I hear it's Tuesday, but you really lose track of time when your days don't vary much. So, assuming it's Tuesday, it's time for Tuesday Twaddle -- an essentially meaningless title that gives me free reign to continue babbling about anything and nothing. Mostly nothing.
I am reading slowly . . . but. At least I'm reading. I'm still working on A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz. Someday, I'm going to finish that book. In the meantime, though, I took a brief break from Fraction, over the weekend, and read:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Of course, I can't paste an image of the book, at the moment, so I'll just give you a link. The Absolutely True Diary, etc., is classified as "juvenile fiction". I'll call it Young Adult but only because I feel like it. TATDoaP-TI (abbreviated -- that is one heck of a long title) is the story of Junior, a youngster who tells his story in narrative and cartoons, as opposed to dated diary entries. Junior is an aspiring cartoonist who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Born with fluid on the brain, Junior wears glasses, stutters, has seizures, and is picked on at school by everyone but his best friend, Rowdy.
After he's expelled, Junior speaks to a teacher who advises him not to waste his brains and his life on the reservation. Junior takes the teacher's advice and moves to an all-white school in a neighboring farm town. It's difficult even making his way to school. Some days his alcoholic father can drive him, some days he can't. Sometimes the car works, sometimes it doesn't. At times he can hitchhike; at other times he ends up walking the full 22 miles. But, Junior is determined to improve himself and faces each challenge admirably. Meanwhile, back at "the rez," he's considered a traitor. Rowdy won't speak to him and Junior must face loss upon loss in addition to being rejected by his own people.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a National Book Award winner. And, much as I often like to pooh-pooh those awards, I think it's an awesome story of facing up to challenges, refusing to give in, choosing to better one's self despite huge odds against success. It's much deserving of the award. TATDoaP-TI was another impulse purchase (because Books are Blankies for some of us) and, boy, am I glad I bought it. There's a quote by Neil Gaiman that I love, on the back cover:
Excellent in every way, poignant and really funny and heartwarming and honest and wise and smart . . . I have no doubt that in a year or so it'll both be winning awards and being banned. --Neil Gaiman
I agree on all counts. Except, I have no idea whether the book has been banned, but it wouldn't surprise me. The fact is, the book is written from the viewpoint of a boy who writes with such honesty that those crude, rude, vulgar, anatomically-worded moments wouldn't be right if they weren't written exactly as they are. And there, I think, the book differs from a lot of books. Everything fits. Yeah, you might not want your kid to read it. And, yet, a young adult can learn a great deal from the book -- about poverty, prejudice, strength, grief, love, respect . . . there's such a huge spectrum of emotion in this book that I can't possibly say a bad thing about it. I loved it and couldn't put it down. Huge thumbs up.
And, now . . . some twaddle.
Soup, soup, soup
My brother-in-law comes home (remember, I'm in my sister's house) for lunch every day. Even on "goody days", which used to be simple but now involve rather a feast, according to D., he comes home and warms up some soup because, "I'm not really a cubicle kind of a guy. I need to walk away, just for a short time." D. eats Campbell's Chunky Chicken & Sausage Gumbo, every single day. And, I do mean every single day. One day is cooking day and the next is microwave day. He heats up a can, eats half, saves the other half in a Tupperware container, zaps it the next day, heats up a can the next, eats half . . . on and on. People are so funny. But, just FYI, that is one of the best Campbell's soups I've ever tasted.
Bark, bark, bark
I've been taking photos of Buddy, my sister's dog. My sister didn't want a dog, actually, but D. said, "You needed a dog. So, I got you Buddy." And, she adores him. However, she's at work all day and I'm not willing to go out for a muddy paw-print stamping until evening, so poor old Buddy is a wee bit lonely. The next-door neighbor is an avid gardener and he's usually outside at least part of the day, wearing rubber boots and wielding a shovel. I've seen the neighbor sit down beside the wire fence that separates Sister's yard from Neighbor's. There, he chats away with Buddy for a time, and then off he goes with his shovel to dig and plant. It's rather lovely and touching. I wish I could post some more photos of Buddy. And, the neighbor's yard is gorgeous. He has a host of golden daffodils blooming up a storm, back there. Beautiful!
Movies and a Short Story
This past weekend I drove to my mother's house to run her appliances, flush her toilets, check the lightbulbs, etc. To help fill the time, I watched Atonement and Martian Child. Mini reviews:
Atonement: I've got the book, but I haven't read it. Someday I will; I don't mind doing things backwards, since I began comparing books to their screenplays, just for fun. As to the movie, I thought the scenery was beautiful, particularly in and around the house where early events take place. It always amazes me how my mind can't seem to summon up the kind of glamour, size, detail, and beauty of those English country homes. Film, in this case, captures something my imagination shortchanges. However, the story was just flat sad and I don't like a great deal of gasping (can we say, "melodrama"?) in a movie. Plus, I just don't like that scarecrow-stick actress who played Cecelia, Keira Knightly. She's a decent actress but she's so pretty she's ugly, if you know what I mean. I find her distracting. The movie belonged to James McAvoy, in my humble opinion. I've yet to see him act and not feel totally blown away. He's brilliant, emotional, perfectly human in looks and movement and speech. I love him.
Martian Child: Gah. I love John Cusack. I just love, love, love John Cusack. I've been hooked on Cusack since Say Anything. Is it the looks, the style, the adaptability, the height? Maybe all of the above. I think he's the bees' knees. Having said that, I also happen to think the storyline was awesome, touching, and perfect. It is also clean, funny, heart-warming, beautifully set, believable and well-acted by everyone. The cast is amazing. I loved Martian Child. And, fortunately, I bought the copy I watched. Yippee! I can watch it over and over and over. What a happy thought. I wish there were more movies like Martian Child. Someday, Hollywood will figure out that we don't really need all that swearing, sex, and violence. We get excited about humanity, about emotion, about happy moments, laughter and great acting. At least, that's my hope (and what I love in a movie).
Over the weekend, I was unable to locate the power cord for my laptop, hence the lack of posting and blog-hopping. Plus, things are getting a little bit intense, around here. So, please forgive me if I'm only able to zip in and out. I have located the power cord, but I'm not sure whether or not I'll be able to get away on the weekend, this week. We shall see. Hope everyone is having a terrific week.
Bookfool, dashing off, again