Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sunset was at 5:15, sunset will be 9:11, again. 43 seconds less sunlight today, people. The earth is 152.079 10 to the 6 power km from the sun, looking at the future distances we will be heading farther away each day (barring any asteroids or moon distortions. 66 degrees today, maybe? Cloudy with a chance of sunbreaks. I walked 12,953 steps yesterday. 643 so far today just walking around the house. I didn't get up in time to see the sunrise or walk the couple of miles in the morning I've been doing; will have to walk around the store more. One book to the shelf at a time.

Much splashing outside this morning, a couple of juvenile robins are chasing each other in and out of the fountain and into the bushes and trees above. They narrowly miss the windows. Sometimes, though, they seem to use them to carom off and away, lightly tapping their claws against the glass, gathering speed and a sharper curve to out-speed their partner.

I got home pretty late last night because Ivan Doig was at the store talking about the sequel to Whistling Season, Work Song. It was Cheryl McKeon's last event after almost 11 years of hosting authors and booking and taking children's book authors into the store and schools. She's moving to California and I am going to miss her confidence, humor, and laugh. She's got an amazing burble, I find myself laughing with her wherever she is, whenever I hear it. Yes, she has an infectious laugh. I had to hang out just to spend a little more time with her.

SO, I got home late and, having promised our Random House kid's rep, Deanna Meyerhoff, that I would start Jennifer Donnelly's new book, Revolution, next, started it.

Truly, DO NOT start this book unless you have a big block of time. I read until way too late (see the first paragraph) and then had to pick up a different book to read myself to sleep.

Revolution is GREAT (so far, anyway: I'm a third of the way through). It's the story of a girl, Andi, a musician and a senior, privileged and dysfunctional in the way only the children of the very wealthy seem to be, who is severely depressed after a traumatic family event. Facing expulsion at the school she attends, her father checks her also depressed, maybe psychotically broken, mother into a hospital and drags Andi to Paris where he is working.

Andi is a brilliant guitar player which is the only thing that saves her and keeps her evenly keeled. It is only good, though, for as long as the blood and pain stay inside her fingers. When she can't play, the thoughts and planning of suicide invade her mind, again.

While in Paris, she has to work on her senior thesis, one that seems to echo what her Nobel Prize-winning father does with DNA. The family friend, G, is a scholar in the French Revolutionary War, and lets her play one of the very first guitars ever made.

This gesture opens up the past for Andi: she finds a journal in the case that appears to have been hidden there since the Revolution, written by a girl who may have been involved with the last, late, lost prince.

That's where I left off. I wish I was riding the bus today- I could use the time to indulge in this book.

It is a really well-written, harsh and sad, story and definitely for the 14 and up crowd. Adults will like it, too. Deanna said she loved it and for her to say that is pretty impressive. If she likes it, it will be worth reading for sure. I was only reluctant to get started because I thought it was going to be a time travel thing- Andi would do something that would put her in the time period. I have been reading WAY too much fantasy. This is a straight-forward story with journals, history, horrible goings- on, a sympathetic character, very compelling writing. I am going to go make breakfast now and read until I have to go to work. (Delacorte, $18.99. 14 and up, available October 12, 2010.)

PS: This was kind of cool: I heard a radio story this very morning that seemed ripped from the pages of Revolution. Lady Gaga was accused of plagiarizing some of her newest single from a different song. And that song was taken from a previous one, back and back, all the way back to the earliest church music. This is what Andi's senior thesis is all about. She is tracing certain musical themes, groups of notes, from a certain musician, and the influence of his music through to today's music. Kind of like mitochondrial DNA!

pps: Jennifer Donnelly is also the author of A Northern Light, a really good, atmospheric, mystery book that everyone who reads it loves. Good mother daughter book group book.


  1. Oh, how had I missed Cheryl's move? Please give her my best!
    I'm also excited about "Revolution." Loved your bit about "Turtle in Paradise" on the RH blog, too.

  2. Cheryl's been keeping her move on the down low. I don't think any of us were really thinking this day was coming! Call her tomorrow. It is her last day and she would love to hear your voice.

    Wasn't Turtle good? I love Jenni.