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August 28th, 2004

Philadelphia Fantastic reading [Aug. 28th, 2004|11:53 am]
In the few rare occasion that I don't actually go home and work on publishing on a Friday evening, I escorted our full-time employee and author, P.D. Cacek, to her reading of "The Wind Caller" for the Philadelphia Fantastic event in downtown Philadelphia. It made for an interesting distraction, if only for a number of strange and bizarre occurrences along, during, and going back. We effectively got lost, on John's instructions, taking a scenic route through the grassy hills and landscapes of Pennsylvania, eventually ending up near New Hope, from where we hopped on Highway 95 and then got further lost on John's last instructions. We meandered our way through the badlands of Philly until we found ourselves on Broad Street and from thence to Walnut. As we'd gotten there early and I had delivered Trish off into the capable hands of Oz (the coordinator), I vanished off to the young adults department and I found much to chew on. I couldn't get everything I wanted, but I did pick up a lovely hardcover edition of "Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke. I'd read "The Thief Lord" a few months ago and found something intriguing on many levels, so I'm inclined to take a chance on a new hardcover of hers. And it was only $19.95 for this thick tome! (over five hundred pages) I'll have to give this and my copy of "The Thief Lord" to give to John's children, as I suspect that they would enjoy it immensely.

Ink: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0439531640/

However, I passed up her other hardcover release, "Dragon Rider" as the subject matter was of interest. I've read so much on dragons in recent months and years that I need a pressing requirement to pick up anything to do with dragons these days.

I also picked up Garth Nix's first book in his The Keys to the Kingdom series, "Mister Monday". I've always been interested in this Australian author, for his "Sabriel" "Lirael" and many more, particularly because of the loving care put into the mass-market paperback designs. I'd seen this book maybe six months ago and I didn't pick up then. I don't make the mistake twice. Once I've made sure it's young-children-appropriate, I'll give it to John's children, and then get the rest in the series. I so do love the cover:


I passed up the chance to buy "Tithe" by Holly Black. I'd started to read a few pages into this well-recommended book and I simply could not submerge myself into the story or style. It could be that I didn't mesh well with the paperback design, but they didn't have the trade paperback available, which has a much better stunning design. I will try again later. Beyond that I didn't see much of interest, except for a young adult mystery series set in ancient Japan! I didn't get it this time, but I will . . .

The second strange occurrence of the night (which happens more often then you might think) is that I was standing in the classics department next to the reading and studying the spine titles intently . . . when a customer and a bookstore employee come around the corner, with the customer inquiring the location of a book. I'd seen the spine title just five seconds ago . . . as he approached the classics, I simply yanked out the mass-market paperback edition from off the shelf and inserted it in his hands. The look on his face was priceless -- and then to make this further bizarre, he asked me what the price was on a hardcover he'd gotten. I picked it up, found the price, and informed him. And then I directed him to the first floor of the store, where he could check-out for his purchases. Heh heh heh.

The rest of the night was spent at a hotel restaurant with Tom Purdom, his wife, and many others. I had a very nice chicken penne in a light cream sauce and refrained from having dessert. As it was getting late, we then hustled off to the car and drove off into the night . . . and then I collapsed around one o'clock in the morning. Oh sweet bless'd dreams.
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Cornelia Funke and Inkheart [Aug. 28th, 2004|08:53 pm]
[Current Mood |contemplativecontemplative]
[Current Music |Jill Tracy, "The Fine Art of Poison"]

I have started and I can say that I am not yet disappointed with _Inkheart_, as I am nicely transported to an earlier time, where cares and worries are left at the door and I am left with a lingering sense of wonder. It is strange, this. "Sense of Wonder" is an elusive drug these days, an affliction with no cure or treatment, not that one would want to be rid of such an addiction. But now it's harder and harder to find and I find myself yearning, seeking, hungry. It used to be that I found sense of wonder daily in the pages of books in my early teens but now I am lucky to find something once a month, if that, that really trips the switch on and I am lost to the hunger. The last time that I can remember yearning so badly for a new book was practically any new Miles Vorkosigan book by Lois McMaster Bujold . . . I would eat these up and drown myself in her words.

These days, however, I find it in young adult fiction, for any number of reasons. _Inkheart_ fits the bill nicely and I am only eighty pages in! It will be nice to burn the midnight oil on this:

"Cornelia Funke, the enormously talented author of the international best-seller THE THIEF LORD, brings readers another spellbinding tale of adventure and magic. Meggie lives a quiet life alone with her father, a book-binder. But her father has a deep secret-- he posseses an extraordinary magical power. One day a mysterious stranger arrives who seems linked to her father's past. Who is this sinister character and what does he want? Suddenly Meggie is involved in a breathless game of escape and intrigue as her father's life is put in danger. Will she be able to save him in time?"—book description.

It can be said that between the loving care taken in the hardcover design (selective spot gloss to the boards, the gold emboss on the dustwapper's lettering and edges, the very dark purplish-red endpapers, the translation skills of Anthea Bell) and the story, the publishers have really done a wonderful job. It brings to mind that sometimes sense of wonder is not just the words on the page, as I have usually thought on it, but that sometimes it can be simply invoked by the joys of holding a book designed so beautifully.
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Kara Dalkey and Little Sister [Aug. 28th, 2004|09:24 pm]
[Current Mood |pensivepensive]
[Current Music |Klezmatics, "Mizmor Shir Lehanef"]

I probably have sung the praises of this book more times than I can remember, but it appears to be finally out of print yet again. I can only hope that the publisher decides to go back to the printing presses and release this one out to the general world again. You would not be disappointed, particularly in the mass-market paperback edition (Puffin, 1988). It has simply a stunning cover by Victor Lee that has to be seen in order to be believed. I actually bought three copies of this from a children's bookstore a year ago and gave them all away. It must be time to purchase more! I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Summary:

“Thirteen-year-old Fujiwara no Mitsuko, daughter of a noble family in the imperial court of twelfth-century Japan, enlists the help of a shape-shifter and other figures from Japanese mythology in her efforts to save her older sister’s life.”

It certainly doesn't shy from the important issues. Dalkey deftly and sweetly handles the interaction between Fujiwara and the shape-shifter, Goranu, and it is to be hoped that Kara writes at least one more or failing that at least more books in this mileu.


Spread the good word, my brothers and sisters.

"What do these children do without storybooks?" Naftali asked.
"And Reb Zebulun replied: "They have to make do. Storybooks aren't bread. You can live without them."
"I couldn't live without them," Naftali said.
—Isaac Bashevis Singer, Naftali the Storyteller and His Horse, Sus
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"I am a Rock" Simon and Garfunkel [Aug. 28th, 2004|09:37 pm]
[Current Mood |productive]
[Current Music |Evanescence, "Anything For You"]

A winter’s day
In a deep and dark december;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.

I am a rock,
I am an island.
I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Don’t talk of love,
But I’ve heard the words before;
It’s sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.
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Recipe: Mexican Apple Pie [Aug. 28th, 2004|09:46 pm]
Mexican Apple Pie


1 ½ cups of sugar
2 cups of water
½ cup of unsalted butter, melted
4 cups peeled and chopped golden delicious apples or Gala apples
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
10 six-inch flour tortillas
whipped cream


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine sugar and water in a small pot and cook over medium heat, stirring
constantly, until sugar dissolves and set aside.
3. Place melted butter in a 13 x 9 baking dish and set aside
4. Combine apples and cinnamon together until it is thoroughly coated
5. Place half a cup of apple mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll the tortilla and place it seamside down in the buttered baking dish. Do this for all tortillas and
6. Pour sugar mixture over top of tortillas and cover with aluminum foiling.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes.
8. Uncover foil and bake twenty-five to thirty minutes more. Let stand ten minutes
9. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
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