I've spent a delightful several days with our eldest daughter and our grandchildren. I have been reading this week, but most of what I've read has had illustrations...wonderful illustrations in many cases. Judgements have been made once again on the quality of various books: Clarice Bean is a poor knock-off of the ever charming and sharply funny Eloise. Not only is C.B. a poor imitation, it is (at times) mean-spirited. Olivia by Ian Falconer also takes Eloise as a model, but is sweet and funny and for a younger audience. C.B. might appeal to those who have never had the pleasure of meeting Eloise, but I think the book's popularity is mainly driven by hype.
Speaking of hype...in a better way. Carl recently mentioned the influence of blogs on book sales and posted a link to this article that reveals a remarkable increase in sales for The Thirteenth Tale in the U.S. as a result of blog recommendations. Also, many of us involved in the R.I.P. challenge have ordered and posted about Gothic novels. I've noticed comments on non-book blogs lately mentioning or referring to Dracula, The Woman in White, and other novels in this genre. Some of these comments are, no doubt, a direct result of R.I.P. readers posting about their current reading.
I finished The Wyvern Mystery and have drafted a review which I will hold on to until I see some other reviews on the title. Now, I'm nearly finished with The Lamb's of London, a strange little book, and have not yet determined my opinion. Fact and fiction are intermingled here and I'm carefully watching Mary's behavior. Also interesting is that (synchronicity at work again) William Ireland wrote several Gothic novels: The Abbess: A Romance; Rimauldo: Or, The Castle of Badajos; and Gondez the Monk: A Romance of the Thirteenth Century.
I'm really behind in my own blog reading (and novel reading) and trying to catch up.