By Bob Hicks
Just a year ago, in this post about his reading adventures in 2009, Mr. Scatter confessed that he is a lousy keeper of lists, and therefore couldn’t report with any certainty on what he’d read in the previous twelve months. Some books, he was sure, had simply slipped in and out of his mind without leaving much of an impression. Others might have left a deep impression, but by the end of the year he couldn’t recall whether they’d made that impression in the previous calendar year or in, say, 1994.
If this seems odd, bear in mind that most of Mr. Scatter’s reading tends to be not from publishers’ current lists but from that great deep river of bookmaking that extends back through the centuries, constantly refreshing itself when anyone dips in. Books are like that. At some point they’re new, but after a certain point the good ones are simply current — or in the current. If someone reads, for instance, The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini for the first time in the year 2011, the experience throws that person into parallel universes: It is both 450 years old and current events. With that sort of time-traveling, no wonder Mr. Scatter gets a little scattered.
Continue reading Between the covers: reading in 2010
By Laura Grimes
Dear Mr. Scatter,
Thank you for cleaning the little black skillet before bailing again. It is duly noted that you mentioned it before you left and again on the phone. Please note that I have performed my wifely duty by appreciating it out loud. Now if you could just solve the little matter of getting the man-children to stop eating and requiring fried eggs, we could keep the little black skillet clean and our marriage contract would not be necessary.
No. Wait. That’s not what I meant.
The jig is up with the Large Large Smelly Boy. We’ve been found out. Even though he hasn’t deigned to read the blog for months or have any technological connection with me besides texting when he needs a ride, he was looking at my computer screen while I was logged on to the blog, and he wanted to know about a recent comment in a post. I think his question went something like, “What was that about Nancy Farmer? Deliciously disturbed? Leather lampshades? What’s that all about?”
I said, “It’s in a blog entry. You can read it. Here.” And I clicked. Then I turned away and started to leave. I paused. “Sorry I’m sending you to Greenland.”
Continue reading The Oscar goes to Large Smelly Boy!
By Laura Grimes
Dear Mr. Scatter,
We have one zany concoction brewing here.
I noticed you waxed on about prunes and mustard recently. So I’ll wax some more about prunes (figuratively) and mustard (literally). The Large Smelly Boys helped throw a few more beastly things into the pot.
First the prunes. The feral teen was less feral today. I think the large dose of sleep helped. His body clock and all his inner-workings have been out of whack since school started. We finally went over his …
CHEMISTRY SAFETY AGREEMENT
Felix/Martha and I have been studying up on all the books that are going to be used in his division this year for the Oregon Battle of the Books. (Last year’s competition was an unbelievable nail-biter, and I’m not just saying.) We’re excited about several titles, but especially The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer. Once we started reading her astonishing bio on her website we just couldn’t stop.
So, we have prunes, mustard, Nancy Farmer, those drat safety agreements, and a few more surprises swirling together. I hardly know where one ends and another begins.
Continue reading Potions, passions and a poetic pot-boiler
By Laura Grimes
We’re traveling, we pack of five breathing each other’s air and bumping inside each other’s heads. We eat the same food. We stop from spot to spot, sightsee, and mere snippets intermingle, weave together something anew and haul us along.
Everywhere we go we pick up words and take them with us. They lift us. They quiet us. We break bread with them. We swirl wine with them. They hang in the air among us.
Our books go from suitcase to table to car to kindle to stereo to suitcase to car to lap to bed.
Each time, bits let loose. Literary crumbs pinch and mold into a new story, unique and unashamed. It becomes our own literary travel journal. Jumbled. Weird. Scattered. And somehow cohered.
When The Large Smelly Boys bicker in the car, I hit play and they magically silence before the almighty audio book. Nancy Farmer, god bless her. Past summers we plowed through her The Sea of Trolls and The Land of the Silver Apples. Just to be safe, we have along her The Islands of the Blessed on iPod, CD and hard copy. Thank heavens, because we’ve used all of them. In less than a week, the hard copy was devoured by two members of the Scatter Family.
Continue reading Traveling a jumbled, rambly literary road