Book Review: Daylight Chasers

Today’s review is of Daylight Chasers, by Rue Sparks.

Poems bookend the novella’s main text, and the poems refer to myth (Atlas, the beginning poem) and fairy tale (Red Riding Hood, the end poem). To me, these poems extent the novella’s message: developing strength after the loss of someone beloved.

Daylight Chasers LLC provides quite a creative service — I imagine most people would jump at the chance to partake in memorable adventures crammed into a day that’s extended by moving into time zones to keep up with the sun.

Isabella goes on such a day with her hosts Keenan and Billy. These adventures (one is superbly illustrated on the front cover) provide a sense of wonder for things in the world that rise far above the ordinary. When the adventures don’t go smoothly, it forms a current in the book of rolling with the changes that happen in life.

I liked how the characters navigated this nearly never-ending day. Isabella rolls with those changes. Keenan starts with wanting to record everything on his phone’s camera, to create a video to showcase what his business offers. But he shifts away from a corporate mindset as the day continues.

This is a lovely, hopeful book.

National Book Festival

The 2020 National Book Festival starts today!

Previously, the festival — hosted by the Library of Congress — was held in the Washington, DC Convention Center on a single day in September. But, like lots of activities this year, it’s switched to virtual because of Covid-19. Thanks bunches, Covid.

My family will miss not being able to visit the festival in person, but a virtual festival means many more people can attend. Authors will be doing live Q&As.

From the schedule, looks like today has authors of children’s and YA books, then tomorrow starts authors of grown-up books.

If you’d rather see an alphabetical list of participating authors, here’s that.

Book Review: Beginnings

Beginnings book cover

For today’s book review, I’m shifting to poetry. The book is Beginnings, by Judy Ferrell.

When I learned that Judy lives in southwestern Virginia, I was quite curious about her poetry. I have often visited the Blue Ridge Parkway, and have enjoyed the area. In addition to the beautiful scenery, there’s a rich culture.

Added to that culture are the poems in this book. There’s a directness in these poems. They celebrate the comfort of home, love of family and friends, nature, and music. They don’t shy away from talking about the pains of being misunderstood, loneliness, and heartbreak. They meditate on dreams, time, and sources of happiness.

As the book’s blurb states, the poems are about Judy’s journey. Starting on a farm, as the second poem describes, that’s a wonderful and loving environment. The journey from there has difficulties, and scars can come from those. But, as Judy writes, scars can be seen as “beautiful pieces of art.” Joys have also been found on the journey, and Judy describes them well.

Book Review: Everyone’s a Aliebn

Everyone's a Aliebn book cover

Today’s book review is of a graphic novel: Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book, by Jomny Sun.

This graphic novel presents simple illustrations with dialogue (with lots of misspellings) about deep issues.

Jomny, an alien, is put on Earth to learn about humans. An interesting note is that Jomny looks different than the other aliens that brought him to our planet (the aliens also come to check up on Jomny). The other aliens have skinny rectangular heads, while Jomny’s head is shaped like a bean. So right away, he seems like an outsider among the creatures from his own home.

Here on Earth, Jomny chats with many creatures and non-creatures. The characters skip small talk and go for those deep issues. But the conversations don’t feel heavy. Instead, they’re sweet and tender and warm. It’s like a friend telling you it’s okay to be lonely and sad. That these feelings have a role to play in life. That sadness doesn’t last forever.

One of the many pleasures of reading is the moment when you think, “I’m not alone in feeling this.” The characters in this book did that for me as they spoke of fear of the unknown and trying to be creative and feeling small in the world and remembering loved ones.

There’s humor among all this deepness. Nothingness (who is a character) decides to leave, and there’s quite a consequence. An egg wants to become a frog. Birds call the sun a lentil and worry that when it sets, there will be eternal darkness. Of course, the sun rises again, and there is no eternal darkness. This book is like a reminder that lightness returns after darkness.