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.