Archive for February, 2010

Saw Valentine’s Day last night with Jan. It did not make me want to claw my eyes out, in the words of someone whose opinion I value, but I do understand what she meant. It was a pleasant, relatively mindless diversion of a romantic comedy. It lacked the charm, intellect and character development of Love […]



Thinking about what makes books like The Lightning Thief and Maniac Magee and Harry Potter work, and I keep coming back to Joseph Campbell. Joseph Campbell was interested in comparative mythology and looked at myths, folktales and religious literature across many cultures for what seemed to him to be essential. In his wonderful, wonderful book […]

You need time alone, time to be bored in order to simply think, to imagine, to play something without a script, to rehearse who you will become.

I watched the death of a book today, and through no fault of the story, the author or the publisher. I was talking with a young teen and her mother in my office . . . they’d picked up one of the books we leave scattered around and were giggling about a story. I don’t […]

We can write only the stories that fascinate us and only stories we feel contain an element of truth, and that truth is about us.



I just finished reading Lavinia, by Ursula Le Guin, and I love it. It’s the tale of the daughter of Latinus and Amata, king and queen of Latium. She is introduced to the world in book six of Virgil’s (Vergil’s) Aeneid, when the spirit of Anchises, Aeneus’ father, shows Aeneus the shades of those spirits […]

Monica Edinger at Educating Alice posted about the new Percy Jackson movie a couple of days ago, and quoted Tom Long’s review, which gave the movie a D+. She says she may wait for the DVD, and I’m pretty much with her on this. Having said that, I really do enjoy the books. they are […]

I mentioned Maniac MaGee yesterday while I was talking about Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief, and I want to explain. Maniac Magee is a beautifully written book and there are scenes in it that I’ve remembered vividly since I first read it roughly twenty years ago. Maniac, as Jerry Spinelli said, is a legend; […]

Random Thoughts


As usual, the ADD strikes and I got distracted by something small and shiny. I picked up The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan and read it on the road (I wasn’t driving). Lavinia is the better book, but as a former 12 year old boy The Lightning thief has its charms–it’s a classic hero’s tale […]

Yesterday I quoted Alison Lurie. I love her book Don’t Tell The Grownups. She’s right. Good kidlit is always subversive. Anyway, she answered her own question about “why magic” by starting with the “usual explanation . . . magic provides an escape from reality or expresses fears and wishes.” And it makes those fears and […]