i’ve been in an awful drought in terms of reading recently, and it was really starting to weigh down on me. i kept starting books and never finishing them, through no fault of their own, which can get to feeling fairly oppressive for me.

there are two sure fire ways to break a drought for me: a mid grade novel, or a bodice ripper. this time i chose mid grade novel. one i actually read before, back when i was very much the target audience. but, obviously, it’s been a little while. i remember ruby in the smoke as being quite good, but when i revisit things i loved as an early adolescent, the results are pretty… mixed. but then thea of the book smugglers reviewed it and that rekindled my memories of it. and then i actually won the giveaway for it! (true story: it was kind of thrilling. ok, totally thrilling!)

so i figured now was a great time to revisit it. and it was fabulous to re-read it. have i ever mentioned that i am a total sucker for victorian mysteries?

a few quotes:

Lodgings, in the East End, is a word that covers a multitude of horrors. At its worst, it means a room steaming with damp and poisonous with stench, with a rope stretched across the middle. Those far gone in drink or poverty can pay a penny for the privilege of slumping against this rope, to keep themselves off the floor while they sleep. At its best, it means a decent clean place where they change the linen as often as they remember. Somewhere in between, there is Holland’s Lodgings… You were never alone at Holland’s Lodgings. If the fleas disdained your flesh, the bedbugs had no snobbery; they’d take a bite out of anyone.”

“Jim looked up and released a jet of language that might have blistered a battleship. He was no respecter of clerks: they were a very low form of life.”

“He shrugged. ‘What d’you think, Jim?’
‘She’s mad. Best leave her be, in case it’s catching.'”

based on my selections, you’d think jim was the main character. sally is a great main character (thea says more on the subject, and i happen to whole-heartedly agree, to the point where i’d feel a bit redundant telling you about it), but i do love a well-meaning rapscallion, and jim is a good one.

here’s hoping the drought is over! (incidentally, it’s storming outside at the moment)

now…. to finish some of these half-read books? or cut my losses and start something fresh? have you read anything fantastic recently? any books you think i should for sure/definitely/have to read?