What fun is having a blog if you're not also checking out other blogs? I found Jeremy's Vanishing New York and check it out several times a week. I grew up in New Jersey so Manhattan was my first, and has remained my main, impression of a City and What It Should Be. For me, most others (besides maybe London) pale in comparison. NYC is near and dear to my heart in so many ways and for so many reasons. The ties are strong. This blog, in addition to being a sad paean to my first Real City, also echoes a theme I've watched unfold in so many cities where I've lived...the gentrification and homogenization that obliterates the charm and character of neighborhoods, and ultimately entire cities. I think someone could do a blog about Vanishing Seattle. Many places I've known have already disappeared in just the nearly 6 years I've lived here; my friends who were born and grew up in the area really have something to mourn. There's something else about the blog, something else I think about when I surf through its photographs and the heartfelt postings. I like to think that Alphabet Soup will be a place that people look back upon fondly. I know families have been shopping here since we opened 4 years ago, and some of our younger friends have been coming here their entire life! And I hope they may continue to for years to come, and that someday the Soup earns its spot among places that are reasons people love Seattle.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Yesterday local author, illustrator and actor Rushton Howard stopped by (a mutual friend made the connection) to introduce himself, drop off some books, and talk about setting up some future readings. Apparently, he has quite an enthusiastic middle school following. After talking to him for about 5 minutes, I knew why! I have to admit, I’m not one for super heroes, but Rushton’s easygoing manner and wonderful sense of humor piqued my interest in his books.
Half an hour later, I had stacks of signed copies of "Sebastian Reckless” and “The Fearless Force” displayed in the front of the store and plans for an event or two (to be announced – watch this space!) in the near future.
I started on “Sebastian Reckless” as soon as I got home, and got through more than half of it by bedtime. Sebastian is a 10-year-old world-renowned troubleshooter/madman/genius who has a letter from the President excusing him from school for the rest of his life so long as he makes himself available to “save civilization whenever a crisis was beyond the abilities of the armies and navies of the world.” The boy is kept mighty busy. And why not? Inventor, linguist, musician, gourmet chef, time traveler – this kid doesn’t need to go to school! He owns a supersonic airplane, a submarine, a jungle tracker, a tank that tunnels through solid rock, and who knows what else (I’m only halfway through the book!) to help in his fight against evil.
Rushton’s writing is unpretentious, humorous, passionate, and real. Reading about Sebastian (and Tessa, who seeks his help to not only save her life but to save the world from unspeakable evil) made me remember what being 10 was about. Not that I had super powers at age 10, but, I actually was pretty sophisticated. Although I definitely did not have super hero adventures in 5th grade, if I had met a boy like Sebastian, it would have made sense. I suspect quite a few people actually knew a kid like Sebastian in 5th grade.
So who’s this book for, anyway? I say, everyone! Everyone in middle school and anyone, in fact, who has ever been 10.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
For me, New Year's is the best thing about winter. I love when January 1st rolls around. Not only are we already one week or so into the nights getting shorter and the days getting longer, the 1st of January sings out "fresh start." I really do feel like it's a clean slate. I rarely make a mistake in writing down the old year when filling out the date on something. I am just that excited about a new year being here. And I love making fresh promises to myself.
This year, my new year's resolution is to read all of the Oz books. What? You didn't know there was more than one? Well, until I opened a children's book store, I didn't know that either! But L. Frank Baum, in addition to a number of other books he wrote for children, wrote a total of 15 Oz books. I suppose they should be read in order, but I'm just going to read each title as I acquire it. In my long checkered reading past, I've only read two, and that was a couple of years ago...The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Ozma of Oz. The latter was a bit strange, I remember reading a couple of chapters before going to sleep and then having very odd dreams. I'll read it again this year and find out if the same thing happens again... In any case, I'm going to start with my copy of "The Scarecrow of Oz," first published in 1915. Here's the entire list of Oz books, so you can follow along.
The list is in the order of publication ("The Scarecrow of Oz" is number 9).
The World of Oz
How many of these have you read?
__ Wonderful Wizard of Oz
__ Marvelous Land of Oz
__ Ozma of Oz
__ Dorothy & the Wizard of Oz
__ The Road to Oz
__ The Emerald City of Oz
__ Patchwork Girl of Oz
__ Tik-Tok of Oz
__ The Scarecrow of Oz
__ Rinkitink in Oz
__ Lost Princess of Oz
__ The Tin Woodman of Oz
__ The Magic of Oz
__ Glinda of Oz
__ Little Wizard Stories of Oz