She's Baaaaack!

In the immortal words of Marvin: "Life . . . don't talk to me about life!" Okay, go ahead & talk about it, I'm delighted to hear all about yours!, but the point is, that's what has been going on at breakneck speed these past three weeks or so and kept me from blogging about mine. It's kept me from my mandala studies, alas, and I don't expect to get back to that in earnest till after May 6th (when final grades from all four of my courses must be turned in OR ELSE).

It has not, however, prevented me from reading, and today I want to enthuse about my discovery of a 2001 book by one of my very favorite authors, Daniel Pinkwater: Fat Camp Commandos. As with the vast majority of his books, it is a book for grownups thinly disguised as a children's book - or, alternatively, a book for children written as if they actually had brains.

In other words, Pinkwater has proved once again what a complete and utter mensch he is by expecting that all of his readers are menschen as well. But it takes one to know one, and this is why Pinkwater is not for everyone.

Only DP could manage to combine Deepak Chopra, Barnes and Noble, Gilbert and Sullivan, Weight Watchers, fortune-telling chickens and terrible potato puns and come up with a story that actually (sort of) makes sense. If you've got the right kind of sense of humor, it will make you smile right down to your toes.

My family has been reading Daniel Pinkwater's books since C was about 3 (that's 17 years, folks) and we bought a copy of The Big Orange Splot. We have since listened to his books on tape, read them aloud as a family, and given many as gifts (but only to very special people). He's part of our family heritage.

While I'm being light-hearted, let me tell you about another author whose menchity (menschness? menschiosity?) shines forth in his writing. Joann Sfar, who incidentally has the most bizarre-looking cat, is a writer and artist responsible for graphic novels about subjects as diverse as klezmer music, talking cats, lovelorn vampires and ancient dungeons.

Sfar blends pathos and comedy in his plots, while in his art he combines finely-detailed elements with silly, cartoonish figures.

I just finished reading Vampire Loves the other day, and I enjoyed it tremendously. Ferdinand the Vampire is a sweetie-pie - there's no other word for it, and he very carefully only pierces his victims with one tooth so as to leave marks that look like mosquito bites rather than fang marks.

And yet . . . he is such a clueless man that you just want to smack him upside the head for not getting the point! Very funny book, and very sweet. A similar humor to, though much lighter subject matter than The Rabbi's Cat, which I read two years ago and found quite a lovely treatment of certain aspects of Judaism.

I should be thinking about what to serve for dinner tonight.


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