Friday, November 19, 2010

Odds and Ends

These are preholiday odds and ends musings, inspired by several posts on I.N.K. and e mails back and forth between many of us. Regarding two separate recent articles, one from the NYT declaring parents’ lack of interest in buying picture books for their little ones, whom they prefer to read chapter books at age five, and the other article declaring that nonfiction bores children, I decided to call Melissa Posten, the children’s book buyer(and, in my opinion, an expert) at Pudd’nhead Books, one of St. Louis’ few independent bookstores. She said, “Anyone who thinks children don't read nonfiction or picture books are dead hasn't shopped in a brick and mortar bookstore recently. Great nonfiction and great picture books are timeless, and the good ones get better every year. When I was little, nonfiction consisted of stale biographies and books about space with black and white pictures. Now there are nonfiction picture books about everything and everyone you can think of, from Sonia Sotomayor to William Shakespeare, from Foucault's pendulum to scuba diving. This is the golden age of picture book nonfiction, and we are lucky to be alive in it.” Well said, Melissa!!!
Strange that mothers don’t want to buy chapter books in lieu of picture books when according to another article in the NYT a week ago, and I quote, “Mothers want preschool television to be more about teaching social skills and less about pushing clear academic goals –at least that’s what Disney executives say new internal research indicates.” Gosh, the NYT should make up it’s mind!
Meanwhile a couple of my nonfiction books turned up on Google. Two blogs, one from a young person and the other from a parent. Here’s what the young folk had to say last after reading my biography Andy Warhol Prince of POP (with Sandra Jordan). This is from a beautiful blog called The Young Folks: Where the Midwest is not a year behind
No, i am not refering to MJ's son i am talking about Andy Warhol!( yes he gets an exclamation point)I have been so intrested in him ever since i started reading "Andy Warhol,prince of pop" written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan. I found out so much that was surprising to me like the fact that he was a very devout catholic and that he almost died when he was young. Anyways that book is good and it got me into thinking about how great of an influence he was to music like "femme fatale" by Velvet Underground( which is one of my favourite songs) that wouldnt have happened if it wasn't for him and of course the banana on thebands famed t - shirt ofcourse he did more than just paint pretty pictures what was great about him was what he said and how he did everything he did always not caring for what people said he dabbled alil bit in anything which back than was'nt so common as today and that what made him avant-garde.
Posted by The Folks at Monday, November 08, 2010

And this from the artist Timothy Archibald.
New work from photographer Timothy Archibald as well as the work of other folks he really digs.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Chuck Close Up Close
I was in the library with my kids this weekend and found this book in the children's section: Chuck Close Up Close, by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan. I grabbed it for them, but when I got home I realized it was really for me.mMaybe because its a kid's book, it really distills things down to the basics, but the important basics. How he started making art, the drive to make art, the drive to make art after adversity, and the hunger for the creative process. If this was a book for adults, I think it would devolve into gossip, name dropping, who he was getting it on with, who he partied with, etc. As a kids book, it really is in its pure state.mThere is really nothing more I want to say...I don't want to do a review...I just want to share my enthusiam here. I'd recommend any creative out there to grab it and dig in

So good…I’m glad somebody out there’s not bored with nonfiction. Thank you.

On another note, I’m enjoying Melissa Stewart’s posts about lyrical language and sensory images. I think one of the most beautiful passages in the English language is the last paragraph of The Dead from James Joyce’s Dubliners. Although this is fiction and geared toward adults, these lines are among those that writers of any genre can emulate. The flow of language takes my breath away. A rumination on snow in Ireland (and much more).
“It was falling on every part of the dark central plane, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”

In closing and wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving, I would like to share my famous spinach casserole recipe, served every Thanksgiving in my family for forty-five years….old-fashioned, thousands of calories, and absolutely delicious!!!
Greenberg’s Green and Gold (serves 10)
2 packages frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained
1 stick melted butter
2 beaten eggs
2 tablespoons flour
1 ½ quart ricotta cheese
1 package mild cheddar (cut in small pieces)
1 package brick cheese (cut in small pieces)
Mix altogether and cook at 425 degrees unto light brown and bubbly.

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