Do you live near Boston? I am thrilled, embarrassed, and fretful to report that my friend Suzy Becker, author of the brilliant One Good Egg and the brilliant and bestselling All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat (now in its godzillian printing), and her friend Nancy Aronie, and I are going to be in “conversation” together in May. Less important than the actual going is the buying of the tickets and the communicating to the Concord Museum folks that you’re my people, buying tickets because of me, and Suzy and Nancy aren’t the only people selling tickets.
On Writing, Life, and the Origin of Chicken Fingers
Thursday, May 15, 2014, 7PM - 9PM
Authors Nancy Aronie, Suzy Becker, and Catherine Newman invite you to join them for an evening of casual conversation. These nationally acclaimed authors will read from their own works (and each others’), share their thoughts on all manner of things, and answer questions – “theirs, yours, and some real doozies from this year’s MCAS.” Wine and cheese at 7:00 p.m., program begins at 7:15; book signing to follow. $10 Concord Museum Members, $15 Non-members. Ticket price includes wine and cheese. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling (978) 369-9763, ext. 216.
Phew. Other things.
I have a piece in the current issue of Brain, Child, and it’s about a hibernaculum [shudder]. (That's just a link to the "teaser," i.e. a photo of me in pasties.)
Do you remember how I mentioned Colorku at the holidays?
Well. I am reporting back that it is completely excellent. All four of us love it, and the level of challenge-feeling ranges from a kind of brain-churning competence to something like a tangled, numbing conviction that that there is something wrong with your mental processing apparatus. We work on it alone, or in pairs or clumps, and it is deeply engaging and fun and companionable. I cannot recommend it enough. Plus, the pieces are painted wood, and there is something very beautiful about them. The pastel ones remind me of Dutch mints
to the point that I have to actively stop myself from putting one in my mouth.
Also from the holidays: my parents gave me (okay, I may have specifically asked for it) the Roz Chast collection Theories of Everything, and I cannot say how much pleasure we’ve gotten out it. Okay, maybe I can try to say. No. I can’t. Only this: every single day after school, Ben and I lie on the couch and read it together, and every single cartoon makes us laugh. Her memoir is coming out soon, and I preordered it, which is a strong indicator of my feelings, given my propensity to loiter around hoping that someone will send me a review copy of everything. (You can read what looks like an excerpt here.)
Another book recommendation, this one from Birdy: Wonder by R.J. Palacio. She devoured it in a nearly unprecedented way. When I asked her to describe it for you, she said, “Like a review or like a blurb?” Hello, child of a writer. Here’s what she gave me: "August Pullman tries to make it through 5th grade with friends, foes, and surprises. It's an amazing book that you just don't feel like putting down." This is so literally true that Birdy had to stay home from school one day last week to finish it. Hello, child of a reader. Not that her description doesn’t totally capture the plot, but, well, it kind of doesn’t totally, so here’s this from Amazon: “August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.” Do you have any book recs for Birdy? She has also recently read and loved two of my own tween favorites: Bridge to Terabithia and The Brothers Lionheart. (Not that there were tweens back in the dark ages, when we were wringing out our menstrual rags in a bucket.)
I myself read and loved Valerie’s Martin’s latest, The Ghost of the Mary Celeste, which is a historical novel about nineteenth-century ghost ship, communication with the dead, and Arthur Conan Doyle. The ship itself is, weirdly, kind of the missing center of the book, not by accident, and it makes for an engagingly disjointed read, if that makes sense. If you’ve never read anything by her before, Trespass is my favorite and is a nearly perfect novel, IMHO. (I wanted to write IHOP.)
|Frank Cottrell Boyce. He was not exactly driven to writing by homeliness, if you know what I mean.
Finally, on a friend’s recommendation we have now listened to more or less everything on tape by Frank Cottrell Boyce, and we have loved every single book: Cosmic, Millions, Framed, and the short but wonderful The Unforgotten Coat. He is English and funny and deeply kind, and the books are all different, but they’re all about the kinds of awesome, quirky kids who obsessively memorize details of saints’ lives, say, or note in a huge journal every car that passes. Some of our own recent car trips, even long ones, have passed in a blur of pleasure.
Please, share anything relevant (or irrelevant!). We are, as you know, always looking to read, listen to, and play new things. xo