Three Bitty Book Banters

The last thing I read I can’t review because it’s a title connected to the embargoed winners list for 2013 Indiana Authors Award and I like being employed and keeping surprises. But I realized I’d read some small books that were all great and deserved mention.

own freedomMy Own Kind of Freedom, by Steven Brust

Brust, the author of the Vlad Taltos series, wrote a worthwhile piece of Firefly fanfic, set between the end of the TV show and before the movie. Mal and the rest of the Serenity crew find  themselves pulling a job on Hera, the site of the battle of Serenity Valley. As with most of their capers, it doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to. Brust captured the characters brilliantly; he must have been channeling Joss Whedon when he wrote. He filled in bits of their pasts to make them more human and wrote with River’s madness with a frightening level of spookiness. It’s an eBook only; sorry for those of you Browncoat fans who only read paper.

Instructions, Neil Gaiman


In 40 pages (with beautiful illustrations by Charles Vess), Gaiman gives a set of life instructions, a la “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” without the sing-song rhymes and with a whole lot more punch.  The instructions are given to a human/fox character about journeying through life, being careful of who to trust, and how favors may be repaid. Laced with references to the old fairy tales, it is a visual and wordy treat. Don’t be fooled by the picture book format; it’s not really applicable to kids.

ravenRaven Girl, Audrey Niffeneger

Niffeneger, of Time-Traveller’s Wife fame, was asked to write a new fairy tale that will be adapted into a ballet and the result of that was Raven Girl. So, this 80-page gem tells the story of a Postman who falls in love with a raven and their Raven Girl daughter and how to be the person you really feel you are. She wrote such a convincing fairy tale, that my first reaction was to wonder how I’d missed this piece of folklore as a kid. The ring of the tale was exactly how fairy tales should be constructed. Niffeneger also drew the pictures which gets extra props in my estimation because I can’t draw stick figures that look like anything.

Word Nerd Recommendation: Read any or all of them.

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