Sorry to be so long away; I've been submerged in writing an article for the September issue about book review stars. The short version is that the decision to star a review has larger consequences than I had thought, and I can see why authors really, really want them, and the more the merrier.
In arts news, we had a Tony Kushner weekend, seeing the Peter Eotvos's opera of Angels in America on Saturday, and Caroline, or Change on Sunday. As with the play, I found the first half of the Angels opera meatier than the second, which is here so fragmentary as to be incomprehensible to those who haven't seen Kushner's original drama. The music is engrossing and attentive to the story, spikily modern in a way that almost seems old-fashioned now. All I knew of Caroline was Barbara Bader's reference to it in a Horn Book article ("Echoes of the Old Plantation," March/April '05), where she compared it favorably to a recent clutch of picture books (Mr. George Baker, The Friend) about white children and black adults: "with the psychological insights and the social awareness of a thinking adult, Kushner has escaped the shadow of the plantation. Would that the others could, too." Not really a fan of Angels in America's baroque show-offiness, I found Caroline surprisingly direct and involving, helped by the small theater and lack of miking, with great singing from all. I'd star it.