Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Pale Blue Eye

I love Halloween. I don't get into the dressing up myself, but I enjoy helping the kids pick out their costumes. I like listening to the goofy spooky music on the radio. Fall is my favorite season of the year; so full of color and smells. It's odd, even though everything is dying, this is the time of year I feel the most energy and life. There's nothing better than walking through crunchy leaves in the bright sunshine with a stiff breeze and the smell of rotting apples and smoke in the air. I dropped Mia off in her classroom this morning, and the excitement was electric. Twenty four-year olds in costume, it felt like being on the inside of a pinball machine. I like your costume. Do you want to try on my hat? I'm a ninja! I LOVE dressing up! I think every sentence was ended with an exclamation point. Mia is a bat princess this year. Molly dressed up as a witch for the school party, and Doogie was a cereal killer (mini-cereal boxes and plastic knives taped to his clothing) at a costume party last weekend. We don't trick or treat door to door. That's kind of hard to do in the country when door to door means a half mile between! We travel to friends and family in the area. So I'll pick up Molly, Doogie, and Andrew (Molly's BF) at the high school at 4 pm, then we'll head to my Dad's in Gillett and work our way back to Oconto Falls to drop Andrew off at his grandma's by 6:30. Lots of running, but the trip with the kids is worth every moment. They tend to talk more when trapped in an enclosed vehicle with me.

I've been reading Dracula since this weekend, and the book surpasses all of my expectations. I can see why this vampire novel continues to live in our cultural minds 110 years after its writing. Unlike the movies, the suspense builds slowly and creeps into my head. When I wake up at night, I can't remember if what I've dreamt came from the book or my imagination. Even Jesse (who hasn't started the audiobook yet) is having disturbing dreams since I started reading it.

The Pale Blue Ey
e by Louis Bayard is the finest book I've read using Edgar Allen Poe as a fictional character, and one of the better suspense stories I've ever read. Gus Landor is a former NYC detective living a quiet life in the Hudson Valley when the heads of West Point approach him to investigate the mysterious death of a cadet, along with the removal of his heart. The academy has just opened and has multiple detractors ready to bring it down in 1830, so they want the detective to work quietly and quickly. Landor quickly recruits Cadet Poe (who really did attend West Point) to aid in his search for the truth. But then another cadet dies and his heart is taken too. Bayard gives a terrific characterization of both Landor and Poe using historical documents to back up Poe's habits. Eventually Landor suspects Poe of involvement, and the conversations between the two are electric. Ultimately there is a major twist that I won't give away, but Bayard carries it off with skill and writes an ending that will haunt long after you've put down the book.

No candy for me though, the new medicine has kicked in, and I'm back on a Saltines only diet. The doctor prescribed Enbrel for me, but the insurance company makes me jump through multiple hoops before approval, so it will be another two weeks before I can start to get some relief.