Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A "Horn Book" Review

It's been a long time since I've discussed an issue of The Horn Book here (I couldn't even find the last post when I "reviewed" one), but the March/April issue was particularly good, I thought. Think of today's offering as being like a Downton Abbey or Walking Dead recap but without Maggie Smith or whatever it is that's on the Walking Dead.

Okay, this was a theme issue on weird-as-- , or, rather, "the odd, the marginalized, the independent, and the otherwise nonconforming among us." Within those essays, I particularly liked Two Writers Look at Weird by Polly Horvath and Jack Gantos. I also liked Something Wicked by Christine Taylor-Butler. I read that when I was young, too. Have I ever told you about my Uncle Mickey and his trunk full of paperbacks, from which he pulled some Ray Bradburys and handed them to me? Sigh.

Enough with the trip down Memory Lane. The Jack (and Jill) Be Nimble interview with Mary Cash and Jason Low was terrific. Painlessly showed me the world of the original independent publishers, as in small publishing companies that aren't owned by conglomerates or shareholders and can thus function without  committees and group thinking.

The Price of Truth by Eugene Yelchin is a great memoir of his youth reading in the police state that was the Soviet Union. Here is a true story on top of his true story: Yelchin mentions a poet, Osip Mandelstam, whom he says was censored by the Soviets and had his papers destroyed. His wife memorized his poetry and years after his death, dictated it so it could be written down. Hours after reading this in The Horn Book article, I heard the Mandelstam story again on On Point. Seriously.

Liz Burns, who I kind of know in that blogger-knowing-blogger way, wrote Reading: It's More Than Meets the Eye  a well-done piece about providing books for the print disabled.

I don't know Elizabeth Bluemle, but I've been to her bookstore, the subject of her article, When Pigs Fly: The Improbable Dream of Bookselling in a Digital Age.

And there are more articles, of course, and then the reviews. I'm delighted I got a chance to recap this issue before the next one arrives, which should probably be next month, only a few weeks away, right?

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