Critical acclaim is nice and all, but when it comes to selling books in America, a few things are evidently nicer: Nicole Kidman’s face, a Hollywood marketing budget and a healthy dollop of religious controversy. This week, “His Dark Materials” jumps to No. 1 on the series list.
Monthly Archives: December 2007
I’ve a post below on the Guardian Book Club’s focus this month on His Dark Materials. (Updated to include two columns by John Mulland). But I just came across the quiz they set for the audience at the interview the other night and thought it was entertaining enough to get a post of its own:
(Darn — I got two wrong!)
Missed this one back in July:
Philip Pullman talks with John Mullan of the Guardian Book Club about writing, reading, narrators, Milton, daemons, Mrs. Coulter, angels’ taste in food, among many other things (and gives a very intriguing little hint about on extra bit in his forthcoming book Once Upon a Time in the North).
The untitled sequel is described as bridging the 60-year gap between the end of J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Hobbit” and the beginning of the “Rings” trilogy….
Okay, now we are Tolkien scholars of some 30 years standing, and even we can’t quite figure what this is about. The drowning of Frodo’s parents? Aragorn’s deeds in Arnor? Balin’s failure in Moria? The torturing of Arwen’s mom by the orcs? The life of Gollum?
Thanks to New York Magazine’s Vulture Blog for the link.
Fingers crossed (for the next two movies).
In a post this week Jenny Davidson commented on Caleb Crain’s New Yorker article, “Twilight of the Books” (as I have too) and also pointed readers to his blog, Steamboats Are Ruining Everything. In particular, Crain is providing additional information and reference information connected to his article in a series of posts. As of this writing he has done:
“This is the most important book in the history of literature,” wrote one man wearing a robe with moons and stars on it, who was clearly unable to conceal his enthusiasm for flying horses and magic dust. “I hope Lord Voldemort loses!”
Micki’s husband, David Galletly, wrote:
I can not thank you enough for providing a space for friends to share their feelings for Micki. I have been reading the posts since yesterday and have shared the link with April, our families and friends as well as a printout of them with Micki’s mom. Your kind words and those of her colleagues have been of great comfort on a very difficult day as we laid her to rest. Micki, as you know, touched many in her all too brief life. She collected people in several different circles, which did not quite know about or understand each other. Your blog has let them know just how others in another of Micki’s circles loved her as much as they did.
One of those people that knew and loved her was our Rabbi Scott Shpeen who conducted her memorial service and eulogized her today. Scott’s daughter Hillary was born within days of April and they attended each others birthday parties from the age of 2. It is a bit long for a post so I wanted to share it with you directly, pasted below. It is an extraordinary effort from another of her friends to tie together Micki’s circles. Please feel free to use it as you wish.
Micki Sue Nevett
None of us should be here today. We should all be out and about doing whatever it is that we would normally be doing at this time of the day. But we are all here today, brought to this place because fate has dealt someone whom we love and for whom we care such a bitter blow.
Our natural inclination is to cry out, “why?” Why has someone so very kind and dear, someone who always had a smile on her face, someone who would give you the shirt off her back, someone who truly loved life, why has she been taken from us at such a young age, truly in the prime of her life, so suddenly and without warning?
Of course, there are no answers to our questions. We look for some sort of rationale, some sort of logic, but truly none is to be found. Instead, we do what our heart dictates. We are here together to bear this tragedy as a community and to stand with you, Micki’s dear family, and to envelop you with our love and concern, and to anchor you through these stormy hours with our presence and our unwavering support.
All of us here, in one way or another, crossed paths and shared a special connection, a special bond with our dear Micki. Micki branched out into many different circles in her life, each overlapping to form the fabric of her world. Whether it was friends from childhood, college classmates, colleagues with whom she worked, students whom she taught, neighbors and fellow parents, precious friends in her chavurah, fellow congregants here at Beth Emeth, Micki maintained relationships and connections with people from all aspects of her life.
In fact, these relationships which formed the core of her being and was the common thread throughout her life, focused primarily in three different spheres.
First and foremost, Micki treasured the strong bonds which linked all of her family to each other. Born in Brooklyn, the Nevetts later moved to Plainview, Long Island when Micki was a young teenager. For the first nine years of her life, Micki relished the fact that she was an only child to her parents Stanley and Evelyn. She savored the attention and the love showered upon her. Oftentimes, she would jokingly remind her sister Wendy, who is nine years younger, and brother Jonathon, twelve years younger, that all was well and good for those first nine years!!
And although Micki was that much older than Wendy and Jonathon, still they shared a very close and loving bond throughout their lives. When Wendy married Paul and Jonathon married Karen, they, too, were warmly embraced into Micki’s heart and the closeness extended even further as nieces and nephews Ted, Mady, Rachel, Michael and Danielle were each born.
When Micki’s father, Stanley, died a year ago March, she lost a father that she truly adored and treasured those early childhood memories of his taking her to the Park or to the zoo and wonderful afternoons the two often spent together.
Evelyn: Micki, I know, was a very caring and devoted daughter. You both were always in constant contact, talking to each other nearly each and every day. It came as no surprise to me to learn that Micki was a wonderful child growing up, rarely if ever any cause for upset or rebellion…but always with a smile on her face, with a good natured, positive and upbeat disposition.
Evelyn: There are no words that could begin to describe the loss you have now sustained. I only hope and pray that God will give you the strength and the fortitude you now need to take one day at a time and find your solace in all of the blessings in Micki’s life and the MANY lives that she touched, as evidenced by the outpouring here today, and the immeasurable influence that she has left in our community.
Micki came here to Albany to attend SUNYA in 1971 and quickly Albany became her home. Because of her love of literature and avid interest in reading, Micki was an English major. In her senior year, she took a course in Children’s Literature offered through the school of Library Science. Well, that one class made such an impression that it set the course for the rest of her career. Micki found a perfect match between her love of words and literature AND sharing that love with others, especially children.
This began the second very important circle in Micki’s life, her career as a Librarian and a storyteller par excellance.
Any of us who have ever had the good fortune to watch Micki read a book or tell a story to a group of children know what I mean when I say it was a marvel to behold. It was like watching an artist create the canvas in front of your very eyes. Perched on the edge of her chair, book propped high in the air, her voice and her facial expressions enabled the words to come alive and the story she was telling to take on a magical quality. What a gift she had in sharing her love of anything having to do with books, stories and literature.
Micki first worked in our area in the Bethlehem Public Library which provided the initial encouragement for her to develop her professional skills. For the past 15 years she has worked in the Guilderland school district primarily as Media Specialist at the Westmere Elementary school where her spirit and enthusiasm inspired a generation of students that came to love books and reading from Micki.
During her long career as a Librarian, Micki was actively involved in the American Library Association. Last year she was elected to serve on the very prestigious Newbery Book Award Selection Committee, truly a feather in the cap of her professional career.
The third sphere in which Micki lived her life was in our Jewish community. From a young age, she learned to love and appreciate the beauty of Judaism from her parents and the home in which she was raised. Early in her life Micki understood the importance of being connected to a synagogue having the role model of her father serving as President of their Temple.
So when she settled here in Albany and put down her roots, it became second nature for Micki to immerse herself in our Jewish community. She became part of a wonderful and special chavurah, a friendship group of families that have grown together over these years celebrating so many holidays and milestones.
Joining our Beth Emeth, Micki first became involved in our Religious school as our Children’s Librarian and master story teller as well. Just this past year, Micki was elected to our Board of Trustees and took over as chair of our Religious School committee. She was so very proud of that invitation and as busy as she was, there wasn’t anything that Micki couldn’t do, and do well, if she put her mind to it.
Her family, her colleagues, her students, her friends and neighbors, her Temple family here at Beth Emeth, we have all lost a very precious part of our lives and a shining spirit that brightened and enriched our community.
But as we say in our tradition, Acharon, Acharon, Chaviv….We save the most precious for last. And certainly the most precious in Micki’s life were you, David, and you, April.
Many years ago, when both David and Micki were students at SUNY and Micki was Student Government Secretary and David was involved in student government and work at the school radio station, their paths often crossed and they shared many friends in common. It was a comfortable friendship.
But it wasn’t until David came back to school his Senior year having sprouted a new beard over the summer, that he caught Micki’s eye in a different way and she quickly told him, “You look like Abe Lincoln!”. The relationship took a new turn and the they began dating more seriously.
David eventually graduated and went to work at a local radio station. Micki graduated the following year and accepted a position as a Children’s Librarian in Connecticut. That one year of commuting cemented their relationship and David claims that he lured Micki back to Albany with Friehofer Chocolate Cookies and a marriage proposal!
Thirty years ago this past October, David and Micki began their life together and set down their permanent roots in our community. David, as we know, ended up at WAMC and Micki as a Librarian, truly each other’s best friend, strongest supporter and closest confidant.
Then six years into their marriage, April arrived and life was never the same! Well, not only did Micki relish having an only child, remembering well how it felt those first years of her own life, but truly the sun rose and set in Micki’s eyes when it came to April.
Not only did Micki support anything and everything that April wanted to do, and would often step back and take a deep breath at April’s boundless energy and enthusiasm which rivaled her own, but like a lioness fiercely protecting her cub, you don’t mess with Micki when it came to April. All of a sudden, this easy going, good natured, sweet woman could rev it up a notch if it meant defending or supporting her daughter. Legend has it that Micki nearly ran down a High School teacher in the parking lot because he was mean to April! How very proud she was of all that April did in her life, everything that she accomplished and achieved.
Through all of what life presented over the years, Micki’s love for both David and April was total, immeasurable and unconditional…..truly the defining essence of all that Micki was and in all that she believed.
Why is it, then, that it takes a tragedy for many of us to really appreciate life and appreciate those with whom we share life’s journey? If nothing else, Micki, who loved life and who lived life so fully, her death has taught us so much about living…..And if we leave here today, yes, stunned by the shock and the tragedy of her death but committed to honoring the memory of one who was so special, so dear, so warm and welcoming, the way we will live OUR lives will then be a tribute to all that Micki meant to each one of us!
Micki, may you ever rest in peace, dear friend, dear and sweet soul that you were, and know that your memory will ALWAYS remain among us as truly the blessing you were!
Rabbi Scott L. Shpeen
Congregation Beth Emeth