Thursday, March 09, 2006

Okay - this island living is getting really old about right now! We woke up without water again. Not that washing my face in bottled water is a big deal, but we were out of power all but an hour or so between 10:00 a.m. and 7 p.m. yesterday and during that one hour we didn't have water! No wonder the owner here says the only time he ever ran out of cistern water is during one of the major hurricanes when he had to drain them - the darn pumps for the cisterns don't work half the time! I have towels molding in the washer and dishes in the sink and am just getting down right grumpy about this. On the positive side - I did get pizza for dinner last night since the apartment was hot and sticky when Steve came home from his frigid court offices - they have a large backup generator so when the power on the island goes out the court is still up and running, air conditioning and all!

Since I couldn't work on the computer I did get through 5 bookcases of YA books and got them in order for the next two booktalking books and a bookcase full of the new ones I want to read. Speaking of new 2006 titles - I have found my first contender for the 2007 Printz Award - The Queen's Soprano by Carol Dines. This is upper level YA historical fiction at its best. I was so wrapped up in the story of 17-year-old Angelica Voglia's turbulent life as a gifted soprano in Rome during the the 1600s that I could smell the incense and her fear of being sent away to a convent by Pope Innocent XI, who had banned women from singing in public. He felt that their singing inflamed men to actions that were not in their control! So Queen Christina, once the Queen of Sweden who left her country to move to Rome to convert to Catholicism, defies him by having her own group of singers. When her biological father and benefactor, Father Zachary dies, Angelica's mother is about to sell her daughter to the highest bidder when Angelica runs away and joins Christina's group of singers. The tale is rich with intrigue and a wonderful love story that does not end happily due to Angelica's near rape by a Cardinal, which tears at the heart strings. Angelica is a strong female character who is forced to fight against the mores of the times and locale so that she can be true to her gift - her singing. It is the only time she feels alive. I was spellbound by Dines' deftly woven tale based on research about the real Angelica Voglia. Dine's has a way with descriptive narrative that causes you to stop and re-read passages and sigh. I would love to see a truly well crafted historical novel with an older "teen" protagonist be recognized for its literary merit.

Okay, Steve gave up on the idea of a shower this a.m. so we are off and running for the day.