Theme: Move to a small town; learn to read
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
Close to Famous by Joan Bauer
In Okay for Now, it's 13-year-old Doug and in Close to Famous it's 12-year-old Foster. Both kids make friends with difficult, creative, rich older women (one is a famous playwright, the other is a famous actress); both have an abusive man in their lives (Doug's dad, Foster's mom's ex-boyfriend). Weirdly enough, neither Doug nor Foster can read! Both learn. Both flourish amongst the eccentric folks in their new towns. Both overcome adversity, both personal and in a larger sense. Both are fine books.
And on a completely different subject:
Last week, Brandy of Random Musings of a Bibliophile mentioned that if she were in the world created by Megan Whalen Turner in The Thief et al "...I would take great care not to draw the attention of the amazing Gen or his Queen. As much as I love them both they would just make me feel like an idiot if I actually had to come in contact with them. And I don't particularly enjoy that feeling."
I happened to finally be reading the fourth in that series, A Conspiracy of Kings, and now that I've finished it, I have to agree. Sophos, however, is a different matter - he may become a king, but he's a kindred spirit. He says:
"My gift is that I always know when I've made an ass of myself... I used to watch other people making idiots of themselves, and they never seemed to know it, but I always have. All my life I've wished that if I was going to be an ass, I could just be an oblivious one."
Oh yes. While being excruciatingly conscious of one's mistakes hopefully helps to prevent some future ones, it doesn't make for much serenity, especially when one's own stupid brain makes even pea-sized mistakes seem like boulders. Perhaps both Sophos and I will learn someday to note when we've been idiots, make a mental note to avoid that behavior in the future, and move on without too much pointless agonizing.