Tag Archives: Jonathan Auxier

A Very Merry UnBirthday to Peter Nimble

[Princess Consuela here.  I saw that Sword Mistress was doing a Peter Nimble post, and I have abused my admin privileges to add my own comments.  Mwahahahaha. <– My Joey-and-Phoebe Plan Laugh.  Seriously, guys, I miss Friends.  When is Courtney Cox going to get Matt LeBlanc on Cougar Town?]

This past May, I had the pleasure of going to BEA and picked up quite a few fabulous books. As I was visiting the ABRAMS booth, I noticed a lone book on a bottom shelf and picked it up. The cover looked right up my alley and after reading the back and seeing that there was swashbuckling AND thievery, I knew I would love it.  [How could this go wrong?  Books about thieves are the best.] After some mild pleading, the lovely lady at the booth said I could take the book and I got to walk out of BEA with the coveted Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier (ABRAMS imprint Amulet, 2011) [Not to brag, but when I got my copy at ALA, Jonathan was there for his inaugural book signing.  We chatted.  I came away with a bag shaped like an eyeball.  ALA swag WIN.] <—- I am still jealous about this! Think he will let me mail him my copy to sign?

Peter Nimble’s life sucks. As a child, his eyes are pecked out by ravens as he floats abandoned in the sea. [Cheery.] (see my notes below on kids being bloodthirsty violent creatures) Upon reaching land, he raises himself, until he is taken in by who he thinks is a nice old man… only to learn he is a mean, nasty, lazy asshole who trains Peter in the art of thievery and forces him to steal for him every night. [Yeah, he’s no good.  You’re going to want to punch him in the face.]  Peter’s days are spent sleeping in a cell guarded by a vicious dog. Really, things couldn’t get any worse for Peter. Enter the mysterious traveling haberdasher (one of my FAVORITE words btw) [‘Haberdasher’ is an underutilized gem.  Well played, Jonathan Auxier] (Is this the part where we high five and yell “HABIDASHERS UNITE!?) with untold treasure that Peter cannot help but steal. Being blind, it takes Peter a minute to figure out what this treasure is, but with the help of a zebra, he realizes that he has stolen three pairs of eyes. [In eggs.  Don’t forget that part.] (Creepy) As he puts in the first pair (side note. He can’t see and he puts something random into his eye sockets. That is a lot of trust in a zebra), he is instantly transported to a mysterious island… and what is a mysterious island without a professor to give you a quest to find a Vanished Kingdom and a former knight (now hilarious combination of horse and cat) to help along the way. [No quest is complete without a faithful sidekick.  And when your sidekick is a man/horse/cat, he is small enough to fit inside your burgle sack for easy transport.  Travel-sized for your convenience.  That professor thought of everything.] (haha. burgle sack.)

I loved Peter Nimble. [Well, how could you not?  It’s super fun.] From the imaginative world and characters [and a multitude of literary allusions!  Peter Pan, anyone? Alice in Wonderland?  You had me at hello], to the fact that there are puns galore! (Just Deserts, you know I mean you!). I also appreciated that, a la Dahl, Auxier appreciates that children are blood thirsty creatures and want to read about eyes getting pecked out and gorillas ripping things apart and armies of ravens. [Don’t forget the brainwashed mob of obedient subjects who turn on their own.  Or the double-crossing, back-stabbing thieves.  Or the sea serpents.] (and the giant talking fish!) Through all of the insanity (because it is insanity), you can’t wait to see what will happen next and completely believe that this magical world exists alongside our own.  [Indeed.  It’s so good that you will not want to leave the stationary bike when it kicks you off because you’re so engrossed in the story.  Anything that can keep me amused at the gym for that length of time is literary gold.  Who knew that the bike would kick you off if you stay for too long??] (It also needs to be said that I demand more Peter Nimble. I want to hear about the rest of his adventures! Make it happen! I know they are in your head, Mr. Auxier… don’t be selfish.) 

[A very merry unbirthday to YOU, Peter Nimble.] (Since we dropped the ball and posted after your official book birthday.)


Wherein Librarians Take the Big Easy by Storm

I spent last weekend at the ALA conference in New Orleans.   It was an exhausting few days, but it’s really fun to see all of the new stuff that folks have coming out soon and meet authors you love already or new ones you didn’t know you cared about.

A trip to New Orleans seemed like a reason to finally read a Dave Robicheaux novel.  They’ve been on my TBR list for years, and this seemed like the opportune moment, so I borrowed The Tin Roof Blowdown (Simon & Schuster 2007) from my parents and dove in.  This one takes place in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and to be honest, those scenes are not easy to read.  The book also focuses on the seedy side of The Big Easy, and it will make you wary of walking around alone in the city.  Or with other people, really.  While the subject matter can be tough (natural disaster, looters, murder, gang rape), Dave, his family, and friends are interesting characters, and I really enjoyed reading this one.  James Lee Burke is a fantastic writer, too, and I’ll definitely be reading more of Dave’s adventures.

While I was at the conference, I got the opportunity to meet Orson Scott Card, who I’ve loved ever since I read Ender’s Game.  (Seriously, if you haven’t read this yet, you need to pick it up.  It’s epic.  I hear that the movie is finally in the works, and I can’t wait.)  I picked up a copy of Laddertop (Tor 2011), which he co-wrote with his daughter.  It’s also a manga, which I’ve never read before, but I’m open to new experiences.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

I also picked up Under Heaven (Penguin 2010) by Guy Gavriel Kay.  I couldn’t make it to his book signing since I was supposed to be working occasionally while I was there instead of just picking up signed books.  However, one of the staffers in the Penguin booth got one signed for me and delivered it.  Such service!  She is my favorite Penguin employee, hands down.  I am really looking forward to this one, but it’s such a brick of a book that I may have to finish The Fountainhead before I can start in on it.  I should probably limit myself to one long and complicated novel at a time.

I love books about thieves, and I’m pretty excited to have scored two new ones.  The first is one that I saw at TLA back in April, but I foolishly did not pick up a copy there.  It’s called City of Lies  by Lian Tanner (Delacorte 2011), and I just noticed that it is the second book in a trilogy, so it looks like I’ll need to find the first book.  The cover copy says it’s about a “trained thief and a skillful liar,” so it has a lot of promise.  As soon as I find book 1, we will be in business here.  Or I’ll start mid-trilogy and hope for the best.

The other thief book is Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier, who I actually ran into every day, including at the airport on my way home where we discussed such important topics as the abundance of avocados in California, disappointment in watching Full House reruns, and why I am entirely too Southern to live in a cold climate.  In creating these links, I just noticed that he has his own ALA postgame up if this round-up isn’t enough for you.  Anyway, I started Peter Nimble Tuesday (not on the plane as promised. Sorry, Jonathan.  I had to find out what was happening with Dave Robicheaux. Crazy guys were trying to murder his daughter), and I am loving it so far.  The back of the book promises swashbuckling.  Check.  There is the aforementioned thieving.  Check.  Fun phrases like “Adventure-ho!” pop up from time to time.  Check.  All in all, an excellent start.  It makes my gym time go by quickly, which is not an easy feat to accomplish.

Finally, I am going to post some pictures of the program from the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder banquet on Sunday night because I am enamored of it.  It looks just like a library book with the Dewey decimal tag on the spine and the little card holders in the back showing previous winners.  I will also say that while everyone did a great job, Tomie DePaola’s speech in particular was really wonderful and it made me sad that I didn’t own any of his books as a child.  I plan on going out and investing in many of them shortly as I feel that they will enrich my life and library significantly.