I’m really enjoying this book a lot. It’s facinating. I also find that I can’t helping smiling throughout the whole thing! The book is divided by different types of smiles. I just finished the chapter on lewd smiles. The writer talks a great deal about how hard it is to figure out what makes one type of smile what it is. We recognize lewd grins, but how are they physically and visually different from, say, grimaces? Is it a lewd grin simply because of what else the person’s body or personality or something tells us? It’s a facinating question, and one I’m not sure we can ever really answer well, since we can’t remove context very easily when it comes to smiles.
I started reading A Brief History of the Smile by Angus Trumble last night. I’m really enjoying it (of course, how can you read about smiles without smiling?). It’s facinating to hear about the different types of smiles, different views on the subject, different cultural ideas about smiling, different psychological ideas, even how dentistry influences it. Did you know that President Cleveland had most of his jaw removed during his second presidential term? Neither did I. But he did. They kept it secret. Isn’t that interesting? I love learning strange things like that and this book is full of them.
I really like the emphasis on smiles in visual art (paintings and sculpture, primarily) and literature. It shows interesting trends (like a strange Victorian facination with teeth). I’m only a little ways into the book, but I’m loving it and can’t wait to keep reading it!
Expect more posts about it in the future (unless I finish it tonight or something).
I like getting to work in the children’s section at work (this shouldn’t surprise anyone). One of the best things is that throughout the evening I get the opportuntiy to read some picture books that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have read. Last night I was impressed with a few of the books I read (and horribly disappointed with a few). All of them will get written up on my website soon, but I wanted to post a few thoughts in the meantime. My favorites were Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand by Liz and Jay Scott (with help from Alex), Ruby Gloom’s Key to Happiness by Clam Lynch and Hello Kitty Hello World! by Higashi Glaser.
Ok, the first one is obvious why it’s so good. It’s a true story of a four year old cancer patient who decided to raise money for children’s cancer research by holding a lemonade stand and donating all the money. It’s the fact that it’s a true story that really gets you. It’s just so sweet.
The second book is a goth picture book. It’s adorable (I love the way Ruby is drawn) and very funny. Other than the creepy velvet cover, it’s a great book. There aren’t enough real goth picture books out there.
The third book I expected to not be particularly impressed with, but I was totally wrong. It’s a very simple book (there’s almost no text), but it doesn’t need to be more complicated. It tracks Hello Kitty’s travels around the world. Each of the thirteen countries she visits gets a two page spread with “Hello” in the country’s native language, a map showing it’s location in the world, and lots of little labeled pictures. There are pictures of food (Italy has five or so varieties of pasta labeled), costumes, landmarks, customs, and anything else that illustrates that country. It’s somewhat simplistic, but it is so charming that it hardly matters. The pictures are bright and colorful and fun! I just thought it was great. No wonder it’s been in print since 1976!
Anyway, I’ll write up all of these and more later, I just wanted to post a few thoughts now while I had a few minutes!
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I fixed the blog so that people can now leave comments.
Ok, so I’m a little over half way through this book. I’m enjoying it. It’s written very well (like all of Lloyd Alexander’s books). I guess what gets to me is that the plot almost seems like an afterthought at times. It’s an interesting plot and the randomness around it is usually interesting, but I wish the plot would be more of a focus! Maybe it will seem better when I get to the end. Maybe all this random stuff isn’t random at all. I suppose we’ll see!