I wanted to share this beautiful video Seth made of Foos reading and enjoying The Little Prince about two months ago. June 29th would have been Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 117th birthday. My friend and fairy godperson, Stephanie, got her a pristine copy of that book earlier this year and she finally got around to read it. I made the mistake of letting her see the movie before she read the book and had to field about a thousand questions about the discrepancies between the two. Even so, it was truly a treat to see her enjoy it and engage with it so much.
My daughter has been a reading machine lately. In the car, while walking to school, at the supermarket, at home —she is never without a book in hand. Photos I sneak of her reading have taken over my instagram feed. Sometimes when I am lost in my own head, thinking in circles about goals and how I can achieve them and how I probably won’t because all I do is shuffle back and forth, I realize how quiet it is. Then in a panic I start to look for her and almost always find her, book in hand, in some corner of the apartment. It is a relief that she is a dedicated bibliophile, the tiniest of bookworms, consuming chapter books at the age of five in a way most people don’t until much older, if ever. Anyway, she has inspired me to try and read more books this year. I am going to try and read at least two books per month, which doesn’t seem like very many. I am hoping that will be a starting point and that as I get better at carving out time to read I will be able to read more than that. Wish me luck!
1. Listening to: The Magnolia Electric Co. Songs: Ohia. I have never heard this record, but a friend thought I would like it and lent it to me on vinyl. 2. Reading: Saanaq: An Inuit Novel. Another friend who is teaching this book in one of her classes, sent me a copy! I’m half way through, but I plan on finishing it this weekend (I have good friends). 3. I am hosting my in-laws and Seth’s aunt for dinner on Sunday, and will be making this lasagna recipe. I always tweak it and make it vegetarian using meat substitutes, but this time I’m going to do it the right way. This is their photo, please don’t sue me.
Our favorite librarian, Erin, recommended we check Creaturepedia out. We did and foos loves it! She loves it so much she has to take it with her when she goes for bike rides with her dad; so much she sat on the sofa and read it cover to cover the minute we got home. I love it too — I want every illustration framed or tattooed on my face. Creaturepedia manages to be informative, whimsical, and incredibly beautiful. We don’t own it yet, though we did buy a copy as a gift for someone else, but we added to the amazon wish list pile. Happy reading!
Photos: Seth – www.karmathartic.com
One of my closest friends was diagnosed with a brain tumor a few years ago, and yesterday, after many months of unsuccessful chemo, she decided she no longer wishes to receive treatment. So today hasn’t been the best day, and I don’t think this weekend will be any better. I will be listening to a ton of mountain goats and trying to wrap my head around how weird life is. I started reading this Chomsky book, which is also depressing as hell, and I’m not sure will make anything better. I need to finish reading it because I also borrowed its companion book and I wish to read both before JPL wants them back. Additionally, I started reading Harriet the Spy with Foos, and I really wish someone had reminded me that Harriet is a judgmental asshole who thinks everyone is fat before I started reading it to my four year old. I didn’t think a photo existed for “crying sporadically,” which is why the wasting my time spot is empty. But that’s what I will be doing. Love your friends, and keep ’em close, because life can get weird.
Though in this photo I am reading Ham On Rye, what I’m currently reading for the second time is Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the Unites States, because, why not? I have two copies as a result of the book merger which occurred when my ex-husband and I originally moved in together; moving in with Seth yielded a third. I am okay with this. Somewhere I have a list of newish fiction I would like to read, but I can’t find it. While I find this annoying, it has given me the opportunity to revisit some stuff on our bookshelves. To be sure, there is a lot on there I haven’t read. Tomes plundered during the split with said ex-husband I have no interest in and should probably donate (I’m looking at you, Camille Paglia). Revisiting books you love is just nice. I always look forward to reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell for the umpteenth time in the fall, and there is always the sporadic rereading of the Harry Potter series (don’t judge). Some books remind me so much of a particular time in my life that just thinking about reading them again gives me anxiety. As if a wormhole to some place that can no longer be exists in there and I will get sucked in. I’m going to have to get over that.
- Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett 2. A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins 3. Sidewalk Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson 4. The Skunk by Mac Barnett
Finally a library haul! I had to get this one out before I return these gems to JPL tomorrow in exchange for another batch of beauties.
1. I cannot say enough wonderful things about Leo: A Ghost Story. In fact, I have purchased this book three times (!) in the past month to give as a christmas present or birthday gift. Mac Barnett writes the story of Leo, a ghost who after many years alone, is forced to find a new home and in the process makes a friend, Jane. Jane believes Leo is an imaginary friend, and Leo, finally happy to have a play mate, is reluctant to reveal he is a ghost for fear of losing his friend. I readily admit I am guilty of over analyzing children’s books, but I love how subversive the illustrations by Christian Robinson are. The understanding/creative/tour de force of a friend in this story, Jane, is black. As a woman of color and the aunt to beautiful little girls who look just like Jane, I can’t tell you how good that rare depiction made me feel. Both cops depicted in the story are women. And in contrast to what the media tells us criminals look like, the man who breaks into Jane’s house is a white man. Also, Mac Barnett dedicated this story to Jon Klassen, which made my cold heart grow three sizes. I love this illustrator/author bromance. It’s the little things, guys!
2. A Fine Dessert is one of those books Foos loved so much, we read it almost every night for two weeks. Seth bought it for her for christmas, so I’ll be reading it every week for the rest of forever, hah. A Fine Dessert, is, as the title describes, the story of the blackberry fool from England in the 1700’s to today. A Fine Dessert is truly a sublime work of art. If you look closely, you can see the story of the blackberry fool is not the only one being told. This book is about changing gender roles, advancements in technology, changing racial relations, and changes in society. But most importantly, how through all of those (welcomed changes) the one constant is the love and bond of family and friendship. The book includes a recipe for making a blackberry fool, which we made, and it was as delicious as the book itself. Also, if you pay attention to the house scenes, the illustrator, Sophie Blackall, throws in an easter egg! Apparently, a little black horse is a decor element that has, like the blackberry fool, been enjoyed centuries.
3. Sidewalk Flowers is a wordless book in which a little girl, on a walk with her father through the city, spots and collects sidewalk flowers. I loved this book! I thought Sidewalk Flowers highlights the beauty that can be found in everyday life, if one looks closely and takes the time to stop and take it in. The little girl not only spots and picks the flowers, but she also shares them with others. True story, I read this book to my niece, nephew, and Foos during a sleepover. The next day, on our walk home from the park, they picked up every flower they saw (weeds, really) and left one on the stoop or doorway of the homes we passed. That alone is reason enough to share this book with your littles.
4. The Skunk is the story a man who believes he is being followed by a skunk. Initially at least, it really does seem that way. The man is so unsettled by the skunk’s presence that he moves away, only to find he misses the skunk. Then roles are reversed, and he begins to stalk to skunk. I think this story is good for both adults and kids. Foos loved it because the shenanigans between the skunk and the man are silent movie funny. I think adults will love it because in a lot of ways the physical skunk in the story is representative of the metaphorical skunks in our lives. We try to ignore it, but its always there, lurking.