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Friday, March 13, 2015

Beverly Cleary and Kim Gordon (I don't know that those two names have ever been in the same sentence)

I'm taking a few minutes to get this out there while I'm thinking of it, so it may not be a perfectly formed post.

At work, I'm processing books in our library's technical services department when I come across the early 1990s reprints of Beverly Cleary's Ribsy. The illustrations are not the classic Louis Darling ones that I remember from my youth in the '70s, they are--at least in my judgment--inferior "modernized" illustrations.

1950s Louis Darling illustration from a Beverly Cleary book

Part of the charm of the old Beverly Cleary books was that they were from the fifties, and the characters portrayed in the illustrations dressed differently from the Pro-Keds and cut-off jeans of my 1970s youth. I liked the exoticness of it all. It was an artifact from the past, yet the stories still had a universality that applied to my life in 1970s Detroit as much as 1950s Portland, Oregon (where the Beezus & Ramona and Henry Huggins books were set). Do kids these days really need "contemporary" illustrations to make the books more relevant? I'd like to think not. But what do I know?

Rant over.

***

I just finished reading Kim Gordon's memoir, Girl in a Band. Good reading if you have any interest in Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon, No Wave music, or just the "alternative" music scene of the 1980s and 1990s. Early press and reviews I read made a big deal out of comments Kim Gordon made about Lana del Rey and Courtney Love. What's the issue? I didn't find anything Gordon wrote to be outlandish or slanderous; and it really is only a small portion of the book. Lana del Rey I have little interest in anyway, and who really thinks Courtney Love is or has ever been in her right mind?