Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Imagine that

As a book reviewer and journalist who covers publishing, I sometimes think that everybody should read the same book I am, or, horrors, no one is going to be reading any books in the near future because they're all playing with their smart phones. Then I go to a Reading by a Famous Author -- Neil Gaiman as part of Naperville Reads -- and am seated in an auditorium with a thousand other people who like this author, and am enthralled to hear him read and it's all good. They sure sold a lot of books, too.
Gaiman reads his own work exceptionally well (OK, the English accent helps, but maybe he'll pick up a little ya-dere, hey-dere from living near Minneapolis) and is exceptionally able to write across media (scripts, prose, graphic novels) and audiences; he writes for kids and adults. In this day and age of narrowcasting to specific groups, he's broader than many and way more imaginative than most. Maybe the energy of his young fans was contagious, but imagination has energy too. A lot of us still and always love stories, never mind the form.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lettuce pray

The Nelson garden got a jump on the season with a new cold frame on our south-facing second-floor deck. Bill made the box out of lots of leftover materials, including leftover insulation. We started lettuce, spinach, and radishes and installed a thermometer (the one new item) to keep track of the temperature inside the frame. It snowed last night over the frame, and the temp went down to 40 degrees inside. No one is awake yet.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sto lat Irena Sendler

Sto lat is the song/greeting with which Polish people are feted on their birthdays or name days (the latter being more important). It means "may you live 100 years," and today would have been the 100th birthday of Irena Sendler, who was 98 when she died in 2008. Irena is a personal hero of mine; she was a social worker who smuggled Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto during WWII and worked with the underground organization Zegota until she was arrested in 1943 and tortured, but she managed to escape execution. She was recognized as a righteous person by Yad Vashem in 1965 and lived in relatively obscurity until she was "discovered" by Kansas students doing a history project. Sto lat, sto lat, niec zyje zyje nam.