Tuesday, July 8, 2008

gardens, fairies, eco-warriors, and excellent dogs

Hello Dear Readers,

I hope this summer has been treating you well. My garden is really starting to take off, would you like to hear about it? Well, it is producing more broccoli, kale, and zucchini than I can handle on my own, but the onions haven't really started yet. The cucumber plants, shining stars of last year's garden, are hovering somewhere between sickly and dead, and the heads of lettuce that grew so fast and tasty early on have all been chopped off and are busily trying to grow back. The cilantro, basil, and spinach have flowered with surprising speed (oops!), the seven tomato plants are waist-high and flowering, and the potato plants are a dark-green sort of gigantic, although I have no idea how to tell when they are ready and safe to eat. Perhaps someone has put this information in a book, eh? Wouldn't it be lovely if there was a place, a retail establishment, where one could go with pieces of eight, and leave with a book full of words. Wouldn't that be lovely...

So it is a Tuesday night here at the Odyssey and the store just filled with a Elli's 8 member bookclub. Neil and I have both been sick this past week, and EC is on another fabulous island vacation, so it has been quite hectic for everyone else but I've spent an awful lot of time in my pjs falling asleep into books.

I don't read young adult books too often, but last week when I left work early to crash out feverish on Rebecca's couch I needed something light and fantastical to read in the 10 minute segments I woke up for. Artemis Fowl (Eoin Colfer, Hyperion Books, ISBN 9780786817078) was a great choice, with the extremely easy language carrying a fun and fantastical plot through a variety of twists and turns. Thank heavens the Rebecca's House Health Spa carries children's books!

In my more alert moments I have been reading Confessions of an Eco-Warrior (Dave Foreman, Three Rivers Press, ISBN 051788058X) by one of the founders of Earth First! I really love the way this book is written, and am enjoying it much more than I expected. I was expecting something dry and dogmatic, but Foreman writes quite pleasantly. I love the way he philosophizes about the role of humans on this planet, and what our actions represent in relation to its other inhabitants. He takes space in every chapter to write about a wilderness experience, and they are great anecdotes. I am looking forward to learning more about the evolution of Earth First!, and the evolution of Foreman's activist philosophy, by actually finishing the book.

Inspired by the amazing in-store reading on June 24th and the overwhelming publicity, I also recently read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (David Wroblewski, Ecco Press, ISBN 0061374229). Wow, this one deserves to win something big. Edgar Sawtelle is the only child of Trudy and Gar, dog breeders and trainers who are developing the Sawtelle 'breed' while working for a larger goal in canine evolution. Edgar is mute, his best friend and soul's other is a dog named Almondine, and the entire story takes place before he turns 16. I have heard that this is a re-telling of Hamlet, but my sense of Shakespearian Lit is pretty shaky so I couldn't verify the claim. It does, however contain Shakespearian elements introduced in a distinctly American fashion. There is an oracle, but she chain-smokes and runs the general store, and there are layers of familial dynamics. The Sawtelle dogs are incredible as well, bountiful in their dog-ness but trained to exercise their judgment as well as recognize commands. This story is incredible, I want to read it again for the first time, and I want to walk through those northern woods and see if I can run into a Sawtelle dog.

That's all for tonight, hope you're all doing well!


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