Anne (AMQS) Reads in 2012 -- Chapter 1
This topic was continued by Anne (AMQS) Toutes Directions in 2012 -- Chapter 2.
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Happy New Year! Here’s to another terrific reading year, and to wonderful company here in this group. I’m so glad you’re here.
This photo was taken by my brother Kimo Quaintance when he spent New Year, 2010 in Finland.
Here’s the link to my last 2011 thread .
1. Abel's Island by William Steig
2. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
3. Toys Come Home by Emily Jenkins
4. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
5. The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer
6. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
7. Dial-a-Ghost by Eva Ibbotson
8. The Sterkarm Handshake by Susan Price
9. Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
10. Cheerfulness Breaks In by Angela Thirkell
11. The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck
12. Candide: or, Optimism by Voltaire
13. Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman
14. The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
I'm trying my best to resist the urge to clutter up all the nice new threads with "hi"s and "welcome"s and such, but I just had to delurk here to say that that is such a stunning picture! Thanks for sharing it!
Hi, Anne! Just swinging thru the early 12 threads, starring as I go. Happy New Year! (albeit a little early...)
Hello Anne, and tell Kimo Quaintance that his photo has made a total stranger gasp and exclaim in pleasure, if you will, please.
That's a stunning photo! I've starred you - looking forward to some god books in 2012.
Awesome photo Anne! Looking forward to seeing what books you have me add in the New Year!
Finland.....the country of my mother!
Looking forward to more literature chit-chat in 2012, Anne
A WOW photo, Anne. I'm looking forward to following along with your reading life (and real life) in 2012.
Happy New Year, Anne! Nice photo. Looking forward to another year of great reading!
Hi Anne- I've missed you for awhile! Hope we can cure that oversight! Have a very Happy New Year, my friend!
Welcome, and thank you to Amber, Pat, Katie, Jim, Chelle, David, Richard, Faith, Susan, Micky, Beth, Brit, Carsten, Valerie, Stasia, Donna, Joe, Mark, Michelle, and Paul! I'm so glad you're here! Amber, I'm so glad you de-lurked -- I think the welcome/hello messages are part of what makes this group so wonderful. I hope you'll be back!
Happy New Year, everyone -- hope you all have a wonderful, wonderful 2012.
Happy New Year Anne! That photo I thought was some kind of fern at first but then I looked closer and wow!.. how did he do that? Great shot.
I come with a star and a wish for your happy new year! That is an amazingly beautiful photo! Many thanks for letting us see it.
Adding my good wishes for a great reading year in 2012, and my admiration for the snowflake photo!
Happy New Year to Stasia, Joanne, Roni, Leonie, Peggy, Genny, Jenn, Anne, Rachel, and Deb! Thank you so much for visiting my thread! I wish I could report that I finished a book... 2012 is starting out busy like 2011 was, but I have a few in progress.
I've been busy writing letters, gathering research, and generally advocating for school libraries. Jefferson County Public Schools, the largest school district in Colorado, is considering cutting librarians and libraries due to severe budget shortfalls (also on the table: elimination of instrumental music at all levels and elimination of music for 4th and 5th grade -- equally painful for me!). We're hoping to rally parents, teachers, and supporters demonstrate support for libraries to the school board as they make difficult decisions. If anyone is on Facebook and wants to help out, you can "like" the group Support School Libraries, which is here:
You've got my 'like' on Facebook. Good luck in your fight! I love sports and I think they can teach kids a lot, but the idea that libraries and music would be on the chopping block before any sports program is very sad to me.
Julia, thank you!! It's hard to face any cuts at all -- Jeffco has already gone through several rounds of cuts (tens of millions of dollars of cuts) including teacher pay cuts, program eliminations, school closures, admin cuts, and increased class sizes. This next round will affect students for sure. We're not alone -- schools are having tough times all over. Thanks for your support!
Good for you, advocating for school libraries. I'm not sure about our public school libraries in BC Canada, but our public libraries in my area do very well. Long hours, new books all the time, and quite shift to finally making my public library digital as well as physical books, audio books, DVD/s etc.
I'm having a slow to start to my reading year too.
Anne: It sounds like you have a lot going on now. Good luck with your fight. When will people understand that music and books are essential -- not a luxury? Sigh.
LIKE on FB from me. Cutting back on school libraries makes absolutely no sense! What kind of message will that send to our children? Best of luck with your campaign.
Liking on FB. Sigh. I can think of lots of things to cut before libraries. Try football. Parents will pay for that. :) My theory is that the discussion should start way back with the basics - as in - if our kids can't read and write and add and subtract, what is the point? Make sure all the things they need for reading, writing and math are in place, then add on from there... last on the list is administration. Don't shoot me.
I've also liked you. (Just think how ungrammatical that would have sounded a few years ago, before FB!). Good luck with the campaign. The school library was a haven for me through years of bullying and misery at school, and I can't imagine how my life would have turned out without somewhere to escape to, and books to give me hope!
Thank you, Stasia, Deb, Beth, Donna, Jenn & Susan! These are tough times for schools. I just wanted to clarify that the FB group isn't really *my* group -- it was created and is run by a handful of amazing Jeffco school librarians who want to get the word out about the value of school libraries. I'm just a concerned parent/teacher/librarian-hopeful trying to help. I hope everyone is having a great weekend. It's snowing here -- I need to put away Christmas decorations, and then maybe I'll get some reading done!
I agree with your decision to put your books down and give your time to fighting these proposed cuts!!
Our district has a strong history of support for music in our schools. Our last school super said, "not every student in our district can qualify to be athletes, but every student can be involved in music and art." I think it is so important for kids to have opportunities in music and the arts. They can give meaning, focus, and beauty to their lives and can sustain them through hardship.
Studies consistenly show that schools with MLS degreed librarians have students with better grades. Keep on fighting, Anne!!! Going to add a fb like.
As much as I like snow, Anne, I hope the sun is shining and the skies are clear when we meet next Saturday! I'm looking forward to seeing my CO reading buddies again.
>44 Snow is mostly gone now, Stasia, but there's bound to be more on the way:)
>45 Thanks, Michelle! We'll see what happens.
>46 Me too, Donna! Probably too early to tell at this point. I look forward to out meet-up!
I wanted to share this video posted to the Tattered Cover's FB page. Over the years we have loved stories where toys have a secret life when no one is watching (Toys Go Out, The Velveteen Rabbit, Little Whistle books, Edward Tulane). I love the idea that books are having fun, too!
That's MAGIC! Thank you, Anne.
I also Liked the library support site. Honestly, this would be the same mindset of our central office that closed our high school library right before exams one year for three weeks - only writ large. Let's all pray or whatever we do for our schoolchildren and the ones who serve them!
1. Abel's Island by William Steig
The first book I finished in 2012 was a read aloud we had sitting in our TBRA pile for too long. It was delightful, and by turns laugh-out-loud funny and touching. Abelard Hassam di Chirico Flint, of the Mossville Flints, and his wife Amanda are picnicking when a sudden storm turns violent and they have to seek shelter. When his wife's scarf is blown away, Abel tries to save it, and is swept away by the storm to an island, where he is marooned, alone, for a year. Abel, with his fancy, fussy clothes, and his well-bred but idle ways discovers what he is made of as he attempts his own rescue, determines to stave off starvation and predators, and combats loneliness. A terrific read aloud.
Ohh Anne, I just loved the video!!! So much fun! As for The Velveteen Rabbit I always secretly believed that my stuffed animals and dolls came to life and visited each other til I was in my teens. shh! Don't tell everyone how long I hung onto my fantasy of happiness for my toys!:)
Hm, Abel's Island sounds really familiar - I bet I read it when I was little. Must get it again, for Charlie's shelves!
Wait, stuffed animals *aren't* alive? I don't believe it. Mine are, and I *know* Charlie's are. :)
Loved the video! I can't believe how much time that must have taken. Wow.
>53 Thanks, Deb! I think all toys -- and books -- deserve happiness!
>54 Amber, they absolutely are! If you ask my 10 year-old, she'd tell you that Christmas ornaments are, too. For years she's been trying to catch a glimpse of their magic and play, but the most they'll give her is slight swaying. Some people think they sway because of our footsteps causing the tree to vibrate a little, but Marina knows better:)
>55 Hi Jenn. Oh, I know -- what a labor of love!
>56 Hi Joe -- glad you enjoyed it:)
Hi Anne - Perfect way to start the reading year with a Children's read aloud. Don't know the book but it sounds like a lot of fun.
The video is amazing. Of course this always happen at night in a store filled with stories and imagination. No doubt about it.
Anne - I need to hunt down Abel's Island for Belle. Great review by the way.
>58 Thank you, Carsten. We were so busy over the holidays we hadn't picked up another book to read aloud after we finished The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. This was a nice way to start out the year's reading:) The video inspired our choice of our next read aloud: Toys Come Home by Emily Jenkins. I'm hoping to pick it up from the library today.
>59 Thank you, Paul. How old is Belle? We really loved the book.
2. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Oh wow, what a ride! I don't need to say much about this book, as I am probably among the last people to be reading it for the first time. I couldn't put it down, and was quite annoyed when the people living in my house wanted things like dinner, or help with homework, or rides to school. Fortunately they understand my addiction, as they too are afflicted. I'm planning to read the 2nd and 3rd books in the series this year, too.
I have that 'dive into it and don't bother me' style of reading also, especially with this kind of book. Poor Jim, when I get in that mode.
The last of the series is still on my TBR - I hope to get to it soon.
>62 Thanks, Judy, for visiting! I've become better over the years about reading in bits and snatches, because that's usually all the time I have. Occasionally, though, I am swept away!
>63 Hi Ardene! I don't think I've read that Mary Poppins... though I did read a few. Now I'm curious:) I hope you enjoy Abel's Island.
You're not alone, Anne. I haven't read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo yet either. I was thinking of doing the series as audiobooks this year.
Anne: Glad you enjoyed The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I didn't like the second one as much -- I'll be anxious to hear what you think. A lot of times I find the second book in a trilogy to not live up to the first and third books.
Anne- Glad you finally got to Dragon Tattoo. I liked the trilogy too, not perfect by any stretch but very entertaining. Try to see the Swedish version before the American version.
Ha, ha! Dinner? In the middle of a Stieg Larsson-novel? What on earth are they talking about :)
Well, I read it and liked it although a bit too detailed for me in some parts. Now that I've "cheated" and seen the swedish movie-trilogy I think I'll leave it there for now.
Most people I've talked with says the two last books are even better than the first, so you have something to look forward to - and if you are on a diet - go for it.
I haven't read it yet Anne, but I promised myself I would this year. I'm really glad you liked it. I think I'm holding back on starting it because I'm afraid I won't like it... Now I'm feeling a bit more positive about it.
>67 Mark, Why do you rec seeing the Swedish version first?
Glad to hear you liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I thought that book was good, but the next two were even better.
Hi Anne - I'm slowly making way through the threads getting caught up.... I liked your short and sweet review of TGwaDT. So glad to hear I'm not the last to read it! I'm still only about 200 pages in...
Hi, Anne. I haven't read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo yet, but I plan to soon. Thankfully the library has several copies of all of the books in the trilogy, so there should be at least one available when I (finally) get to it!
Hi Anne. I started The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo a couple of years ago but had to return it to the library and never got back to it. I had let it go but every time people talk about enjoying the trilogy I start to doubt whether that was the right decision.
Hi, Anne. If you get on with #2 Larsson now, you're a better woman than I. I really liked it, and I have yet to get back to *Fire*. WHAT have I been doing???
I'll admit that I could not really get into the Stieg Larrson Trilogy -oh the horrors of that admission, but I loved the subtitled movies that came out of Sweden. They were fantastic!
Funnily enough Anne I'm supposed to be an aficionado of Scandicrime but I haven't read any Stieg Larsson yet. Will put that right on my 12 in 12's this year. Good review by the way.
#48: I loved the video :-)
I haven't read any of the Dragon Tattoo books, so you're not the very last person!
Joanne- I said that only because I loved the Swedish film version so much, although the American remake is been getting pretty good reviews. I haven't seen it yet.
Hope you guys had a great time at the meet-up!
>65 Hi David! I'll bet the series would be good on audio! I look forward to the next one, though I'll probably wait a bit.
>66 Hi Beth! There seem to be mixed feelings about the second book. Some people liked it better than the first, and some not as much. Glad to hear you enjoyed the third, and it's nice to know I have some good reading ahead of me.
>67 It is definitely entertaining, Mark! I don't see movies very often, so it's unlikely I'll see either version, though I've heard the Swedish version is terrific.
>68 It's nice to be in such understanding and like-minded company, Carsten! I'll probably wait a bit before reading the others, but as we already own them, I'm more likely to read them than see the movies.
>69 Hi Joanne, not sure if talking to us today helped sway you toward or away from the book :) I so enjoyed our meet-up!
>70 Hi Brit, I'm glad to hear that! Nice to know I have two good books to look forward to.
>71 Katie, I read on your thread that you finally got swept into it. It started out a bit slow for me, too. At some point, though, there was no putting it down! Hope you enjoy it to the end.
>72 Hi Rachel -- hope you enjoy it! I think all three have been out long enough that you shouldn't have trouble getting them at the library.
>73 Hi Pat! It will always be there if you ever decide to go back to it. That's happened to me before, too.
>74 What have you been doing, Peggy? Hope you've found some other books to tide you over ;)
>75 Hi Deb! I can see how those books are not for everyone. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the movies.
>76 Thank you, Paul! Hope you enjoy them when you get to them.
>77 Hi Susan! The video still makes me happy :) Glad to see I'm not the only one new to the Dragon Tattoo books.
>78 Mark, we had a great time! Hope to see you out here (or anywhere else, really) someday!
Our third Denver LT meet-up was fun! Jenn (nittnut), Donna (Donna828), Joanne (coppers) and I met at the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch, and actually managed to pull ourselves away from the bookstore to go eat lunch this time (don't worry, we went back to the bookstore, too).
Here are photos. From left: Jenn (nittnut), Donna (Donna 828), Joanne (coppers), Anne (AMQS):
What a wonderful group of readers!
Hey Anne - How fun!
My sister-in-law used to live in Denver and I remember how much she and my wife used to rave about the Tattered Cover.
>83 Thanks, Mark! We had a lovely afternoon.
>84 It was fun, Brit! This was our third meet-up. Joanne and I were remembering and missing the Tattered Cover flagship store in Cherry Creek. While there are three locations now, including a really neat one in historic Lower Downtown Denver, none of them are quite as wonderful as the Cherry Creek location was. I'm guessing that's the one your wife and her sister remember.
3. Toys Come Home by Emily Jenkins.
Back in post no. 48, I shared a video that reminded me of all of the wonderful books where toys come alive and have fun when no one is looking. The video also reminded me that Toys Come Home -- the third book of a series that began with the wonderful Toys Go Out -- is available, so I reserved it from the library. We absolutely loved the other two books and the author's both touching and hilarious writing style, so we unanimously and enthusiastically decided this would be our next read aloud. My girls, at 10 and almost 13, are older than the target audience (6-9) of the book, yet still gave themselves completely into the hands of the author, laughing helplessly over the antics, musings, friendship, and bravery of characters who are now like old friends. We all agreed that this book is proof that books and reading are magic, magic, magic. Toys Come Home tells the story of the beloved toys from Toys Go Out and Toy Dance Party, including how they came to live in the Girl’s room, and how they came to be friends. If you have not discovered these books, I urge you to read them, but I have to warn you that I’m pretty sure a lot of the magic comes from reading them aloud. If there is a child in your life, you both are in for a treat. If not, I still think you should read these books aloud -- to an old teddy bear (he will love them), or even your towel (towels are wise and patient, and when folded and stacked in a linen closet, will sing old folk songs together).
I can't believe I forgot to tell you how much I enjoyed that video about the books coming alive at night when I saw you yesterday! I guess we had too many other things to talk about. I'm home and still basking in the glow of our meetup and visit with Mike and Rebecca. Too bad about those Broncos!
I love the idea of reading to my Teddy Bear, Honey. He is a Steiff bear that came home with me on the airplane from Germany when I was 8! Sheesh, I went online to find a picture and found out Honey is worth a small fortune. ;-)
We definitely had lots to talk about, Donna! I so enjoyed seeing you, Jenn, and Joanne again. We ended up going to Callia's performance, so we missed the Broncos, which was just as well.
You and Honey will love Toys Go Out. Even though Toys Come Home occurs first chronologically, the author and I recommend that the books be read in the order written.
Glad you made it home safely -- look forward to seeing you in the summer :)
4. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
I was inspired by the Steinbeckathon to read this book, and I am so grateful, for the book might have languished forever in its lonely pile, and I would be the poorer for it. This is a loosely connected series of vignettes of the inhabitants of Cannery Row, on the coast of Monterey. So wonderful. I loved Steinbeck's lovely language, evocative descriptions, and his tenderness and affection for his characters, who seemingly live on the margins of society, yet create their own community of warmth and kindness.
Anne...have a great weekend...How nice that there are four of you in near enough proximity to meet up quite regularly.
The Toys Go Home looks like so much fun! :) Great review - thumbed!
Wonderful photos from the LT get-together, Anne, and a lovely review of Cannery Row. I'm grateful to the Steinbeckathon for that one, too.
Anne: Nice review of Cannery Row. It's been a while since I read it, and your review makes me want to revisit it.
Hi Anne, I am using a windy/stormy Sunday morning to get caught up on threads. I have the Larsson trilogy patiently waiting for me on my TBR bookcase. Hope to get to it sometime this year so I was happy to see you enjoyed book 1. Love the pics of the LT meetup. Hope you are having a great weekend!
>92 Thanks, Paul! It looks like there may be another meet-up in August, hopefully with Terri (tloeffler) coming in from out of town, too. Want to come?
>93 Thanks, Mark! I'd like to join you for The Wayward Bus -- I'll see if I can get it, and more importantly, read it!
>94 Thanks, Deb, yes, those books are fun. We have a few favorites, but not many rereads. Toys Go Out is one of the few we've read aloud more than once.
>95 Thanks, Joe!
>96 Thank you, Beth. This was my first time reading Cannery Row. Looking forward to more Steinbeck!
>97 Thank you, Lori! I'll probably read the other Dragon Tattoo books this year. Hope you enjoy them!
>98 Hi Stasia! Thanks for checking in!
>99 Hi Joanne! Hope to be reading more Steinbeck this year. I don't know that I would have picked up Cannery Row if it hadn't been for LT. Just another of the many reasons to be thankful for this wonderful community!
Oh dear, Anne ... I'm probably the last person not to have read Cannery Row .. and you all make it sound like something I'd love to read. It's on my obese wish list, but perhaps I should make a concerted effort to get a copy soon.
Anne don't tempt me ~ I might even be able to afford it given all the money I'm saving on not buying books. Bought an average of 70 books a month last year and this month only 4! 66 books @ say $8 @ 6 months = $3,168 mmm I might make a few meet ups (still that money is pledged to charity, so back to the drawing board)
You won't be sorry, Caro, if you move Cannery Row up the obese list. Plus it's not a long read.
Hello Anne! Love the pics of you guys surrounded by books - I have RL envy! Also thrilled to hear everyone buzzing about Steinbeck. I read everything he wrote in my early 20s - loved them all. But, apart from The Grapes of Wrath, you never see his other works in bookshops anymore. Loved Cannery Row - and also a huge fan of Tortilla Flat. The Wayward Bus I remember really enjoying also - oh hang it - everything he wrote was great (not a dud among them, in my view). I would do a re-read but the Shelves of Shame would protest. And thank you Anne for your kind messages during mum's final illness (es). I think you must be a truly amazing RL friend, as well.
>101 Hi Caroline! Glad to see you here. I concur with Joe -- Cannery Row is not a long read, and well worth it. Hope you're having a good week.
>102 Paul, I admire your restraint! LT made my TBR pile explode, though I am pretty good about scouring library sales to find books. Still, nothing quite makes money disappear like international travel -- that's why we can't go to Cyprus more than once every four years or so. Still, we'd love to have you!
>103 *waves to Joe*
>104 Hi Deb -- thanks for stopping by!
>105 Prue, I so appreciate your kind words. Though we may rarely, if ever, meet in RL, I treasure the friendshpis I've made here. I am so glad to see you back. I look forward to more Steinbeck this year -- I have read woefully little of him.
5. The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer.
This was my first Georgette Heyer, after learning of this author from -- where else -- my LT friends, but it certainly won't be my last. This was also an audio -- with a wonderful narrator in Caroline Hunt. This is a Georgian romance told -- and narrated -- with humor. The Earl of Rule offers for the hand of the beautiful Elizabeth Winwood, who is heartbroken, because she loves another, but is prepared to accept Rule's offer in order to solve her family's financial difficulties incurred by her brother's excessive gambling. Her younger sister Horatia boldly confronts Rule to offer herself in place of her sister, and much to my surprise, he accepts. I wasn't sure how I felt about Rule at first, but I came to admire him as he gradually falls for his own wife. For Horry's part, she also succumbs to the temptations of gambling and ostentation, from which her husband (and occasionally, in a bumbling and hilarious manner, her brother and his cohorts) must rescue her, and she learns painful lessons about love and loyalty, forgiveness and growing up.
Anne: I read Heyer when I was a teen and remember her books with affection. After seeing her mentioned here, I'm tempted to revisit them. I remember her wit -- I'm sure I have some in boxes somewhere... It sounds like a nice winter escape.
Delighted to welcome another Heyer fan into the fold!! I agree with Jenn that there are better ones, and she mentions two of my favorites. So I'll just say, "Hi, Anne," and go away. (Beth, you should rescue your collection. I thought that they were sort of silly as a teen, but now I'm a lot less sophisticated.)
>108 Jenn, it was fun! I've noted your favorites -- I'm going to look for those. Thanks for the recommendation!
>109 Mme Heyer was a great winter escape, Beth -- hope she will be for you, too!
>110 No, don't go away! Thanks for your thoughts on Georgette Heyer -- and any other recommendations you have would be most welcome!
Hi Anne - I have been trying to catch up on LT and I have three weeks of messages on your thread to read! I'm going to look for Toys Go Out in our library - sounds like my two kids would love it. They're 5 and 7 and the 7 year old will probably pretend he's too cool for it then come over to the sofa after a couple of paragraphs.
And with all the love for Cannery Row, I might have to give it a go soon... I loved Travels with Charley and liked East of Eden.
Hi Anne - you reminded me of Steinbech - have only read Grapes of Wrath but want to give him another chance soon. Perhaps Cannery Row will be my next Steinbeck.
The Heyer-novel sounds like a lot of fun - and pure entertainment. What period is it set in?
>112 Thanks, Roni, for your recommendations! I have an audio of Friday's Child here from the library, but I started another Angela Thirkell audio instead. I look forward to Friday's Child, and I'll see if the library has the others you mentioned. Have a great weekend!
>113, Cushla, it's so, so easy to fall behind -- I would know, that's my normal LT state:) I'm glad you stopped by. I think 5 and 7 are the perfect ages for Toys Go Out, and now that we've fallen in love with the books, we've discovered that 13 and 10 are good ages, too. Hope you enjoy Cannery Row if you decide to give it a go. I hope to catch up on many Steinbecks I've missed this year.
>114 Hi Carsten, I think Cannery Row would be a good place to start -- the book is not long, but has so many wonderful things going for it. I plan to read more Steinbeck this year. I don't know that I can adhere to the Steinbeckathon schedule, but without it I probably wouldn't be reading him at all this year. The Heyer novel was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it. I'm discovering that she has a lot of fans here, many of whom have favorites I am anxious to try. I believe she specializes in Regency novels, but The Convenient Marriage is set in the Georgian period.
My current book is the imaginative Ella Minnow Pea, which, as a language lover, is making me smile. I thought I might try my skill at lipograms -- or writing without using certain letters. This is much less easy than it might appear. I am trying to stay away from the letters now facing censorship in the book: Z, Q, J, D. I was thinking about this when I wrote the above post, wherein the taboo letters appear (if I was able to count correctly), 33 times! I am in awe of the author's skill.
I picked up Ella Minnow Pea from the library. After reading up about it, I'm more than a little scared about it. I'll be interested in what you have to say about the book, Anne. I thought it was " just a book". :)
Oh no, don't be afraid -- it's really fun. Fun and clever. I'm not very far into it yet. The story's events take place on a fictional island devoted to Nevin Nollop, the author of the sentence 'The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog,' which uses all 26 letters of the alphabet. When letters from the sentence begin to fall off of a statue of Nollop, the Powers That Be on the island decide it is probably Nollop speaking to them from the beyond, and they decide to prohibit the use of any fallen letters. The book is epistolary, and the residents writing letters to each other must become increasingly creative to avoid using any forbidden letters. As my awkward constructions in post 116 demonstrate, it's really hard to do!
>116 Hi Anne! I thought Ella Minnow Pea was wonderfully imaginative! It was fun to feast on all that fantastic wordplay. There were parts that I was compelled to share with my entire family - it was just so clever.
Hi Anne! Ella Minnow Pea sounds like just my kind of thing! What a clever concept.
>119 Hi Louanne! I'm so happy to see you here :) I just finished Ella Minnow Pea this morning, and loved it. I love words and language, and I loved the wordplay in the book. I'm pretty much in awe of the author.
>120 Hi Susan -- I think you'd enjoy it. It's a quick, light read, with a serious theme of censorship and authoritarian control, but such a linguistic delight.
I just downloaded it for my Kindle! I'll let you know what I think, when I've finished the library books.
6. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
This was a really fun read, and my book club's selection for March. The book is a very clever wordplay -- a novel in letters (double meaning here) and how our language is affected by letters and their use or restriction, with a sinister undercurrent of censorship and corruption in a totalitarian state. The story's events take place on a fictional island devoted to Nevin Nollop, the author of the sentence 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,' which uses all 26 letters of the alphabet. When letters from the sentence begin to fall off of a statue of Nollop, the Powers That Be on the island decide it is probably Nollop speaking to them from the beyond, and they decide to prohibit the use of any fallen letters either in speech or writing. The book is epistolary, and the residents writing letters to each other must become increasingly creative to avoid using any forbidden letters. I attempted this myself at the point in the book when Z, Q, J, and D were forbidden, and was quite challenged! I wish this book had been published when I was in high school -- my logophile friends and I would have been all over it:)
I LOVED Ella Minnow Pea when I read it. It made my top reads for that year. A really fun read! And truly imaginative way to write a book. Was their lots to discuss for a book club? I mean after realizing how important all letters of the alphabet are?
Anne -catching up on Monday morning before I head off to the office. Note the open invitation to the Rocky Mountain Way and you never know!
Anne: This book sounds wonderful, imaginative and fun. On to the wishlist it goes.
Oh, great review of Ella Minnow Pea. I will have to read it. I am curious about the book club discussion, how it went. It might be fun for my book club this month. We're looking for a book.
I've been very conflicted about Ella Minnow Pea. I adore word play but detest contrived books. I learned to type with the sentence about the quick brown fox and the lazy dog. I'm still on the fence about the book, but I might give it a go one of these days when I need a change-of-pace book. Thanks for the review, Anne...you've almost convinced me!
I went to the book's page to see what you rated it. No rating (?) but I gave you a star for making me look. ;-)
>124 Hi Susan! I think I may have read about the book on your thread :) We won't be discussing this book until March. I'm not sure what kind of discussion we'll get out of it, but I'm curious to see what everyone thinks about it.
>125 Thanks, Deb! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
>126 Okay Paul, we'll leave the light on for you!
>127 Hi Beth! Hope you enjoy it. It is imaginative and fun. Very clever.
>128 Jenn, we won't be discussing the book until March. It is on the lighter side, with some serious themes in it as well. It would make for a quick, fun but clever read if your book club is into books like that. My book club chooses all the books for our whole year (in September), and we try to mix it up with fiction, non fiction, newer books, classics, different places in the world, and lighter and heavier books.
>129 Hi Lori! It was very fun. I love wordplay:)
>130 Donna, it might be a good change-of-pace book for you, and it is a very quick read -- you won't get bogged down. I very rarely rate books, and I'm not sure why. If I do, it's because I feel very strongly about the book one way or the other, so I usually rate 5-stars (The Witness of Combines, my favorite book of 2011), or 2-stars (The Reading Promise). Most of my reads fall somewhere in between, and often a 4-star rating feels too high, and 3-stars too low. Maybe I need to consider rating more often...
Hi Anne, I've heard good things of ella Minnow Pea but never knew what it was really about. Thanks for the good review, I'll be keeping my eye out for this one.
Hi Anne- Just swinging by to say hi! LT has been Grand Central Station lately. Whew! I hope all is well with you and yours.
Sigh. Couldn't dodge the Ella Minnow Pea book bullet - darn it! (Secretly, please keep on finding these treasures!)
>132 I hope you enjoy Ella Minnow Pea, Leonie -- it's a fun read.
>133 Yay for the $5 section, Beth! Hope you enjoy it!
>134 Thanks, Mark, we're all extra well at the moment because we just found out that tomorrow will be a SNOW DAY!!!!!!! Maybe I'll actually catch up a bit on LT :)
>135 Hi Prue! I completely understand: the TBR piles become towers, the shelves groan, the credit card quivers, but there's nothing like a good book, and there's no place like LT for finding one :)
Enjoy your snow day! Hopefully it will include some good, cozy reading.
Have a great snow day! Even we are being promised some snow tomorrow, or maybe tomorrow night (I'll be staying up to watch for it, as it's rare here!).
WooHoo for the snow day!!
When I was little, my mom would always make homemade donuts on my school's snow days. I can't wait to do the same for Charlie.
I miss snow. I'm looking out my window right now at green grass. This shouldn't be. :(
One thing we're surprising short on here in Chicago right now is snow days, Anne. They're great for reading and staying warm at home. Have fun!
I wish it would get cold enough here to kill some of the stuff in the air. I think we went straight from fall to spring. I would love to see a bit of snow. I'm praying for some on my upcoming birthday!
A little grumpy about the snow day myself. I was supposed to go to lunch with friends. :) I'll just have to reschedule. We have about 22". What have you got?
>138 Roni, we are enjoying it very much! I was able to do a bit of reading... not as much as I would like, of course, but we've been very busy watching movies, baking pumpkin bread, shoveling, and drinking hot chocolate :)
>139 Thanks, Susan -- it's a treat, for sure!
>140 What a wonderful tradition, Amber! We made pancakes and pumpkin bread, and enjoyed ourselves very much!
>141 I'll post pictures, Rachel -- maybe you can get your snow fix vicariously. Thanks for stopping by!
>142 Thanks, Joe -- it was a great day!
>143 I'll make that my birthday wish for you, too, Lori! Happy early birthday!
>144 Pat, I think we have close to 2 feet by now, and it's not supposed to stop snowing before midday tomorrow :)
>145 Hi Jenn -- I missed a day of subbing, which I don't mind exchanging for a goof-off cozy day. I think we probably have around 22 inches as well, and it's still coming down hard!
I wondered - I think it started at your house before it started at mine. It's pretty.
My deck at 10:00 am:
The snow hanging down over my daughter's window. We were watching a movie when it crashed to the deck below. We all jumped about 3 feet off the couch!
The girls at play out front:
The deck at about 4:00 pm:
Picnic anyone? That is some serious snow! It looks like the girls are having fun.
I'm glad we didn't choose this weekend to visit Denver! Be careful out there, Anne.
The pictures are great, Anne, but that one with the snow hanging down over the window looked pretty ominous. Sounds like your making the most of being snowed in. I'll be interested to hear what your final totals are.
Great pictures, Anne! I posted some too. We actually had a city plow go down our street around 5pm. I can count on one hand the number of times that's happened in the last 20 years!
Love the pictures, Anne! What puffy cushions on those deck chairs! I don't think it's even gotten cold enough to snow here but once this whole winter. T'aint right.
>150 Yes, Donna, I'm glad you didn't come to Denver this weekend, either! We were so happy that we could just stay inside.
>151 Me too, Pat! We're not done with snow yet, and from what I've read, we may get more next week.
>152 Love your photos, Joanne! I think we have some sort of connection in the neighborhood, Joanne, because we almost always get plowed. Not complaining, though!
>153 Hi Peggy! No, t'ain't right. Wacky weather. Hope you do get some snow.
The fun thing about a snow day is time to read -- aloud, that is!
7. Dial-a-Ghost by Eva Ibbotson
Not our favorite Ibbotson, but a funny, enjoyable read nonetheless. An agency in London places homeless ghosts in suitable homes, but an unscrupulous relative who orders terrifying ghosts to do in the young family heir, and an agency mix-up leads to funny and touching bonds formed, and sweet revenge. Fun!
Look at all that snow!!! I'll have to post a picture of ours if it arrives, and you'll be able to giggle at what I get excited about. It's good that you could stay in and stay warm and safe.
LOL about the crashing snow. We had that happen on the side of the house. Wham! Right down on the garden. Shook the whole house and really startled us too.
I'm jealous that Joanne's street has been plowed. We haven't yet. My daughter's friend is getting baptized at 1030, so we're going to have to go out. Probably should go re-shovel the driveway instead of chat on LT.
Fun snow pics, Anne! Your girls look like charmers.
We used to love to read Eva Ibbotson with our kids, although we never read this one. I remember they liked The Secret of Platform 13 and Island of the Aunts, among others. Did you ever read A Countess Below the Stairs? I've wondered whether it's a good one or not. It looks intriguing.
>156 Susan, when you don't get snow, any little amount is a big deal! I'll look forward to a picture.
>157 Thanks, Amber! I think it has finally stopped -- it had been snowing steadily since Thursday evening. Now the girls are ready to go out and play in it -- good snow fort weather, as they pointed out :)
>158 Good luck getting out, Jenn. If you're re-shoveling, hopefully it will go quickly.
>159 Thanks, Joe! We love Eva Ibbotson. Our favorites are The Secret of Platform 13, The Star of Kazan, and The Great Ghost Rescue. Callia turns 13 in a couple of weeks, and A Countess Below Stairs will be among the books she'll receive. It seems to be a YA title, so I'm not sure we'll be reading it aloud, but you never know :)
The deck at 10:00 am Friday:
and 10:00 am Saturday:
Here's the view out my kitchen window:
I love those photos!! I have about half an inch of snow on my balcony table now. I think you win :-)
Wow, for me this kind of snow only happens in the movies! That looks very cold but so much fun at the same time.
Looks lovely if you're viewing it from the comfort of your living room. Ten minutes out in it and I'd be longing for the warmth of KL. Jim is right great weather to sit inside, look upon it occasionally between turning the pages of a good thumping read.
>162 Hi Jim, it was a great day to stay inside. Not as much reading as I would have liked, but a very good day :)
>163 Susan, snow is snow, and it's very exciting when you don't get it often. Enjoy!
>164 Leonie, actually, it hasn't been all that cold, which is nice. The kids played hard in the snow today, just like they did when they were little :)
>165 Not too bad, Paul -- it's warmer than it looks. Still, I didn't go out much :)
Oh my stars, Anne! I can't believe how much snow you have!!! We've had none!! Dial a Ghost sounds like a lot of fun!
Wow, Anne!! Those were crazy pictures! I enjoyed the side-by-side comparison.
>167 It was a lot, for sure, Deb! We were very glad to get a snow day -- the brief break was just what we needed! It's melting fast, though driving around, it's pushed into piles several feet high, and those take awhile to melt!
>168 Thanks, Brit! We had fun playing out there:)
>169 Thanks, Beth! Yes, we did a lot of shoveling. Fortunately, the girls are old enough to help. My husband does the bulk of it, though, and he's hurting.
Catching up! Ella Minnow Pea is one of my favorites and I re-read it occasionally just for the fun of it. =)
BTW , the mystery of who on LT is going to Hawaii is solved! I finally remembered - it's EBT1002 - Ellen!. Duh! Some people ( me!) :)
I love your snow pictures! We have had almost no snow this year so I will enjoy it vicariously. (Less shoveling that way.)
>171 Hi David! Thanks for stopping by. I really enjoyed Ella Minnow Pea. I can see myself rereading it in a year or so. I also think my daughter will love it in a year or two.
>172, 173 Hi Deb! Mystery solved! Too bad about the outcome (for me, anyway: I hope Ellen has a wonderful time). Now that it's on my mind, I really wish I was going!
>174 Hi Anne! We got another 6 inches again this week. The shoveling wasn't fun, but we enjoyed our snow day enormously!
>176 Thanks, Lori! The snow is still piled high -- it's been cold enough that the snow hasn't melted. We sure enjoyed our snow day :) Thanks for visiting!
8. The Sterkarm Handshake by Susan Price
This book has been languishing on my shelf for years. Perhaps me reading it now will give its friends some hope that their turn will come. This is a time travel/sci-fi/historical fiction/romance, which also places it beyond the genres I normally read. That's a good thing! The reviews of this book here on LT and also on Amazon range from the effusive to the tepid to the scornful, and I understand all of those reactions. This book has a lot going for it. FUP, a British 21st century corporation, has developed "The Tube," a device that allows time travel. The tube is set up to transport employees to the 16th century borderland of England and Scotland, where they plan to exploit the land's abundant natural resources, and eventually open the area for authentic time-travel tourism (but first something needs to be done about the authentic smells, mud, cramped towers, food, and pillaging natives). The company has established agreements with and purchased land from local governments on both sides, but also must deal with the Sterkarms, a fierce, lawless group that inhabits this border, and looks out for itself. Andrea, a 21st-century anthropologist 'embedded' with the Sterkarms, is studying them, feeding the FUP information, but has also been embraced by them, and falls in love with Per, the leader's son. Thus, Andrea is caught between the two worlds, and her loyalties torn between the Sterkarms, who think the "Elves" only wish to trade, and her employer, who wishes to exploit and subdue. These worlds collide disastrously when Per is critically wounded, and Andrea convinces Windsor, her boss, to bring him to the 21st side to receive life-saving treatment. Windsor sees an opportunity to hold Per hostage and thereby control the Sterkarms, and Per sees an elf trap from which he must escape at all cost, and worse: a clear picture of FUP's ruthless goals. Susan Price does a fine job presenting Andrea's moral dilemma -- neither side is perfect. The Sterkarms are vicious and violent, but also loving and loyal. The 21st century workers are exploitative and arrogant, but also people with families just doing their jobs. Unfortunately, all Andrea does with her moral and cultural dilemma is dither.
What rings true: the historical aspects of the story, and the Sterkarms. Windsor and FUP deride them as childish and barbarian, and they certainly act that way. They make agreements, but then cheerfully ignore them. But, as with dispossessed people anywhere and anytime, why shouldn't they look out for themselves? Also ringing true: the corporate greed of FUP. The 16th century is just there, ripe for the taking, and plans are underway to exploit the natural resources for unimaginable profit. Mentioned in passing: a similar operation underway in South America, where the company is now importing rare wood and other natural wonders. What rings false is the extreme caricature of the evil 21st century CEO. I could almost hear the melodramatic boos and forewarning piano music. Also ringing false was the romance between Andrea and Per. There wasn't much there except the author's word that they were in love, and much of their dialog was awkward and contrived.
I have trouble starring and rating books. As I said in an earlier post, I usually award either 5-stars, for those truly wonderful, best-of-the-year books, or 2-stars, for disappointing books. This book has enough good and not-so-good to be a solid 3-star read.
9. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman
This collection of essays about books and reading has been on my radar for years, but the most recent round of glowing reviews here on LT inspired me to go and get it from the library. But this is an urgently-need-to-own-my-own-copy-and-buy-others-for-the-readers-in-my-life kind of book. I loved it, positively devoured it from cover to cover, and read large sections of it aloud to my family. I came to regard Anne Fadiman and the book with what I can only describe as hero-worship. And then I discovered that her husband George is George Howe Colt, author of one of my favorite books, The Big House: A Century of Life of an American Summer Home, so of course I had to go back to the start and read the whole thing from the beginning with that new knowledge. I think Ms. Fadiman would understand this. Definitely my favorite book of the year so far.
Also wanted to share this Valentine tradition at my house -- only the numbers change from year to year. I read A Verse for the Night Before the Birthday by M. Meyerkort to my daughter Callia (we also read this on December 18 to Marina).
When I have said my evening prayer,
And my clothes are folded on the chair,
And mother switches off the light,
I'll still be 12 years old tonight.
But from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the darkness turns to gold,
Tomorrow, I'll be 13 years old.
13 kisses when I wake,
13 candles on my cake!
Oh Anne, what a lovely poem! It brought tears to my eyes. Sending birthday wishes to Callia!
After hearing so much Ex Libris praise going around, I knew I had to have my own copy. I've only read one essay so far, but I know I'm going to love it! So glad to hear you did!
Hi, Anne! Finally started a 2012 thread over in Club Read and am visiting old friends. Maybe Obama's new budget with its emphasis on education will have a positive effect in your area. I hope so! Are you finished with school and looking for a job?
I love, loved Ex-Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader. I read another book of her growing-up years and felt even more jealous of her life.
>181 Thank you, Joanne. I made it until "I'll still be 12 years old tonight" before I teared up. She's used to that, though :) Thank you for the birthday wishes -- it's hard to believe she's 13. I hope you love Ex Libris as much as I did! I highly recommend The Big House by George Howe Colt, too.
>182 Thank you, Susan! We like the tradition, too. It comes from a book of poems we used to read almost nightly. That one is special, because we can only read it twice a year. I only realized there was a sequel to The Sterkarm Handshake after I finished reading the book. From what I read about it, there's a major cliffhanger at the end of A Sterkarm Kiss, so I probably won't read it until she publishes a third book!
>183 Bonnie, I am so glad to see you! I'll head over to Club Read and visit you soon. Sadly, we're still facing massive budget cuts in our district, and will cut about $70 million over the next two years. Librarians are on the chopping block: they are proposing to eliminate all middle school librarians and cut all elementary librarians to half-time. Also on the chopping block: instrumental music, 4th and 5th grade music, and more classroom cuts. Not looking too good, but I'm not despairing. I am not done with school yet -- the problem with doing two consecutive master's programs is that I feel as though I've been in school FOREVER! I am getting there, though, and should only have four classes left to take after this semester in the school library program. I am subbing almost every day in my daughter's school, which is nice. I feel like I would be in a good position to be hired there is there were an opening.
So glad you loved Ex-Libris Anne. It's one of my all time favorite books and one I wouldn't have heard of if not for LT. That's a pretty strong recommendation for her husband's book so I will definitely check it out.
And I love that tradition of reading the poem the night before your daughters' birthdays.
I guess I must go out and buy a copy of Ex Libris. :) Great review. Completely irresistible.
Happy Birthday to Callia! Welcome to teenager land.
Anne, thank you for sharing your tradition of the birthday poem. Belated Happy Birthday to Callia. I still remember my 13th birthday and what a milestone that was. I got my first tube of lipstick then!
I think every book lover needs a copy of Ex Libris. It's my go-to book when I need a lift in my reading life. There is nothing common about you and your namesake's reading! You haven't steered me wrong with a book recommendation, so onto the WL with The Big House.
>185 Thank you, Joe! It is a wonderful book, and soon I will possess my own copy:)
>186 Thank you, Pat. I did love The Big House -- it's a family history/memoir of a house and a bygone era that I found so compelling and bittersweet. I highly recommend it!
>187 Thanks, Jenn! Not sure I'm ready for teenager land, but I have very high hopes. She's such a sweet girl. You definitely need Ex Libris!
>188 Thank you, Donna! I had a hard time getting though the birthday poem this year. I keep asking the girls if they wouldn't mind repeating a year, both to slow down the process, and because all the years have been so fun, but they never go for it. I can definitely see myself rereading Ex Libris. I loved The Big House, and I hope you do, too!
10. Cheerfulness Breaks In by Angela Thirkell
Another delightful audio, and a lovely return to Barsetshire, the fictional county created by Anthony Trollope and lovingly sustained by Angela Thirkell. Though I've read only two of Ms. Thirkell's novels (listened, actually; the other one is The Brandons), I find them "just the thing." They are great fun, wickedly funny, and full of social commentary and mild romance. Think early 20th century Jane Austen. They also remind me of the Greek expression about a smooth river - we often use this expression in music, too, where the surface is smooth and legato, but what's happening underneath the surface (or in the accompaniment) is lively and quick or even turbulent. Nothing much ever happens plot-wise in these novels, but the book is bubbling with interesting characters, polite discussions where much is said by remaining unsaid, and a fascinating dynamic between all of the characters. This is a wartime novel, which delightfully captures the mood and excitement of the English countryside at the outset -- the villages rev into high gear to shelter evacuees, the young nurses complain about boring cases of measles while longing for gruesome war trauma, and the men fervently hope to suffer the glory and nobility of being blown to bits, or frozen to death, or perhaps even torpedoed and drowned. From my 21st century vantage point, all of the earnestness is both admirable -- the characters tirelessly throw themselves into the fulfillment of national duty -- and heartbreaking. A complex counterpoint to a light and funny novel.
Wow, you sure make reading Angela Thirkill sounds good, Anne. I made note of another one of hers that you recommended, too. I'm going to have to give her a try. I liked the one Trollope I read.
Thank you, Joe! I discovered Ms. Thirkell when Richard recommended her books. I don't think there's any connection between Trollope and Thirkell other than the setting: Barsetshire.
Good news! It looks like school libraries, teacher librarians, AND music programs have been spared from the $60 million budget cuts our school district will make over the next two years. I'm not sure yet what WILL be cut -- I know it will be painful, but these two areas are very near and dear to my heart, and I thank those of you who "liked" the Support School Libraries Facebook page earlier this year. I hope we can sustain the support and momentum long enough for the budget crisis to turn the corner...
Great News about the salvation of libraries!
And, like you I really enjoyed reading Ex Libris
Great news for Jeffco schools, Anne! Hopefully they'll be able to figure out a long term fix. Maybe a mill levy? Colorado is a wonderful place to live but school funding is seriously lacking and the kids really suffer when arts funding gets cut. And as I'm finding now, higher education costs are going through the roof...
eta - I stopped here to tell you about Big House and got distracted by your news. I happened to pick up a nice copy last week at the Tattered Cover. I didn't recognize the name at all but when I went to the book page and saw the cover, I knew it was the book I'd just bought. I didn't know of the connection with Ex Libris.
Good news on saving the books! Hopefully most peoples jobs get spared too.
Thanks, Roni, Pat, Linda, Beth, Joanne, and Paul ! I am a little less enthused by the details that emerged this morning. The school board made some cuts, but basically delayed the most severe of the cuts for one year, hoping that, as Joanne said, Jeffco voters might pass a mill levy in the election this year. Jeffco voters are historically conservative, and ill-disposed to support education through mill levies on property taxes. As Joanne said, Colorado has major school funding issues (I think we rank 49th out of 50 states for per-pupil funding of K-12 education), and higher education costs are skyrocketing -- again partly due to lack of state funding. Still, the school board's decision basically bought a year, and that's nothing to sneeze at. Thank for your support!
>197 Beth, I'll have to look for a copy of At Large and At Small. I really love her voice.
>198 Joanne, I can't believe you bought The Big House last week! Surely that's serendipity. I hope you love it.
Ohh I'm so behind but I'm stopping by to say hi!Cheerfulness Breaks In sounds just lovely! I know Lit _Chick is an avid fan of Anthony Trollope's Barsetshire series. This time I hope I've actually got the correct person connected to the right book.. My son is off to Hong Kong with his girlfriend for 5 days as it is reading week at univeristy. He plans to get Gilgamesh read on the plane. I hope I've got the right book - it's some dreadful looking tome that he has to read for a philosophy class - he's really a Computer Science major. That will be pure torture for him:)
Hi Anne! Just popping in to say hello :) Good luck with teenager land!
>201 Thanks, Caroline!
>202 Hooray indeed, Jenn, for this year at least :)
>203 Deb, hope your son survives his long plane ride! Who knows, he may love the book!
>204 Thank you, Chelle! So far so good :)
>205 Bonnie, I looked around at rankings and such today, and as it turns out, we may be ranked 48th out of 50. It's a strange thing, for sure, as we also rank near the top, if not at the top of highest percentage of adults with college degrees.
I went to our school board meeting last night. It was very interesting. They were reviewing budget numbers, showing where we are now, where we were last year and projecting forward. They said that they don't have their final numbers from the legislature yet, but one little hiccup in the process is that when Gov. Hickenlooper prepared his budget, he neglected to account for growth in the student population. Oops.
On the bright side, we are going to be able to avoid teacher furloughs, but we may have to reduce the number of electives at the high school level. It's not popular with the electives teachers, but I'd rather keep the teachers teaching and have to cut a beading class (yep, beading).
Just checking in and saying hi. You didn't get blown away last week did you? :)
Anne/Jenn - As I am constantly juggling budgets with my fledgling business I found your discussion of school budgets and the politics involved very interesting. It seems amazing and somewhat perverse that childrens' futures are determined largely still in smoke-filled rooms!
>207 Jenn, I completely support electives -- I think many students find something they are passionate about in a school elective. But beading...? Yeah, I could let that one go.
>208 Hi Joanne, we very nearly did! That wind was unbelievable, and it's still blowing. Did you come out of it okay? Was dear Copper okay? Sometimes those severe wind storms are hard on dogs.
>209 Hi Paul. It's depressing, for sure. I think school funding is very interesting, and certainly complex. Our friends and family overseas are at a loss to understand the way it works, and I have to admit that I am as well.
Just bought tickets to see Peter Pan tomorrow with the Colorado Ballet. This after seeing the high school production of Oklahoma! at Callia's school tonight. A big arts weekend for us:) Next weekend we'll be at Peter Pan five times, but with me working, and Callia singing in the "mermaid" chorus in the pit with the orchestra. I didn't think we'd be doing this, but I saw part of the dress rehearsal last week, and the production is absolutely magical. They've split the kids into two groups so each group does only 6 performances, so tomorrow Callia will be in the audience, and will be able to see what's happening overhead on stage. Can't wait!
I believe in fairies! I highly recommend this production of Peter Pan by the Colorado Ballet if you're in Denver, especially for kids.
I agree Anne - if we have to choose between an AP science class and beading in terms of what to fund, I think the answer is obvious. If we have to choose. And we do have to choose.
Excellent advertising for Peter Pan. I wish it fit in my calendar this month. Too much company coming and going. I have a friend visiting tomorrow, then next week my brother and his family come for a week and then the next week we are hosting some Rugby players from the BYU national championship team. It will be lots of fun. And my basement will get cleaned up.
I've just noticed that I started two sentences in this post with and. Time to quit and go to bed. :)
I have read the school budget information with great interest.
I am in New York State and the State has drastically cut school aid for the last two years, this year so much that our district would have to raise taxes over 12% to maintain the same programs for the next school year. Of course, by law the district can not raise taxed more than just over 2%. So, cuts in the range of 3 to 4 million need to be found; this after almost 90 teacher cuts last year. We are not a large district, but not small. Our graduating classes are between 300 and 350 students, but dropping each year.
My oldest is graduating this year, but my son is a freshman, loves sports and played/is playing 3 JV sports this year and is in band and jazz band. Of course, those will likely be cut. He, needless to say, is quite discouraged by it. He said that with no sports or band, he does not even want to go to school.
Our District Super and all the School Board Members looked like deer in the head lights at our last board meeting. They are all in disbelief themselves.
One road forward is consolidating districts, but that is not for the short term.
In the end, it seems that the American educatioin system as we have known it is gone and we can just hope that what replaces it serves our kids and country well.
>211: Anne, I hope you didn't get lost in Neverland! I took the kids to see Peter Pan at our Little Theater quite a few years ago. They were bored (or so they said), but I loved it. And, yes, I believe in fairies, too!
>212 Hope you can get some rest, Jenn -- you have your hands full!
>213 It's scary, isn't it, Michelle? I think your son is not alone -- many of those programs make young people enthusiastic about school. 90 teachers in a small district is a lot! I'll be thinking about you. Times are hard all over.
>214, 215 thank you, Donna and Beth! We have two performances today and two tomorrow and then we're done. We're very tired, but it's fun. I'm so glad we took the kids to see it, and Callia on a night when she wasn't scheduled. I've worked a couple of performances, and it's fun to get a completely different perspective. Being in the pit with the orchestra is a lot like being in a small cave, with lots of thumping noises overhead caused by the dancers' feet. We do get to see Captain Hook's old enemy the crocodile -- he "emerges" from the pit and swims across us, animated (puppeteered?) by four stage hands dressed all in black and wearing black masks so that from where we sit it looks like some kind of strange ninja-crocodile dance:)
11. The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck
This took me quite a while to read, first because it didn't grab me, but mostly because I have no time right now. I ended up being riveted by Steinbeck's beautiful language, and his spot-on characters drawn with such care and complexity. Thank you, thank you to whoever was the driving force behind the Steinbeckathon. I thought perhaps I'd join a few, but I hope now to join as many as I can.
Great descriptions of the Peter Pan production Anne. It sounds like a wonderful experience for you and the girls.
I'll be looking forward to your comments on The Wayward Bus. I finished it a couple of days ago but am still thinking about it. I liked the book quite a bit but the characters were hard to like.
Peter Pan sounds like lots of fun! And what a great experience for Callia. I hope the last performances go well.
What fun! I haven't worked on theatrical productions since I was in high school, but I always loved it. Callia will remember it forever.
Whew. I'm finally catching up and enthralled with the additional snow pictures, happy that you are as much a fan of Ex Libris as the rest of us, and equally concerned about the school funding cuts everywhere. BEADING??? If that's what your kids were accustomed to as electives, Jenn, you're really having to bite the bullet, I suspect. I'm sorry I won't have the opportunity to see the Ninja Crocodile!
Sounds like so much fun, Anne! Peter Pan is getting rave reviews, which I am sure you know!
>218 thanks, Pat! I only added a little about The Wayward Bus. It took me a long time to get through it, but it wax well worth it. Peter Pan is nearly done -2 more shows. It's been busy, but fun.
>219 Susan, Callia has enjoyed herself, but will be glad to have her schedule ease up a bit!
>220 Hi Roni! Callia is having fun. I think she'd tell you she prefers the opera stage to the orchestra pit, though. I'm glad she got to see it! Im so glad she can have this experience.
>221 Hi Peggy! Only we (and the orchestra) can see the ninja part:). The audience sees only crocodile. I'm so glad you stopped by!
>222 I'm glad, Joanne, it's a wonderful production. Even from the pit, I still cry every time the kids in the audience revive Tinkerbell with the fairy-fixers. Callia has had a great time, but will be glad to have some time again:). Hope you're having a good weekend!
Hi Anne- Just swinging by to say hi and hope all is well with you! Haven't seen you around much. Hope your books are treating you well. Hugs!
>224 Hi Mark! So glad you stopped by! I haven't been around much, it's true. My books are treating me well, but if you asked the books they'd say they were being abandoned :(
Hi Anne! Well, I would not say my son loved the real Gilgamesh but he read it on the plane on the way home and said it was not too bad. I'm just glad he is in his final year of University and has a job waiting for him in his field - computer software writing waiting for him at the after graduation. Our older son is also working and happy,so that's what matters!!!! Your daughter's role in Peter Pan sounds wonderful! Have a magical week!
>226 Hi Deb! We have somewhat reluctantly returned from Neverland. What a great experience, though we are all glad it's over- it took up a lot of time.
Too close for comfort: a paper due at midnight was submitted with the time stamp 11:59:47. NOT the way I like to operate! I'm pretty sure my desk could qualify for FEMA assistance.
LOL - that is cutting it really close Anne. I hope you get some down time today.
Hah! Wow, I'm impressed, too, Anne! It must have taken a while to get your pulse back to normal.
Anne - 13 seconds to spare, do you always finish your stuff so early!
>228 Thanks, Jenn. I thought I would need a nap today (fortunately I'm not teaching), but I feel pretty productive, so I'm plugging away at schoolwork. Maybe I'll avoid a repeat of last night:)
>229 Hi Joe! Yes, it did! As you can imagine, I went to bed very late.
>230 Thank you, Linda!
>231 Thank you, Pat, me too!
>232 LOL Paul. Actually, I'm more of the smug, Hermione, I-finished-my-paper-three-days-ago type of student. Sometimes :) I had a perfect storm of a crazy schedule and a huge scope for this paper. I also tend to overwrite, and it hurt me here.
A post I wrote for the Colorado Children's Chorale blog celebrating happy memories of the music of Robert Sherman.
Beautifully written post for your Colorado Children's Chorale, Anne. Just lovely!
>235 Thank you, Deb! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
12. Candide: or, Optimism by Voltaire
I thoroughly enjoyed Candide and the superb narration of the late actor Donal Donnelly. This is a dark satire told with a light touch, or even whimsy. The scathing wit had me cracking up, even as the violence and brutality described made me wince. The surface story is this: Candide, a young, naïve man, is expelled (by being kicked repeatedly in his backside) from the castle where he is a ward after he attempts to embrace the young baroness Cunegonde. He is subsequently forced into, then escaped from the Bulgarian army, and makes his way through most of Europe and South America and Turkey, all the while consumed with love for Cunegonde, and the hopes of their eventual but unlikely reunion. Central characters are killed off gruesomely -- they are hanged, burned, dissected, disemboweled, rotted by syphilis, quartered, etc. and yet reappear later with fantastic stories of survival and hardship endured under drastically reduced circumstances. All but simple Candide, his trusted valet Cacambo, the unlucky Cunegonde, and Martin, the hilariously gloomy and pessimistic companion have ulterior motives of greed or hypocrisy or both. All are miserable, no matter their station or wealth.
Under the surface, however, is a lively and biting satire, the targets of which are enlightenment philosophers (particularly optimists), aristocracy and nobility, religious fanaticism, and political abuses. The fact that this sharp satire, typically contemporary, has aged so well is a testament to the genius of Voltaire and his shrewd observations about human nature, and the fact that though we as a civilization have become more enlightened and advanced, fundamentally we have not changed so very much.
Wow, great review of Candide, Anne. I think I read this in college (??) but I obviously don't remember much of it. May have to give it another try.
Great review is right, Anne. I haven't read this one in a long time either, although I did see the musical they made of it, including the song, "The Best of All Possible Worlds." :-)
#234 Anne, I just read your Chorale post and loved the wistfulness of it. I love following your experiences with the CCC and am so glad you get to share this with your daughters.
Great Chorale post Anne. I love the River Song.
I must get to Candide. I've been meaning to for a long time...
Hi Anne - you must be very relieved to have that paper out of the way! I liked your blog post too.
I love singing Anne and enjoyed your piece immensely.
Reading about you listening to Candide and having all my other friends give their views of the delights of Anna Massey or Alan Rickman or whoever elses' narration is tugging me towards a splurge of audio purchases....at least they are so dashed expensive over here that I daren't try to sneak them past SWMBO.
>238, 240 Thank you, Pat! I am so thankful they wanted to be in the Chorale! We have a performance today -- A Classical Afternoon. It has come to be my favorite performance. Just our oldest two choirs singing classical and spiritual music in a beautiful old stone and stained glass church here in Denver. And I am making my accompaniment debut today -- on the triangle!
>239 Thanks, Joe. Oddly enough, I'll bet a musical version of Candide would work well!
>241 Thank you, Jenn. River Song is very special to me, and usually makes me cry. This year the kids are singing For Good from Wicked, which is having the same effect. I cried the very first time we sang through the music -- on page 2. I'll be a goner at the Spring Concert!
>242 Hi Susan thanks! Yes, I am very relieved!
>243 Thank you, Paul. I love singing, too. I share your concerns about audio books -- they are terribly expensive! I can say with certainty, however, that I would not have gotten as much out of Candide if I had read it. The right narrator can really make a book come alive. I am lucky to get them at the library -- I can't see myself buying them. The library doesn't have everything I'd like (I can't even find the Alan Rickman The Return of the Native through ILL). But I can usually find something fun and unexpected on the shelves. And thank goodness -- I've been so busy lately that I wouldn't be reading at all if I didn't have an audiobook going in the car!
Candide does work well as a musical, Anne. It's composed by Leonard Bernstein, and is clever with good music. When I saw it Jim Dale was the star - the guy who did such a great job of voicing all the Harry Potter audiobooks.
>245 Thanks, Joe. Now that I read this, I'm pretty sure I knew this... one more thing lost in the dark recesses of the brain... Hope you're having a good weekend!
13. Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman
I thoroughly enjoyed this sweet, heartfelt story of 16 year old Katherine Mary O'Fallon, who travels for health reasons from Boston to Calgary in 1907 to live with her uncle. "Up till 1905 Alberta had been part of the Great Northwest Territory, and it gave me a real thrill to go to a place that had been officially civilized for only two years." There, she meets and marries Sergeant Mike Flannigan, and the two of them travel by canoe and dog-pulled sled to remote Northwest outposts of the vast region Mike serves as the beloved Mountie -- which at such a time also means doctor, community liaison, judge, and provider. Their life together in the rugged, harsh, lonely and unspoiled wilderness is one of love and loss, community and isolation, wonder and heartbreak, cruelty and kindness. As I read the book, which was published in 1947, it seemed to me like a Canadian Little House book for young adults. I was touched to read internet reviewers' accounts of the book -- many said it was the book that made them fall in love with reading (and Sergeant Mike), their favorite book from childhood, or the one they read so often it literally fell apart. I wish I had read it at a young age, but i'm so glad I read it now! I look forward to passing this one along to my girls.
Hi Anne- Good review of Mrs. Mike. I've heard several people praise this book now. It needs to go on the List. Hope you are enjoying your weekend.
Thank you, Mark! It is a rare weekend for me -- no paper due and no performances. Nice weather, too -- lucky us! Thank you for stopping by. I think Mrs. Mike would be a worthy addition to the List.
Anne: I remember reading Mrs. Mike in as a youngster and wanting, as a result, to move to Canada and marry a Mountie.
This topic was continued by Anne (AMQS) Toutes Directions in 2012 -- Chapter 2.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.