Two Fun Books From the Library Stacks
A Girl Named Zippy
Ignore the silly title, run, do not walk, to your library to pick this one up. Zippy grew up in the 70s, in small town Indiana. She writes like a crazy-cat-lady with moments of pure joy and wonder. I read this and relived the 70s, which was fun, but what I really loved was Zippy's mother. The God-fearing Quaker mother who loved Isaac Asimov, and dabbled in ESP, and spent twenty years making a permanent dent in the couch reading maybe forty thousand novels. I am completely desolated that the sequel to this book, She Got Up Off the Couch, And Other Heroic Acts.. is not available from the library. I will be running, not walking to the library to put a request in the suggestion box. I really want to know what it was that got her mother off that couch.
The good news is that a number of Haven Kimmel's novels are in the library. Can they be as good as the autobiography? I will let you know.
One Red Paperclip
This is a very intriguing idea. A young man at a loose end, with no spare cash and no real interest in getting an actual job, wants to provide a house for him and his girlfriend. He decides to see if he can 'swap up' from a paperclip to a house. Apparently this is quite the story. Both my oldest children had heard of it via all the cool alternative news feed-y things they are always reading, but I only read about gardening and hadn't seen it until someone (?) recommended it on a blog.
It is clearly an enticing concept. I was reading it at the pool yesterday while in nominal charge of two nine year olds. They kept running back to me, a) to ask me for money for food/waterslide tickets etc and b) to find out what Kyle had swapped up to now. The first thing Posy asked this morning was whether he got the house...
I don't want to sound uncharitable, but I found this book a tiny bit, well, cutesie. I don't feel men ought to try and be cute. Men ought to be, well, manly. They can even lean towards the slightly grumpy. When they aren't being grumpy they can be truly hilarious if they want to. But not cute in a slightly teenage girly-sort of way. And he lets his mother cut his hair. That being said, I was struck by one aspect of Kyle's story - that in order for something interesting to happen, you have to put yourself, and your idea out into the arena where it can happen. This is not a new idea, or an astounding one, but here it happens over and over again, and it's a recurring theme, so it kind of keeps hitting you round the head with its sense, and also its sense of the possibilities. Because this is also not just about material gain, but about connections between people, and looking at out-of-the-box ways to achieve a very ordinary goal, and about the wonderful craziness of a silly idea coming to fruition. There is something very compelling about the whole thing. Red paperclip to house. Way cool.