Reading Is Fundamental’s Where the Wild Things Are Gala

Reading Is Fundamental's Where the Wild Things Are Gala

If I had $500 lying around…

“let the wild rumpus start!” says Max in WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, the iconic and award winning children’s book by the late Maurice Sendak. Well, as it happens, at RIF we are about to do just that – and we would like you to join us!

On Thursday, May 9 from 6:30 – 10:00p.m., RIF will present an extraordinary event celebrating Maurice Sendak’s beloved and sometimes deliciously feared (!) story about Max and his journey to where the wild things live. Transforming the Four Seasons Washington, DC into an island of creatures, monsters, and otherwise scary beasts, RIF along with our corporate partners and donors will celebrate all of the wild things as they “roar their terrible roars and gnash their terrible teeth and roll their terrible eyes and show their terrible claws.” And, of course, raise funds to prepare and motivate children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most.

Please join RIF and Max for a adventurous evening of cocktails, dinner, special guests, elaborate silent and live auction items and packages, a Monster Chocolate Bash dessert reception, and a special mix of interesting book lovers and readers from across the country. And of course, a bed time story …

Black Tie optional

Mystery book treasure…

I’m really enjoying this mysterious news from my local library:

“A recent contribution of material for the Friends of the Library book sale contained something of significant value that the donor mistakenly included and would no doubt want back. Sorry but for reasons of verification, we can’t provide more clues. If you think you might be or know our mystery donor, please call … And while everyone loves to solve a good puzzle, no wild guesses please.”


I really hope they reveal what it is once they find the mystery donor. And if they don’t find him or her, I wonder what the librarians will do with the “something of significant value…”

“…a printed book is like a cathedral…”

“I read both paper and e-books, but please don’t tell my publisher this. E-books are great for instant gratification — you see a review somewhere of a book that interests you, and you can start reading it five minutes later. At least I still know it is wrong. But when all is said and done, holding a printed book in my hands can be a sacred experience — the weight of the paper, the windy sound of pages turning, like a breeze. To me, a printed book is like a cathedral or a library or a beach — holy space.”

Anne Lamott

National Cathedral (Washington DC)

Some William Blake

To Autumn

by William Blake

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou mayst rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

“The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

“The spirits of the air live on the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat;
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

It was a glorious weekend. An update on the National Book Festival (and my huge new writer-crush on Junot Díaz) is forthcoming.

Book festivals galore in September

This year’s NBF delightful poster designed by Rafael López.

Who’s got two thumbs and is pumped for the weekend? THIS GIRL.

After celebrating the first day of Autumn by picking some apples, on Sunday I’m going to stop by the National Book Festival: two days of author talks and signings, books for sale, and other literary shenanigans. I think I’m most looking forward to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of A Wrinkle In Time, featuring Leonard Marcus (whose fascinating history of children’s book publishing in America, Minders of Make Believe, I’ve just finished). But there are a terrific number of authors speaking, to suit every interest, including Geraldine Brooks, Michael Dirda, Junot Díaz, Lois Lowry, Jerry Spinelli, Nikky Finney, and Jeffrey Eugenides. Oh my.

You can check out the full National Book Festival schedule here. And while you’re at the Library of Congress website, take a look-see at their list of Books That Shaped America. An interesting collection.

Free Books Make Monday Mornings Better

As I emerged from the darkness of the Metro yesterday on my way to work, I was greeted by both sunshine and some lovely people handing out free books. Apparently Solas Nua, an Irish arts group, was celebrating Irish Book Day with the help of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. (They chose September 17 because it’s marks the halfway point in the year from last St. Patrick’s Day to the next.) Volunteers were handing out books at three Metro stations yesterday. Anyway, I’d like to extend my thanks to the friendly blonde lady who gave me a copy of Fiona: Stolen Child. I’ll see how it is!

A longlegs, a moth, and…the headmaster of Hogwarts.

I’m a big fan of the American Academy of Poets’ Poem-A-Day posts at (Oh my, there are quite a few “p” words in that sentence.) Anyway, recently they shared a lovely late summer poem by Thomas Hardy:

An August Midnight


A shaded lamp and a waving blind,
And the beat of a clock from a distant floor:
On this scene enter—winged, horned, and spined—
A longlegs, a moth, and a dumbledore;
While ‘mid my page there idly stands
A sleepy fly, that rubs its hands…


Thus meet we five, in this still place,
At this point of time, at this point in space.
—My guests besmear my new-penned line,
Or bang at the lamp and fall supine.
“God’s humblest, they!” I muse. Yet why?
They know Earth-secrets that know not I.

Of course, it took me a couple of tries to read the whole thing, because on my first attempt, I got four lines in, and went, “OMG, ‘dumbledore’ is an actual word? TO THE DICTIONARY!

dumbledore (ˈdʌmb ə lˌdɔː)

— n
dialect ( English ) Also (Southwest English): drumbledrane a bumblebee

[Old English dumble , variant of drumble to move sluggishly + dor humming insect]

So that’s my word-of-the-day.

I’ve been neglecting the blog of late, but not my TBR pile, so I’ll be back soon with assorted musings.

Six Degrees of Scarlett O’Hara

Well this is rather interesting. Check out this infographic by designer Jared Fanning based on research by James Chapman:

I’m not sure where Mr. Chapman got his data, but no matter how accurate it is it’s still fun to think about all the people in the world with whom we have a book in common. It’s like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. But with books instead of movie stars.

Gone to the Night Kitchen

Mr. Sendak at age 57.

Somewhere, the Wild Things are weeping. The brilliant, complicated and crotchety Maurice Sendak died yesterday at the age of 83.

Some of my favorite pieces on Mr. Sendak, for your enjoyment:

A letter by Mr. Sendak’s editor to a school librarian who burned copies of In the Night Kitchen. “Should not those of us who stand between the creative artist and the child be very careful not to sift our reactions to such books through our own adult prejudices and neuroses?”

-Mr. Sendak at his most cranky and hilarious on The Colbert Report in Jaunary: Part 1 and Part 2.

His obituary in The New York Times today.

-And finally, an incredible, moving interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air from this past December. I listened to the podcast on the Metro, and had to make a real effort not to be the crazy crying person on the train. “There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready.”

Let the hype begin…New details on J.K. Rowling’s new book released today

September 27, 2012, J.K. Rowling’s new book (and first book for adults), The Casual Vacancy, will be released worldwide. Check out her publisher’s website for fresh details.

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