Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The thing with feathers

Let's start off with some news that makes my life happy

1. Ingfrin Michaelson is playing at GWU on Friday. If you're in DC and want to go, drop me a line-- I have an extra ticket.
2. My new Sisters Grimm book, Tales from the Hood shipped and will be in my greedy, greedy hands tomorrow.
3. Wolf Totem: A Novel by Jiang Rong is apparently the most-read book in China since the Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (aka, the Little Red Book) is now available in the State. AND, my library has it. Wahoo!
5. Along the same lines, Howard Goldblatt, my all-time favorite translator of Chinese (sorry Cyril Birch) has a new series that's coming out of bilingual short story collections--so, the original Chinese AND his English translatation. AND! The first one out is Mo Yan. Be still my geeky, geeky heart.
6. Because everyone else was doing it:

You Are An Exclamation Point

You are a bundle of... well, something.

You're often a bundle of joy, passion, or drama.

You're loud, brash, and outgoing. If you think it, you say it.

Definitely not the quiet type, you really don't keep a lot to yourself.

You're lively and inspiring. People love to be around your energy.

(But they do secretly worry that you'll spill their secrets without even realizing it.)

You excel in: Public speaking

You get along best with: the Dash

Which, I'm sure, is a SHOCK to everyone who knows me. :)

And now onto other things:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

--Emily Dickinson

In Jacqueline Woodson's Feathers, Frannie spends a lot of time thinking about Dickinson's words, and hope in general. There are a few things going on in Frannie's life-- her mother is pregnant again, which Frannie is wary of, after a long string of miscarriages. Her best friend is more than a little obsessed with Jesus, and there's a new white boy in her class that everyone's calling Jesus Boy.

Filled with short chapters, some jive talk, some straight up love for Michael Jackson, and a whole lotta snow, Frannie spends the winter learning about hope and what's right.

Not preachy. Kinda quiet, and immensely powerful, Feathers is the type of book that reminds you why Jacqueline Woodson is one of the coolest and best writers out there. Damn. I think most authors wish they could write like this. Or, they should be.

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