Saturday, September 15, 2007

"Home is the sailor from the sea, The hunter from the hill."*

I am working.
Working, working, working, working, every free moment.
As Suse would say, flat out like a lizard drinking, which for the longest time I thought meant a lizard, you know, imbibing.
Alcoholic beverages.
Sometimes I am not very bright.

I have this fascinating freelance gig and I am loving it.
It’s a tremendous amount of work, though, and I feel as if every free moment I have, I have to get something done on this project.
Even though the people I am working for are totally laidback and cool.
I just get engrossed and want to keep going.

And I realized today that being a research librarian is just about the perfect job for an antisocial person with OCD tendencies.

Yesterday evening, though, burnt out on research databases, I did a little sleuthing for my friend E whose eight-year-old daughter had brought home from school what E thought might be an age-inappropriate book. (Approved by our (previously evidenced) rather less-than-impressive school librarian. Ahem.)
While neither E nor I believe in censorship, her daughter is a very very bright girl, and very sensitive and a leetle highstrung (have I got any children like that? Hmmm, let me think….) and E was a tad concerned about the effect this book might have on her.
I did some poking through Novelist and WorldCat, and wound up concurring – much more suitable for a middle-schooler - but then felt like I wanted to recommend a few appropriate books that might address the same subject this semi-questionable book thought to address (death).

I wound up emailing E a list of about a dozen books – some dealing with death and how children deal with death (Madeleine L’Engle’s Meet the Austins seemed like a good suggestion, followed with A Ring of Endless Light when E’s daughter is older. Beautifully written and thoughtful, but still good reads. (She has already read Bridge to Terabithia.))

Then I found some books I just thought she’d like. Like me when I was a child, she seems to like many of the old-fashioned children’s books such as Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and lots of LM Montgomery. So I had some fun with those kind of proper English boarding-school type books (you know you know what I mean), even though my favorite reccs were for Kaye Umansky’s The Silver Spoon of Solomon Snow and Michael Buckley’s The Fairytale Detectives.

And then I went upstairs and raided my shelves for a pile of books I thought she might enjoy, based on what I have lent her to read previously: Susan Coolidge’s Katy books, LM Montgomery’s Emily books, The Gift of the Golden Cup, Heidi, Lois Duncan’s Motel for Dogs, Theodore Taylor’s heartwrenching The Cay, and a book I had never read called Catherine, Called Birdy, which I promptly took to bed with me and devoured, staying up far too late to finish.

Wonderful book. Funny and smart and honest, with the most endearing heroine I have encountered in quite some time, a heroine with whom, were I a medieval maiden, I would want to hang out.
I added it to E’s daughter’s pile when I finished.

And now I am back to Mirabilis, and stalled a bit on Map of Love, because frankly, I don’t know nearly enough (as in, NOTHING) about British colonialism in Egypt to not have to look stuff up constantly, and it’s somewhat tough going.

And now my boys are home, home from the NASCAR-themed birthday party.


*AE Housman - UPDATED: Ok, the quote I really wanted was, as Suse pointed out, "Home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter home from the hill." Which are the first lines of Robert Louis Stevenson's Requiem, and which Housman later used, apparently in honor of Stevenson. Thank you, dear Suse.


Suse said...

It's not often I can correct you, oh wise and educated librarian friend, but Robert Louis Stevenson wrote those lines first in his Requiem. Housman was apparently honouring Stevenson when he put them in one of his 'Additional Poems' (I forget which).

"Home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter home from the hill."

Makes my eyes prickle every time I hear or read it.

lazy cow said...

LOVED Catherine, Called Birdy. Apparently The Midwife's apprentice is v.g. also.
I also love being asked for advice on kids' books and would have recommended most of those. Haven't heard of a couple of them, however, so must rectify that.
What was the inappropriate book?
Glad you're enjoying work.

Suse said...

Re Update: you're welcome.

Now must fly, am flat out like a lizard imbibing hahahahahaha. You're funny.

crafty said...

OK now I feel really dumb. What does that lizerd thing mean?

Hi! I followed you here from somewhere? Suse maybe. I saw your dog hate mail comment and was intrigued. I have since visited your dog post. I am relatively new to blogging, and all this blog politics is doing my head in, I thought it would be a bit of fun, but apparently it's serious business! ;)

crafty said...

I mean lizard.

Jess said...

I wasn't really sold on Solomon Snow - although it was by no means a bad book, it just didn't hook me.

Yes, Karen Cushman has a few others - her latest is The Loud Silence of Francine Green, with a departure from her usual medieval age to the McCarthy era. I liked it.

I LOVE coming up with book recommendations like that - especially when you know the child in question. I know a few kids who I squirrel away ideas for - so satisfying. I'm curious about the age inappropriate book.

Oh, oh! You should recommend her A Drowned Maiden's Hair - deals with death, orphans, all the usual stuff. I think it would be appropriate - but you ought to read it and make up your mind. It's well worth it.