Saturday, February 23, 2008

I love how much...

my kid loves books. Yesterday we flew home from Florida. We had a stop-over in North Carolina from around 7:30-9:30. Max and I cuddled in a seat and read, read, read. We are currently reading Luc Besson's Arthur duet-- Arthur and the Minimoys and Arthur and the Forbidden City. Granted we were at an exciting part-- 100pgs. to the end of the book. But people stopped and listened; they smiled at us. One man said that I could read audiobooks for a living. Another said that he wished he could sit near us on the plane so that he could hear what happened in the story. Many people complemented Max on how well he listened. Max, Lisa and I discussed what was happening and a few times Max didn't understand a part and we went back and re-read it with some explanation.

I watched people in the airport with their children a lot this week and I did not see much (if any) reading aloud. Kids were playing video games, taking pictures with cell phones, watching dvds and playing on computers. Some older kids were reading to themselves. I did not see families reading to young children. However, I noticed when we did it people were delighted. They wanted to be a part of it. Many older women smiled at me and Max, as if remembering times when they read to their young children.

We are all really enjoying the story, despite a poor review in School Library Journal. And we had seen the movie, so that might have helped us see the action in our minds. But we read and read for hours to finish the first book in the duet. When we were done, Max asked me: Is there an epilogue or something to tell us what happens next? Well, I don't need to tell you that I kvelled! My kid knows what an epilogue is and he knows how it is used as a literary device. How much does he rock?!

So we finished Arthur and the Minimoys and started Arthur and the Forbidden City. I read ahead after Max fell asleep and it gets pretty romantic/kiss-y. I hope he'll still enjoy it, but I can't imagine that it will be as fun as the adventure/battle parts. I guess we'll find out.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


E.L. Doctorow is coming this spring to the college where I work. Many are looking forward to this visit and so we are all reading his works. I have just finished re-reading Ragtime and remembering how much I enjoyed it for it's seamless weaving together of a strong, beautiful quilt of a story, and it's vivid imagery.

I loved seeing the lower east side through Evelyn's eyes: "...Hebrew letters looking to her eyes like arrangements of bones". And of course the very erotic scene between Evelyn and Emma Goldman. It was interesting that Mother's Younger Brother became a participant in this scene between two women instead of merely a voyeur. I believe had the book been written today he might have been the unseen watcher, of a tender yet highly charged encounter between Emma and Evelyn, but in the 1970s our dominant cultural imagination had to see the climax as the providence of a man. (see pgs 52-54 in Random House hardcover edition).

I also found the end chapters of Mother's Younger Brother's journey to Mexico to fight with Pancho Villa and our own Nation's foray into that same war as very pertinent to our situation today. Teddy Roosevelt accuses Woodrow Wilson of "finding war abhorrent". However, history shows us that after Wilson's practice war in Mexico and his entrance into WWI on our country's behalf, he apparently didn't find it so abhorrent as to avoid it. The sentence that makes it so personal for me is: "Neither Theodore Roosevelt's son Quentin, who was to die in a dogfight over France, nor the old Bull Moose himself who was to die in grief not long thereafter, would survive Wilson's abhorrence of war."

It makes you wonder how gung-ho our President would be to wage war if every time he did so his own daughters were enlisted to be on the front lines. War seems easy to wage if someone else's children are fighting it.

Anyway, I digress. It was a great read and I'm glad to have the opportunity to visit and re-visit with a writer of Doctorow's talent. I am looking forward to hosting him this spring. I am also looking forward to hosting Spring (I am soooo over winter).