Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Weekend Full Of Literary Moments

I've just finished a stimulating weekend that began with a trip to the movies Friday night where I saw the preview for Neil Gaiman's Stardust. Personally, I thought the book had some moments but was overall kind of ho-hum. But I thought the trailer looked good. I might give the movie a shot.

Then Saturday morning a horde of Gauthiers went into New York to visit the Paley Center for Media. On my way into the city, while separated from my party (which is the only way to travel, is it not?), I read a chunk of Rear View, a collection of really fine short stories by Pete Duval. I wouldn't mention this, because the stories, many of which are about working class French Canadians in the U.S., are most definitely not kids' stories or YA stories or even of much interest to that mystery group of college aged people. But I met Duval at a function at which we were both speakers, he's a fellow Connecticut resident and, as I said, the book, so far, is really good. You can sample one of the lighter stories, Fun With Mammals.

Now, while I was using up my hour in the library of the Paley Center, I stumbled upon an episode of Wishbone that deals with The Monkey King who figures in American Born Chinese. By the way, Wishbone is a lot better when viewed with a child rather than a cranky adult family member, as I was doing on Saturday.

On the way home, I spent some time on the train with BDT, my young family member who teaches elementary school. He had recently read The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau and had some interesting observations. The book reminded him very much of The Giver by Lois Lowry. Both books involve a futuristic society in which jobs are assigned to the young. Both involve a young character (or two, in the case of Ember) escaping that society with the ending left up in the air as to what happens to them after they leave.

I hadn't made the connection, myself, but once BDT pointed it out, not only did I agree with him but realized the futuristic society with assigned jobs is a common scifi set-up.

BDT had one more interesting observation about Ember. He felt that the jobs assigned to the young main characters followed traditional gender stereotypes. The boy was assigned work that involved maintaining and repairing machinery, and the girl was assigned a job in communication (a messenger), something women are considered to be better at then men. I don't know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing or a thing at all, but it does make you think.

After getting home, I stayed up until twenty after twelve this morning finishing a book I'll save for another post.

And, finally, while walking this morning, I may have worked out a problem that had pretty much stopped work on The Durand Cousins last week.

Quite a decent weekend.


J. L. Bell said...

Betsy Bird of Fuse #8 would agree with BDT about City of Ember and The Giver, and also added a couple more titles in that little dystopian genre.

fusenumber8 said...

Betsy Bird would also point out that the Paley Center is located directly behind her library. The library she is almost always in. *cough cough*

Gail Gauthier said...

Oh, my gosh! If only I'd known! Some of us took a walk down to Rockefeller Center. The herd of Gauthiers could just as easily have gone to your library.

Well, I'm sure to be going into New York again in three or four years.