Monday, August 08, 2005

It is a grumpy Monday for me. I have been trying to update my WebCT files and when I change one thing it messes up another. GRRRR!! WebCT is actually not as easy to use as Blackboard is. And, I want this all done before Monica and family get here on Saturday. I still have to do my informal booktalking video for my graduate level YA lit class. Would be good if I figured out how to use the video camera - think I am going to need Steve's help with that one. The fun thing I am doing this week is going spend money at Dockside Bookstore tomorrow morning, at their annual sale. The PTA gave the Montessori Library money for Caribbean books for the library so that should be fun shopping.

Did some reading this weekend. Don't know how I missed reading it when it came out years ago, but I did - The Second Mrs. Gioconda by E. L. Konigsburg. I checked B&N and the first hardback came out in 1975 and was out of print for some time. That may be why I haven't read it before. Also, the cover on the first edition was not very appealing. You can't help but pick the new Simon & Schuster paperback because it has the Mona Lisa on the front - she IS the Second Mrs. Gioconda, the young wife of a merchant that showed up at da Vinci's door asking da Vinci's assistant, Salai, if the master would pain her portrait. This is the da Vinci who had promised portraits to more noble men and women than he could have painted in a lifetime. But, this young humble woman had a genuineness about her that appealed to both Salai and da Vinci. She was comfortable in her own skin, so to speak, and she reminded them of their beloved Beatrice, the Duchess of Milan who died in childbirth. This book is a delight from start to finish - told from the point of view of Salai, the young street urchin that da Vinci takes in when he is caught trying to steal a purse from da Vinci's companion. Salai's thievery just became more sophisticated as he grew older, but he and da Vinci were together for years. Because Salai is such an imp of a character young readers will not even realize how much they are learning about Milan and da Vinci - including that he couldn't stand Michelangelo!

Okay, back to work!