?

Log in

No account? Create an account
So, we are just back from the Horn Book Awards at Simmons college. As always, it was an inspirational and energizing event, with a lot of wonderful writers there. I met Richard Peck again! And the theme, like last year’s, was very relevant. It was resistance.

The winner of the award for teens was Angela Thomas, author of The Hate U Give. This is a book you need to read carefully, without skimming and without skipping around. When I first began reading, I was doing both those things. And it seemed too polemical, too much a retelling of current events. When I read more slowly, though, I really appreciated the story, the characters, and the craft Thomas uses in bringing them into a whole. It’s pretty devastating, actually, but not without hope.

Since she is a woman of color, Angie manages to do some things here that a white author could not. The boy who dies, Khalil, is by no means a bad kid. But he makes mistakes. He gets caught up in gang activity, though he doesn’t want to and is not a member. He is surly and uncooperative when the police pull him over. Nevertheless, it’s quite clear that he and his friend Starr, the main character, are unarmed children who pose no threat to anyone. Khalil dies anyway.

That is not a spoiler, since it’s been one of the selling points of the book that the main character witnesses a police shooting. What follows might be. :Read more...Collapse )
This came to mind because I’m rereading one of them right now, and it’s amazing. I am astonished that it didn’t get lots of awards and that it doesn’t have (so far as I know) legions of passionate fans. Please correct me if I’m wrong; I’m certainly one of them!

So here it is: My number 1

The Gift Moves, by Steve Lyon. “Soft” Science Fiction

In the southeastern part of what used to be the United States, a young girl called Path Down the Mountain is entering the second stage of her life. She is leaving her family and going to the Banks to become a weaver’s hand. Here is her leavetaking. Path is visiting the two women who taught her to weave.

I opened my hand to give away my last gift, the shuttle they had made for me
two years ago when I came to live with them. It was the last piece of the life I
knew, and I put it in Blue Leaf’s hand. “The gift moves,” I said, somehow letting out the words and keeping in the tears.
“It moves,” she replied. (The Gift Moves, hardcover, page 3)

cover, The Gift Moves

Path is living in a strange and lovely world where batteries grow on trees, buses are made of termite colonies, and cats can talk. This is no dystopia, thank heavens, but it’s no utopia, either. Instead, it’s a believable society with its own strengths and weaknesses. In this future world, much that is true and beautiful has been lost – for example, Path has no idea what a “chapel” is. But much that is true and beautiful has been retained. The story takes place over the course of a month, while Path settles into her new life with her stern teacher, Heron, and while the people of the Banks prepare for the midsummer festival and the turning of the year. This is a story about love and loss, about how hurts get handed down in families (both natural and adoptive) and how they are overcome, and, most of all, about two young people struggling to find their own place in their world. Those young people are Path and Bird Speaks, a boy her age who becomes interested in her.

If you’re intrigued by alternate societies and like stories about real people, you should love this book.
Read more...Collapse )

More on "Wrinkle"-

So, after writing the earlier blog posts, I came across this comparison on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRx2J_MgBeY

It's extraordinary how alike they are. In particular, it's extraordinary how, whenever the old movie deviated from the book, the new trailer seems to deviate in the same way. I get the sense, from watching this short video, that Ava DuVernay may be remaking a movie rather than filming a book. This would explain the major deviations from the book. (And I don't mean the race of the characters! I mean the setting, the lack of Sandy and Dennys, the scenes that seem like earthquakes, and so on.)

But I might be wrong. After all, the new "Jungle Book" could also be compared to the old movie point for point. But the makers had clearly read the book and paid intelligent tribute to it, as I said in an earlier post. They ended up making a unique and excellent movie. Let's hope the same with be true of the new "Wrinkle in Time".

Still, I'm more apprehensive now. I can't help but be apprehensive, since I love the book so much! We shall see.
Well, they are again going to try to film a book that was formative to me: one of my absolute favorites from the age of ten on. The trailer just came out, and it looks fairly spectacular in some ways. You can see it here.


Then I saw this:


And, of course, there is this.

These three stories are rightly beloved by many thousands of girls and women. Did you catch the common theme? I honestly didn’t until just the other day, and--

I’m shocked that it took me so long to notice, actually. In each of these stories, a young girl on the cusp of adolescence rescues her little brother. Read more...Collapse )

New story!

I had a story accepted for publication by Sick Lit Magazine. It came out today! Here is the link:

https://sicklitmagazine.com/2017/05/05/sorrow-by-mary-johnson/
So, I went to the local climate march today. Hundreds of people were there! (Pics will follow when I edit this post; I'm writing this quickly) As with the other protest marches I've attended, there was a very good feeling of community and peace. But-

I began conversing with a young woman next to me. She said her dad (I think it was her dad) was a Fox news watcher and basically believed all the propaganda; in particular, he believed science was no truer than religion. In other words, to him, science wasn't about facts. It was mere opinion.

I'm still tired from the bug I'm fighting and the words didn't come to me then. I did manage to say (what I truly believe) that it's shocking to me that so many of my fellow citizens are so poorly educated. But here's the thing:

This young woman's dad wasn't entirely wrong. It is true that many people who promote science also promote materialism. And materialism isn't a fact; it's a belief. But science is NOT the same as materialism. True science is a way of examining the natural world to discover facts about it. You may have a very active spiritual life and be a scientist (Our Pope is a good example), or you may be a die-hard materialist and have no idea of the scientific method. Of course, all scientists are focused only on the physical world while doing science. Naturally! That's what science is for; it's a means of discovery, a quest for truths about the physical world.

What Fox News, and other such "sources", have done is to confuse the scientific method with materialism. This is wrong and dangerous, and leads to confusions such as this young woman's father had. Such confusions are all too common in America today.

BTW, our local climate march was led by several groups of nuns. One young woman was carrying a poster illustrating "Laudato Si", the Pope's beautiful call for care of the earth. And there were pro-science signs EVERYWHERE! Catholic groups, Jewish groups, hard-left groups--everyone was carrying them.

Because, as I said above, science is true.

dreamwidth

Yikes! As if I needed another blog, I now have a Dreamwidth account. I'm mary_j_59 over there, and, for a while, I'll be crossposting in both places. I don't intend to leave live journal until I have to, but so many of my live journal friends have left for Dreamwidth, and I'm a bit scared about possible copyright problems on livejournal. So my journal is backed up there as of tonight. It was very easy, and I like the ethos over there, from what I read of it. We'll see how it goes.

On adaptations


This photo of Goshen is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

So they are again trying to film one of my childhood favorites, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Honestly, it’s a book I still love, and I am filled with trepidation. Oh, I’ll go see it when it comes out next year. I’m almost certain to, unless it’s completely panned. But the Canadian TV movie from ten or fifteen years ago was a very mixed bag, and I’m very much afraid this version will be, too.

Why? I admit I was a little startled when I read that the director insisted on having primarily people of color in the cast. And then I thought about it. It does change the story, which is set in rural New England in the early 1960s. African Americans really didn’t live in small New England farming villages after WWII. They did before the war, and the loss of this population is one of many American tragedies and injustices. But_

One of the points of the story, and, indeed, of the series, is that Meg’s family are outsiders. Making Kate Murry of African descent, and her children mixed race, is a good way of emphasizing this. And these are beautiful children! If they can act the parts and get the characters across, it doesn’t matter in the least that they don’t look like the characters in the book.

But I’m disappointed that the filmmakers didn’t bother to film in the book’s actual setting. To me, one of the great pleasures of Madeleine L’Engle’s books is the love and care with which she evokes the New England landscape. A Wrinkle in Time begins, very specifically, in northwestern Connecticut in early autumn. Madeleine L’Engle lived in Goshen. The early scenes in Camazotz are meant to look like on of the local mill towns. This—the foothills of the Berkshires, and a part of the Appalachian chain—is a lovely landscape. It’s not spectacular or dramatic, but it is quietly, subtly beautiful. I’m sorry they didn’t see fit to film the book where it was set.Read more...Collapse )
I know; it’s been a long time, but I’m finally back, and with a new, very green recipe just in time for St. Patrick’s day! This will serve four aunties for a breakfast dish, or eight reluctant small boys. It’s quick and very simple if you can find frozen broccoli rabe.

Read more...Collapse )

The Culture of Death, Part 3-

Sorry! It's another political post. As I say below, I was inspired to write this by our readings at Mass these past two weeks. They were almost scarily relevant.

Before our current president (I suppose we must call him that) took the oath of office, I had a brief conversation with a friend. “Young women I know are in tears,” she said to me. “I can’t understand it. I think it has to get worse before it gets better.” At the time, I was rather shocked and startled, but I’m starting to agree with her.

It’s not that Trump isn’t awful. He is. He is even worse than I imagined he would be, and the appearance of Swastikas on public property is absolutely chilling. All the bullies, racists, and neo Nazis seem to have been greatly encouraged by recent events. And yet- Read more...Collapse )

Profile

mug, tea, writer
mary_j_59
mary_j_59

Latest Month

October 2017
S M T W T F S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    

Tags

Syndicate

RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by chasethestars