October 21st, 2008

oh great

cold in Texas

No, it is not cold weather-wise. I have a stinking cold and sore throat. (Pause for pity time) Apparently someone on the plane from Chicago to Houston felt compelled to play the role of plague spreader. No matter. I still managed to drive up to Richardson (Dallas area) and do a 7 hour workshop with scratchy voice and cough and the whole enchilada. Now, I have no voice left today (probably a good thing from hubby's standpoint since I am also tired and that makes me, well, rhymes with witchy). I have another 7 our thingie scheduled for Friday so we are making tea with lemon and honey and hoping voice returns by then. So, the reasons I have not posted are: 1) I have spent inordinate amount of time in car; 2) have been too miserable when not actually in car to post. Now, I am awake and coughing my fool head off at an ungodly hour, so I can catch up with posting and maybe do some more reading.




THE ARRIVAL, also by the talented Shaun Tan, was one of my favorite books from last year. Now, he follows up that incredible textless GN with this book (Arthur Levine, February 2009). Not only is he an accomplished artist who can say much with simple illustrations and muted color; he can write some seriously wonderful stories, too. This collection contains stories that are, in turn, funny, bittersweet, disturbing, enchanting, and so much more. While I flew through it on first reading, it is one of those books that bears another and another reading. I do think I will be sharing parts of it with kids when I go back to doing booktalks in the fall of 2009. Interestingly, there was a second cover when I went looking for it on Amazon. Here is the cover from the overseas edition. I still think I prefer the one for the American edition, but...




And now Scout is demanding to be released from his nightime lock up for some play and petting and food (though not in that order I assure you).
devil dance

Neil Gaiman rocks

So, on the drive for the past couple of days, I have been listening to audiobooks. Great company. I listened to Neil Gaiman's THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (HarperAudio, 2008) on the drive to and from Richardson. Loved this eerie, gothic story of a young boy, a toddler, who is the sole survivor of a murderer who kills his family. This toddler wanders out down the street from the house and escapes the Man Jack. He finds a home with a couple who reside in the graveyard. Thus, the toddler becomes Nobody (Bod for short) Owens. All of the residents of the cemetery keep watch on him, especially Silas, the only resident who can actually leave the graveyard and bring back food and other necessities for Bod. Bod grows from child to young boy under the watchful eye and experienced tutelage of Silas and the others. However, the Man Jack still lurks out there beyond the cemetery searching for Bod, preparing to complete the task he began years ago when he murdered the other members of Bod's family.

Gaiman narrates his own books and does a fabulous job with this one. Pacing, inflection, tone are all spot on. His voice is mesmerizing as narrator. This is not always the case when authors narrate their own work. Few can carry it off as ably as Gaiman (Gantos comes to mind with his narrations of the Joey Pigza books since I cannot think of another voice that could be Joey's). It would be all too easy for this audio to become melodramatic in the hands of someone less capable. Of course, driving in the dark was the PERFECT way to listen to this, too.


reading ladders

reading with my ears again

As I listen to different books I have been pondering response as an issue. I talked a little about this in a post a few days ago with LITTLE BROTHER. Today, I listened to HATE THAT CAT by Sharon Creech (HarperAudio, 2008).






I read this lovely book in ARC some time ago and loved it. I have also heard Sharon Creech read from the book. Maybe that is why I did not enjoy this audio version read by Scott Wolf? He seemed to speak in exclamation points and to read the text as it appears on the page and not, I think, as Creech would have us hear it since it is a novel in verse. That's a tricky thing. The other sticky wicket here was his reading the concrete poem about an overstuffed yellow chair. Sorry, that does not translate at all in audio. So, I think this is one to read with the eyes and not with the ears.

The family is finally giving me some cake and ice cream for my b-day which was last week. I complained that I did not even get to go out for a b-day dinner since I was in Iowa. So, hubby took the hint and brought home cake and ice cream. Should be interesting to see his selections.

Despite a raging case of laryngitis from speaking all day yesterday with my cold, I managed to give an interview on the phone with a Chicago journalist. Cannot wait to see how I can be misquoted this time.
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