If I could have only one wish for Christmas, that would be to have a Joan Aiken Storytelling Machine. Not that it would be possible since Ms. Aiken is very much a human and is not made of levers, screws and gears. But she is just so damn good at spinning yarns that I long to read more of her work.
I have recently read Joan Aiken’s twelve-story collection, A Small Pinch of Weather, and I was hooked – maybe for life. A good storyteller is like a soulmate you love so much that you risked everything and married him/her, not that I’m married or planning to tie the knot in the near future so I don’t really know how that feels but you get the idea. Hehe
I bought the softbound edition when I saw it in the bargain bins of Booksale
(I just forgot the particular branch where I got it). At first, I wasn’t too keen on reading it because I wasn’t familiar with the author’s work. Then one day about a month ago, after the weather has gone bonkers yet again, taking heed from the book’s title, I decided to pick it up and enjoy it. And enjoy I did. My mama had a hard time making me go downstairs for lunch and dinner because I was too immersed in the stories (my room’s on the second floor with a fantastic view of our neighbor’s roofs, the banana fronds and the makeshift basketball court that the neighborhood kids use when they get off from school).
The book opens with the story about the local weather witch of Strathcloud, Miss Sophy Ross, who along with catering to the needs for rain, hail or storm, also sells wools and weather in an old shop which she had inherited from a long line of weather witches.
And the stories could only go more bizarre, magical and enjoyable in this twelve-story collection. Matilda Harrison’s accompanying illustrations do justice to the wonderful tales of The Boy Who Read Aloud, The Cost of Night, Smoke from Cromwell’s Time, The Serial Garden (my favorite which made me shed a few tears) and others. Why I haven’t found this author sooner is beyond me. But I’d surely take hold of her books from now on.
Image featured is the book cover scanned and edited in Adobe Photoshop using brushes downloaded from various internet sources © Pachuvachuva, August 2010.
For the complete list of Joan Aiken’s works, click here.
I’m currently enjoying a brief hiatus from work owing to the local (Sept. 9 – Osmena Day in Cebu) and national (Sept. 10 – Eid ul-Fitr) holidays so until my next post. 😉