So, at least six months ago, the publicist (or agent—some publishing beast or other) got in touch with us about reviewing Royce Buckingham’s novel Goblins! I immediately jumped at the chance because, here at Little Shop of Stories, the bookstore where I work in Decatur, GA, we love Demonkeeper, his other book. Demonkeeper is both scary and funny, and I figured, between Demonkeeper and Goblins!, I could get a good October-scary entry for Guys Lit Wire.
I thought I might try and interview Buckingham, or track levels of kidslit scary writing from James Howe (Bunnicula) to John Bellairs (The House with a Clock in its Walls), to Darren Shan’s series (Cirque du Freak and The Demonata) and on and on. But then I lent Goblins! to a cousin of mine, and I discovered what this is really all about…
See, I took the book with me last summer on a visit to our family cabin in western Kentucky—in a town called Fair Dealing, which is near Benton, which is near Paducah. Have I hit a place you’ve heard of yet? Anyways, we had dinner with cousins, and I discovered that my second cousin, Joseph Price, is an avid reader. Loves to read, actually. So I couldn’t resist; I wanted to put a book in his hand. I grabbed the only thing I had with me—Buckingham’s Goblins!
Brief aside: here’s what Joseph thought of the book, according to his mother (who sent me the email before I even got home from Kentucky):
Joseph has finished Goblins! by Royce Buckingham. In a nutshell, he really liked it! He particularly liked the mystery at the end of the book. He read the book quickly -- finished it in 2 days so it must be a page-turner. He says the characters were always interesting, the 5 main characters being the most interesting. There was a "whole lot of" action, which he liked. He wishes the author wrote more about the mystery at the end and more about the great goblin. He hopes there's a sequel or perhaps a series based on this book. He says it's just a "plain good book." Nothing bad to say, really.
I don’t want to delve much more into the plot of the book, because I like to think an enthusiastic review beats a synopsis any day. However, as a quick context, the book involves a world of goblins living underground, who begin to escape out to the world above, our world—and it’s up to some kids from the wrong side of the tracks to help prevent a horde of goblins from swarming into our everyday aboveground world.
But, as I said, I discovered that this is not really about one great book. What I discovered by talking to my young cousin is how great the community of books is. I live in a city outside Atlanta, I’m a father of a daughter not too much younger than Joseph, and yet he and I, two guys from very different worlds, were able to connect over great books. He told me what he had read recently, and I talked about those books and other books he might like. And then I gave him the Goblins! book, and he read it and thought about it, and talked to his friends about it, and they told him other books they like, and on and on. I like to think of our collective love of books like a big fall bonfire, with flames going ever higher, and everybody dancing around it and having a grand old time. Corny, yes, but then I have a soft spot for book mania.
Anyways, I guess this is really about a big public thank you to my cousin Joseph Price. Thank you for a fantastic evening of talking books, and thanks for being a fellow book lover!
(kind of cross posted here)
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