Saturday, March 7, 2009

Unexpected Releases

I headed out this Tuesday to pick up my copy of the new Neko Case album, Middle Cyclone. It was a planned purchase, one that I had been looking forward to for a while now. One of the great things about knowing when your favorite artists/authors are releasing new material is the opportunity to do a little research and really get excited (or worried) about what's to come. This had been the case with Middle Cyclone, and I was extremely excited when its release date rolled around. I love Neko Case, she's one of my favorites. This album has not disappointed with the earthy animal lyrics and her powerful voice, although it took me several listens to really get into it. I will admit though, while I do think she's brilliant and probably one of the best out there today, I kind of don't understand the 30 minutes of cricket noises at the end. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's very relaxing at bedtime. On the other hand, I can open a window and hear the same frog and cricket noises. Maybe it's for the unfortunate people in the city who are not able to hear these peaceful sounds at night. Any thoughts on this?

So, while at Barnes and Noble, I happened upon another of the great perks of being a fan of a certain artist/author. I walked in and saw the new Jodi Picoult novel displayed right at the front of the store! Now, for me, this pleasure was just as great as the expected purchase I was there to make. I knew there was a new one coming out in March, but I had obviously neglected to find the release date. The fact that I hadn't really done much research on this new book, Handle with Care, was really just as thrilling. I have been a Jodi Picoult fan since I spent a lovely beach trip in high school reading The Pact. She has a way of illustrating hot-button topics in today's society more clearly than most other writers that I read. It's also impossible to put her books down once you get started, and this one was no exception. It took me about two days to finish and was classic Picoult. I didn't know much about osteogenesis imperfecta before reading this and, as with most of her novels, I found myself wondering what would I do if I was the one in this situation. I think that's an earmark of a good book, it's thought provoking. Just because a book is a "quick read" doesn't always detract from it's merit. That's what I love about Jodi Picoult.

Enough of that gushing, I merely wanted to point out that while the anticipation of something you're really looking forward to is great, sometimes what's really exciting is stumbling upon a surprise.

P.S. I heartily recommed both this book and this album! :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

You Gotta' Have a Gimmick (Adventures in Children's Lit)

When I was newly pregnant, before I even knew whether I was having a boy or a girl, I knew I was having a reader. Reading has been my greatest passion in life (obviously, other than family and friends) since I started reading when I was four . So, I naturally began having daydreams of the afternoons I would spend with my child in my lap, devouring book after book. And I still have those daydreams sometimes, while chasing my active beautiful boy around the house at full speed. This is also fun, but in a completely different way. He is teaching me on a daily basis a totally new type of fun, and he is the happiest child I've ever seen. So I don't worry too much about the reading.

I have learned two things about children and reading in the 16 months I have been raising my wonderful child. 1) Most children's books are mind-numbingly boring, and 2) if they don't light up or make noise, Finn is not interested! Apparently when it comes to children's books you really do have to have a gimmick. Now before you go thinking I'm getting cynical, I'm really not. I know that it is not reasonable to expect a 16 month old boy to sit and read for any length of time. I also suspect that he really does have a fondness for his books, so much so that he sometimes tries to eat them.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing him pick up a book and thumb through it, talking in his nonsensical way as if he understands the story. I love watching him run his chubby fingers over the pages to see if it's a "touch-and-feel". And I have also discovered, there are some kids books out there that are pretty hilarious. I highly recommend anything by Sandra Boynton (my personal faves are The Belly Button Book and But Not the Hippopotamous).

I have great hope that by reading to him often, even if it's in short bursts, that he will someday learn to love and appreciate literature like the rest of our family. He already loves going to the bookstore, although I sometimes suspect it's mostly for the sips of Frappuccino that his Gammy gives him. I try to remember that at one point in my life I was also fascinated by Dr. Suess and such; whatever he reads, it's mainly important to me that he is developing a healthy love for books. Plus, most children's books really are quite good and teach some important lessons. And if they do it with music and blinking lights, well that's all for the better!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Welcome to my blog!

This blog is where I've decided to write about some of my favorite things in life: music, coffee, and especially books. I'm still undecided about whether or not I think blogging might be a little vain, but I hope that you enjoy my opinions anyway. I plan to post thoughts on books I've been reading, music I'm listening to, or anything else that seems interesting. And it would be great to hear from you about the things you are loving right now, too!