Sunday!

Maribou told me “Dude, you’ve got to read this book.” She then handed me Book or Bell? by Chris Barton. It’s a simple little story about Henry, who is enjoying reading his book… except the bell rings.

And it’s the story about what happens when Henry decides that the book is more important than the bell.

If you are a big fan of making sure that the kids in your life get books that do not depict grownups as automatons who do not know how to deal with insubordination other than by doubling down, you should avoid this book and do what you can to make sure that the kids in your purview avoid the book.

If, however, you are an uncle or other somewhat subversive role model, you *SERIOUSLY* need to get your hands on this. It’s a fun, funny book about what happens when a kid decides to ignore the bell.

The story is wacky in a way that will appeal to the anarchist that exists in children, the illustrations have all sorts of little wacky touches (and little easter eggs), and it’s a book that will withstand multiple re-readings if it happens to become a bedtime story (and it might… it’s that good).

But don’t get it if you’re trying to explain the “hey, you just have to do what you’re told” thing. It won’t help with that.

So… what are you reading and/or watching?


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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12 thoughts on “Sunday!

  1. Swift and the Dialectical Tradition, which shows that Swift’s studies at Trinity University, Dublin included a healthy dose of Cicero. Sort of an advanced version of Book or Bell?

    Also, Habermas and the Foundations of Critical Theory. The Grammar Nazi in me found two misspellings and a punctuation error within the first two pages I read, but it is very informative nonetheless.

    Finished the Kalevala, no pun intended.

    I have an analysis of Pro Archia and the Philippics on deck.

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  2. This novel by Rick Revelle (a member of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation) called I Am Algonquin. It’s an odd sort of a book, about 50 percent (rather blood-and-guts) adventure, 48 percent history lesson about pre-European-contact Algonquins delivered quite info-dumpily, and 2 percent characterization. Normally I like more characterization in my novels, but I’m rather digging this one -it’s brisk, it’s interesting, and there’s far less repetition than usual in infodump-heavy novels that aren’t by KSR – and I will probably read the sequels. Can only read a chunk at a time though, otherwise the blood and gore get to me (kinda like the Iliad in that way and possibly a couple others).

    I also read the 2nd book in Sherry Thomas’ “Sherlock was a woman!” (with Asperger’s! Although we don’t call it that because that is not a period-appropriate term!) series, A Conspiracy in Belgravia. Every bit as brilliant as the first book, possibly better, and with far less (not zero) discussion of incest. I look forward to the third book being even better than the 2nd, and possibly NOT TALKING ABOUT INCEST AT ALL. That would be great. Because if it weren’t from that one major stumbling block, this would be my favorite Sherlock-Holmes-derived series. I would’ve thought Laurie King’s Russell books had that locked up forever…. but Thomas *could* actually edge her out, at this rate… then again I’m a few books behind on Russell at the moment…. I look forward to future developments.

    *ahem* Anyway.

    I also started reading this comic I participated in the kickstarter for, The Bisexual Book of Trials and Errors, which so far is absolutely fabulous if you like autobiographical comics about dating and/or the everyday complications of queerness. I’m only 45 pages in, but that’s because I was running late for my weekly Outlander rendezvous. And now I want to watch Lucifer. And The Good Place. Maybe THEN more comic. Or sleep. One of those.

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  3. Still writing. Didn’t get anything done on the novel this week, but did bang out 6,000 or so words for one of the short stories that helps me — I think — by providing some back story, one character per short story. The next week will be harder to find writing time, as we’re off to Omaha for my Mom’s 90th birthday.

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    • @chris-barton

      And the reason I was reading Book or Bell? so soon after it came out, in the car as I waited for Jaybird to come out of the store, immediately after we stopped by the library, so that he was *right there* when I finished it and could conveniently be handed the book in a situation where he’d actually listen to me?

      Was because of how very much I enjoyed Whoosh! and The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, when I was binging on picture book biographies earlier this year. I was on the hold list for Book or Bell? even before it came out.

      As well as passing it on to Jay, I also FINALLY figured out what to get my niece for her birthday… I think she and her dad will both love it.

      Thank you for writing such wonderful books!

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        • I’m a college librarian, but my mom was a reading teacher and a K through junior high librarian before she retired… she was an adamant promoter of the value of visually-heavy books, and did a lot of picture-book teaching even when she was working with junior high students. (They were always really startled at the beginning of the unit but eventually got into the spirit of things.)

          So I never entirely lost the habit. Then when my loved ones started having babies, I got back into reading them in a serious way … that explains the connoisseurship, I think.

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