I spend a lot…seriously, A LOT…of time on book blogs – reading reviews, witty commentary, new releases and other stuff that people who are obsessed with books or obsessed with getting a library job again read. That being said, I read blogs about other stuff too, and one of my favorites is Design*Sponge, the blog turned multimedia darling started by the adorable Grace Bonney. Today, my blog worlds collided when I got onto my Reader to see that Grace had written a post about Wildwood, which I just so happen to be reading at the moment. Really, I should have known the book would show up on a design blog somewhere as the illustrations are not only charming, stylish and somewhat rustic, but the book itself is small cut compared to your typical novel and it has color plates, as way more books should (I’m looking at you, Okay for Now).
While part of me wanted to be a snooty academic and pass off her review as naive, I actually found myself enjoying Grace’s non-cynical, non-critical, non-former-lit-grad-student point of view. Sometimes I get so caught up in everything I’ve read – books, reviews, critical articles, tweets! – that sometimes nothing is good enough. Here I’ve been reading Wildwood and thinking how contrived and derivitive it is at points, and how everyone is so hyped on this book because the author is a semi-celebrity who just happens to write well (really, the book is well written). At the same time, I have enjoyed the book so far, when I let myself. If I could just forget my academic training every once in a while and just let myself enjoy a book for what it is, I think would find the kind of simple joy in books that Grace found in Wildwood. Clearly I need to get out of my critical bubble (or Impassable Wilderness?) every once in a while and enjoy children’s books the way they were meant to be enjoyed…like a child, with an open mind.