Thursday, April 24

Lots of books!

Recently read:

Asperger's from the Inside Out, by Michael John Carley.
This is a quick and fascinating read. Michael John Carley has been a playwright and a lower-level ambassador, and is now Executive Director of GRASP, the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership. He was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome as an adult, when his then-four-year-old son was diagnosed. He writes movingly of "the whole tumultuous path" to acceptance and understanding of Asperger's, which "changes everything." You will like this smart, articulate, matter-of-fact tale of a powerful advocate for those with Asperger's Syndrome.

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher

Eric, or "Moby" to his friends, is fat, and his best friend Sarah Byrnes is severely disfigured by facial burns. They bond over their "terminal uglies" until Eric joins the swim team and starts to lose weight. Fearing the loss of her friendship, he doubles his eating, trying to stay fat for Sarah Byrnes, until she finds out and reads him the riot act. Soon much more serious trouble comes into Sarah's life when she finds out the truth about her past, breaks down, and is hospitalized. In the past, bright tough Sarah has always been a couple of steps ahead of Eric and has helped him out, but now it's his turn to help her.

I have been reading a lot of teen fiction and have enjoyed much of it, but this one stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Colors of the World; a geography of color, by Jean-Philippe and Dominique Lenclos
This is the coolest book! Color junkies will love this, but so will those with an interest in geography, anthropology, and art. From the blurb:

"Colors of the World presents a chromatic journey through the colors of vernacular architecture from the United States to the far corners of the world. Based on the "geography of color" analytic method . . . this book examines the palettes of diverse habitats to reveal how geology, climate, light, sociocultural behavior, the traditions of local residents, and construction techniques uniquely shape a landscape's architectural personality and chromatic character."

To analyze each site, the authors and their students take photographs and create colored pencil sketches of houses, then plot the color patterns of houses onto a color grid showing the predominate palette. They have studied sites in Japan, France, Guatemala, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa, but it was the middle Eastern studies in Algeria, Morocco, Iran, and Yemen, with their desert palettes, that particularly fascinated me. If you read this beautiful picture-filled book, prepare to be drawn into a daydreaming trip to far-flung cities of pink, blue, gold, and white.

Spring notes

Briefly noted:

More signs of spring:

- An uptick in the requests for Chilton's automotive repair manuals at all libraries
- First dandelions. The south lawn of the NE Library always has the first dandelion blooms.

Seen in passing:

- a young man with a Burberry plaid hat that belonged on someone at least 50 years older, and a New York Times tucked like a baguette into his backpack.
- turquoise cowboy boots and a matching turquoise blouse
- two young hipsters with their saggy baggy pants miraculously perched halfway down their rear ends, with full boxer display

Popular NY Times link: A clip from the Met Opera of Juan Diego Flórez singing 'Ah! Mes Amis,' with ovation and encore: nine high Cs! The link goes to the NY Times article, where you'll see the mp3 clips on the lower left side. Listening to this bright and stirring singing will boost your heart rate! Wow!

Wednesday, April 16

Signs of Spring

Two important signs of spring!

1. First "Garage Sale" sign of the year

2. Linder's parking-lot greenhouse erected @ St. Anthony shopping center! Budget-bustin' blooms beckon!

k k k

My favorite new gardening book this year is The Bold and Brilliant Garden, by Sarah Raven. Her color palette: sky blue, Moroccan blue, deep blue, crimson black, red-purple, purple, bright pink, deep pink, magenta; carmine, scarlet, ruby, Indian red, Venetian red, vermillion, coral pink, tangerine, gold, lemon yellow. She mixes ruby red with acid green, purple with vermillion, tangerine with magenta, crimson with gold, and sets them all against a backdrop of acid green, blue green, silver blue, and and silver.

She uses attention-getting plants: parrot tulips, Oriental poppies, peonies, zinnias, dahlias, hydrangeas, callas, and scented plants like hyacinths, lilacs, roses, lilies, honeysuckle, and phlox. Wow! The color-saturated illustrations make this a fantastic book gray days.

You can read more about it on Amazon.