November 1, 2006

On Geekdom

This does and does not have something to do with a particular book. I've been tackling fairly heavy material recently as I prep for my orals, so in the evenings I've been reading short stories and young adult books (they're great - usually really well written but less taxing on tired brain cells). Last night I finished 'Over Sea, Under Stone' by Susan Cooper. It's the first in her Dark is Rising series. At the recommendation of a bookseller friend, I'd already read the second book in the series, also entitled 'The Dark is Rising' appropriately enough, and I was impressed. Really nice use of description and characterization, plus it incorporates Arthurian legend in a really clever way - and I'm a Huge one for Arthuriana.

Anyway, 'The Dark is Rising' was so good that I decided to check out the first book in the series, 'Over Sea, Under Stone'. It was, alas, a bit of a let-down. The characters are kids who unfortunately waver between frustrating and insipid and the writting isn't as confident or concise. Her growth as a writer between the first and second books is pretty immense. However, the book did have a highpoint for me. In the Epilogue, the predictably triumphant kids are at a museum gala where their great discovery has become the newest and most honored aquisition. It's a grail and in keeping with the Arthurian theme Cooper will pick up throughout the series. But here's the cool part - various scholars discuss the grail in fairly detailed language that goes over the kids' heads...but Cooper uses the names and critical arguements of real Arthurian scholars, including the grandaddy of them all, Roger Sherman Loomis. And that tickled me to no end and rescued the book for me.

And that is why I'm a Geek.

3 comments:

coffespaz said...

:smile: You're not a Geek, you are just interested in some very interesting topics. Good luck with your exams!

Annamaria said...

Cool...Loomis's books were partly what really started me to seriously expanding my Arthurian knowledge, esoecially about the origins of the myth. It is nice to see some hommage to him.

Madeleine said...

Loomis did the same thing for me too - especially his work with the Celtic analogues etc. I love this stuff.