Monday, April 28, 2008

Amphigory by Edward Gorey

Saturday to take my mind off the dismal performance of the Denver Nuggets, I curled up on the couch with my calico and read Amphigory by Edward Gorey, as one does after watching the NBA playoffs. In reading the 15 tales in Amphigory, I thought they were quite poetic, in a Monty Python sort of way.

I struggle to describe Edwards Gorey’s stories and basically can only sum it up with two phrases, ”hmmm, wonder where this is going,” and ”I did not see that coming.”

Some call his ironic and offbeat humorous stories literary nonsense, but I just call it pure genius. A is for apple and B is for Bear, oh, I don’t think so as you will find in The Gashlycrumb Tinies, "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs, B is for Bail assaulted by bears.” His illustrations add so much depth to the stories, or should I say darkness in that charming and witty macabre way.

As I writer, I particularly loved this passage in The Unstrung Harp:

“Mr. Earbrass has been rashly skimming through the early chapters, which he has not looked at for months, and now sees TUH (The Unstrung Harp) for what it is. Dreadful, dreadful, DREADFUL. He must be mad to go on enduring the unexquisite agony of writing when it all turns out drivel. Mad. Why didn’t he become a spy? How does one become one? He will burn the MS. Why is there no fire? Why aren’t there the makings for one? How did he get in the unused room on the third floor?"

If you are a fan of British humor than I believe you will quite enjoy the works of Edward Gorey, despite the fact he was born in Chicago and never visited Britain. Other stories in Amphigory include: The Listing Attic, The Doubtful Guest, The Object-Lesson, The Bug Book, The Fatal Lozenge, The Hapless Child, The Curious Sofa, The Willowdale Handcar, The Insect God, The West Wind, The Wuggly Ump, The Sinking Spell, The Remembered Visit.

In honor of the last week of National Poetry Month, I will leave you with this verse from The Listing Attic:

A dreary young bank clerk name Fennis
Wished to foster an aura of menace;
To make people afraid
He wore gloves of grey suede
And white footgear intended for tennis.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

An Engineer's Guide to Cats

My sister sent me this video with a comment about it being a bit long at 7 minutes and inquiring why someone would even do it, but as a cat lover I found it to be a fascinating documentary on the feline species:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mad Creator Productions New Book

Sipping Spiders Through a StrawBesides the The Dangerous Alphabet book with Neil Gaiman, Gris Grimly has another book with Kelly Dipucchio coming out in May, Sipping Spiders Through A Straw Campfire Songs for Monsters:
"In this howlishly fun collection of campfire songs, little monsters everywhere will love singing along to their favorite campfire tunes which have been altered for optimal gross-out effect by the ghoulish Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by the Master of Creep, Gris Grimly. Disgusting highlights include "If You're Scary and You Know It," "99 Bottles of Blood on the Wall," and the classic in the making, "Do Your Guts Hang Low?" Gather your creepy, crawly friends and get ready to slither and slink and howl and stink!"

For those of you in LA and going to the LA Times Festival of Books, Gris Grisly will be there signing books on Saturday, April 26th at the A Whale of a Tale booth from 11-12pm. He warns that this is in the children's area so beware of ragamuffins. On Sunday he will be signing his Wicked Nursery Rhymes 1 at the Baby Tattoo Books booth from 2-3pm. However, you can also catch him from 2-4pm on Saturday and 5-7pm Sunday at the Mad Creator Productions booth at the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Book and Lover's Day

Do you know what today is? It is Book and Lover's Day. Every year on April 23rd, Barcelona erupts in a celebration of chivalry and romance. It all began in the Middle Ages with an annual Festival of Roses to honor St. George, Patron Saint of Catalonia, who as a brave Roman soldier allegedly slew a dragon about to devour a beautiful young princess. Accordingly, a rosebush sprouted from the blood of the dragon and the soldier plucked its most perfect blossoms to give to the princess as a remembrance. In 1923, the Rose Festival merged with International Book Day, established to celebrate the lives of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare, both of whom died on April 23rd in 1616. Now, bookstalls and flower stands sprout up along the Rambla, a two-mile stretch connecting the city with the Mediterranean Sea. Thousands of Barcelonans crowd the streets to enjoy a festive atmosphere of readings, music, literature, and dance.

Here in Denver, the Tattered Cover Book Store is celebrating complimentary roses and commemorative bookmarks with the purchase of a book. They will also be holding Shakespeare performances in the afternoon at their Historic LoDo and Colfax locations. Also in Greeley, An Open Book will also be celebrating the day with a 20% discount off one book and complimentary flowers.

Happy Book and Lover's Day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Englewood Public Library Author Open House

Willow May Book

To kick off National Library week, the Englewood Public Library hosted an Author Open House this past Sunday with over 50 Colorado writers and illustrators. The illustrious illustrator, Pamela McCarville and I had a fabulous day. It started off with us being escorted to our table where two book bags, pens and thank you notes were awaiting us. Then we had our photo ops with the children's librarian, Karin Martin. Talk about the star treatment. Next we were called into the reception room for quite the spread. I wish I had taken a picture but trust me; it would have made your mouth water. But that is not all; we also had a harpist serenade us all through the day.

We dressed up our table with a mini version of our ringmaster Victor Grimsby in his purple feather coat and three of his little rats in hats friends (the rats ended up stealing the show from the raven ringmaster). We handed out Willow May bookmarks and coloring sheets with some of the characters from the book as well as a small box of crayons with a sticker of one of the characters on the box. Those were a big hit with the kids. For those who bought our book we gave them a Willow May bookplate and button. We also had postcards of our next Willow May midnight adventure, Willow May Goes to the Midnight Zoo and postcards for a Graphic Novel Pamela is illustrating, Dark Wisdom. Then we also had a sign-up sheet, but only three people signed up. Kept forgetting to point it out to people and we mainly had kids coming to our table. We also got too busy and only took a couple of pictures between us; we almost needed a 3rd person for photo taking detail. We thought we had about every aspect of the promo thing covered but in looking around at the other writer's tables, we saw that one writer had made print outs of their book reviews for people to see. What a great idea!

It was fun to visit with everybody and it was really fun to shop around for some great reads. Needless to say, we put those book bags to use.

I received an email from the library yesterday that 450 people came to the event. Wow, what a turn out, no wonder why I am still exhausted. I can't say enough about this fantastic event the Englewood Library hosted and if you missed this years please plan to attend their 10th annual open house next year to kick off National Library Week.

Visit the library's website to see what other fun events are taking place this month.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Englewood Library Author Open House

The illustrious illustrator, Pamela McCarville and I will have a table at the 9th annual Englewood Library Author Open House, "Meet the Faces Behind the Books" this Sunday, April 13th, from 1pm-3pm. We are honored to receive an invitation and to be a part of such an amazing list of Colorado talent. What a great opportunity the library is providing to come and find great books and meet the local creativity behind them.

At our table we will have Willow May Goes to the Midnight Carnival coloring sheets, puzzles, bookmarks, postcards and buttons. If we have room, you may even spot Mr. Grimsby and his rats in hats.

You can visit the Englewood Library's website for more information on this event, including directions and a list of participating authors.

Hope to see you there this Sunday!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

National Poetry Month

Where the Sidewalk EndsApril is National Poetry month and you can celebrate with Shel Silverstein. On his site there is a special section with activities and games for National Poetry month. You can watch Shel Silverstein animation, play games, practice being a poet, sent poetry month e-cards, find classroom activities and suggestions, print out a poster, and more.

One of my favorite books was Where the Sidewalk Ends. I won't remember the words exactly, but one of the poems I enjoyed was My brother said it was a hat so I put it on / Now my Dad is yelling "Where in the heck has the toilet plunger gone."

For some reason that just reminded me of something my sister would tell me to do.