Monday, March 31

And the winner is...

I'm pleased to announce that the winner of On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is David. How did I arrive at this, you ask? Simple: I cast lots. That is, I wrote each of the commenter's names down on sheets of paper, folded them up, shuffled them around under my desk, and drew one out at random. The lot has fallen to David. Enjoy your book!

Friday, March 21

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Andrew Peterson has long been one of my favorite songwriters, so I waited with eagerness when I heard that he was writing a book. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness arrived in bookstores this week, and I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy. I approached it with some nervousness; I like AP's music so much--what if his first novel wasn't very good?

I needn't have worried. Book One of The Wingfeather Saga is a delightful read, full of humor and adventure. Janner Igiby, his younger brother Tink, and little sister Leeli live with their mother and ex-pirate grandfather in a little cottage in the town of Glipwood. Glipwood and the surrounding land of Skree are occupied and controlled by the Fangs of Dang, huge lizardlike creatures who make life miserable for the inhabitants. As danger and mysterious events build, Janner struggles with the responsibility of looking out for his siblings. It isn't an easy task when the evil Fangs seem out to get the Igiby children, though they don't understand why.

I love a book that begins with a map. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness has two maps, footnotes full of funny asides, and heaps of made-up names that will make this an excellent book for families to read aloud. There is also plenty of gross humor that boys will love; my favorite example is when the Igibys' mother makes maggotloaf. It's obvious that AP has read Tolkien, Lewis and Rowling, but this story stands on its own. Like his predecessors, Peterson has created a world that is clearly much bigger than this first story shows, and I'm looking forward to reading more.

The folks at WaterBrook Press have given me an extra copy of the book to give away. Just leave a (relevant) comment in the next week and I'll choose randomly. Haven't you always wanted a book with the subtitle: Adventure. Peril. Lost Jewels. And the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree?

Thursday, March 6

Awkwardness at 6:00

Yesterday after tutoring at my church I went to Kroger for a couple of items. I bought escarole for the first time ever in order to make Escarole and Orzo Soup with Meatballs. I had some time to kill while I waited for 6 o'clock. You see, 6 o'clock is the magic hour when all of the baked goods at Broad Street go on sale for 50% off. So I lingered in the new international foods section, which turned out to be a lucky thing, because I also found orzo, a rice-shaped pasta the recipe called for. It was then that I realized just what this new Kroger could mean. I'm used to substituting or skipping when a recipe calls for ingredients that can't be easily found. I'd already bought some small macaroni to use in the soup when I found the small package of orzo in the "Italian" section. "This could change the way I cook," I thought.

I went to checkout and found myself in the uncomfortable position of buying something I didn't know how to pronounce. "What is this?" said the clerk when she picked up the escarole, asking the very question I'd hoped she wouldn't. I spelled it for her and resolved to look up the pronunciation so this doesn't happen again. Thanks to Merriam-Webster, I can now speak the name of escarole with confidence.

Then it was on to Broad Street, where I was happy to see that they had a couple loaves of honey whole wheat bread left. I asked for one and had handed over my money when the employee at the next register asked the guy who was helping me, "Did you just sell a loaf of wheat bread?" He looked confused, and I looked to my right to see the customer from whom I had just taken a loaf of bread away. And wouldn't you know, it was a friend of mine. She'd asked for the last two loaves of wheat bread, but I beat her to one of them! I tried to get her to take it, but she would have none of it. "I guess you know each other?" the girl employee said, as my friend gave me a hug. After some more protestations I received my change, took my bread and headed out the door, wondering what my friend was going to eat instead. I'd just taken food away from her!

I ate my bread with the escarole and orzo soup (which was delicious, by the way) for supper. I wonder what my friend had.

I have known for a while that if I go to McDade’s at 5 o'clock there’s a good chance I’ll run into some guy friend or another on the beer aisle. Now I know that I must be careful when buying Broad Street bread at 6:00.