Monday, January 19, 2009

Let Freedom Ring....

Just taking a moment to recognize a historic moment in American history, without the textbooks handy.

Memory takes me back to my world as a teenager, purchasing Stevie Wonder's album, Hotter Than July. It was a favorite for many years. I also remember standing on line in front of Madison Square Garden ALL NIGHT LONG to wait for tickets to Stevie's concert, his first in a long time.

On the night of the concert, as on many nights before, during, and after the tour, Stevie exhorted the crowd with a rousing speech calling for the national celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday.

I can clearly recall dancing with complete strangers on the floor of the Garden as we shouted and sang along. I can also recall the joy I felt when our Senators and Representatives were moved to act and the final votes were cast for the creation of today's holiday.

Tomorrow is another day, and with it will come perhaps one of the most important occasions of this new century. It could not have come to pass, though, without the work of Dr. King.

So today is for Dr. King.

Let Freedom Ring.

Friday, January 02, 2009

15: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Well, I'm done.  I've moved several books beyond my pre-set vacation book limit, I still have several vacation days to go, but I'm out of books (even after a visit to the crappy book chain store) and made a promise.

But what a way to go out.  I enjoyed this book so much I just kept putting it down.  I wanted to SAVOR it -- it was so lovely, so out-of-the-ordinary, so filled with beauty and so reflective of the art form of writing -- that I just didn't want the story to end.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, a masterwork by David Wroblewski, shares the tale of Edgar, a child who is born with all of his sense faculties, but who lacks the ability to speak.

As I read it, Wroblewski kept doing this thing that shocked me to the core: he surprised me. Wroblewski is a real literary talent, with beautifully drawn characters and a strong sense of story.  But - more than anything - each chapter was filled with real, thoughtful writing -- and I truly never knew what was going to happen next.  Look, that doesn't seem to be so important, but it really is.  How many times have I been 3/4 of the way through a novel waiting for the author to get to the place I know is waiting in 70 pages.  

That just doesn't happen here.  What does happen is magical and lovely, though.  And I simply didn't want this story to end....

Read it!  It's my #1 piece of fiction for the year 2008.