Archive for the ‘Paintings’ Category

I was thinking about this this morning. But it really started yesterday when I was chatting with Beth Kephart at Books of Wonder (which is a marvelous children’s bookstore–be prepared to buy when you get there…but that’s another post). Beth asked me how I liked a book by another author who was signing there and I said I liked the book, but it wasn’t literary.

That started me thinking. What made Beth’s book worth buying and having in my personal library while the other book was enjoyable but borrowed from my public library? Most of the authors I read tell you stories. By the end of the book you know what happened, have a good sense of the characters, their thoughts and feelings and come away satisfied.

With Beth’s books, though, you know more. You know what the characters look like, whether they have straight or frizzy hair, whether they comb it to the side, whether it looks like a bird’s nest or a waterfall. You know what the sky looks like, its color, texture, whether there are clouds and if so, what their shapes are and whether they are moving or static. You know what the trees look like, the sound the leaves make as they sway in the wind, the texture of the bark.

SmallDamagesOf Estela in Small Damages I wrote: “…perfection. The image of brusque, plump Estela, the cook who does not give love easily, but once she does it is with her whole heart and soul, is vivid.”

About Flow: The Life and Times of the Schuylkill River, I quoted “Blueback herring and eel, alewife and shad muscle in to my wide blue heart, and through… The stony backs of snapping turtles on the shore, muskrat, shrew, and from the unlanterned forest, the bark of a fox, the skith skith skith of snakes over leaves…..”Flow

One author uses pen and paper (do they still do that or is it keyboard and monitor?) to relate a story, a set of events. Another converts that electronic medium into a canvas, rich in color and texture. While there is room for both kinds of books, it is this latter kind of book that ends up in my bookcase.

I’ve described some of Beth’s books as ‘ethereal’ in texture. Some more so and some less. But they are all canvases upon which you will see a broad array of colors and textures, shades and lines through which you will visualize the world you are reading about.

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