Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A very dreary day after lots of rain during the night. Glad the rain waited until Steve left so we weren't hauling in stuff in the rain. I love the room darkening drapes he hung in the bedroom. I am now sleeping through the dawn, but they didn't help at 2 a.m. when the girl across the way decided to have a party of one on her balcony. She must have been on her cell phone, but the drapes sure didn't block out her laughing. The downside of living in a condo - you can't control who moves in around you. But, I am feeling more at home here with our pictures on the walls, etc. I am looking at a Robert Lyn Nelson print of whales that I got in Hawaii back in the 1980s. Sadly, it has a water stain on it due to Steve's saltwater fish tank going wonky on us and spraying water all over. But, it has character now! :-) I have always wanted to go to Nelson's studio on Maui, but have yet to get there.

This has become the age of the "big book" when it comes to tween/teen novels. Rowling's Harry Potter titles just got larger and larger. I remember as a young teen choosing the thickest books on the shelf in my tiny K-12 school library as I knew it would last longer. Michener became one of my favorite authors - as much for the length of his books as the content. :-) The advanced reading copy of Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret is quite a heavy tome and is one I would have certainly pulled from the shelves. I want to get the review written for it before I leave for the islands so I don't have it weighing down my luggage! As 531 pages, you'd think this would be a long read, but it isn't due to the fact that a portion of the story is told via Selznick's detailed drawings. He uses a number of sequenced drawings rather than narrative to share the story of Hugo's life and obsession with the automaton his father had found in the attic of the museum he worked at. When his father dies in a fire at the museum, Hugo is forced to live with his drunkard uncle who is responsible for the clocks in the train station. Hugo finds the damaged mechanical man in the rubble of the museum and take it to his little room in the walls of the train station and begins to repair it, using the detailed drawings in his father's notebook and the parts he steals from the toymaker's booth in the station. Getting caught by the toymaker and being forced to work for the old man (Georges Melies, who did create automatons and was a filmmaker) changes Hugo's life forever, as the old man is the link to being able to complete the repairs on the mechanical man with the pen in his hand. An absolutely fascinating book about an orphaned boy and the link he has to a mysterious old man who is trying to forget his past and wonderful movies and automatons that he created. Readers will pick this book up because of the wonderful drawings and will linger long because of the fascinating story, based on historical research and fact.

Okay - time to get my act together for the day as I have meetings starting at 11:00 and going through the rest of the day.