Friday, March 26, 2010

Hard Road by Barbara D'Amato

For my recent birthday, a friend sent me a copy of HARD ROAD by Barbara D'Amato - an author and a book I didn't know anything about.

I'm happy to have a copy but not because the writing was so good.  I don't know what age group the author was targeting but hopefully it was the adult market.  It must not have been for the 10 year old market, either because some nice lady's head got shot into pieces early on at an Oz festival in Chicago.  

Because it is a mystery, there was a lot of running through the Chicago tunnels, some reporter trying to figure out the culprit and threats on the main character's life
.  All of this intrigue while using Oz characters' names that the reader is supposed to be able to track down to the original character in the Oz books - a puzzle within a mystery. An unusual writing style I would guess.

However, to me the more interesting part of the book is the last 40 pages where the author's son, Brian D'Amato addresses L. Frank Baum's life, career and the never ending theory's of what he really meant in his Oz stories.  He mentions Macatawa, MI where Baum built Sign of the Goose, a cottage on Lake Michigan so named because he bought it with the money he made from Father Goose: His Book, Baum's pre-Oz book.  I used to live in Holland, MI which has now pretty much absorbed "Macatawa" although there is a post office there still with that name.

Brian also addresses various criticisms of Baum's books, some criticism of Baum (specifically the articles he wrote referred to as the "Sitting Bull" editorials,  "The Wooden Gargoyles", "Transmutation" and "Rough Play".  If you are interested in different interpretations of the Oz books and don't have this one, it might be of interest to you.  The same is true if you are an Oz collector and don't have this one yet.  It was published in 2001 by Scribner with an illustrated dust jacket.  My copy is signed :).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Retirement Begins With a Party!

My work at the medical library has ended after 7 yrs and 11 months. When I was younger, this was called "unemployment" but now that I'm 65 it is called "retirement" :)

One major difference is that there was a very nice luncheon held to send me out the door.  Many of the very nice library volunteers took more time out of their week to attend and wish me well.  I was quite surprised and moved by their generosity of time, sentiments and gifts!  They all chipped in to purchase a Garmin GPS and suitcase to get me started on my retirement travels.  I also received flowers, balloons, and a couple of other more personal gifts along with the cards.  
I don't
know how many volunteers I worked with over the years but I had the opportunity to meet a lot of very, very nice people and I hope that I'm able to keep in touch with many of them.