Thursday, March 31, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
That means "good day!" in Portuguese, one of the few phrases I learned during my visit there over Spring Break! While there, I was happy to see the beaches, delicious food, and unique people that I expected, but I was also pleasantly surprised at the book culture in Brazil, particularly in Rio. Every block or two I'd find a small open-air shop. These shops would sell the usual everyday necessities or desires like candy, drinks, and pens, but in addition there was a decent collection of books. At first I would have expected these to be mostly pulp novels, whatever the Brazilian version would be of sexy westerns or bodice-ripping historical romances. Those where there, of course, but there was also a wonderful collection of literature and classics, as well! I saw Portuguese editions of On the Road, Factotum, and The Road. It seems like a dream come true to live in a town where everywhere you go, a new book is waiting for you around the corner! If only I could speak Portuguese, I'd be set to take off and start my new life in Rio de Janeiro! Oh well. Next time I visit, there is only one phrase I'll need to memorize before I go: "Bom dia! Eu preciso de um novo livro por favor!" (Good day! I need a new book please!)
Until the day I master Portuguese and set off for my new life in Brazil, I guess I'll just have to be content working at Old Firehouse, where the books might not be right outside my front door, but they're pretty darn close!
Friday, March 18, 2011
This month, we had the great treat of meeting with Natasha Wing, author of An Eye for Color, to talk about her book. It was a real pleasure to talk with Natasha and learn more about her process for creating her book. She had to work very closely with her illustrator, and subtle differences in shade and color, especially in her examples and exercises, could make a huge difference.
Since President Obama picked some Albers pieces as art after he moved into the White House, Natasha sent a copy of her book to Sasha and Malia, so that they could read about where those pieces came from!I loved the idea that Josef Albers approached his art so methodically and scientifically. One doesn’t normally think of art and science meshing well, but Albers shows that these two different perspectives can enhance each other. Understanding how colors affect each other and the moods that they create can help an artist render emotion more effectively.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
The new book is called Cahoots, and it is indeed a hoot. (See what I did there?) In it, Aldo Zelnick, their hapless hero, ends up on a farm, and is out of his comfort zone.
The signing is at 3pm on April 17th. There will be fun activities for kids!
And here's a book trailer so you can see how Kendra puts her covers together.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
This particular work was picked to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and in light of the Louisa May Alcott Grant received by our library.
Geraldine Brooks will visit Fort Collins to speak at the Hilton on November 12. Tickets will be on sale at local bookstores (including yours truly) after Labor Day!
This should be a great event for the city.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
This book lives up to all the hype. Tea Obrecht is the youngest of the Top 20 Under 40 writers recently named by the New Yorker. She's written a sort of magic realist story set in an unnamed Balkan country. There are three main threads to the tale. First, there is a young doctor who finds out that her grandfather has died just as she is headed out to a mercy mission, vaccinating orphans across the border of her newly partitioned country. Second, there is the story of the Tiger's Wife, which happens in her grandfather's village when he is a young boy. Finally, there is the story of the deathless man, who her grandfather meets when he is a young doctor himself.
All of these stories are engrossing, and have a faint feel of folklore about them. You can see a tiger escaping from the zoo during a bombing, for example, and even that the tiger would not know how to fend for itself and miss human companionship, but there is still an eerie feeling of myth to the Tiger's Wife.
The book brings home the tragedy and pathos of people who have lived next to each other for years, but who still can turn on each other out of fear. It also shines a light on the terrible turmoil and pain of the Balkan peoples, who have suffered through centuries of war. There's a short bit about a house fire, and how people let their animal stock burn to death because it was just easier to let the destruction happen, then rebuild- a legacy of the mindset of those who have had everything taken from them more than once.
The writing doesn't shy from destruction and decay, but I found the writing moving instead of disturbing. Perhaps the weakest point of the story was the young doctor who becomes our lens into this world- we never find out anything about her mother, except that she's alive, or her father. The grandfather is the focal point of the book, and I wish that there had been a way to make him even more the focus.
This book will make you think about the Balkans in a way that you've never done before. It will move you and transport you into a nebulous world where magic just might possibly happen, although it cannot save you.