Reading with Robin: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

Hey there, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Reading with Robin! As a librarian who loves to read, I also love to talk about books and connect other readers with books they can fall in love with. In these posts, I’m going to talk about what I’ve been reading, what I liked about the book, and who I’d recommend the book to next.

This entry’s book is: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Sir Terry Pratchett!

Background Photo by Pacto Visual via Unsplash

If I had to point to one author who has influenced me the most as a writer and a human being, it would have to be Sir Terry Pratchett. If you’ve never read his work, remedy that gap immediately. I very much believe that there is a Terry Pratchett book for everyone.

For this edition of “Reading with Robin”, I decided to highlight the first YA novel of Pratchett’s that I’ve ever read, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. We all know the story of the Pied Piper. This is the story of the rats behind the man – and the cat behind the rats. In a world filled with magic and mystery, one clever cat is just trying to make his way in a society that has all these ‘rules’; ‘rules’ that he knows how to exploit. The town of Bad Blintz has a rat problem, but no rats to be found. And there’s a voice in everyone’s head… whispering…

I think what I liked best about this book was the balance of darkness and light in the story. Pratchett is never afraid to deal with serious topics, and just because this book is YA doesn’t mean he’s about to shy away from themes like where does evil come from, the cruelty of human beings, and the price of knowledge. In the end the story comes to a satisfying and happy end, but you travel through the dark underground for a good long while before you get to bask in the sunshine.

Free Image from Pixabay

Fans of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series will definitely want to pick up this book and give it a read, but it’s appeal is far wider. If you enjoy reading writers like Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, or Ursula K. Le Guin, this might be the perfect book for you. If you enjoy watching television or films like Hellboy, Avatar: The Last Airbender, or Lord of the Rings, give this book a spin – it could be right up your alley!

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Reading with Robin: Midnighter and Apollo

Hey there, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Reading with Robin! As a librarian who loves to read, I also love to talk about books and connect other readers with books they can fall in love with. In these posts, I’m going to talk about what I’ve been reading, what I liked about the book, and who I’d recommend the book to next.

This entry’s book is: Midnighter and Apollo written by Steve Orlando and illustrated by Fernando Blanco!

Background image by Viva Luna Studios via Unsplash

Many of you might not know this about me, but I am an avid comic book reader. My first foray into the four-colored world was in pursuit of a familiar fandom, as I was desperate to follow the “Season 8” adventures of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and crew. That was back in 2007 and since then, my graphic novel tastes have grown eclectic to say the least. An entire room in my house is devoted to an ever growing comic book collection and my husband and I are proud to say we have attended Emerald City ComicCon for over 10 years straight (2020 would have been our 12th year attending — we were heartbroken when COVID-19 cancelled the event).

One of the best comics I’ve read recently has got to be this six-issue gem from 2016 – 2017, Midnighter and Apollo. Written by Steve Orlando and illustrated by Fernando Blanco, Midnighter and Apollo follows the romantic relationship between two very different superheroes: the dark, violent vigilante Midnighter and the superhuman Apollo. An old enemy conspires to cause them pain and Apollo is in fact killed, his soul sent to hell. But Midnighter has never backed down from a fight, and he doesn’t intended to start now — even if he has to fight all the demons of hell to get the love of his life back.

I think what I liked best about this book was that you get all the action (and then some) of your typical superhero book with so much more drama and emotion. Midnighter and Apollo’s relationship is the heart of this story, the driving force behind every bloody beat. It was refreshing to see a relationship between supes be seen not as a weakness or vulnerability, but a strength – something that makes the pair of them unbeatable.

Fans of Orlando’s 2015 series Midnighter will definitely want to pick up this book and give it a read, but it’s appeal is far wider. If you enjoy reading writers like James Tynion IV, Tamsyn Muir, or Brenden Fletcher, this might be the perfect book for you. If you enjoy watching television or films like The Umbrella Academy, The October Faction, or The Old Guard, give this book a spin – it could be right up your alley!

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Reading with Robin: Sputnik Sweetheart

Hey there, everyone! Welcome to a new feature of my blog: Reading with Robin! As a librarian who loves to read, I also love to talk about books and connect other readers with books they can fall in love with. In these posts, I’m going to talk about what I’ve been reading, what I liked about the book, and who I’d recommend the book to next.

This entry’s book is: Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami!

Background image by Casey Horner via Unsplash

This is the fourth Murakami novel I’ve read and I have to admit, he is growing on me. Sputnik Sweetheart tells the story of a young man, K, who is in love with his best friend, Sumire. Sumire, an aspiring novelist, falls in love with a fascinating older woman, Miu. This tornado of passion completely derails Sumire’s comfortable life and she is swept up into Miu’s orbit, desperate to touch her but destined to be kept forever at arm’s length. K and Miu meet when Sumire inexplicably disappears. Can the two people who knew her best discover the truth of what happened to Sumire? Or is it a mystery that is not meant to be solved?

I think what I liked best about this offering of Murakami’s was the way in which he explored the themes of isolation, loneliness, and connection. Murakami’s use of evocative language always makes his books worth reading, but he seemed to tap into something very vulnerable here. We have all felt like we were floating alone through an uncaring universe and this novel captures the ache of that emotion perfectly, while hinting that such a condition, while universal and human, need not be eternal.

Fans of Murakami’s work will definitely want to pick up this book and give it a read, but it’s appeal is far wider. If you enjoy reading authors like Paulo Coelho, Pablo Neruda, or Gabriel Garcia Marquez, this might be the perfect book for you. If you enjoy watching television or films like Midnight Diner, Lost in Translation, or The Squid and the Whale, give this book a spin – it could be right up your alley!

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Open Minds Quarterly: Publisher’s Circle

It is a great privilege to present to you my creative nonfiction essay piece Aversion: Therapy, published in Volume 22, Issue 3 of the wonderful literary journal Open Minds Quarterly.

Please, read it (and the other fantastic pieces I am lucky enough to be published alongside) and let me know what you think! Click on the picture below to either read my piece by either purchasing a hard copy of the Fall 2020 issue or by downloading a pay-what-you-can PDF of the issue in full color.

Photo by Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

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