Thursday, October 8, 2009

Time Out for Books: The Demon Queen and the Locksmith

The last month has been so busy that I haven't even had time to update our reading lists.

This time of the year is crazy!
The High Holy Days have been upon us, and the Month of Tishrei (seventh Jewish month) is basically one long holiday. Rosh Hashanah (Tishrei 1-2), Fast of Gedaliah (Tishrei 3), Ten Days of Repentence (Tishrei 1-10), Yom Kippur (Tishrei 10), Sukkot Tishrei 15-21, Hoshanah Rabbah (Tishrei 21), Sh'mini Atzeret (Tishrei 22) and Simchat Torah (Tishrei 23). I get tired just listing them, let alone celebrating them all. Many Jews call the eighth month, Cheshvan, Marcheshvan (bitter Cheshvan) because it has no holidays except Shabbat. But it was not a Jewish baalboostah (mistress of the house) who made that up, let me tell you! I love the peace and quiet of Cheshvan.

And then there has been the additional duties that go with our involvment in the patriot movement. We've had the 9-11 commemoration, the 9-12 Rally, the Patriot Alliance Leadership Retreat, and now the Continental Congress Elections. (Have you voted yet? Here is voting information for this non-partisan, non-political citizen's congress).

And there's my work with Retake Congress. And the Engineering Geek's work that puts the bread and butter on the table. And the Boychick's education. And this week, to top it all off, on Tuesday I got a call from the school nurse. The Boychick had contracted H1N1. I brought him home to bed with his first real illness ever: chills, fever, cough and aches and pains. Well. We don't have to worry about the unproven vaccination. He'll be immune now.

Nevertheless, these past few weeks I have made a special point of taking time out for reading. Pictured above is an array of new books for the Guest Room/Library.

I just finished The Demon Queen and the Locksmith by local author Spencer Baum. Although it is a book written for young adults, I couldn't put it down! I got this book because Spencer is also a libertarian homeschooler and he wrote his book about an imaginary town called Turquoise that sounds a lot like Taos, NM. Complete with the mountain and the hum.
The book is an adventure story involving a high-school boy, Kevin Brown, and two homeschooling friends, and it involves the Ta--I mean the Turquoise Hum. It also features two radio personalities, one a lot like Art Bell, and of course, a Demon Queen. The underlying theme of the story is what happens when teens learn of truth that is unpopular and even considered "black helicopter" crazy by their peers and according to their previous understandings. However, this book does not lecture and it does not moralize; Baum allows the story to carry the theme with grace and humor. He's never preachy, and always maintains a sense of adventure and fun. I'd read it again, and right away, too; except that the Boychick has snapped it up.

I recommend The Demon Queen and the Locksmith for young adults and the young at heart! It can be found at Amazon here. I hope there will be continuing adventures from Spencer Baum.

I am now looking forward to dipping into Margaret Atwood's new novel, The Year of the Flood, as well as Karen Armstrong's The Case for God. And I have been reading The Anti-Federalist Papers in short bits and bites for a few weeks now. On my list is also a re-read of Nechama Tec's history, Defiance: The Story of the Beilski Partisans.

So many books, so little time! But truly, books keep me sane during this insanely busy time.


Stephanie said...

The Demon Queen and the Locksmith sounds really interesting ... I will keep an eye out for that. Margaret Atwood and Karen Armstrong sound promising too, of course. My favorite by Margaret Atwood is A Handmaid's Tale, and I've read A History of God by Karen Armstrong and found it fascinating. I need to catch up on my book reviews, too (among other things). Right now I'm thoroughly enjoying Parallel Play: Growing Up With Undiagnosed Asperger's by Tim Page.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Stephanie, I enjoyed Parallel Play very much. It makes me realize that I was such a weird little kid that if I had grown up in the oughts, I would have been diagnosed. Fortunately, I am reasonably functional. But normal? Well, I can act that way. Sometimes.

jacsuza said...

I see in the background of your picture The Fruit of her Hands. I hadn't heard of that one yet so I checked it out on Amazon. Looks very good, especially as I've just finished reading Maggie Anton's trilogy about Rashi's daughters.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

jacsuza: Yes, I just finished that book a few hours ago. It is really good. I was surprised at what I learned about Jewish life during the high middle ages in Ashkenaz. I highly recommend it.

Lee said...

Mrs. Levin:
I thought these two articles might interest you.
The Bielski Forest-----

The Warsaw uprising

Both written by Y.Eric Bell, son of one of the Jewish revolutionaries.
Thank you ,
Lee Gonzales