Monthly Archives: April 2012
We’re heading from Dallas to Austin, and I’m sitting in the backseat distracting my 6 month old with storytime.
Parenting is awesome.
We’ll be on the road tomorrow
It’s only a day away!
I’ll be posting from the road as often as the Wifi/Verizon gods allow.
11 days on the road with a 6 month old? 6 states? A Transformers convention?
Bring it on.
Y’all. If you ever decide to haul 20 copies of a 600 page book around for a few hours, may you be lucky enough to have a stroller at your disposal.
And an adorable baby helps too.
The first ever American run of World Book Night was, by what I can tell from the twitterverse, a smash success. My husband and I were both happily selected to be book givers, and had a marvelous time wandering the neighborhoods of Chicago surprising random people with copies of our selected book – John Irving’s “A Prayer for Owen Meany.”
People’s responses ranged from skepticism – which I totally understand, because that is exactly how I’d react if a stranger tried to give me a book – to joy and happiness. There were a few people who were really blatant in their refusal, too. My husband, as cheery a dude as there ever was, would ask “Hi! Do you like books?” and a couple people actually said flat-out, “No.” (Also, a few people refused, citing their having a Kindle as a reason not to take a book. This makes no sense to me, as I have a Kindle and still love actual books, but whatever.)
Some highlights of our adventure:
- Giving a copy to the lovely Romanian woman who cleans our apartment building. (She’s the nicest woman on earth, by the way.)
- Surprising the folks in an ice cream shoppe with books. One employee and two customers were over the moon delighted by the books, and the male employee was very open about how he’s not a reader, so he declined. However, we got ice cream, and he gave us extra punches on our store punch card.
- My husband wound up giving away copies to most of the people on his bus on the way home from work. If there was ever a time to need a book, the bus is it.
- There’s a really nice man who asks for change on my street. Whenever I actually have change, I usually give him some. He always waves at my son and calls him “Shorty.” I didn’t have any change, but I gave him a book, and he really liked the idea.
- The woman with the puppy. We asked her “Hey, do you like books?” She replied,” I LOVE Books!”
- Taking a copy into this little craft boutique on Broadway and giving it to the girl behind the counter. She got excited when she saw it was John Irving.
- The girl who exclaimed “I LOVE this book!”
It was a lovely way to spend a day, handing out literature to strangers in the city. We’ll definitely apply to be givers again next year. I’m in love with the idea that there are maybe people reading in Chicago tonight because we handed them a book.
Well done, Book Givers around the world.
Read on, kids.
We’re out and about in Chicago today — handing out copies of “A Prayer for Owen Meany” as part of World Book Night. Full report to come tomorow!
In the wild, wacky, and wonderful world of Christopher Moore’s works, absurdity usually reigns and the humor comes fast and furious. Trust me. I know. I’ve read them all — most of them more than once. I’m a Moore fan, and his vampires, whale folk, fruit bats, island people, and the residents of Pine Cove are all characters I’m way familiar with.
His latest novel, “Sacre Bleu,” is something different. I mean it as a huge compliment when I say that this newest release almost feels like a more mature read than all Moore’s other works. It’s still amusing, of course, but as a Moore fan I have to say it stands apart from the other twelve books. It’s more detailed, deeply well-researched, and just immensely creative. In essence, Moore took a bunch of paintings and created a book around them — not the easiest feat.
“Sacre Bleu” opens with the death of Vincent Van Gogh – a death that practically screams ‘foul play.’ (Really, if you shot yourself on purpose, would you walk a mile to get help?) Set among a Paris where the Impressionist painters are on the rise, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and a baker turned painter named Lucien Lessard find themselves on a hunt for a mysterious (and likely magical) man called only The Colorman after Van Gogh’s death. Historically, the “sacre bleu” was a super rare and hyper expensive shade of blue paint that would last forever, as it was made from gemstones. Seurat, Cezanne, Monet, and Manet also show up for the hijink-laden quest, but it’s Lucien and Henri’s show. The younger and somewhat innocent Lucien and the world-weary Henri make a nice duo as they wind up criss-crossing the city seeking any number of artists, galleries, and models.
I don’t want to spoil anything, really I don’t, so I’ll stop here.
Except to say that I was happily reminded of the “Doctor Who” episode where Van Gogh is featured.
Yeah, things get other-worldly. It’s great. That’s all I’m saying.
Read it. Well done, Mr. Moore. Now I’m sad I have to wait another long time for the next book.
P.S. — The first edition of “Sacre Bleu” is gorgeous, with all the text in a shade of blue and color reproductions of all the mentioned paintings laid into the pages. Also, the book doesn’t have a dust jacket, opting instead for a library-ish binding, which makes me incredibly happy. (I haaaate dust jackets.) From what I hear, future printings will be black and white, so if you want a positively lovely addition to your collection, get your hands on one stat.
This past weekend, Chicago’s convention center – McCormick Place – was taken over by nerds for the third consecutive year. C2E2 (Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo) came to town and brought together fans of all sorts of things for three colorful and lively days of conventioning.
My husband and I went. We’ve gone every year so far. Last year I was pregnant. This year, we brought our son.
For me, C2E2 has always been about the books. This is graphic novel heaven, y’all. Granted, I’ve returned home with bigger hauls the past two years, but this year’s vendors were still stacked with books. I got a lovely hardcover illustrated version of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” and a copy of Jim Henson’s “The Tale of Sand.” (“..Sand” came from the Archaia Entertainment booth, where I’ve always found really well-done graphic novels.)
One of my favorite things this year was The Science Fiction Outreach project booth, where people were simply allowed to take free sci-fi books as part of an effort to get this genre into the hands of more people. The folks at the booth were ever so friendly and eager to chat, and I walked away with two books I’m excited to read — though I’m admittedly not really a sci-fi kinda reader girl.
Other book-ish things of interest:
George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire”/”Game of Thrones” was represented all over the place, with some cosplayers and a bunch of merchandise.
John Cusack showed up to sign autographs and to talk about his new role at Edgar Allen Poe in “The Raven.”
Charlaine Harris and Anne Rice were both in attendance.
C2E2 is a blast of an event, and I hope to attend next year as well. Some words of advice… Bring snacks, unless you want to get some pricey food from booths or wait in the long Starbucks line. Wear comfortable shoes – its a huge venue. Many vendors take credit cards, but bring cash for those who don’t. Most of all – have fun. Enjoy all the nerdiness surrounding you. It’s an experience.
How I missed out on Ms. Oates for most of the first thirty years of my life is crazy, and something I plan to fix for the next thirty. (I turned 30 last week. I’m fine with this.)
“The Gravedigger’s Daughter” is not at all what I expected it to be. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention while reading the synopsis on the back of the book, but I was expecting an entirely different plot than I wound up with — which turned out to be awesome, because the plot I wound up with is riveting.
The story of Rebecca Schwart, the youngest child and only daughter of a Jewish family who flees to New York to escape WW2, this book is the complete and epic tale of a smart woman’s messed up life from birth to old age. From her early years living in the small-town graveyard where her father is the local gravedigger, to her marriage to an abusive and mysterious man, to her later years on the run with her piano prodigy son, each choice Rebecca makes guarantees the book never slows down or grows boring. A few of the violent scenes are stomach-churningly brutal to read, and you truly care about the outcome of every situation for Rebecca, and (once he enters the picture) her son, Niley.
Some books you read and can put down for a while without feeling bothered. Each time I set down my copy of “The Gravedigger’s Daughter,” I wondered what would happen next. There’s my recommendation for you.