A Note from Me (Apr 23, 2021)

Dear friends:

It’s been school vacation week here, and with a school directly across the street from our house, we definitely notice. Brownie is happy: there are no school buses lined up BLINKING THEIR INFERNAL LIGHTS with the sole intent of terrorizing him out of his morning walk; he’ll see one measly little amber light and it’s NOPE and a hard right-turn into the driveway for a quick pee and then a race back inside. And spring vacation also means we usually can take a discreet walk in the school playground without fear of the janitor taking us unawares and yelling NO DOGS ALLOWED.

This week has been extra good because, in the absence of the students, the school has been taking the opportunity to kaboom the crap out of its decaying parking lot and facade with all manner of exciting excavators, tree choppers, and that thing with the giant hands. My downstairs friend Oscar (pictured) calls ʼem all Mike Mulligan. Truck books for everybody!

Elissa decided this is a good week to re-up Christopher Myers’s 2013 essay “Young Dreamers.” It will always be a good week for that, unfortunately. She has compiled a list of books to “augment and enrich the image libraries people carry in their hearts,” as Myers writes; see also our talking about race and making a difference tags.

Bruce and I have officially given up on reaching the pinnacle of The Magic Mountain, although he got further than I did (and in French!). When I began cultivating an active hostility toward Thomas Mann (for repetitive dithering) and could no longer approach the book with the goodwill any book deserves (hate-reading being bad for one’s immortal soul)*, I decided it was time to turn back, or jump off, or whatever the right metaphor is. Now we are reading the Aeneid, and I’m loving it, although bearing in mind that its contemporaneous readers would have been far better versed in its Homeric forebears than am I. Do they still read The Odyssey in the seventh grade? Can I go back? Wanna come with?**



* I’m trying to take to heart Benjamin Dreyer’s warning about parentheses but it’s hard to do without them!

**Cindy wanted me to add “me” here, but I remain faithful to Chicago style.

Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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