Five Favorite Books 1-1 The Harper Hall Trilogy

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Anne McCaffery's Harper Hall Books by Jeffrey Johnson of Red Herring IllustrationWhen I was in Sixth Grade, we moved to Huntsville, Alabama and I was introduced to the public library. I’ve been to a lot of libraries since then, but somehow none of them even compare. the Library was three stories with massive sections of reference books, fiction, non-fiction, a youth area with books and novels and lots of space to spread out and read. That library was not close to my house, but I was an eleven-year-old kid in the ’80s with a bike and a sense of adventure. I could go anywhere. And did.

I was that kid who would rather sit out in gym and read than play basketball, earning myself a “D” in a class that’s thought of as an easy “A”. This isn’t to say that I didn’t do physical things, or that I wasn’t active. I wanted to act  out the adventures in my head, and just couldn’t do that by playing games in gym. I was that kid who, when all the other kids were talking about the cool toys they got for Christmas, would tell them that I got a pile of new books. To which, my classmates would give me pitying looks. I didn’t care though, because books were what I wanted, and what I’d asked for. I would read pretty much anything, but I loved books about adventure, wizards, and dragons.

I’ve loved the library my whole life, but never really learned to use card catalogue. Luckily, my mom would let me browse however long I wanted, and would let me pick up any book that captured my interest. This is how I was introduced to Brian Froud and Alan Lee, through their Fairies book. Which terrified me. (Look up Alan Lee Pookah to see the face of that fear.) I found books on leatherworking, and music, on puppet plays and foreign languages. I also found where they kept the fantasy books that would fuel my imagination through middle and high school.

Books with the word Dragon in the title were always worth at least picking up for me. Dragons of Winter Twilight by Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman with the awesome blue dragon and armored warrior on the cover. Piers Anthony’s Dragon on a Pedestal with Princess Ivy and Stanly Steamer on the cover. A book by Anne McCaffery with a girl by the sea with miniature dragons flying all around her called Dragon Song.  Finding books this way would often drop me in the middle of a series, but when they were good, they were good in spite of having no context.

Dragon Song was a book about a girl named Menolly, who loved music. No, not just loved music, she lived music. It’s a story about how that part of her life was taken from her, by an accident and by the expectations of her time and place. Just when she is feeling the loss the most, something amazing happens that changes her life and sets her on a path to find herself again. It had me at “hello”.

redherringjeff on patreonThis month, to celebrate reaching my first Patreon goal, I’m writing five book reviews of books that have stayed with me and helped shape who I am today. I plan on breaking up the reviews into (more or less) five parts.

 

  • An introduction with where I was when I first read the book.
  • What you need to know about the setting and characters.
  • Book review part one, the main story line.
  • Book review part two, the “B” story line.
  • There’s always a conclusion, isn’t there?

This week’s review is about Dragon Song and Dragon Singer, the first two books of the Harper Hall trilogy by Anne McCaffery. I’m looking forward to sharing them with you!