“The graveyard kept its secrets.”

I’m taking a break from studying for my French 101 exam (or should I say, “examen”). There are only so many vocabulary words one can memorize and so many times one can practice conjugating verbs. It’s hard to feel totally prepared for a French test, because I never know exactly what’s going to be on it, or exactly which words I need to know. But I’m feeling about as prepared as I can, I guess.

Last week, I got a 33% off any one item coupon from Borders. I get regular emails from them because I’m a Borders Rewards member, which basically means I get coupons sent to me every week or so. I wanted to replace the copy of “Atonement” that I either lost or got given/thrown away in my parents’ big move, but they didn’t have it. So, I got Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book”. I’d heard a selection from the book on the audiobook of his “‘M’ is for Magic”, a collection of strange, funny, other-worldly short stories.

Fantasy is fascinating to me. I think it would be a hard genre to write, because it seems like it would be difficult to invent new, original worlds while at the same time telling a believable story. I’m also intrigued by children’s literature, particularly children’s literature written by authors who also write literature for adults. I don’t think stories have to be extremely complex (“Lord of the Rings” style) in order to have depth and poignance.

I always think of Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia”; easily understood by children but containing within them a truth and richness that adult minds can appreciate. Neil Gaiman is very different than Lewis, but I think it’s a mark of a good writer if he can not only write good stories for adults, but also for children; children aren’t dumb, and children’s stories shouldn’t be “dumbed down”. They should be good quality, interesting, entertaining, well-written, and imaginative. This is something I think Gaiman and Lewis share.

I also wonder if the power of children’s literature lies somewhere near the purpose of fables; simple stories told to convey important messages.

I think it’s important for adults to read children’s literature, so that we don’t forget altogether what it’s like to be a child. (Not to be childish; there’s a difference.)

Well, time for lunch.


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