The month of June is inevitable. So too is Bob Schofield’s new book.
“The Inevitable June," forthcoming from theNewerYork Press June 1 (mark your calendars, people!), is a quirky, unpredictable adventure that is likely to leave you feeling well-traveled and maybe even a little seasick.
Much like the old woman who kisses the narrator on the cheek one day in early June, each page of the book provides an unexpected surprise. Whether it’s seeing a man falling from the sky or reading the words “boxcar mustache," this book is a page-turner through and through. If you don’t read it in one sitting, shame on you (but really, I won’t judge; I suppose it’s O.K. if you get interrupted by your hungry dog or your whistling teapot on the stove or something).
The kind folks at theNewerYork Press describe “The Inevitable June" as "a surreal, poetic adventure." This is a fact. Here are three other important facts you need to know about this book:
1. To not like this book would be comparable to not liking, say, ice cream or pizza. You would be a freak.
2. You know how writers often say to themselves, “Damn. I wish I had written that"? Yeah. That may happen to you a lot while you're appreciating this book's lovely black and white insides. You may also find yourself repeating the word “nice" (or any similar word that you tend to use when you come across something delicious).
3. If theNewerYork Press keeps publishing books like Schofield’s, they truly are going to accomplish exactly what they intend to do: "end the triumvirate of novels, short stories, and poetry." *CUE LOUD ROUND OF APPLAUSE*
Compact enough to fit inside your fancy lunch box or your travelin’, jammin’ bag of importante documents, “The Inevitable June" is most certainly worthy of being shared. I mean, I have a ton of friends who I know would adore this book. I also have friends who would say, “What is this?” And, well, I think that’s exactly the kind of compliment that Schofield ultimately desires.
To pre-order “The Inevitable June,” click here.
There's something quite lovely about library catalog cards.
When I have children of my own, I know I'm going to want to share with them all the books and stories that have come to mean so much to me: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (and, frankly, every story ever written by Oscar Wilde), Walden by Henry David Thoreau, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, The Cask of Amontillado and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway, The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Swim Team by Miranda July, Joyas Voladoras by Brian Doyle, Sea Oak by George Saunders, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and, of course, the entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
A quick glance at the above list demonstrates that these books/stories wouldn't necessarily resonate with a toddler (I mean, unless he/she was a G-E-N-I-U-S!). Therefore, someday I'll need to be on the hunt for children's books--books with charming photos, books with a good message, books that would help get my little kiddo interested in the beauty of the written word.
Wouldn't you know: I think I've found my first one! It's called "Henry Hikes to Fitchburg" by D.B. Johnson. This author must, like me, be a huge Walden fan. "Henry Hikes to Fitchburg" is a gorgeously illustrated book that details how Henry the bear and his friend take two very different paths to get to the same destination. While his friend stops at just about every corner to earn money, Henry takes the Walden-esque approach by taking in all of his surroundings, enjoying the beauty of nature, and not letting money dangle like a carrot in front of his nose all the time. Today, Brainpickings.org highlights the incredible approach Johnson takes with his debut children's book. You can read the story here, and see photos from the book itself. Talk about cute!
*Cue applause for D.B. Johnson now*
Oscar Wilde is my favorite writer. Hands down. No questions asked. I discovered Oscar's writing when I was in college and ever since, it's been love at every read.
I have spent a majority of my summer 2013 reading and studying Oscar's entire anthology of work. This includes his first and only brilliant novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," his moral-filled fairy tales, his wonderfully written plays, his honest poetry and his incredibly insightful essays. I've immensely enjoyed this effort that I've put forth to learn more about what makes Oscar Wilde a literary standout, a motivator to my own written works. What makes my studies even more exhilarating is watching the movies that have been produced throughout the years, many of which are adaptations of his plays.
But seeing one of his plays live . . . seeing Oscar's work come to life as he used to see it come to life . . . that is a real blessing for me. It turns out that the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, located right next to the gorgeous Cathedral of Learning in Oakland, is currently showing "Lady Windermere's Fan." Directed by fellow Oscar Wilde enthusiast Alan Stanford, this amiable director transports the play from the Victorian era to 1947 and convinces audiences that the show is worth every single penny they paid to see it (that's around 4,800 pennies, to be precise).
So there I was, in the audience next to my favorite person in the whole world, watching the work of my favorite writer in the whole world. It was a good night. Can you imagine how happy I was during intermission? If for some reason you can't, here's a photo to help you:
My first Oscar Wilde play. Right in the middle of summer on a beautiful night in Pittsburgh. Not only did the show reaffirm my love for Oscar Wilde's work, but also put into perspective just how many other people appreciate what Oscar Wilde had to say, and how his words still resonate with us all today.
If you happen to live in or near Pittsburgh and you're interested in seeing this play, I highly recommend it. It plays at PICT through July 27. A great opportunity to see a true work of art and to also support a lovely theatre. For more information or to purchase tickets (go you!), visit PICT's website here: http://www.picttheatre.org/.
And now, a quote from "Lady Windermere's Fan" that many have probably heard of but few have stopped to re-read and repeat: "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
The spine caught my eye.
I pulled the book from the bookshelf and examined the cover. The designs were intricate, the pages worn. That old book smell lingered up and into my nostrils as I flipped through the pages enthusiastically yet gently.
The copyright date was missing, but an introduction by the publisher was signed with the year: 1891.
So there I was, standing in the corner of my favorite bookstore, unable to put down a book that contained famous short stories by an author whom I very much respect.
But the book itself--gosh, the book itself--the book itself was a story. Where had it been since its publication date in 1891? Whose eyes wandered upon the pages? How did the book get there--who passed it on and who passed it down? These are all questions that one must ask when holding an old book.
It’s a glorious experience, really. An old book is time turned tangible.
When I took the book to the checkout counter, the bookstore owner placed a dab of lotion on a soft cloth and showed me how to make the cover more becoming.
“It won’t hurt it,” she said, as I watched her rub the surface with care before lifting up the cloth and showing it to me. “See how much dirt is on there?”
But I didn’t mind the dirt. It seemed natural. It seemed as though it had been there forever.
The beauty of books is that they have long lifespans. Think about it: old books have survived wars and outlived thousands of people. Maybe the pages are earmarked and yellowed, and maybe the spine is dented or the inside page missing . . . but smell them. Hold them. Love them. Appreciate them. They’ve traveled a long way just to get to you.
Fiction, poetry, and all that good stuff . . .