It's clear from the slightly stilted language and slow pace that this Newbery Medal-winning book is from the 1950s, but I've always still found it toIt's clear from the slightly stilted language and slow pace that this Newbery Medal-winning book is from the 1950s, but I've always still found it to be an enjoyable read. I first read this book when I was a kid, probably from back when I was going to read all the Newbery Medalists, until I found out how incredibly boring some of them were.
I suppose that part of what I find appealing about I, Juan de Pareja is how the book casually educates the reader on life at the Spanish court of King Philip IV. It was definitely the first time I'd encountered the Hapsburg line and have gone through the rest of my life with the author's description of their heavy jawed features in my mind.
The descriptions of the painting process and Velazquez' own approach to his art are some of favorite parts. Velazquez' comments about how the eye mixes color and the painter must unmix them, or how to paint just what you see and avoid the temptation to beautify, are simple and understandable to a young reader but as an adult I appreciate the examples the painter uses to teach these lessons.
Juan is also a slave, and while there are some violent moments, especially in his youth, for the most part, Juan is dedicated to Velazquez and his family. The ending brings satisfying closure to what is a simplified and idealized master/slave relationship.
Probably what I liked best about reading this as a child was discovering real Velazquez and Murillo works in museums. I already knew about these guys, and here they were at a museum! Awesome! I still get excited about that. I love that a kid's book made me a lifelong fan of a 15th century Baroque portraitist....more
Raina Telgemeier's adorable illustrations give refreshing new life to the Babysitters Club series. I read stacks of Ann M. Martin when I was young thaRaina Telgemeier's adorable illustrations give refreshing new life to the Babysitters Club series. I read stacks of Ann M. Martin when I was young that Raina's illustrations brought them new energy and interest.
There were bits that always stood out in my mind - like during Kristy's obstinate Chinese dinner with Watson and family when she nibbles her peanut butter sandwich into a snowman - that I was delighted to see represented in the graphic retelling.
Raina tells the story well and has a real talent for making the most charming tidbits stand out....more
Am i in trouble for finding Franny spastic and overdramatic and Zooey completely insufferable? I've always known there's a limited quantity of of J.D.Am i in trouble for finding Franny spastic and overdramatic and Zooey completely insufferable? I've always known there's a limited quantity of of J.D. Salinger in the world, so I've taken my time in getting to it.
I finally read Franny and Zooey. I was pretty entranced by the opening section focusing on Franny. The development of her expressed enthusiasm and actual emotional responses are perfect. The scene builds beautifully and completes ideally.
But then we transition into Zooey, who is a dick. I kept reading, I kept expecting him to break through and charm me, but it was impossible. He's insufferable. He only gets worse when he leaves the bathroom and confronts Franny. Oh, Zooey. Shut up.
An early review of The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt caught my eye months ago, so I was anxious to read it as soon as it arrived. It’s historicalAn early review of The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt caught my eye months ago, so I was anxious to read it as soon as it arrived. It’s historical fiction, kind of, with all the trappings of a Western, kind of and it’s very funny, kind of, when it’s not being kind of dark. What I’m really trying to say is that The Sisters Brothers defies easy categorization.
Eli and Charlie Sisters are hired guns for a powerful man back East and their reputation as a violent and unpredictable team precedes them wherever they go. They are on a mysterious mission to take out a strange little man with an invention that could make the owner very rich – if only it works and doesn’t kill everyone in the process.
Along the way, Eli and Charlie encounter modern dentistry as Eli falls in love with the minty freshness imparted by a handy little tool known as the toothbrush, and he falls in love with most everything else as well. He’s nearly always heartsick, and always with the wrong girl, and he doesn’t have his brother Charlie’s mean streak. What he does have is an insatiable appetite and his attempts to diet in the Old West are hilarious.
This is a very funny read with a great deal of substance. Despite the chuckles, this is a very touching story and very well told.