Reason No. 416 why working in a library beats working at a newspaper: Hurricanes mean LESS work, not MORE work! In fact, Tropical Storm Fay was the perfect storm — a nothingburger in effect that gave us two days off work, ie. two extra days of reading time. And I took advantage of it. First, I read The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, a historical YA book about a black kid in Boston in the 1770s. He’s the subject of some weird experimentation; it’s a good read though I have to say I think it’s a tad … sophisticated? Not sure of the right word but I don’t know how many kids would get into it. Then again, kids get into Philip Pullman and lots of other pretty complex stuff so maybe I’m selling them short.
Yesterday I read Disarmed by Gregory Curtis, a history of the Venus de Milo — what a great nonfiction read and a very interesting comparison to a book I recently read called The Linguist and the Emperor. Both dealt with antiquities unearthed by the French in the early 19th century but that’s about all they have in common. The Linguist and the Emperor (which is about the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone, sort of) was a mess. Disarmed was a treat. I can’t wait to read Curtis’ new(er) book, The Cave Painters. He’s got a real talent for making a story understandable and putting it in historical context without getting bogged down or jumping around so much that the narrative becomes incomprehensible (see: The Linguist and the Emperor).