Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sunrise, 6:50, sunset, 7:38. Overcast, it rained harder yesterday than it has in months. We're expecting 3-6 inches of snow in the mountains. Last year it snowed on the first of April. Even for us, this is odd weather.

When I got off the bus last night, in downtown Seattle, I put up my umbrella (a painted pink flowery one that I inherited from my grandmother, Pearl) and crossed the street. The wind barreled down the hill towards the sound, and all the umbrellas, as one, switched to barricade formation. Choreography for weather.

The maple leaves are unfolding, releasing chartreuse catkins that glow like ornaments against this grey, grey day. One of the lines I love best out of a Madeline L'Engle book, Meet the Austins, is something the heroine, Vicky Austin, says. I don't remember it exactly but it is something she notices about the grayness of the day, that it was gray with an -ey, not an -ay. Don't you love that? It is so true! Some days are definitely -ey days. They are the days you stay in and read, stacks of books and fleece, wishing someone would bring you hot drinks and cookies. And a fireplace. With a fire. And a mantle for the candles you need on a day like this.

The yellow tulips are up, the lilacs are larger and lighter in color than last week. It looks like the Easter rabbit has been here early and didn't hide anything. Our yard looks like a great big Easter basket. The lilacs are almost always in full bloom the day of Easter. I could smell them as I came up the hill last night and it is the smell of warming days and spring.

I finished The Brixton Brothers: The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity, by Mac Barnett, and it was GOOD. It's about ninja librarians, reading and using what you learn, a massive mystery concerning quilts and codes. It was hysterically funny at times and I can't wait for the next one. Adam Rex's illustrations are perfect for the book. (Simon and Schuster, ages 8 and up. $14.99.)

I also finished a new book called Folly, by Marthe Jocelyn. Historical fiction, it's about a practical girl sent from home who meets a man who captures her heart and then leaves her when she becomes pregnant. It is also the story of a little boy named James Nelligan, a small 6 year-old in a huge orphanage. Their stories are told in alternating chapters and eventually merge. Fascinating look at how lives were lived by the common folk in Victorian London. Mary Finn, our heroine, is a girl trying to make a life for herself in a house below stairs. When her life takes a different turn, she feels she needs to tell her story, a story played out across the time period, and not often thought to worth holding for history. It is filled with great information about what it was like to not be a wealthy person in those times.

It's probably geared for a slightly older reader, maybe 14 or 15 since it deals with sex and the enjoyment of the same, and the attendant results. I love reading about what it would really be like to live in a specific time period and Folly truly does that. (Random House, available May 11, 2010. $15.99.)

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