Day 294 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and today is Louisa May Alcott's birthday, so I am riffing on vintage children's fiction. Of course, though I read Little Women as a child, it would be shelved as young adult fiction in a library or bookstore these days, due to its thickness and big words and lack of pictures.
My son loved the movie of Little Women, the 1994 version, with Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, and Kirsten Dunst. As he would have been four then, he saw it a year or so later when it appeared on cable television at his grandparents' house, probably at Christmastime. Maybe a year or so after that, confident of his reading ability, I gave him the book for Christmas...but the moment had passed. Actually, he was still in the Batman, Xena: Warrior Princess mode when he fell in love with Little Women, and that moment had passed, too.
I read several of the Oz books as a child, and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll, but my daughter didn't. She had her own tastes--children's historical fiction for a while--and grew up in a film and computer culture. Today in the store, a young woman was talking about reading the Wicked books, by Gregory Maguire (OMG, I am linking you to his "Shopping-Enabled Wikipedia Page on Amazon.com," a thing I just discovered in this moment, showing that 1) I am clueless, and 2) we live in a shopping culture, but 3) I don't) and I realized, while referring to the original Oz books, by L. Frank Baum, that she had no idea what I was talking about.
Which leads me to the Mad Hatters' Review, the "demented" brain child of Carol Novack (a goddess in yesterday's blog entry, a mad hatter in today's), an online multi-media magazine subtitled Edgy and Enlightened Literature, Art and Music in the Age of Dementia, and "staffed solely by mad hatters" (so the plural possessive is indeed correct)! And if that's not enough, here is her blog, where you can find out how to get hold of Giraffes in Hiding, which yesterday's Marcus Speh will be reviewing. Here is hisblog, Nothing to Flawnt.
According to Novack, mad hatters were "mad" because their working conditions exposed them to mercury poisoning.
Me? I'm just a little crazy. And a lot grown up. But a child at heart.
Today a young man walked out of the store with vintage grown-up short stories, by John Cheever, William Maxwell, etc., in a New Yorker anthology. He was Christmas shopping but hadn't spotted the perfect book yet, so he was getting this for himself.
But he was sure tickled when I told him about Sarah's 30 Days of Christmas project with the new Babbitt's Books blog, so I am telling you, too! Pictures and descriptions of fabulous gifts! (And it's working, as I see cross-outs, meaning some of those books already sold!) (Wait, maybe I am part of the shopping culture.)
"You must change your life," said Rilke. So that's what I keep doing. I worked as an actor, wrote for an encyclopedia, edited a literary magazine, shelved and retrieved materials in several libraries, walked beans, and taught college English courses. Now I write & edit as a freelancer, direct plays, blog "eight days a week," study the random, and listen to birdsong.