Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Reading for that back to school state of mind

I'm usually the first one to register a complaint about the push to jump over the current season and dive into the next before time's up,finding it annoying to see stores put out Valentine's Day decor when Christmas is still shiny and new.

However,August is such a dreary month that the rush to embrace autumn is forgivable and the back to school madness is almost a welcome sight(especially if you don't have to go). To mentally leap ahead into those cool,crisp calendar days,a book or two always helps.

To take me away to that realm of falling leaves and sweater weather is the newest collection of Unshelved comics,Reader's Advisory. For those of you who haven't discovered this savvy silly webcomic about the antics of both the patrons and the staff of a public library,you're in for a treat,folks.

Unshelved is not only a delight for booklovers,it's also full of great reading suggestions via their Sunday strips and the range of recommended titles is diverse,from teen lit to graphic novels,with funky nonfiction and a nod to the classics,your reading group won't be bored for a long time to come.

I was lucky enough to meet one of the creators of Unshelved at BookExpo this year and by ordering the new book directly from their site,it will be signed by both authors,with a character doodle thrown in and on top of that,free shipping! Talk about sweet savings,especially these days!

Not all of your fall selections have to be new purchases,altho they can make excellent companions to fresh material. A new biography of L.Frank Baum, due out later this month, has reawaken my interest in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,a book I haven't looked at in ages.

The Modern Library edition that I'm using has a great intro by Ray Bradbury that compares and contrasts the appeal of Wizard of Oz with Alice in Wonderland(one goes straight for the heart,the other's more of a mind game in his opinion)and it does have some of the renowned illustrations by William Wallace Denslow that makes a reread of Baum's "American fairy tale" feel truly complete.

There will be a review of The Real Wizard of Oz by Rebecca Loncraine here at LRG,as soon as I can finish it. What is interesting about the book so far is the connections that the author draws between the advent of new technologies and firm belief in the supernatural that conflicted folks during Baum's lifetime that influenced his writing and the far flung effect that the Oz series has had upon pop culture today:

One of the best books to get me into an autumn state of mind is Jane Austen's Persuasion. The story holds the best elements of the season,it's subtle change over from old to new,sweeping away the excess foliage of summers past and gathering up the strength to embrace the return of spring in the hearts of those who thought it was long gone.

Persuasion also has the distinction of being the most mature of love stories in Austen's cannon. Nothing against the youthful passion from the likes of Emma,P&P and S&S there,but in this case,both the lady and the gentleman are nearer to each other in age and understanding than Marianne Dashwood and Col. Brandon for example(and yes,I'm fond of them as a couple as well!). Sweet smoldering desire may not be what many people think of when it comes to Jane Austen but trust me,in Persuasion,it is in there:

These are a but a few of the leaves off of my study tree,as I contemplate the bliss of late September or October when the cold temperatures start showing up to give us reason to curdle up in warm blankets with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa on hand. Granted,the kids who have to head back to classes this fall won't be singing and dancing about that prospect,but slip them something good to read in their backpacks and maybe they will:

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