Monday, August 15, 2005

Reading round-up

Suddenly he burst out, "And now Blackmansson is gone."

"Where did he go?"

"He is no longer among us," Verner explained angrily.

"Oh, you mean he's dead," said Grandmother. She started thinking about all the euphemisms for death, all the anxious taboos that had always fascinated her. It was too bad you could never have an intelligent discussion on the subject. People were either too young or too old, or else they didn't have time.

--Tove Jansson, The Summer Book

I read The Summer Book last Tuesday in honor of Jansson's birthday. I was late to discover Jansson and managed only to provide S. with Comet in Moominland, but I'm hoping to do better by the grandkids. Here's a link to Ben Elliss' personal collection of Moomin books. I love looking at the covers.

The Summer Book is the story of a young girl and her grandmother. Set on an small island in the Gulf of Finland, the story details the daily experiences and the relationship between the two during the grandmother's last months of life. Visitors show up periodically, but are not easily welcomed:

If only she were a little bigger, Grandmother thought. Preferably a good deal bigger, so I could tell her that I understand how awful it is. Here you come, headlong, into a tight little group of people who have always lived together, who have the habit of moving around each other on land they know and own and understand, and every threat to what they're used to only makes them still more compact and self-assured. An island can be dreadful for someone from outside. Everything is complete, and everyone has his obstinate, sure, and self-sufficient place. Within their shores, everything functions according to rituals that are as hard as rock from repetition, and at the same time they amble through their days as whimsically and casually as if the world ended at the horizon.

A lovely book, perfect for summer reading.

Finished the first go-through of As You Like It with S. We're going to the Shakespeare Festival in High Point next month, and this is the play we'll be seeing.

Tried to read the first chapter to Keith DeCandido's novelization of the Serenity movie, but didn't get too far--three paragraphs in, in fact. I am a snob when it comes to subject-verb agreement.

I have been happily reading a lengthy Alias Smith and Jones fan fic that's been appearing nearly daily in my email. Excellent.

I hope to finish Ivan Klima's Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light later today. I haven't enjoyed it nearly as much as No Saints or Angels, but that may be based more on the fact that I've been a lousy reader as of late.

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