I have been hosting a book club at Half Price Books in Humble for over two years. In that time, I’ve managed to procure two consistent clubbers. One comes in person, one joins us by phone. We’ve had others briefly come and go – but Glenn, Thom, and I, we are the club.
Glenn chose The Beekeeper’s Apprentice to discuss in January. It was fast paced and lovely. Glenn had already read it before and was very excited to hear my thoughts. We’ve read 25 books together over the years and enjoy picking things out for each other. We disagree and argue a lot, but in a pleasant way. I’m 30 and he could be my father. Thom is older too, and as I read The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, I kept thinking how fun a parallel it was that Holmes and Watson took a young Mary Russell under their wing. I may be more well read than Glenn, but he has the perspective of age on many topics and discussions which have proven useful.
The day of the meeting, “Mary Russell” responded to a tweet I sent out into the twittersphere and offered to answer any questions we may have regarding the book. I hoped that another customer I had met during the week would arrive because she passionately hated the book, and Glenn and I both passionately loved the book. But Glenn didn’t know how much I loved the book, because we hadn’t spoken of it yet. We only see each other once a month for club.
I sat at the table in the bookstore waiting for his long lanky figure to come striding down the aisle, wearing his hat and carrying his books. His gate is that of a number of tall men, long and lumber-y. He always takes copious notes and wants to methodically go through each point, each thought, and each word that struck his fancy. I speed read through things and like to talk about themes and over all feelings of the story. Thom pipes in on speaker phone with all sorts of knowledge neither Glenn and I have. I look forward to our exchanges every month.
Glenn didn’t arrive.
I stayed and waited, but gave up and went home, thinking perhaps I missed an email or a phone call explaining his absence.
Glenn Ray passed away that evening.
Laurie R. King and Mary Russell will always be simultaneously loved and tainted by the fact that they were the last words shared between me and a man who I had started to believe was my friend.
I would be remiss as a blogger, book lover, mother, former child, dreamer, and all around human being if I didn’t post something about Maurice Sendak upon his passing. Most famous for Where The Wild Things Are, Sendak has changed the lives of children all over the world since the early 60’s when Wild Things was first published. So influential was this picture book that it was made into a major motion picture/ live action film, has been on baby registry lists since registries were invented, is a Caldecott Medal Winner, and has become the face of children’s sections and bookstores everywhere. Just visit the Half Price Books in Rice Village of Houston, TX, there’s a huge wall mural honoring the beloved book and its illustrator (which I can’t find a photo of, so you’ll just have to go see it yourself!). All the way to London where on Streatham Hill you can find an outside mural of the most well known monsters of all time! (Check out the blog of that photographer here: http://unravelcat.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/art-outdoors-streatham-hill/.
Sendak made it to a whopping 83 and his life will be celebrated by a posthumous publication of his most current work called “My Brother’s Book” which he wrote in honor of his late brother. How fitting and beautiful that it will be his last new publication, and that he too will be gone for it.
Maurice Bernard Sendak was born June 10, 1928 and died May 8, 2012. For a proper ode to his entire life work, please read the New York Times article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/books/maurice-sendak-childrens-author-dies-at-83.html?pagewanted=all