Monday, June 13, 2011

A dead Shuffle, Alchemy, The Book With No Words and an ipod Touch

I’ve heard that there are no coincidences…..and if this is true, I’m a lucky girl because my ipod Shuffle died two days ago.

Last week, I shared this wonderful, touching, full of hope book; A Grace Given by Kent Gilges. One of the quotations in that book that author shares is from Pearl S. Buck; “There is alchemy in sorrow. It can be transmuted into wisdom, which, if it can, does not bring joy, can yet bring happiness.”

The word and idea of alchemy has haunted me since reading it. I’ve pondered it as I wash dishes, walk the dog, weed jellybean garden III. I’m sort of stuck on it. Usually, the best way for me to unstick from anything is to write about it in some way. Alchemy, the ancient art of combining metals to produce gold, or the philosopher’s stone and elixir of life, is rich in history, analogy and a precursor to modern chemistry—lots there to consider and imagine.

My fascination led me to Wikipedia, again. I’m a terrible school librarian for my love of Wikipedia. It’s just so loaded with information and tidbits and links to other pieces of information and tidbits and more links….bad that it can be changed by the readership or anyone with an agenda. We don’t allow students to use Wikipedia as a true scholarly authority because of its changeability. But, its good in that Wikipedia’s accuracy is similar to Encyclopedia Britannica (Study Wikipedia as Accurate as Britannica and handy for ridiculously curious people stuck on a word like alchemy!

Funny that at the bottom of my of my library bag was a playaway book of Avi’s The Book With No Words. This playaway (an MP3 player loaded with a single book) had been in my bag for weeks, renewed by me again and again as one of those stories I was getting too after A Grace Given. The book is a gothic tale about an alchemist. Perfect! The Book With No Words goes right along with my thirst for ideas, words and images of alchemy. Furthermore, the story is great! A thirteen year old servant girl named Sybil, a talking raven and a desperate green-eyed boy join forces to discover Master Thorston’s alchemy secrets before evil Master Bashcroft steals all the riches for himself. In the mix is a mysterious and frightening monk, Wilfred, whose knowledge of The Book With No Words is deadly serious. It’s a great story and perfect for Middle School Age kids who love a gothic world, good vs. evil and stories that give one the shivers. But, that’s all I can say about the book because at the beginning of chapter 4 the playaway went caflooey! It broke and I won’t know the rest of the story until I get back to the library and check the old fashioned book with words to find out what happens to Sybil, Odo the raven and Alfric the green-eyed boy. My ipod Shuffle is dead….so I can’t even load the story onto that from the CD version to listen to as I walk the dog, wash dishes or weed the garden. This must mean I need an ipod Touch.

See, an ipod Touch can serve as an ereader and audiobook player along with soooo many other things. Doesn’t it seem necessary that I ensure being able to finish my story on a new and surely reliable piece of technology such as an ipod Touch? It makes sense to me. So, I’m now shopping around for an ipod Touch.

I’ve wanted an i gizmo for a while now….the justification for why I must purchase one right away seems clear to me--dead Shuffle, broken playaway, little time to run to the library. There are no coincidences, right?

If you can discern the book review in the midst of this rant, pat yourself on the back. Your reading of this journey to an i Gizmo is a bit of alchemy all its own.

Avi. The Book Without Words. New York. Hyperion Books for Children, 2005. Audio.

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