Monday, January 25, 2010

Reasons to Be Cheerful

We've just gone through Hell Week what with the Massachusetts election, the Supreme Court decision, and the final farewell to Air America. I was so depressed I crawled into bed and watched movies all weekend. Old movies, with Aline Macmahon and Guy Kibbee and Barbara Stanwyck. This cheered me up somewhat.

Still, I needed a reason to crawl out of bed again. I cast about for hopeful signs. I looked out the window and all I could see was sheets of rain. My cats were spooked and my husband was out doing the laundry. Then I looked at the stack of books by my bed and noticed something. A number of these books are recently published titles intended for what is called the "young adult" market: Robert Charles Wilson's Julian Comstock, Jo Walton's Farthing, M.T. Anderson's Feed and the first Octavian Nothing.

The next time you go to a bookstore, check out the YA section. There are so many interesting books out there today available to young people: challenging works, novels of ideas. They're good reads, too. What makes me most cheerful is that young people are choosing to read these thought-provoking works. It also makes me very hopeful for the future.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Enter, Stage Left

ENTER, New-Year's-Gift, in a blue coat, serving-man like, with an orange, and a sprig of rosemary gilt on his head, his hat full of brooches, with a collar of ginger-bread, his torch-bearer carrying a march-pane with a bottle of wine on either arm.
-- Ben Jonson, 1616 Christmas Masque

No doubt it's a bad idea to begin a blog on New Year's Day. How many are begun, how many ended in a week? We'll see what becomes of this one. A smallish enterprise it will be: the thoughts of an obscure bookseller in Western Massachusetts who loves books and music and making things.

So, ENTER: Hey-Jude-the-Obscure, dressed in old jeans, willing to serve, with a myrtle leaf wrapped 'round it for love, a baseball cap on its head full of pins and baubles, arms full of books new and old, and some ginger beer for spice. For consultation, it has a Chambers's Book of Days, a set of Oblique Strategies, a jolly comrade and two wise cats. For inspiration it has a decades-long list of people and places, mistakes and small triumphs, passions and passing fancies.