Wizard’s Holiday, by Diane Duane – The seventh book in the Young Wizards series has Nita and Kit visiting the seemingly utopian planet of Alaalu, and realizing that there is something going on beneath the pleasant surface. At the same time, three wizards from alien worlds come to stay on Earth. Duane is quite creative with the aliens and their societies, making it a pretty enjoyable read, but I do find that these books drag in spots. Maybe it’s just because the chapters are so long, though. I don’t know.
Owls Aren’t Wise and Bats Aren’t Blind: A Naturalist Debunks Our Favorite Fallacies About Wildlife, by Warner Shedd – I found this book at the library, and thought it sounded interesting, as I’m somewhat fascinated by weird myths that people believe about animals. It focuses on North American animals, which means that myths like the ostrich sticking its head in the sand and elephants being scared of mice aren’t covered, but it was still quite interesting. Shedd is a former executive with the National Wildlife Federation, and a naturalist and conservationist from the Theodore Roosevelt school. I find it interesting that one of the myths addressed is that porcupines can throw their quills, which Chiss in The Patchwork Girl of Oz could do, but I didn’t know that anyone really believed that in real life. Apparently they did, though, with the idea dating back to Pliny the Elder in the first century AD. The supposed wisdom of owls is also touched upon, as the title suggests, and it’s not too surprising that this is based entirely on the look of the owl’s face and not at all accurate. Mind you, I still like the archetype of the wise owl.