day 155: an infinite number of parallel universes

Béla has devoured the two paperback novels by Randy Ribay that I’ve gotten him in the last few weeks. He read each one three times. It’s always a challenge to find YA fiction for Asian boys and while there are Pillipino characters in Ribay’s work Béla frequently seems to identify just as much with any black and brown character. He has delighted in the apparently luxurient and verdant swearing in Ribay’s books, and went through them way faster than expected, so I went on Amazon to see if there were others.

There was one other Randy Ribay novel. And it wasn’t in paperback yet (I get fussy about mixing their hardbound and paperback editions, particularly of favorite authors.)

But… this Randy Ribay novel was about…

four friends who play Dungeons and Dragons. One of them is an adoptee. One of them is gay.

Need I go on? I got him the hardback.

It came today, and as excited as we are, I know he will finish this in under two hours. (While Claudia reads almost everything with that fervor, it’s uncommon for Béla.) I wish it were longer but I’m glad it’s here at all.

Since Claudia’s admission that she resented giving me “the satisfaction” of hand-choosing books for her — books that I have not even read — and having them end up being unabashed favorites, she was also miffed that I did not seem bothered by her lack of pleasure at my perceived satisfaction. It was almost as though… I loved having her have a new book to love more than I liked being good at choosing it.

Unconditional love is a bitch.

After hearing that Béla was excitedly awaiting a new book, she reminded me how much she liked the novel Circe I had chosen for her and said she would like to read that same author’s Song of Achilles. So I ordered it.

When I was a kid, I got books at Christmas and birthdays, and might have been bought a few books by my paternal grandmother is she and my grandfather visited. They would be things she had grown up with, like The Secret Garden or Little Women, but any new book was a pretty big deal. To compensate, I read from my dad’s shelves — often things I was too young to truly appreciate, but enjoyed anyway — The Catcher in the Rye, a lot of true crime.

Claudia and I have really different taste in books and Béla and I do too, but to be able to just get them any book they want — wow, that would have been heaven to me. (And we are picky. We try authors out at the library and there are plenty of books that they both enjoy but that I ask them to get through the library system, because I do not think they are books that will be read over and over. I try to make our purchases of books those that I know will be much-loved and reread.)



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