Titania and Oberon spoke to me from across the room - I immediately gravitated to the cover illustration by Phyllis Bray. The lushly illustrated pages continued within, and I knew I wanted to make this book my daughter's special present to bring back from Italy. This book is wrapped and under our Christmas tree, waiting to be discovered! I bought it at Fox Gallery in Rome on my holiday vacation.
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil Farris, is about young Karen who draws herself as a female Wolfman who is also a pulp novel detective bent on solving the murder of her upstairs neighbor, who is a survivor of sexual violence and the Holocaust. Karen fills her notebook with drawings of her beloved Horror comic book covers and the diverse people who populate her neighborhood and apartment building. She is inspired by her older brother who takes her to art museums and studies the master paintings with her. As Karen sketches the world around her, we see how everyday people can be monstrous, and the perceived "real" monsters can be a sanctuary.
For October, I am sharing one the creepiest books I've ever read. House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski, is a complicated and fascinating novel that took ten years to write. It has a story within a story narrative, analyzing a documentary about a house where doors appear where they should not, leading to dark hallways that sometimes go nowhere and other times open to an infinite maze of corridors with an unknown destructive force inside.
The Tree Lady is a kid-friendly biography of Katherine Olivia Sessions, the botanist who brought a lush landscape of trees to San Diego, California, and was eventually named "The Mother of Balboa Park." It is the story of a girl who followed her passion for science and the cultivation of plants at a time when girls were not encouraged or expected to do so.
On the billionth birthnight of the moon, a little girl taking away clean laundry leaves her own blue flannel nightgown stitched with stars dancing on the line. It's spotted by the moon, who sullenly complains that though many have praised and adored her, no one has ever really given her what she truly wants: a beautiful nightgown. "But where will you get a nightgown, dear Moon?" asks the sun. "The same place they do," said the moon.
Pablo Neruda Poet of the People tells the story of a man who loved the world and wrote about it in a way that brought beauty and hope in his reader's lives in prose that is simple for children but with a poetry of its own: "He wrote about scissors and thimbles and chairs and rings. He wrote about buttons and feathers and shoes and hats. He wrote about velvet cloth and the color of the sea."
Gasoline is a fantastical romp through the imagination of the one and only Dame Darcy - author, illustrator, animator, musical entertainer, and a self-proclaimed mermaid. Darcy is most widely known for her Fantagraphics published comic series Meat Cake. Gasoline is a 190 page illustrated novel that I have to admit I have not fully read, but find totally inspiring due to its sheer enthusiasm and unapologetic gusto for gothic magic. Darcy loves what she loves, and her vision feels uncompromised.
“… to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery. And one does not get lost but loses oneself, with the implication that is it a conscious choice, a chosen surrender, a psychic state achievable through geography.”
Anticipating my summer camping trip I picked up Ruby McConnell'sA Woman's Guide to the Wild to get in the mood and pick up some new tips. It's an inviting little handbook written to empower novice outdoors women in accessing and enjoying the wild world beyond the cityscape.