Tuesday, January 16, 2007

All the things that disappear

"Because of all the things that disappear. Safety pins, for instance. Factories go on making safety pins, and every day people go on buying safety pins and yet, somehow, there never is a safety pin just when you want one..."

-Mary Norton, The Borrowers, 5

I had to read this book for my children's lit class, adding it to the huge sum of books I read and loved as a child and am now revisiting. Each time I cautiously open one of these books, it is with a combination of anxiety and excitement: what if it's not as good as I remember? What if it is as good as I remember? The Borrowers is as good, and better maybe: careful, artful, seamless, and utterly believable. And also amazingly timeless, since it was written in the early 1950s.

In addition to reading this book from cover to cover, I also made meatballs today, and put them in my freezer. As far as I am concerned this constitutes a very productive day. And it's for school, you see, so it's fine. Well, the meatballs are not for school. Although I could eat them at school. If I wanted.

Also on the subject of books, I finished the fourth Traveling Pants book yesterday as well. (I shudder to write this, but I feel I must: Forever In Blue. Dumb title, I know. Don't judge!) I liked this book somewhat less than the previous ones, but still more than, say, a kick in the head. (As my mother likes to say.) What I like about these young women is that they have real-ish lives and INNER LIVES even, not the stereotypical "Shoes! Boys! School is hard!" mentality of so much fiction aimed at young women. (Or even, for that matter, aimed at older women. ahem Sex in the City ahem.) They deal with the kinds of problems that real people deal with. They have boy problems, yes, but also intellectual and creative aspirations, troubled families, and recurring personality flaws or weaknesses. They travel and learn things and get depressed. Also, in the most recent one, they have sex, and sometimes it is a good thing, and sometimes not; also they sometimes don't have sex, and that is sometimes a good thing too. The books don't talk down to their characters, or to their readers. For writing relatively non-patronizing and sophisticated young adult fiction, Ann Brashares, I salute you.

An interesting kind of art/library/found poetry project, from Nina Katchadourian: sorted books. I wish you could order prints of these photos. I especially love:

On a linky note: The ladies (and gentleman) of knitta are like craft ninjas.

I am in the process of trying to set up a new version of this blog, using blogger. My problem is that the good URLs are taken (one of them by someone named Jocelyn--how weird is that?!?) so I am exploring hosting alternatives. I mention this only so that, if this blog moves in the near future, I don't have a lot of panicked, rioting readers (well, OK, five panicked, rioting readers) feeling alienated and confused. You have been warned. However, the technical obstacles may prove formidable, in which case, you have been warned well in advance. But wouldn't it be nice to have working comments? And tags for entries? And permanent links to individual entries that don't involve hand-tinkering with HTML before and after archiving the page? Gosh, we can dream...

No comments: