BookPage is excited to reveal the cover for Wish, the upcoming middle-grade novel by Barbara O'Connor, the award-winning author of How to Steal a Dog and The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester. It will be released this November from Macmillan Children's.
According to the publisher, Wish takes young readers to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where 11-year-old Charlie Reese is sent by her irresponsible parents to live with family she doesn't know. But there she finds a stray dog that quickly becomes her best friend, and suddenly it feels as though her greatest wish may come true.
Readers looking for a new noir mystery series should definitely pick up a copy of Reed Farrel Coleman's gritty Where It Hurts. They'll meet retired cop Gus Murphy, who has been a barely functioning shell of a man since his son's death two years prior. He's retired and working as a courtesy van driver when ex-con Tonny Delcamino comes to him, pleading for help in his own son's murder case. This new series simply bleeds that noirish atmosphere, from the dusty, grief- striken hero to the no-nonsense dialogue between lowlifes of all types, from cops to gang members.
"Look, Tommy, there's channels for this kind of thing, a chain of command, people to talk to."
"I done that. I talked to them till I'm blue in the face," he said. "I been up one side of that ladder and down the other. Either they don't listen or they don't give a fuck. Who am I, right? I'm a skel, a mutt, a piece of shit. And my kid wasn't no better. None of 'em said it, but they didn't have to. I may be stupid, but I ain't blind neither. Half of 'em thought, with TJ dead that was one less headache for them to deal with down the line."
I wanted to tell him he was wrong, but I didn't because he wasn't. Maybe he was a little harsh about it. Harsh was what he understood. I'd been on the other side of it. Any cop who tells you he doesn't judge some people as better than other is a liar. I did it. We all did. Like the badge and gun, judgments come with the territory. The trick was not treating people differently. The church teaches you that you're judged for your thoughts and deeds, but in the cathedral of the street, thoughts count for little. Deeds talk loudest.
What are you reading today?
We're still reveling in the best teen books of 2015, both award winners and our personal favorites, but 2016 YA lit is looking promising. It's almost impossible to cover them all, so first, a list of series continuations we're excited about (so far!):
Now that that's out of the way, read on for the most-anticipated 2016 YA books:
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (Disney-Hyperion, 1/5)
The Darkest Minds author kicks off a new time-traveling series this month, starring a violin prodigy who suddenly finds herself on a wooden ship in the 1700s. She's carrying on the time-traveling legacy of her mother, Rose, who's on the run from a power-hungry, wealthy old man named Cyrus Ironwood who wants her to return something he believes she’s stolen. Read our interview with Bracken about Passenger.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (Philomel, 2/2)
A new book from Sepetys is exciting for readers of all ages, not just teens. (Check out the February 2016 LibraryReads list!) Her new World War II drama spotlights the greatest maritime disaster in history—not the Titanic—the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German military ship evacuating civilians and wounded soldiers at the tail end of the war. View all our reviews of Sepetys' previous books.
Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina (Candlewick, 3/8)
Medina, author of the Pura Belpré Author Award winner Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, takes readers to New York City in the hot summer of 1977, full of blackouts and arson, when a serial killer named Son of Sam has been shooting young women on the streets. Medina grew up in Queens during this dangerous era, so we're excited for her to fill our minds with hazy days, disco and electrified feminism.
The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle (Simon & Schuster, 3/29)
Better Nate Than Never author Federle makes his YA debut with another story about a youngster who dreams of having his name in lights. Sixteen-year-old Quinn Roberts had plans for Hollywood before his sister, Annabeth, was killed in an accident. As sad as this sounds, we know Federle will take it in a direction that will have us laughing and dreaming those starry-eyed dreams.
This Is the Story of You by Beth Kephart (Chronicle, 4/12)
We fall in love with Kephart more and more every year, with novels like Going Over and Small Damages tapping into the joy and pain of the complex teenage experience. We're looking forward to her poetic writing and thoughtful plotting in this story of life after a superstorm destroys one girl's island home. View all our reviews of Kephart's previous books.
Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki (Roaring Brook, 4/19)
Tamaki is part of the team that brought us the Caldecott Honor and Printz Honor-winning This One Summer, which was one of our favorite YA books of 2014 and one of our all-time favorite YA graphic novels. In this new novel, 16-year-old outcast Montgomery, along with her two BFFs, creates the Mystery Club for investigating paranormal activity. View all our reviews of Tamaki's previous books.
The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight (Harper, 5/3)
McCreight (Reconstructing Amelia) was apparently inspired to write her YA debut as a warning to her daughters. This first book in a new series is about a troubled teenage girl trying to overcome her fears and find her missing best friend via some cryptic clues. View all our reviews of McCreight's previous books.
Whisper to Me by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury, 5/3)
The latest novel from Printz Award winner Lake is one girl's letter to the boy whose heart she broke, examining the summer when everything went wrong. Love is such a mess. Sing us the blues, Lake. View all our reviews of Lake's previous books.
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley (Dial, 5/10)
It's like a recent offshoot of YA "sick lit": friendships and romances that feature one character who will not, or cannot, leave their house. They're agoraphobic, allergic to the sunlight, suffer from immune deficiencies, etc. Printz Award winner Whaley's new book features an agoraphobic 16-year-old who becomes the pet project of ambitious, wannabe psychologist Lisa. View all our reviews of Whaley's previous books.
Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, edited by Stephanie Perkins (St. Martins Griffin, 5/19)
Perkins (Isla and the Happily Ever After) brings together summery love stories from 12 bestselling YA authors, including Leigh Bardugo, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare and more. Summer reading has never sounded so fun.
You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour (St. Martin's Griffin, June 7)
Levithan seems to always be whipping up something great with other authors (John Green, Rachel Cohn), and we're ridiculously excited to see that he's collaborating with LaCour. Told in alternating points of view, You Know Me Well is the tale of an unlikely friendship between two high-schoolers who have sat next to each other all year but never spoken, until one fateful night.
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (Greenwillow, 7/5)
Schwab kicks off a new series with this high fantasy, set in the city of Verity, which has been overrun with monsters, born from the worst of human evil. Schwab has said it's the "strangest book [she's] ever written." Sign us up. View all our reviews of Schwab's previous books.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (Little, Brown, 9/27)
Originally announced on Taylor's website as a standalone titled The Muse of Nightmares, this new book will be the first in a duology about a war between gods and men, mythic heroes and epic librarians, alchemy and monsters and magic. View all our reviews of Taylor's previous books.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer (Feiwel & Friends, 11/8)
Meyer wrapped up her Lunar Chronicles with Winter last November, though she's releasing a selection of Lunar Chronicles stories in February, titled Stars Above. Coming next fall, Meyer's first standalone YA novel is being called a prequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, with a young Queen of Hearts who just wants to fall in love.
Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs (Dutton)
Ahead of Tim Burton's film adaptation of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Riggs will publish a new illustrated collection of fairy tales set within the world of the bestselling Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.
What YA books are you most looking forward to this year? Share in the comments below.
This week, the Library of Congress appointed graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang as the 2015-2016 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. The son of Chinese immigrants, Yang is the first graphic novelist to hold the position since it was created in 2008. Yang's 2006 graphic novel, American Born Chinese, received the Printz Award, an Eisner Award for best graphic album, and was the first graphic novel to be a finalist for the National Book Award.
It seems so fitting that Yang would hold this position of encouraging kids all over America to read, at a time when graphic novels are finding more and more recognition as a credible literary form and as a useful way to encourage young people to read. We spoke with Yang about his platform Reading Without Walls, the future of graphic novels, book recommendations and much more.
Congratulations on being named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature! What does this position mean to you?
Thank you! I’m so excited and honored to be appointed the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature! I’m now a part of a larger mission. The Library of Congress, Every Child A Reader and the Children’s Book Council want to get more kids reading and kids reading more. The post is a part of that mission. My predecessors Kate DiCamillo, Walter Dean Myers, Katherine Paterson and Jon Scieszka have established a legacy. I’m going to do everything I can to carry on that legacy.
What is your personal goal as ambassador? What will be your greatest challenge?
I have two goals. First, I want to encourage kids to explore the world through reading. Second, I want to figure out how to use technology to promote reading.
I’m not sure what my greatest challenge will be. This first year, I’m sure everything will be a challenge.
Tell us a bit about your platform "Reading Without Walls."
Every ambassador chooses a platform. A couple months ago, I met with First Second Books and the Children’s Book Council. Together, we came up with the platform “Reading Without Walls.” We want kids to go outside their comfort zones.
For a kid who doesn’t read for fun, this means picking up a book and giving it a try.
For kids who are already reading, we want to challenge them in three ways. First, pick a book with someone on the cover who doesn’t look like you or live like you. Second, pick a book about a topic that you find intimidating. I’m actively pushing STEM-related books. I think stories are a great way to introduce STEM to kids. And third, pick a book in a format you’ve never tried before. If you only read prose novels, give a graphic novel a try. If you’re the opposite, if you only read graphic novels, give a words-only book a try.
How do you think your ambassadorship will affect the future of graphic novels and comics?
The fact that they were willing to consider a graphic novelist for the post shows how far comic book culture has come in America. When I was a kid, graphic novels were hard to find at my local library. We were never allowed to read them in class. Now, librarians and teachers are using graphic novels to engage students. They recognize the value of the medium.
My hope is that this just the beginning. Actually, it’s not just a hope. I KNOW this is just the beginning of a wonderful, fruitful era for American comics.
What books do you most often recommend to young readers?
I recommend a lot of different books for a lot of different readers. Here are some of my favorites:
For young readers, any words to live by?
Read. Write. Draw.
Matt Marinovich's cool thriller hands a murder scene to a not-too-happy young couple, and delightfully, they use this opportunity to make many, many bad decisions. Scott and Elise are staying in the Hamptons, which is practically deserted in wintertime, as Elise handles the affairs of her dying father. It all begins innocently enough for Scott—he fills some of his ample free time by snooping around the empty next-door summer house. When he and Elise try to rekindle things in one of the guest bedrooms, things go from bad to worse. Watching this husband and wife steadily get in deeper and deeper is almost as thrilling as trespassing.
Then I heard a noise, upstairs, and I swear, for three or four seconds, my heart didn't even beat. I didn't even swallow the alcohol left in my mouth. The small snifter stayed frozen in the air, as if I were toasting someone. I pictured some man coming down the winding staircase, tying some silk belt around a silk robe as he made his way toward me.
I think I waited a minute, but there were no more sounds. I decided not to push my luck. I told myself that this was far enough. I could always come back.
I had entered mumbling to myself, still pretending I was someone else, but I left without saying a word. I just closed the door and calmly walked away. Looking back, I realize I hadn't changed yet. It was too early for that. But there was something natural about the way I walked away. Upright, unhurried, aware. It's the way intruders walk, and I swear, you either have it or you don't. It can't be taught.
What are you reading today?
We're still talking about our favorite children's books of 2015 and the 2016 Youth Media Award winners, but it's time to get excited about what 2016 holds, including new books from Kate DiCamillo, Jon Klassen and more. With a list like this, we can't wait to see what other great children's books await us this year!
Ideas Are All Around by Philip C. Stead (Roaring Brook, March 1)
We're always a sucker for a new Stead picture book, but this one looks especially magical. It’s sort of a book about nothing, or everything: In search of writing ideas, an author takes a walk with his dog around the neighborhood. View all our reviews of Stead's previous books.
Summerlost by Ally Condie (Dutton, March 29)
The author of the critically acclaimed, bestselling Matched trilogy makes her middle-grade debut with the story of 12-year-old Cedar, who is grieving the sudden deaths of her father and younger brother while working for the renowned Summerlost Shakespearean theater company.
Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley and Lauren Castillo (Two Lions, April 1)
This beachy bedtime book is the first-ever picture book from Pulitzer Prize winner Smiley, and we're ecstatic to see she's collaborating with Caldecott Honor winner Castillo (Nana in the City).
Booked by Kwame Alexander (HMH, April 5)
Alexander follows up his Newbery Medal winner, The Crossover, with another novel-in-verse, this one a heartfelt tale of soccer. Most importantly, one of the characters is a rapping librarian named The Mac.
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, April 12)
Two-time Newbery Medalist DiCamillo pulls generously from her own life for this much-anticipated middle-grade novel about 10-year-old Raymie Clarke, whose father has just run away with a local dental hygienist. Specifically, DiCamillo grew up in small-town Central Florida, competed in (and lost) the Little Miss Orange Blossom contest, and her father left the family when she was very young. View all our reviews of DiCamillo's previous books.
Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat (Little, Brown, April 12)
Don't let the innocuous title fool you, as there's also a T-Rex on the cover of Caldecott Medalist Santat's road trip picture book, so we're expecting more than a few wonderfully ridiculous surprises. On this most unusual road trip, time seems to be moving so. slowly. . . . that it starts moving backward. View all our reviews of Santat's previous books.
Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier (Amulet, April 5)
It seems like we've waited FOREVER for Auxier to take us back to the world of Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes (2011). But our patience is rewarded: This new middle-grade book is set two years after Peter Nimble and Sir Tode rescued the kingdom of HazelPort, and now they're back to find a 12-year-old bookmender named Sophie Quire. View all our reviews of Auxier's previous books.
Gordon and Tapir by Sebastian Meschenmoser (NorthSouth, April)
Mr. Squirrel and the Moon was one of our very favorite 2015 picture books, and we can't wait to see the humor and charm that will no doubt fill Meschenmoser's odd-couple tale. And it's already been shortlisted for the German Children’s Book of the Year Award.
Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Little, Brown, May 10)
National Book Award-winner Alexie and Caldecott Honor winner Morales (Viva Frida) team up for a picture book about a little boy, son of Big Thunder, who's looking for his own special name.
There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook, May 3)
We were granted a sneak peek of Smith's picture book for last September's cover reveal and Q&A, and we still can't wait for this one. Plus, I crack up everytime I think of a group of Lane Smiths being an "annoyance of Lanes." View all our reviews of Smith's previous books.
A Clatter of Jars by Lisa Graff (Philomel, May 24)
The latest middle-grade novel from National Book Award nominee Graff returns to the world of A Tangle of Knots (2013) for another magic-filled camp adventure. View all our reviews of Graff's previous books.
Nine, Ten by Nora Raleigh Baskin (Atheneum, June 28)
Ruby on the Outside was one of our favorite 2015 middle-grade novels, so we're definitely watching for Baskin's next book, about four middle schoolers whose lives are dramatically impacted by the tragic events of 9/11.
School's First Day of School by Adam Rex and Christian Robinson (Roaring Brook, June 28)
Robinson just picked up a Caldecott Honor and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for Last Stop on Market Street, and he's quickly becoming one of our all-time favorite illustrators. His back-to-school book with Rex sounds like a collaboration made in heaven.
Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes (Little, Brown, July 12)
Another 9/11 middle-grade novel? We trust Rhodes to do the tragic events justice. View all our reviews of Rhodes' previous books.
Travis and Stinky by Jacqueline Kelly (Macmillan Children's, October 4)
This is the first installment in a new spinoff series of chapter books from Kelly's beloved The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. A new generation of readers will get to meet all those wonderful characters we immediately fell in love with. View all our reviews of Kelly's previous books.
We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen (Candlewick, October 11)
The epic Klassen hat saga reaches its end, after I Want My Hat Back and the Caldecott Medal and Kate Greenaway Medal-winning This Is Not My Hat. This time, two turtles have found a hat, both of whom look good in said hat. Who will win the hat? Will one turtle eat the other turtle? These questions must be—will be—answered.
A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785 by Matthew Olshan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (FSG, October 11)
Olshan and Blackall brought us the outstanding The Mighty Lalouche (2013), so another (mostly true) history lesson from the duo is a real treat. Check out our interview with Blackall on The Mighty Lalouche and collaborating with Olshan.
What children's books are you most looking forward to this year? Share in the comments below.
Today the American Library Association (ALA) announced the top books for children and young adults, including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards. Several of the BookPage Best Children's and Teen Books of 2015 received awards, including Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson, which took the Newbery Medal, a Caldecott Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer by Carole Boston Weatherford and Ekua Holmes also earned multiple nods, including a Caldecott Honor, the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award and a Sibert Honor.
And congratulations to Jerry Pinkney, winner of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award and the Coretta Scott King/Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement!
Read on for all the winners:
NEWBERY MEDAL, for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson (Putnam)
Newbery Honor Books:
CALDECOTT MEDAL, for the most distinguished American picture book for children: Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Little, Brown)
Caldecott Honor Books:
CORETTA SCOTT KING AUTHOR BOOK AWARD, for an African-American author of outstanding books for children and young adults: Rita Williams-Garcia for Gone Crazy in Alabama (Amistad)
King Author Honor Books:
CORETTA SCOTT KING ILLUSTRATOR BOOK AWARD, for an African-American illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults: Bryan Collier for Trombone Shorty, written by Troy Andrews (Abrams)
King Illustrator Honor Books:
CORETTA SCOTT KING/JOHN STEPTOE NEW TALENT AUTHOR AWARD: Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith (Clarion)
CORETTA SCOTT KING/JOHN STEPTOE NEW TALENT ILLUSTRATOR AWARD: Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes (Candlewick)
PRINTZ: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray)
Printz Honor Books:
MARGARET A. EDWARDS AWARD, for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults: David Levithan
PURA BELPRE AUTHOR AWARD, for a Latino writer whose children's books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience: Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle (Atheneum)
SIBERT AWARD for most distinguished informational book for children: Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh (Abrams)
Sibert Honor Books:
WILLIAM C. MORRIS AWARD, for a debut YA author: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (Balzer + Bray)
YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults: Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook)
Click here to view all the winners, including the Alex Awards (the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences), the Stonewall Book Award (books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience), the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book and more.
Did your favorite children's or YA book pick up an award this year?
Ellie Alexander's cozy Bakeshop Mysteries are full of sweet thrills and sweeter treats. The first in the series, Meet Your Baker, found Jules Capshaw seeking some healing for her broken heart in her welcoming hometown of Ashland, Oregon. In Book Three, On Thin Icing, Jules' bakeshop, Torte, is experiencing a wintertime lull, with few tourists and few customers. When catering the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Jules discovers that "things were about to get much, much colder" with a bartender's murder and her ex-husband as a suspect.
Alexander took a break from baking heavenly treats to share Jules' recipe for a broken heart—and some cookies!
There’s no better time than the winter to curl up with a toasty mug of coffee or tea and a delicious sweet treat. Winter’s biting winds and bitter temperatures harken us inside to wait out its storms. There’s also no better way to heal a broken heart than with the comfort of a warm kitchen, a hot scone and a listening ear.
Pastry chef Juliet Montague Capshaw (please call her Jules) has returned to her charming hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal her broken heart. While her heart is on the mend, she finds solace in the steady rhythm of kneading bread dough and in the familiar and welcoming faces of old friends. Her heart may be broken, but she isn’t, and she’s found home again.
Here is Jules’ recipe for healing a tender heart and for her delectable double dark chocolate cookies—because every broken heart needs chocolate.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together in an electric mixer. Add vanilla and eggs, beat at medium speed. Sift dry ingredients, blend at low speed until combined. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
Form dough into one inch balls and place on cookie sheets, two inches apart. Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes. Cool and frost with chocolate cream cheese frosting below.
Bring butter and cream cheese to room temperature and whip together in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Slowly sift in unsweetened cocoa powder and powdered sugar, mixing on low until blended. Spread on cooled cookies.
It's been awfully rainy and muddy here in Nashville, so I may have picked up Murder Most Malicious, the first in the new Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery series, because it looks like the snowy December I've been wishing for. It opens on Christmas Day, 1918, as the family of Foxwood Hall celebrates the holiday as well as the end of the Great War. But 19-year-old Phoebe Renshaw overhears her older sister, Julia, fighting with the Marquis of Allerton, to whom she presumably will be engaged. But the next day, the Marquis had disappeared, and then several of the servants' gift boxes contain what appear to be his fingers. It's up to Phoebe and Eva, her lady's maid, to solve this one.
This historical mystery from the author of the Gilded Newport Mysteries is an absolute delight.
Eva preceded her father and Lady Phoebe into the jarred goods pantry, where she had deposited that dreadful Christmas box. She loathed involving Phoebe in the sordid details, wished she could prevent the girl from peeking inside. After all, she had divulged the contents of the box, so what was the point of looking, really? But Lady Phoebe had that determined set to her chin and there would be no deterring her.
Her father drew the box to the edge of the counter and lifted the lid, whereupon Lady Phoebe rose up on her toes and glanced in. A second later, she turned away and reached for Eva's hands.
Her face was pale. "I'm so sorry."
"You've no reason to be sorry, my lady."
"To have you horliday ruined by this . . ." Lady Phoebe let out a breath. "I think you and Mr. Huntford had better come upstairs. The inspector will want to speak to you both."
What are you reading?
After her father hung himself in his prison cell while on trial for murder, former celebrity photographer and "society bubblehead" Theo Bogart fled her family's tabloid legacy for the comfort and anonymity of San Francisco. In her new little corner of the world, she runs a small soap shop and visits with her many charming neighbors. But when one of her neighbors, a petty thief named Tim Callahan, turns up dead after an earthquake, Theo has a sneaking suspicion that it was murder. When another death follows, Theo finds herself in an incriminating position. Soon it's not only her privacy that's being threatened, but her innocence as well.
Former journalist Susan Cox's debut novel was the winner of the 2014 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition. The Man on the Washing Machine seems perfect for mystery readers who love memorable, likable characters just as much as they enjoy unraveling a juicy whodunit.
I finished my muffin and sipped my tea looking down from my bedroom window at the leafy pocket park that occupies the combined property behind all the buildings on our block and reminds me of my home in England. San Francisco is great in a lot of ways, but I still get homesick sometimes. The way the residents tell it, the landscape has survived nearly a century of volunteer caretaker-gardeners with different and often opposing views of how the space should be used. Pine needle pathways meander in random directions. Benches and strategic clusters of Adirondack chairs provide places to relax, read, or dose. There are several areas of lawn, a koi pond, some lush perennial borders, and a ruthlessly disciplined knot garden the kids use as a maze and the adults use as a meditation labyrinth. A large compost pile and toolshead share the blue-collar end of the garden with the ragged abundance of a raised bed vegetable garden. One of the swings in the cedar-wood jungle gym was still rocking gently from the effect of the earthquake.
I was turning away when a flash of movement caught my eye in one of the third-floor windows opposite and very quickly something landed with an abrupt and repulsive thud on the lawn near the children's swings. I squeezed my eyes shut for a second, certain I must have imagined it. But when I opened them he was still there—a man dressed entirely in white, crumpled on the neatly shaved green lawn with his arms and legs arranged around him like a swastika.
What are you reading today?