Wednesday, February 28, 2007

King of the Wind

I blogged about Marguerite Henry's 1948 classic (the winner of the Newbery Medal in 1949) over at The Newbery Project today.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Patch of Snow 

There's a patch of old snow in a corner
     That I should have guessed
Was a blow-away paper the rain
     Had brought to rest.

It is speckled with grime as if
     Small print overspread it,
The news of a day I've forgotten -
     If I ever read it.
                         (Robert Frost, 1916)

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Story of Mankind

The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Van Loon won the first Newbery Award (for children's literature) in 1922. I blogged about it today over at The Newbery Project, which I recommend for anyone interested in books for older kids. Four of us (so far) took a look at this old classic, and it's interesting how we each had a different take on it. Group blogging is fun.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

First Robins

I saw a bunch of robins eating pin cherries in the melting snow this morning. In Michigan, I guess that means spring is only about three months away (big sigh).

If you're interested in children's (or YA) books, I blogged over at The Newbery Project today.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I've been remiss in not recommending

not one but two Carnivals of Feminists: the early February one, in two parts at Truly Outrageous, and today's (the 32nd!) at Bumblebee Sweet Potato.

And if that's not enough for you, there's a new edition of the Mothers Movement Online out, featuring The Politics of Breastfeeding and a wonderful collection of features, essays, and links to interesting articles elsewhere.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Not Really a Book Review, But a Few Snippets

...from what I've been reading.

A typical quote from You Suck, by Christopher Moore:

It turned out that superhuman vampire strength came in handy when shaving a thirty-five-pound cat. After a couple of false starts, which had them chasing Chet the huge shaving-cream-covered cat around the loft, they discovered the value of duct tape as a grooming tool. Because of the tape, they weren't able to shave his feet. When they were finished, Chet looked like a big-eyed, potbellied, protohuman in fur-lined, duct-tape space boots - the feline love child of Golem and Doddy the house elf. p. 29.

And from The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation, by David Kamp:

In a letter to Charlie in December 1949, Paul [Child] described, for the first time, the sight of his wife, in their home kitchen, cooking French food - mostly likely a cassoulet, given the details: "The oven door opens and shuts so fast you hardly notice the deft thrust of a spoon as she dips into a casserole and up to her mouth for a taste-check....Now & again a flash of the non-cooking Julie lights up the scene briefly, as it it did the day before yesterday when with her bare fingers, she snatched a set of cannellini [beans] out of the pot of boiling water with the cry, 'Wow! These damn things are as hot as a stiff cock.' " p. 52

I have nothing but praise for these two books. You Suck (a sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends) combines manic description, a totally unpredictable plot, and a unique cast of characters, including vampires (duh), the night crew at Safeway, and Goth teenagers.

The United States of Arugula mixes culinary history (mostly from the last fifty years) with fascinating biography - most notably, of Julia Child, James Beard, and Craig Claiborne. It is educational as well as entertaining - I never realized that rocket and arugula were the same plant. And it's pretty interesting how Kamp describes just how and why I (and thousands of other Americans) have particular cookbooks on my bookshelves: The Joy of Cooking, Recipes for a Small Planet, The Art of Mexican Cooking, The Moosewood Cookbook, and a Silver Palate cookbook are all mentioned in some detail. And since I've lived in this area for over twenty years, it was satisfying to see that Zingerman's got described, too, though not in the same detail as several New York delis.

Ha. Even though this is titled 'Not Really a Book Review', I think I'll label it as one.

They're Hardy over in Dexter

Hardier than the rest of the county, anyway. All of the public schools (except Dexter) are closed because of "dangerous wind chills". It was -8°F (not including that wind chill) this morning when I got up. Good thing I checked the school district website before waking up the kids.

Here's a snow flurry sweeping across the field behind our house a couple of days ago. One of the nice things about having a view of the landscape is that you can actually see the weather. At least it's sunny today, even if it is brutally cold. And we have lots of books to read.