This is the first proper book of 2008 for me. Even though I started it before the 1st. January the majority of it was read this year. And it's taken me a while! Not the book's fault but mine - I've just been so busy since the new year started.
Anyway, what a cracking read for the start of a new year! I've been tempted by Inkheart by Cornelia Funke several times in the library but never actually brought it home. But, inspired by a post by Deslily about the new movie of the book, due out in March, I decided it was time I read it because it looks like a movie I will love and want to see.
This is, in fact, a book about books. About people who love books, about people who obsess over them and also about people who have no understanding of books whatsoever. 'All life is here' as they say. Twelve year old, Meggie, lives with her father, Mo. They move around a lot and Meggie is not sure why. Her father is a bookbinder with an overwhelming love of books but he has never read out loud to her; again, she doesn't know why. One day she looks out of the window and a rather disreputable looking man is standing there watching the house. This is Dustfinger. Meggie takes an instant dislike but it's clear he knows her father very well indeed. Suddenly they are on the move again and Meggie, her father and Dustfinger go to stay with Aunt Elinor, a rather forbidding woman with more books than Meggie has ever seen in her life. Elinor cares more for her books than she does for people and she - and Dustfinger - are curiously obsessed with a book Mo carries around with him, Inkheart. Meggie sets about finding out what is so special about this book but her investigations are interrupted when her father is suddenly kidnapped. Dustfinger appears to know more than he's willing to tell and Meggie and Elinor persuade him to set off with them in hot pursuit of the kidnappers. That quest brings Capricorn and his minions into their lives. He is about as frightening a man as it's possible to meet, but where has he come from? And why is *he*, an illiterate, also obsessed with the book called Inkheart? And what *is* it that's so special about Meggie's father, Mo? What can he do that others can't?
This is one of the new breed of young adult books that's so prevalent at the moment. The genre is fair brimming with talented new writers, Garth Nix, Trudi Canavan, Joseph Delaney, Christopher Paolini, Angie Sage, the list is endless. Now add Cornielia Funke to said list because I really loved Inkheart, which is the first in a series, although I'm not sure what the series is named. The plot gallops along at a great rate of knots, no hanging around here as you career around the countryside of er... well, I *think* it's Italy but I'm not sure it was ever stated. It's a pageturner really, and I can see that it would work really well on the big screen. I *hope* it will encourage both children and adults to take up reading when they see the film and I personally can't wait to see Elinor's library! In the book I liked the way each chapter begins with a quote from children's classics such as Jungle Book, Peter Pan, Huckleberry Finn and so on. It's as though the author is acknowledging a huge tradition of children's writing and the contribution that that has made, not only to her life, but to her own writing as well. Nicely done.
I have the second book of the series, Inkspell, on my library pile even though I had to have a tussle with the library assistant before she would let me have it. *Apparently* it's a children's book!!! Well, you don't say!! Even Hubby was speechless and that doesn't happen very often. ;-)
Now reading: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle