Wednesday, May 20, 2009

All Thoughts Are Prey to Some Beast

I think every adult should read at least one children's book a year. With each advancing decade, I'd add one more book a year. I've been pretty much on that course, but none have grabbed me much since 2007's The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Last night Friendatella and I treated Jim of The Blue Elephant to a birthday dinner at Aperto up on Potrero Hill. Afterward, we strolled into Christopher's Books -- a really sweet or pretentious independent bookstore, depending on your mood or world view. (I fall into the former camp.) I've always grabbed a book or two when I walk in, sometimes wondering if I should have ordered it off Amazon and saved a few dollars, but I've never regretted a purchase there. Last night was no exception.

They were playing tunes by tunes by Bill Callahan/(SMOG) who could be defined as deeply moving or pretentious depending on your world view. (I fall into the former camp.) I'd noted on our way to dinner the book on the right, and hearing and feeling Bill's free form monotone drone and (I feared) the influence of two glasses of pinot grigio, I immediately purchased The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen. Unlike The Invention of Hugo Cabret, it's not really a graphic novel but has tons of graphic sidebars. It tells the tale of a 12-year-old prodigy from Divide, Montana, who hops the rails to accept a prestigious award from the Smithsonian and makes more than visceral discoveries on his journey. It's sort of a pre-teen On the Road and Candide as if furnished by Paxton Gate with a little influence from the ghost of Andrew Wyeth and then posted on Facebook.

After dinner, Jim took us on a tour of his old neighborhood, showing us a gorgeous house that has sat vacant for years, the scene of a murder where a wonderful, creative couple were tortured and then killed by an acquaintance from down the street. It was a disturbing coda to a pleasant night, and reason to take stock of treasures and loved ones needing protection and to be open but wary of strangers knocking at the door.

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10 Comments:

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Steve said...

OK, I hate to latch onto the darkest element in your post, but the reporter in me wants more information about "the scene of a murder where a wonderful, creative couple were tortured and then killed by an acquaintance from down the street."

 
At 7:58 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Steve - Well, I don't know that many details. All I know is that this husband and wife had restored an old house into a show place and apparently were beloved in the community. They knew this guy from down the street slightly. He tied them both up, tortured them slowly and individually while making the other one watch.

This all has happened 10 or so years ago, and the house has sat vacant ever since and is sort of considered to be haunted and impossible to sell even though it is gorgeous.

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

What a perfectly lovely evening.
I bought the 'Hugo Cabret' book for my precocious nephew on your recommendation-and he loved it. Thanks for the suggestions as to what to buy him for his birthday this year.

 
At 3:47 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Salty - When I was in Denver, the nine-year-old son of one of the couples I met had the Wimpy Kid book series, and he and I had some great discussions about them.

 
At 5:39 PM, Blogger Gary said...

Hey, I will second that children's book idea. I didn't read The Invention of Hugo Cabret but I really should. I actually don't know much about it at all.

 
At 9:13 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Gary - Both books are great, but probably a bit advanced for your first graders, though I bet they'd enjoy the stories read to them.

 
At 5:17 AM, Blogger Gary said...

By the way, the link to the Hugo book just brings me back to the same post. Is that right or is it supposed to take me to info on the book?

 
At 8:32 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Gary - Noted and corrected.

 
At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that bill callahan song lingers and lingers until i feel like i'm the murderous acquaintance you write of. can you tell me what that violin lick is at the intro of the song? it's something from the 80s.

 
At 7:24 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Anon. - Not sure the source of that intro, but it does sound like something recycled or a spooky ghost from the past.

 

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