talking comics, reading level, and what's "appropriate." But I'm not doing it here. No! I'm over at the Darby Pop blog, Beyond the Cover.
Go on, check it out - Ka-Boom! Add a Comment
talking comics, reading level, and what's "appropriate." But I'm not doing it here. No! I'm over at the Darby Pop blog, Beyond the Cover.
…she says, half a week into August.
We had family in town and spent a day hanging out with them at their fabulous beach hotel, and another afternoon touring the harbor on a boat cruise. Glorious weather. At one point, we were approaching Point Loma for a glimpse of the lighthouse when my nephew’s phone buzzed—it was Verizon Wireless texting him a “Welcome to Mexico” message. That was just about as far as we got before turning around to cruise past the downtown area. We saw dolphins and sea lions and pelicans—a perfectly satisfying day, according to Miss Rilla, who spent much of the boat ride standing in the wind with her arms spread wide and her grin even wider.
One of the nicest things about living in San Diego is that so many friends wind up vacationing here, and we get to join in.
Back home, I’ve been in blissful planning mode. I adore low tide; low tide is a deep delight; but my little listmaking heart glories in the voyage-charting of high tide just as thoroughly. I spent a morning gathering books from all over the house to fill a shelf for Huck—treasures I want to be sure my last six-year-old (sniff) doesn’t miss. I’ll try to get a picture and a post up soon, because I know some of you enjoy comparing notes that way.
Plans are afoot for Rilla and my two high-school-age girls too: more booklists, more shelves filling up. Every August I do this massive rearranging of the tomes, shifting high-tide resources to the living room where we do indeed do the bulk of our living. Twentieth-century history for the teens this year, and earth science, and Shakespeare of course, and a fat list of literary texts, and the languages they are studying separately. All juicy stuff. Beanie is forging ahead with German, which is extra fun for me, since I’m fair-to-middling in that language myself and always longing to improve my skills.
And loads and loads of art—along with poetry, perhaps our most constant occupation these days. At Comic-Con, I tried out my (brilliantly talented) friend Zander‘s pocket brush pen and was thoroughly intimidated by it. The next day, our (also staggeringly talented) friend Mark Chiarello showed us art from his forthcoming book (his first since his gorgeous book on the Negro Leagues), and he too was working with this pen, whose merits the extraordinary Roz Stendahl is always talking about. Between them, they convinced me to give it a try, and ohhhh, it turns out I’m in love. It is loosening up my line so much. I have a tendency toward a very careful and nervous line, and I’m feeling much freer about taking chances and using my whole arm, thanks to a few weeks with this pen. My book is filling up with a lot of messy, not-so-lovely pages, but in a good way. And every now and then I draw a line I really like. That’s progress.
Meanwhile, Rilla and I are about to dive into Sketchbook Skool’s “More Playing” klass, which started yesterday. We had a ball with “Playing” in July. Our favorite project was the drawing where we took turns for thirty seconds at a time, filling a page with nonsense. Much hilarity there. This, too, is something I’d like to post more about in the week ahead.
I’m overdue for a books post, too. Got on an Anne Shirley kick in July, following my Betsy-Tacy kick in June. Read the series through House of Dreams (skipped Windy Poplars, because I don’t have it on Kindle). I swear Dreams is better every time, even a dozen or more times later.
I also revisited Pudd’nhead Wilson for the first time since high school—shaking my head in bed at Twain’s audacity the whole way through. Oh, how I love him. I’m deep into Mansfield Park right now. No particular reason; it just decided I needed to reread it. I’m a Persuasion person first and foremost, and then P&P, but I do enjoy Mansfield. The urge to smack Mary Crawford upside the head is such a satisfying sensation.
Well, that’s the news from these parts. What’s your August looking like?Add a Comment
Sariel Keslasi animates a song from the new double album of Gilad Kahana.Add a Comment
Being a *huge* audiobook fan, I am really excited to announce that the audiobook for TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE is now available.
Welcome to my WIP--a combined blog and website! Please bear with me while I get it all set up, and here's a poem about the process to keep me going...this one pretty much records my edit >update>preview>edit loop.
from constant change figures | Lyn Hejinian
At the beginning of July I was astonished at how fast June went by, now here we are in August and it seems like July flew by even faster. How is that possible? I had better get to work on building that chicken coop or I will be SOL when the temperature plunges and the snow begins to fall and frantic to get it done in the uncertain spring weather. Of course, the chickens have to be about 10-12 weeks old before they can be moved outside, but I’d rather not have to feel rushed. Have I mentioned I borrowed Building Chicken Coops for Dummies from the library? I have always looked down my nose a bit at the “Dummies” books but no more! This is one fantastic book! So much useful advice on every aspect of building a coop. Of course it has a basic plan as well, and while it is not exactly what we are planning, it is still very useful. So yay!
July didn’t afford long hours on lazy hot days for reading. Instead I was sweating in the garden or sweating on my bike or collapsed on the sofa recovering from said activities. August will likely follow the same route. Does that keep me from planning all sorts of reading? Of course it doesn’t!
I am currently in the midst of and almost done with a bunch of books. I am about 90 pages away from finishing Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. This is one fantastic book! I am on tenterhooks about the ending. It feels like there is something ominous ahead. If this turns out not to be the case, I won’t be disappointed because the anticipation has been sweet and I really like Isabel Archer.
I am also very close to finishing a review copy of a book called Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor. It is told in alternating chapters from the perspective of an Irish maid-of-all-work to the Dickinson family and Emily herself. Once I finish it, the publisher has kindly offered a second copy for a giveaway. So look for that, probably next week sometime.
A third book I am almost done with is The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson. This is one of those slim books you have to read slowly. It is a mixed genre sort of book written in an episodic/collage kind of style. It is thought provoking in all kinds of ways and I am liking it very much even if sometimes I feel like I am not quite getting it.
I am still enjoying The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak. Sadly when a book needs to be set aside, this seems to be the one. I don’t know why but that is how it is. Hopefully I will be turning the last page by the end of the month. It is time to set something else aside instead if I have to.
I am not close to finishing but am in the middle of Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear. I’ve not read Bear before and am greatly enjoying this steampunk tale with sassy women and no good politicians.
I have Kelly Link’s newest collection Get in Trouble from the library and didn’t think I would actually get a chance to read it before having to return it and get in line again. But as luck would have it, the holds queue completely evaporated by the time the book came up for renewal so I renewed it and should be able to finish it. I have read one or two stories and they are typical Kelly Link weird.
One book I have from the library I know I won’t be able to read is Mark Danielewski’s newest, The Familiar. It is a big fat book and like his past books it is not a straight forward text. It looks interesting but I haven’t had the chance to spend much time with it to know whether I actually want to read it. If I do decide to read it I will have to buy my own copy so I am not forced to rush through it.
I have also begun a little study of Elizabeth Bishop. I have her Poems and finished the first volume of her published work, North & South, last week. Already I like her much better than Keats. I also have One Art, a collection of her letters and have begun reading that. What a good letter writer she was! So smart and funny, a completely different voice than in her poetry. And as luck would have it, there seems to be a bit of an Elizabeth Bishop revival in the works. I’ve seen numerous articles and essays about her around the internet in the last several months and the inimitable Colm Tóibín has just published a slim book called On Elizabeth Bishop. I just borrowed it from the library yesterday and am greatly looking forward to reading.
That should keep me going for August and into September too! Any good books on your plate?
From Becs... I'm so incredibly stoked for this post today, ya'll! I absolutely ADORED Of Metal and Wishes last year, which is a Phantom of the Opera retelling that you need in your life ASAP! I'm so honored to be on the OF DREAMS AND RUST tour. I have my review letter for you guys today, AND a super cool giveaway! ABOUT THE BOOK: Of Dreams and Rust (Of Metal and Wishes #2) byAdd a Comment
The best answer you'll ever hear to this question.Add a Comment
Summer Reading Club is winding down and as I look at the list of programs our branch libraries have hosted, I am impressed with the fantastic array of choices. For a rural library system, we’ve got the arts covered! From Musical Zoo (two musicians take a big box of instruments and let kids go wild), to marionette shows to photography and crafts, the arts are alive and well in our little libraries.
This summer we hosted a touring marionette show. This stood out for a few reasons — one, this show was visiting from Quebec, and we’d never seen it in Nova Scotia. Two girls I spoke to at a show in our area had never been to a live puppet show before! I helped organize the tour, which went to pretty much every cove and cranny of our little province. The puppeteer stayed a couple of nights at our house, and we had some great conversations about the arts and public libraries. He told me how much he loved performing at libraries, and how much he appreciated the fact that libraries still believe in things like puppet shows and storytelling. He mentioned that there’s something special going on in libraries these days- libraries are a community place that people feel good about.
Now I know this sounds like something I talked him into saying. I wish I’d had a tape recorder because it would have made a great advertisement for what we do in our libraries. Not only do we provide great programming that allows kids to explore their artistic side, we also support the artists who create great programs for kids and families. We do workshops for librarians so they can expand their horizons in the arts. We host music concerts, art workshops, craft programs, theatre demonstrations, and so much more! What do YOU do in your libraries to support the arts — and the artists?Add a Comment
This week I received the following piece of info:
“Mighty Media Press is hosting and moderating a Twitter chat on August 18th, with six middle grade authors to discuss how middle grade fiction can teach readers about creativity and imagination; and how it helps them confront and solve real-life struggles and conflicts.
Our hope is to bring greater attention to this reading level of fiction, and to create a discussion among the broader community. We welcome anyone and everyone to participate and contribute answers. Mighty Media Press (@Mighty Press) will be moderating and posing the questions.”
And here’s the poster:Add a Comment
Imagine there is someone you like so much that just thinking about them leaves you desperate and reckless. You crave them in a way that's not rational, not right, and you're becoming somebody you don't recognise, and certainly don't respect, but you don't even care.
And this person you like is unattainable.
Except for one thing . . .
He lives downstairs.
Abbie has three obsessions. Art. The ocean. And Kane. But since Kane's been back, he's changed. There's a darkness shadowing him that only Abbie can see. And it wants her in its world.
A Gothic story about the very dark things that feed the creative process, from the winner of the 2010 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for young adult fiction.
This is a case where you can judge a book by its cover. The novel is atmospheric and spooky and the cover suits it perfectly. This novel is weird, which I love, dark and strange and interesting. Abbie is not always a likeable character, or a good decision-maker (she is obsessive to an incredibly worrying degree), and Kane, with whom she is obsessed, is often downright awful. It's paranormal, I suppose, but not your typical paranormal - there's not clear-cut romance or predictable plotlines. It is both real and unreal (and quite surreal, too, now I think about it).
It's distinctly different from both of Eagar's previous novels - Saltwater Vampires is more paranormal and more humorous, and Raw Blue is much more realistic and written in a more straightforward style. I think there are quite a number of writers from whom you can generally expect something similar with each book - whether that's the writer's doing or the publisher's is hard to tell. That's both a good thing and a bad thing. It's good in that if you discover a book you love, then there's more where that came from in the writer's back catalogue, and it makes it easier to clearly define a writer's style. It's bad in that some writers can become predictable. What I think is obvious from Eagar's novels is that she's a writer who is constantly developing and challenging herself, and as a result each of her novels published so far is unique. So I can't necessarily say if you loved Raw Blue, you'll love Night Beach, too - the writing style is more complex, the plot is supernatural, and the central character is far less sympathetic - but I can say that Night Beach is brilliant.
My greatest disappointment with the novel (look away now if you want to avoid a spoiler, though it's not a major one) is that a dog is killed, which I didn't think was entirely necessary. There are certain things in novels that I can't stomach, and this is one of them. (Though it speaks to how involved I was in the story that I found that event so horrendous; if it were a poorly executed novel and it had felt inauthentic, it wouldn't have bothered me as much.)
This book was published three years ago, so I'm a little disappointed I didn't read it until just recently - I think I have a tendency to favour contemporary in my YA reading. If this sounds like the sort of novel you'd like (weird/dark/intense) then do not skip over it. It is beautifully written, and very compelling, and different and strange and so worth reading.
Night Beach on the publisher's website.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Xurxo Borrazás' Vicious -- somewhat surprisingly, the first translation-from-the-Galician under review at the complete review.
This is published by Small Stations Press, which is the kind of undertaking that can make you believe that even the most far-fetched publishing across borders and languages isn't a pipe-dream: here's a publisher specializing in translations from the Galician (number of native speakers: 2.4 million, according to Wikipedia's generous estimate) based in ... Bulgaria. (Yes, they also publish in Bulgarian.)
If that doesn't bring a smile to your face and make you believe anything is possible ..... Read the rest of this post
The Boyler Kat a illustrated response to my MFA related New York City visit last November. These are some some pictures from the creative process.
via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1T1lnd0
Vivian Salama's AP story -- here at the Daily Star -- is, as so much news about cultural preservation from this part of the world over the past decade-plus has been, deeply depressing, as she reports on Facing ISIS threat, Iraq digitizes national library.
Preservation, good, yeah, but .....
(Other recent efforts -- "Earlier archives from 1920 to 1977, including sensitive Interior Ministry documents, had been stored in rice bags and survived the blaze" -- can only be relied on so far .....)
The (American) National Endowment for the Arts has announced its Fiscal Year 2016 NEA Literature Translation Fellowship Recipients (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) and there are a lot of neat projects here, including:
"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Pick of the week: Nightfall Author: Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski Release Date: September 22nd 2015 Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers AMAZON | GOODREADS A story where edge-of-your-seat horror meetsAdd a Comment
Disney Animation made a fun and informative film explaining the new renderer it used on "Big Hero 6" and the upcoming "Zootopia."Add a Comment
The cover to The Paybacks (left), a new Dark Horse series by writers Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal and artist Geoff Shaw bears a striking resemblance to JG Jones' covers for Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, written by Greg Rucka (right). Doncha think?Display Comments Add a Comment