October 09, 2004


I've just finished Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman. It is the second time I've read it and I was just as thrilled by the adventure this time around as I was the first time, perhaps even more so. Of coruse I had to do a websearch on Neil Gaiman and came across this:

You are Neverwhere! You are dark, intriguing, and
lenient. You might make people feel
uncomfortable, either because you are
intimidating or you dress differently possibly
both. In reality you are a nice person, but
people tend to make snap judgments about you
and think they can push you around. You
probably are idealistic and dream of a utopian
society. The friends that you have are the kind
that last forever and you are fun and
easy-going when people bother to get to know

*~Which Neil Gaiman book are you?~*
brought to you by Quizilla

it pleases me to think I am the novel that I just read, though perhaps my having only just finished the book has more than something to do with it.

One main feature, as can be ascertained by the title to my blog, is doors. Door is also the name of one of the heroes of the book.

As I put the book down I realized that the theme of many books I love have to do with doorways, literal or figurative, into other worlds. It is a common enough theme, and takes on many forms; from Alice's adventures to Harry Potter, to a book fantasy that I've got roaming around in my own head. A book is the door in The Neverending Story; a mirror in Alice through the Looking Glass.

I've always wanted to find one of these doorways, for part of me hopes they do exist, as part of me believes there must be something else just below the surface of the world we spend our days in. Sometimes I can almost feel it; when the weather is right or a scent lingers in the air, or a sound that lingers in my brain seem to tell me; there is much more here than meets you think.

Of course, if such a door opened, would I really be brave enough or foolish enough (which is it?) to enter? Would you?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2004

Childrn's Books

Several years ago, I think about Passover time, but it could have been Sukkot time as well, there was a show on PBS called WIT. It was the story of a professor of literature who finds out she is dying of cancer.

There is one scene in the book where her professor comes to visit her; she is in her last days, can barely move, looks awful. "Read to me" she begs her visitor. And this elderly woman, who looks as if she hasn't read anything execept for classics for years, searches about her and pulls out a slim book from a bag she is carrying on her arm, a gift for her grandchild; "The Runaway Bunny" and begins to read.

"Oh, how clever" she chirps after a few minutes. "An allegory of the soul!" and as she reads she deconstructs the book on that basis.

While I doubt that is what the author had in mind when she penned this beloved tale, I often find that well written children's books have in them something much deeper than they are given credit for. Forced to be brief, forced to be simple, each sentence must carry a wallop. They are like Japanese paintings; a simple line becoming a bird, a swirl becoming a bud on a branch.

Two of my favorite children's books are "Dogger" which is the story of sibling love, and self sacrifice, and "The Red Umbrella." which is about sharing and counting. Neither book lectures; both books allow the story to deliver the message. Sweet and cheerful without being sugary, emphasizing qualities that one would want ones children to emulate but not allowing the message to dominate the storyline, these books and similar have a place on the shelf of every child. I did not discover these books till the Artist came into our lives. I wish I had them earlier.

These are books I intended to purchase once I know a creepy-deep grandchild is on their way; I have a list of my favorites; Dogger and the Red Umbrella, as I mentioned before, The Little Engine that Could, What Do You Say are some of the ones I would choose.

What are some of your favorite children's books? What books would you purchase for your children/grandchildren in anticipation of their births?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:28 AM | Comments (6)