading Silent in the Sanctuary almost immediately? Yes? I got it one day and I finished it the next, mostly by dint of being home sick in bed. The desire I had to read this book may make a sudden head cold and fever somewhat suspicious, but I swear whatever I have is unrelated.

So, here, Lady Julia Grey and her brothers, plus her brother's new Italian wife, and a young Italian count who has been a great friend to them in Florence, are summoned home in no uncertain terms for the Christmas holiday. Their father is extremely put out that Lysander has married in such a hurry, and Julia convinces (er, perhaps "bullies" might be the better word) everyone it would be by far the best course of action to go home and mollify the family patriarch. A number of surprises await, including the fact that Nicholas Brisbane (and his new fiancee, which is an even bigger surprise) have been invited to spend Christmas with the Marches, and also there happens to be a murder during a friendly family game of sardines.

What I found interesting about this book was how far the setting went to establishing a different tone for the story. Instead of the dark, crowded streets of London we have the bright, airy (read: "draughty") environs of the March country home, Bellmont Abbey. Julia is very comfortable with the space, and very fond of it, and that translates to the overall feeling of the book. Where she felt stifled in London at Grey House, as much as she loved the city itself, here we have a place where Julia is perfectly at home. Which is why it is such an affront to her, and why we understand her anger, when a body is found in her home space.

We know right off the top that something is going to happen; it is a mystery, and we know there will be a mystery to be solved. But once again, as with Silent in the Grave, Raybourn treats us to a slow, pleasant introduction, a study of Julia as we see how she's changed since the last book, and an introduction to new members of the group as well as a further growth of some of the characters we've met before. (Her elder sister Portia, a widow and unabashed bisexual living in a long-term relationship with her female partner, who I would peg as Julia's best friend, is a marvellously natural, charming character and I love her; on the other hand, I missed Valerius in this book, Julia's youngest sibling and aspiring surgeon, much to his father's dismay.) The family dynamics are engaging, the way they carry on is entertaining, and these secondary characters are one of the big reasons I enjoy these books so much.

Once again the interaction between Julia and Brisbane positively crackles, but though Julia thinks about him a lot and he chews the scenery any time he shows up, their relationship doesn't take centre stage. I thoroughly enjoy the interactions between them and how that changes and grows; I love that Julia is absolutely bound and determined that she will not let him coddle her or dismiss her, but that she will be his equal in whatever they do. It may seem a bit strange, a case of "modern woman, historical time," but I don't think that's fair to Raybourn's work here. She has quite carefully set up the March family to be a progressive, eccentric bunch, intelligent, educated and well-enough-off and established enough that they don't have to particularly care what society thinks of them, though there are often steps taken to keep the worst scandals under wraps. Julia is a product more of her family than of her time, a thing we see very clearly in the way she evolves throughout the first book. And her family is quite thoroughly believable.

Something Julia thinks about a lot is her privilege, the way that being the daughter of an Earl in a very old family affects her life. She thinks about this and money (they have poor relations visiting for Christmas, too), and through her we think about it too. She is well aware of the advantages she has, but she doesn't necessarily struggle with them so much as try to do her best to use those advantages to the good. It's not a focus, but it's present -- enough to make us realize that we are reading about a rarefied strata of society.

As for the mystery, again I had no clue, though I did this time have inklings of a motive that turned out to be well-founded. Not everything is tied up neatly, and some parts of the ultimate conclusion are fairly unsettling. These are not sad, cozy little murders; they are physically ugly, and the source of the discord is ugly, and the players, though not necessarily evil, are ugly, and the solutions are imperfect and sometimes ugly too. As it all should be.

I'll confess here that I've already read the third book. I wasn't going to get it soon enough from the library, so I actually bought an e-book and read it on the laptop. I am picking up the fourth book today and will likely have it read within the next 48 hours, which will leave me anxiously awaiting The Dark Enquiry, which I have placed on order at my favourite local book store.

Other books in the Lady Julia Grey mysteries:
1. Silent in the Grave

Monday, June 20, 2011

Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

Silent in the Grave
by Deanna Raybourn
Mira Books, 2007
511 pages

I am trying to figure out if this book is what I expected. Actually, I am trying to figure out what I expected in the first place. I knew this was the first book of a set of mysteries with a female protagonist set in a Victorian era, and that there was a hint of romance, and that Raybourn has a fair following. It is possible I didn't expect to be quite as tangled in it as I became, nor did I expect to be quite as impressed as I am; I wouldn't say I have exacting standards, but I do expect a good story, characters I am interested in, and an actually mysterious mystery from my mystery novels. Silent in the Grave has surprised me, and I am hungry -- nay, ravenous -- for the next. I think I can claim my expectations were surpassed, because if I had known how much I was going to enjoy this book, I would have had Silent in the Sanctuary on hand so that I could start it immediately. As it is, I will have to wait until 9:30 Monday morning, when the local library opens. It's already on hold there, despite the fact that it is closed between then and now. I am taking no chances.

The best place to start is with a summary. Lady Julia Grey and her husband Sir Edward are hosting a musical evening when Edward collapses and subsequently dies. Sadly, this isn't an unexpected event; Edward has always had a weak heart, and he had grown quite a bit worse in the preceeding months. So Lady Julia is quite prepared to put the death down to natural causes, as is everyone around her -- everyone except Nicholas Brisbane, an inquiry agent engaged by Edward some time before his death. Edward was being threatened, increasingly ominously, and Brisbane believes that there was nothing natural about Edward's death.

Part of the charm of this book is the pace. One expects things to get off to a rather quick start, as Edward is dead nearly immediately. But it doesn't -- we are treated to a bit of a study of Julia and her incredibly eccentric, incredibly charming family first. Julia goes about her life, in mourning but increasingly being cozied out of her shell. It isn't until, quite some time later, she finds something while going through Edward's papers that she realizes that the warnings to her were true: something was amiss. She moves relatively quickly after that, though, and the plot starts to thicken immediately.

And thicken it does. There are ominous signs, a fair bit of "but I had no idea how dangerous things would get" sorts of foreshadowing (which is done sparingly enough and fits very well with Julia's character, so doesn't grow tiresome) and a crackling tension between Julia and Nicholas Brisbane that is absolutely fascinating. Julia grows throughout the book from a reserved and naive but frustrated wallflower to a somewhat daring, brave and lovely lady. She is intelligent from the beginning, but has not had any call to exercise her intelligence for the previous five years, and combined with the naivete she ends up doing some pretty frustratingly stupid things. The reader feels she's learned rather a lot about herself and the world by the end of the book, and it's a nice transformation.

As for the plot and mystery, no, I didn't figure out the culprit. At least not entirely. In hindsight I can say I looked at the murderer and thought, "Hmm, wouldn't that be an interesting twist?" but in all honesty, I couldn't imagine how it was done or why, so I pretty much dimissed the thought. There were other little mysteries and side-plots, some of which have been resolved at the end of this book (some rather too neatly, really) and some of which are left dangling for the next in the series, presumably. And things in the middle got thick. There was new information, red herrings, dangerous migraines, disguises, questionable parentage, and even a dash of [perfectly believable, perfectly situated] magic. There was something new and often outrageous happening at least each chapter. It felt like a lot, but Raybourn handled things deftly such that I never felt lost or overwhelmed.

Aside from Julia, the complexity of the characters was another reason I enjoyed this book so much. Brisbane is deep, dangerous, and full of contradictions, and spends relatively little time on screen for the supposed primary investigator of the mystery. Some of the mystery surrounding him is revealed by the end of the book, but much of it is not, and he's a rather infuriating puzzle for both the reader and Julia. We, like Julia, are sure we haven't seen the last of him by the end of the book, and the prospect of seeing him again is both thrilling and somewhat alarming. Julia's relationships with her family and Edward's ailing cousin Simon, as well as her servants, are complex too, and not everything about each person is on the surface. The richness of the family dynamic -- it's not a dysfunctional family, but it is an enormous one, and as all enormous groups go there are the little conflicts and politics to be played with -- is part of what I enjoyed so much about this book. I look forward to seeing what they get up to in the next one almost as much as I look forward to seeing Julia navigate her way about her relationship with Brisbane and solve a mystery.

The writing is clever, in that it hides in the background as needed and clicks along but is always apt and crystal clear. It is not often overdone, and when it is the excess can be put down to Julia, not to Raybourn; I am certain that Raybourn knows exactly how to use language to its best effect. I trust her to tell me a story I'm going to enjoy thoroughly, so I'm very much looking forward to the next one. Fans of British historical mysteries should check these books out, absolutely. One of my most enjoyable reading experiences in quite a while, and that's saying a fair bit as I haven't picked up a dud lately. See you on the other side of Silent in the Sanctuary...

Monday, June 13, 2011

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead
Random House Audio, 2009
4 discs

It was a long time ago that I first read about this book on Abby (the) Librarian's blog. I've wanted to read it since, and I kept seeing it on the shelf. So when the opportunity arose to read it with my very tiny book club for older kids (generally 9 - 12 years old) I figured that would be an excellent opportunity.

At first, I'll be honest, I worried I'd made a wrong choice, and that if I was kind of meh about the book, the kids would be especially meh. But the further I got into it, the more I liked it; and by the time the end rolled around, I did that thing again where I debate sitting in the car and finishing it before heading into work (I didn't. There wasn't enough time.) I think part of my reluctance at first was the reader; she is good, but there were several times where I took issue with her interpretation, and I also found her adult voices to be pretty jarring. That said, I tend to start and then drop a lot of kids' audiobooks based on unlistenable (for me) narrators, and this one I kept listening to rather than giving up and reading the book instead.

The basic premise is this: Miranda is a 12-year-old girl growing up in the late 1970s in New York. Her best friend lives in the same apartment building; she and Sal have been friends for as long as she can remember. But one day, out of the blue, Sal gets punched by another boy, and shuts Miranda out of his life entirely. And other strange things start happening, like the random notes Miranda begins to find, notes that seem to know more about her and what her future holds than they should. Miranda tells us this story in a very confessional, almost diary-like format, and we watch the world from her eyes. She is telling this story to each person who hears it or reads it individually; but also to one specific person in her life, someone we don't recognize until the very last chapters.

What is most interesting to me about this book is that it's often classified as fantasy, but the bit I would classify as fantasy is so miniscule, so incidental until the very end that it doesn't quite fit in that genre for me. The vast majority of the book is about Miranda's life, her mother, her challenges with making new friends and dealing with the others in her class, her first crush, and growing up over a period of several months in New York City. It was these sections of the book I found most engaging (which is good, because they were 90% of where we spent our time) and though I expected more magic, I wasn't dismayed. As in my last review, I rather enjoy books where the magic is not the driver for the story. Here it could have been, and that's what makes the choices Stead made as far as focus so interesting.

I did particularly appreciate the ending of this book; it wasn't wrapped up in an unbelievable way, it took just the right amount of time once we realized what was happening, and it didn't distance itself from the reader. I enjoyed watching the pieces of the puzzle slotted neatly where they needed to be, as much as Miranda did.

I've noticed myself thinking about this book regularly since I finished it, which is always a good sign. I enjoyed it as an adult, but I think I would have loved it as a kid, and I'll be very interested to see what the kids in the book club think about it. It gives us lots of fodder to talk about, even if they didn't like it as much as I hope they do. Recommended.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Shades of Milk and Honey
by Mary Robinette Kowal
Tor, 2010
302 pages

Mmm, good book hangover. You know the one, where you've just read the last several chapters in a rush and you're not sure you were breathing properly the entire time, and then your brain is still stuck in that half-fog of pulling yourself out of the book. It's not an entirely pleasant feeling, but once it's passed, the feeling for the book is really quite glowing.

I have wanted to read Shades of Milk and Honey since I saw the Big Idea post on Scalzi's Whatever blog. And I am currently (in case you couldn't tell) on a bit of a historical kick, but I was wanting a bit of the spice that fantasy brings; this seemed like an excellent choice. I am very keen on books where magic is folded into the world seamlessly and isn't so much the means to ends as it is a mundane part of daily life.

Summarizing this book is a little bit of a challenge. There is a plot. It is more of a character study, though, than anything else; we are given the story through Jane Ellsworth's eyes, a very much on-the-shelf young woman with incredible talents for glamour and art (which is what the magic of this world is called) and a reasonable if modest dowry, and not much else -- she is very plain, not terribly graceful, and as before, she is rather a lot older than most marriageable women of her day. And Jane is very stiff and proper, too. She is good and kind to a fault, often leading to spasms of guilt when the least little bit of vanity or selfishness rears its head; I think part of Kowal's success in this book is that Jane is still a fascinating character to follow, and an extremely likeable one. A character like Jane could easily become a charicature, or an unbearable martyr. That she doesn't is a credit to her creator's skill.

It took me a chapter or two to become engaged, and though there were hints of secrets to be revealed, this was the largest indicator of the slow ramping up of the plot that would make the last several chapters nearly impossible to put down. It was a book that took me a bit by surprise, in how invested I became in Jane's life and happiness and by extension those around her. I did not expect it at the beginning, and I wouldn't even have noticed how invested I had become if I didn't start catching myself sitting at the desk at work during a slow period and wondering if, just this once, it would be okay for me to read on the job.

It's a very Austen-like read, but doesn't copy Austen slavishly; I think it's also due to Kowal's skill that the book feels of its period without feeling like a gimmick. Even some of the spellings are authentic to the time period (for example, "chuse" instead of "choose") and while at first I worried it would get old I found later that it added to the atmosphere, the feeling that Kowal clearly wanted to portray. I wouldn't have noticed, I suppose, if she'd used the modern spellings from the beginning, but I forgot about the period spellings later on and they're an added bonus to the overall sensation.

The other characters are well-rounded if occasionally a bit stereotypical (Jane's mother, particularly, reminds me of several Regency mothers I've read about) and the world itself is seamless, both familiar and beautifully strange.

My only quibble, and it is a small one, is the ending. After the intense closeness of the book, the intimate connection we have with Jane, the ending (post-climax) is very... distant. It isn't an unusual choice (I felt very much the same way about The Singing, I recall, and the Harry Potter epilogue), but it's one that always feels like a bit of a letdown. There were a couple of character arcs that felt completely unresolved, particularly one of Jane's friendships, and the swift retreat of the narrative felt a bit sudden. That said, it wasn't terribly glaring as it was in the above cases, and in no way diminishes my overall warm feeling for this story.

I really enjoyed this book. A slow start and a leisurely pace worked their way into my interest quite firmly, and as I said I discovered myself thinking of it when not reading it, in the same way I often think of some of my favourite books. I'll look forward to a re-read of this one, and I'm going to be on the lookout to purchase it for my personal library.