Monday, January 28, 2008


Cyn and I just got back from Phoenix, where the American Intellectual Property Law Association was having its Mid-Winter Institute. (I was attending so as to fulfill my CLE requirement). The sessions were more interesting than I was expecting (really).

Venue for the event was the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, which was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. In addition, the hotel houses some of the remaining Midway Sprites (seen here), from the old Midway Gardens in Chicago. The place was extremely restful and an excellent choice for the Institute, as well as for a writer retreat. (Cynthia spent the days working on a couple of her new projects; she also took a glass artifact making class that was sponsored by AIPLA.).

Definitely one of our better hotel experiences.

Food was excellent; we ate at Wright's, the more formal place, twice: Highlights included buffalo sirloin and elk sirloin, as well as tuna tartare and potato soup. The Biltmore Grill, the more casual place, was also excellent, and had some menu overlap with Wright's.

Now back to work...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages, by Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr., and illustrated by Luis V. Rey (Random House 2007). This is a terrific book and, as the title suggests, both comprehensive and appropriate for ages middle grade and up. Particularly novel is the complete dinosaur genus list in the back.

Paleontologist Holtz provides excellent explanations of, and descriptions of, all of the dinosaur families. He also includes extensive discussions on the science of paleontology, cladistics, geology, etc. Illustrator Rey adds color and verve to the account, providing radical and eye-catching interpretations of dinosaur soft tissues and feathers, reminding us that we really have no idea what dinosaurs may have looked like in the flesh.

Definitely a must-read for dinosaur aficionados of all ages.

Dr. Holtz has a web page full of updates and supplemental material here.


Repossessed, by A.M. Jenkins (HarperTeen 2007). Kiriel is a demon (err, "fallen angel"). Bored with the underworld, he hijacks the body of teen-ager Shaun just before he dies. Kiriel experiences physical existence for the first time as he takes over Shaun's life, and all that that entails. Not just taste and sight and smell and feel and sex, which are all terrific, but mortal relationships and interpersonal interactions. Once the novelty wears off, though, Kiriel realizes he wants to make the most of his current make a difference.

Told with a voice that captures Kiriel's sense of the novelty and wonder of Creation, Repossessed is at once fun and substantive, providing a unique and often funny perspective on mortality and teenage existence.

Comment: This is the only one of the Printz honorees I read last year. I could've sworn I'd blogged it, but apparently not (Fall was kind of hectic last year). Cyn has an interview with Jenkins here.
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