Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free and rare

We won't overlook the free movie showings at Regal Arbor again (the free children's shows are shown on the right of the page). Courtesy of some time to burn, we thoroughly enjoyed the children's show of City of Ember. The children were a very good audience, and the movie attracted a bigger audience than any movie of any kind that we've seen lately. This movie is not for children only; it's thoroughly enjoyable by adults. We couldn't understand why it was assigned a PG rating. Now, we want to find the book or books on which this movie was based. The acting is excellent and the production design is a real treat. This is a movie that insults no one's intelligence. And, thanks to the Austin Public Library, we happened upon Lorenzo de Zavala's account of his travels in the United States of the early 1830s as translated by retired TWU professor Wallace Woolsey and published by Austin's own Shoal Creek Publishers in 1980. It's my guess that this is a rare book now. It has apparently been reissued by Arte Publico. Parts of it make for fine reading aloud. Zavala was interested in everything and discusses at length the banks of the time and how they operated. This book belongs right up there with the accounts of Dickens (American Notes for General Circulation) and Mrs. Trollope (Domestic Manners of the Americans). Zavala visits some of the same locations (e.g., the Panopticon, Niagara). I love his description of West Point and its curriculum.


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