Thursday, June 28, 2007

Still avoiding Flickr

I'll get to it, tomorrow maybe. Tomorrow is always better.

I finished The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World, and while I liked it, it didn't knock my socks off like its companions (Silent to the Bone and The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place) did. I think the two main characters felt a little aloof, from each other and from me as a reader. One, Amedeo, is New York city transplant to Northern Florida who is used to the company of adults while William's Southern accent reads as a little stilted in parts.

The two boys are brought together by the impending estate sale of former opera singer Mrs. Zender; Amedeo is Mrs. Zender's neighbor (and newest fan) and William's mother is organizing the sale. While never truly a diva on stage, Mrs. Zender is a diva in her own mind - she's used to having "people" and is not adjusting well to the modern world (although she does manage to navigate the drive-thru at Dairy Queen pretty well).

Various threads eventually pull together the stories of the boys' budding respect for each other, the family history of Amedeo's godfather, the Nazi's Degenerate Art Exhibit, and the conflicting aspects of Mrs. Zender's life and personality, although there is a little too much coincidence here, and the threads can be difficult to grasp at first. Themes range from the value of modern art to kitsch vs. Art, personal responsibility to national guilt. This will not have the wide appeal of other art history related novels as Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer or even Konigburg's own From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler; however, this is exactly what I enjoy about her work. So many book reviews extol a book's attraction for reluctant readers, but E.L. Konigsburg's books don't ever try to to cater to that elusive group. She writes for readers with no apologies, no asides to explain new vocabulary in sly and witty ways - I even learned a new word: foxed. As in: "The pages were foxed, the edges darkened." Go on, go look it up. I did.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Getting Started on 2.0

I'm a little creaky - this is a late start for the Web 2.0 challenge, but I think I'm ready to get going.

I think I'll kill two birds with one blog, and use this as a way to log what I've read as well - something I wish I'd done back in the days I actually read a lot. Now I'm reading fewer books, but I have more trouble remembering them! Using the fancy-schmancy machine here as a book log will satisfy my Luddite tendencies.

I am excited to have received an advanced copy of E.L. Konigburg's newest, The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World. I'm just getting started on it, but I have high hopes; her last two were wonderful.

I'm also reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, and a recent chapter actually made my inner Martha Stewart consider making cheese. Because a person who can barely throw together three of the four food groups for dinner needs to be making cheese.