The new book combines volumes 9 and 10 into one hardbound volume. It has just been released by La Pasteque, the publishers of the successful and critically acclaimed "Paul" series and will be available in book stores soon.
Fresh on grocery shelves in Canada is a brand new yogurt called iogo http://iogo.ca/en/products/iogo-zip .
Check the website and see Daniel's work showcased there. He created a comic strip called "Freddie Zombie" which is featured on each yogurt tube (and the product design is really cool too).
My cousin Joel and I have a mutual love of books dating back to when we were both little kids and I would visit his house and stare enviously at his full collection of John D. Fitzgerald's "The Great Brain" Dell paperbacks adorning his shelf. While my books were all dog-eared and food-stained due to my little sisters getting their grubby hands on them, his were in pristine mint condition and looked as though they'd never been read. I know for a fact that they were read as much as my own, that Joel was just fanatic about keeping them as perfect as possible.
The only time he would allow me to read them was when my sisters weren't around and then I had to stay in his room and open each book just enough to read the text without making any possible lines on the spines. He also would check in on me from time to time like some kind of commandant. He would anxiously pace back and forth, asking if I wasn't done yet, and breathe a sigh of relief when I would hand a book back to him unscathed. He would then reverently place the book in its rightful alphabetical spot on the shelf and try to get me to play some cards instead.
When you love books as much as I do and are growing up in a country with no public libraries and at a time when books from the States were not very affordable for a family of seven, you will happily agree to read under any circumstances, no matter how fastidious.
In our adulthood, Joel had been trying to get me to read one of his favorite books of all time, "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I usually only buy books when they are for sale at the local library (more on that another time) or when I know I will give repeated readings to a book, making it worth the 21.95$ or so price tag. If I'd even bought a fraction of the hundreds (thousands?) of books I've read over the years, we'd have no retirement savings to speak of. I have always been able to borrow everything at my marvelous library over the years, everything I could possibly want.
Except apparently "Good Omens".
So for years I would give Joel the lame but true excuse that my library didn't have it.
A year ago I was thrilled to finally see a copy there. I borrowed it straightaway. I read it and was mildly amused. I had it for 3 weeks but couldn't seem to get past the halfway mark. I was reading Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom" at the same time (definitely more on that later) and I just couldn't get my head into "Good Omens" (although I've read and enjoyed both Pratchett and Gaiman on several other occasions).
You know how you watch Saturday Night Live on tv and sometimes it's just so so, you crack a smile or two, you sniff in appreciation at a joke, you curl your lips in mild amusement, but that's all? Well that was my reading experience a year ago. I couldn't bring myself to tell Joel, since he'd finally read a book I'd been bugging him to read for years ("Ender's Game") and of course loved it (as I'd known he would).
But last week I spied "Good Omens" at the library again and decided to give it another shot. Unlike before, my head was not buzzing in euphoria with the brilliance of Jonathan Franzen's masterpiece.
You know how you watch Saturday Night Live on tv and sometimes even the most subtle facial expressions of Kristin Wiig, the most inane of skits, will make you snort and laugh like a drain? This is what happened on my second reading. I just could not stop laughing while reading this book. Even the first pages of the Cast ("God" as God) set me off into fits of giggles. Even as I write this now, I am smiling at the memory of how hysterically funny "Good Omens" is. I am thrilled that I gave it a second chance.
Now I can safely thank my cousin Joel for recommending it to me, and that is what I have just done here in this entry.
First and foremost, a sincere thanks to all of you out there who make this website and reading BEN part of your daily lives. Without faithful readers, I'd be much like the proverbial tree falling in the forest.
I also want to take the opportunity to wish everyone a great an safe Holiday Season! May you find joy and peace in your heart, however that may be.
All the best,