Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Storytime Challenge:Oso Pardo, Oso Pardo, Que Ves Ahi? by Bill Martin

It's been awhile since I have contributed to the storybook challenge. I haven't stopped reading to my little ones, just haven't posted about it.

I actually have a little challenge of my own happening right now. I am trying to teach my middle son Spanish.The background on the whys will be in one of my next posts.

One of my biggest goals in this is to get my son reading the language. Reading is, in my opinion, the key to learning any language. More on that in the next post!

So, in search of books. Well, my mom asked if she could buy presents for my kids. Yes, but they have to be books. Buy Spanish books for Nico, please. (See? I said please.) After a little grumbling about trains and tea sets, she agreed, and set off for Barnes and Noble. 

Well, I don't know if you have perused B&N for Spanish books for children, but there just isn't a lot at these stores. She bought several, but they were either too difficult or too boring for my son. He's a beginning reader in English and more than, say, twenty Spanish words on a page is overwhelming. 

So, I returned quite a few and got a gift card. Then I got online. Now, there are a TON of books in Spanish for beginners!

I selected, among others, a few books by Bill Martin. He wrote Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? I purchased the Spanish version: Oso pardo, oso pardo, ¿qué ves ahí?

I must admit, I never looked at these books in English. My boys were interested in trains, specifically Thomas, so I never looked for other things to read to them. I am so glad I got these!

After I received the books, I flipped through them to see if these would help me, or I should just pass them on as pretty books to my 2 year old. 

They are perfect! The illustrations are very pretty (or as mi suegro me dijo, "Que lindo!", and then began yelling about the weather or something. Los Argentinos. They yell. A lot. Anywhere. We go to a restaurant with my in-laws. "This bread is good. My mother made bread like this." ~ "Your mother never made bread like this." ~ "Hey! I think I know what my mother made!" ~ "How do you know what she made??!! You were never home!!! Always off having fun!!" ~ "FINE, MY LOVE!! FINE!! <mumbling> I don't know what I am talking about?! This woman doesn't know anything!" Then they both look at me and roll their eyes at the other one...) Uhhh...where was I? Oh, yeah. Books. Yes. Pictures. Yes. The pictures are very pretty, but the good thing is they don't distract!

This is exactly what I need! These books help in several ways: building vocabulary, learning colors, verb conjugation (you see, I see, they see, we see), and the repetition allows Nico to get comfortable with sounds and the rhythm of reading. 

At first, I read these to him, only asking him to read one word on each page. Then I had him read the "Animal, animal" que ves ahi? parts alone. Last night he read the entire book ALONE! It took for. ever. But he did it. I was sooooo proud of him!

But did Nico enjoy reading it? Let's ask him.

Nico, do you like this book? Oh, yeah! Yeah!

What is your favorite part? The bear. It's meat-eatery.

Do you want to read it again? Yeah.

What language are you reading? Spanish.

Are you happy that you can read in Spanish? Yes. Because... Because I want to talk in Spanish.

Yep, I think we are making progress! Whew!

How about you? Are you reading any good books? Do your in-laws yell in restaurants?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Alice in Wonderland is a true story

 Now bloggers, here is the story you asked for in my last post. Just be reminded that some of the information in here is false (I was allowed to alter the truth a little for my assignment) but mostly based on fact. Feedback would be appreciated. Is it worthy of an A?

Alice Liddell was a ten year old girl living in the 1860’s when she acquired a peculiar friend. His name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (his pen name was Lewis Carroll).

When he met the Liddell family in 1955, he was a stuttering mathematician with a brilliant mind and knack for telling stories. He would entertain Alice and her siblings with many great tales full of nonsense. Though, it was not until 1964 that he came up with, on the spot, the magical story that we know now to be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. A story with such detail, such a developed plotline, it seems so (pause) unreal. It was taken straight from the imagination of Lewis Carroll. Or was it?

After he died, a diary was found of Lewis Carroll’s work. Around seven pages were missing from 1853-1863, when he was around 21-30 years old. 1863, the year the missing pages ended, was the year before he supposedly told Alice Liddell the story of Wonderland.

What could he possibly have to hide in these torn-out pages? His experience in Wonderland, that’s what.

Karoline Leach found one of the pages he had ripped out in 1996 in his family archive. The page looked like this (show new slide on screen). It contains what seems to be the first manuscript of the story. In the year 1854, he left the rugby school he was attending and ventured on a period of time explained in a biography (by Karoline Leach, who discovered his missing diary pages) as an “unexplained interval”. The interval was one of the years he had missing diary pages.

Such a mysterious period of time must contain something worth hiding.

Charles must have ventured to Wonderland in his “unexplained interval”. It stands to reason that Charles found the adventure so brilliant and so mysterious that it was something that he could only keep with himself. He then wrote the adventure down in his diary and ripped the pages out before anyone could see.

Now, the idea of travelling down a rabbit hole is a little far-fetched. But is the idea of other worlds or lands so crazy? The universe is basically infinite. The existence of parallel universes is believed by many scientists and physicists, though cases of travelling to these are extremely rare. Charles’ adventures appear to be based on his experience in a different world.

Eleven dimensions actually exist within our universe. The conclusion was made that our universe is merely one membranous bubble floating amongst a large number of other bubbles, which ripple as they travel through the eleventh dimension. When two bubbles touch, a bubble, which clashes the theories of both universes within the bubbles, is formed. If such a clash can occur when merging universes, wouldn’t worlds merge to create such a space as Wonderland?

Some worlds may contain merely a different version of the world we live in.

Sound familiar?

Yes, talking cats, abstract games of croquet and nonsensical tea parties contain elements of the atmosphere around us. Suddenly, the whimsical story of Alice and her adventures doesn’t seem so whimsical.

It’s the missing pages of one of these surviving diaries that leaves a mystery about one critical moment in Carroll’s life: the rift between him and the Liddell family.

What exactly happened that caused Mrs. Liddell to prevent Carroll from no longer spending time with her children?

Alice and Charles had a very special relationship and were friends for many years. Many references to Alice Liddell are made in the book, such as the Mad Tea Party being held on her birthday. In the year Charles travelled to Wonderland, Alice must have been taken with him. When she returned, Alice told Mrs Liddell her stories of Wonderland leaving her very disturbed. She then banned Charles from seeing her children. He describes her adventures in his torn-out diary pages, as the girl in the pages is obviously not a portrayal of himself in Wonderland.

In his poem Epilogue to the Looking-glass, her name is spelt out in acrostic letters. Secrets between them were great, and they believed what they shared was special and only between them. I have exploited the mystery and left you revealed to the monument of a truth that is Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.

As Charles wrote in his secretive acrostic poem, “What is life but a dream?”


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In Which An Intrepid Reader Receives Aggravating News

Can you read anytime anyplace?

Zoning out with a book, regardless of my surroundings, has never been a problem for me. 

Noise or commotion? Totally tuned out. 

 If there is enough light, I read.  Even if there isn't enough light, I read. Tilting a  book every which way to catch the last rays of sun at dusk while riding in a car-- I'm a pro, baby! 

Reading is just what I do. Family and friends know that is what I do. So when my hub, Jim,  teased me in the waiting room of my glaucoma specialist (Yep, I'm a freak of nature youngish person with glaucoma)  about being an 'Intrepid Reader', I was clueless.  And annoyed-- you know how it is to be jarred out of a book.

Really, what's so intrepid about reading in a waiting room? Everyone does that. So yeah, I was doubly annoyed for being inanely interrupted.  Before I could get too cross, he said:  Your eyes are dilated.

Ah, then I got it. Reading with blurry vision from dilated eyes.

 Folks, that isn't just intrepid that is hardcore! 

Of course, I had Jim take a picture of me reading intrepidly.  Then the silliness triggered an impromptu photo shoot. 

My book: Alice Walker's Temple of my Familiar.  Very very good and a sequel to The Color Purple. Have you read it? 
 It was an all around good ol' time, for a doctor visit that is, then came some aggravating news that will wreak havoc with the rest of my summer fun.

Surgery on my left eye.  Waah!

I had surgery to place a teeny tiny shunt in my right eye two years ago with good results so I'm not too worried about the surgery-- it isn't even very painful afterwards just uncomfortable-- but the post op care is a very big pain. It goes on for months with sleeping eye patches, ointment and step down prednisone eyedrops but the thing that impacts summer is no lifting or bending for six weeks-- and no swimming, waterparks, rollercoasters ect. 

 I repeat: Waah!

My surgery is today and I've spent the last three weeks in a frenzy of activity. Believe me, attempting to fit a whole summer's worth of gardening, home projects and fun into three weeks is exhausting and I've barely made a dent!

But I refuse to worry about all the summer cleaning and home improvement that won't get done.  

Like DeLynne said: Vision is a gift one only gets once.  

So everything else is secondary to maintaining vision.  

Besides, helping out is what minions family is for, right? 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bargain Book Bonanza (16): Deceptively Cheap

Welcome to Bargain Book Bonanza!

A book haul linky party for bargain loving bookworms!

BBB is the place to showcase all the great books (new, used, vintage, electronic, audio) that you have scored on sale.

Each Monday through Thursday, all book lovers are invited to carouse, make merry and revel with bargain book abandon!

Want to join the party? Just visit the Bargain Book Bonanza page for the particulars.

Leslie is hosting this week!

This is an older BBB. Oldie, but a goody!

Delynne posted almost a year ago about this cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. I already had the other book, Sneaky Chef when she wrote her review. But I decided to look for this one to try. This, of course, is not another rehash of all that, uh, mash. This is my BBB!

So. I looked up this book on several websites. I found bargain books that were used, price was good, but the shipping put it up there. Or else it was dirty. I don't know about you, but I cannot stand dirty cookbooks. Blech.

I checked my Half Price Books stores. I looked at Walmart and Barnes and Noble. I just didn't want to spend a lot of  money for a possibly redundant book. I kind of gave up.

Then after reading one of Lesa's BBBs, I started checking my Big Lots for books. That would be a store, y'all, not a comment on the ample proportions I may or may not have.

Well, as chance would have it, lo and behold, I found what I had been looking for! Deceptively Delicious! And how much? Was it $7.99 for a used, food stained (I hope) copy? Was it $15 or more for a brand spanking new copy?

No, my friends. It was NOT. It was a mere, $3.00!!! I know! I couldn't believe it either! A brand, spanking (I smacked it around a bit, so yeah) NEW book - no stains, smells, problems, pages missing, etc., etc. (King and I. Wasn't that a great movie? The original one, I mean. So great. Etc., etc.)

I was so excited, I checked to make sure it wasn't marked wrong. It wasn't! I double checked with the cashier, and when I was told that it was, in fact, $3.00, I got all chatty with her (who by the by, could not care less. She just kept chewing her cud, uh, I mean, gum, looking at me like I had three eyes! Young people these days, am I right? Why, back in my day...well maybe you aren't interested in all of THAT.) Anywho, pret-ty exciting. Pret-ty darn exciting.

So do you have any favorite Bargain Cookbooks? Have you tried this cookbook? 

If you have a bargain book, please share. We love to brag on bargains! The linky will be open through Friday this week.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Fashion... More Alice...

G'day, Izzy here! I honestly did not mean to go this long without book blogging. Honest! I just let time slip away a little, combine that with the fact that I can barely keep up my own blog and I have been reading pure rubbish lately and you have a very lazy book blogger. Sorry!

Okay, I may be a little obsessed with fashion. I know what you're thinking, (Doesn't every little fourteen-year-old want to be a fashion designer?) but I like to think of myself as a little, well, deeper than that. And I am going to be a writer, thank you very much. Or a marine biologist. Or a magazine editor. Or a stylist. But I'm deep, obviously.

Back to the point: I had to blog about this book

The Atlas of Fashion Designers is like that magical man-book in Ella Enchanted (excuse the PG children's movie reference). You just think of what you want, look it up and it's there!

It contains what seems to be every fashion designer you ever wanted to know about. And then some. Plus, interesting interviews with the designers, an overview of their work and glossy, full-page pictures.

Who doesn't love glossy full page pictures?

Sketches, close-up shots of their handiwork and exclusive photos are also included. Believe it or not, it's not just full of high-priced couture like Chanel. It also has ethnic designers and accessory masterminds. I don't understand why you wouldn't be interested by now. Unless of course you're not deep enough.

Aside from reading about fashion, I have also been working very hard on a little English project of mine. You should know by now that I am obsessed with Alice in Wonderland. Obsessed to the point that I am convinced it is a true story and someday a rabbit in a waistcoat is going to run by my window and I will have a fabulous adventure.

We were asked in the project to prove the existence of a mythological creature, myth or legend. So I just had to prove Alice in Wonderland was a true story. For those who are interested, tell me and I will do a blog post containing my revealing speech to the monument of truth that is Alice in Wonderland. If you aren't. I'll get the memo. 


Monday, June 13, 2011

Bargain Book Bonanza (15) Summer Readin'

 Welcome to Bargain Book Bonanza!

A book haul linky party for bargain loving bookworms!

BBB is the place to showcase all the great books (new, used, vintage, electronic, audio) that you have scored on sale.

Each Monday through Thursday, all book lovers are invited to carouse, make merry and revel with bargain book abandon!

Want to join the party? Just visit the Bargain Book Bonanza page for the particulars.

Leslie is hosting this week!

Hey, all y'all. Me again. The one with the passel (thank you, Scarlett). I totally cheated on this one, but I am still proud, because it took a bit of doing!

So it's summer summer summertime, and Houston ISD and the Houston Public Library, among others, sponsor summer reading programs. Well, I have attempted it the last few years, but we never logged our books in...blah blah blah.

So. How does this relate to a Bargain Book Bo-nanza (you have to say it that way: BO-nanza)? (Hey, calm down! I am getting there! Sheesh, you are soooo pushy!)

Yes, anyway. One of the prizes is (drum roll, PLEASE) FREE BOOKS!!!

That's right, folks! My kids got FREE BOOKS!

We finished the first "prize" level and each one got a book. They are also going to receive a free book next week for completing level two (PLUS  tickets to an Astros game and the circus!)! AND - yes - AND my two boys in school will receive a THIRD book during their next school year! I seem to be yelling a lot. Let me calm down.

And now, you ask with bated breath, what books did they receive?

Lucas, 10, got Slam:
It's not something he would normally choose, but I hope he gives it a chance. It is about a boy and basketball, and lessons he learns through  challenging circumstances. It is for 12 years and up, so a bit old for him, but it got good reviews on Amazon. Maybe we will read it together.


Nico, 6, got Pippi Goes On Board:

This also is something he wouldn't choose as it has no pictures. But I promised we could read it together, a chapter at a time. He got very excited! It looks like a fun book, so I am a bit eager as well!


And, Miss Muffet, 2, got an I Spy Little Book:

This is a very simple board book. It shows the word and the picture of the "hidden" object, with a little rhyme. Fun way to teach little ones written words and the object!

Pretty cool, huh? I will be posting more about these reading programs later, but just wanted to share the bo-nanza!

Yes, I cheated a bit, as I didn't actually find them, but I did push my kids to read read read. They think they are finished, since they got the prize. They're so crazy. It's only just begun. MWAHAHAHA!

That was an evil laugh, just FYI.

Have you read something that you normally wouldn't choose? Were you pleasantly surprised or bitterly, and I mean, bitterly, disappointed?

If you have a bargain book, please share. We love to brag on bargains! The linky will be open through Friday this week.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Aeroplane reading, Mezza Italiana

Location: Brisbane International Airport (BNE)

Time: 11:22 am

Book: Mezza Italiana by Zoe Boccabella

Price: $27.26, duty free

Note: Waiting for Air New Zealand flight to Aukland, with a connection to LAX

I had planned on reading only second hand books during this trip, but realized upon arrival at the airport that I had forgotten not only my toothbrush but also my reading material.

A dear friend had given me a copy of Under the Tuscan Sun, and told me to abandon it when finished. Oh well, the Tuscan sun will still be shining next month when I get back.

So, a quick trip to the aeroport kiosk solved my print-less state.

Two tomes were weighed up (literally and literary-ily) , and Mezza Italiana beat Heartless by a nose.

Mezza Italiana is heavier, by far, and maybe not the flying fluff I usually read (XXX to Evanovich), but it is related to my day job and tax deductible. It also looks like one of those mouth wateringly yummy travel-and-find yourself books that are so popular. A bit like Under the Tuscan Sun, eh?

Heartless by Alison Gaylin does look like fun; put out by the Little Black Dress publishers. Has anyone read any of their books?

Mezza Italiana was more expensive, but will take me longer to read. It's got gorgeous photos on the cover (no camera with me, so no photo unless Lesa adds one!)

Which one would you choose? I'll let you know if I've made the right decision…

Beautiful Cloth Book Covers by Rose Vignettes

Isn't this one of the loveliest book covers ever?


 Liz at Rose Vignettes created this cloth cover for her Bible then made one for a friend whose Bible cover looked too masculine.  To see the step by step tutorial of how to make a cloth book cover, click here.  No doubt Liz's friend is estastic over how pretty and feminine her Bible now looks.

Which cover is your favorite?

I can't decide-- and I'm thinking I would need a cover to coordinate with each outfit.

Learning to sew is on my never ending 'to do' list so I hope to attempt this project someday soon... well, someday.

Stop laughing your 'you know whats off'! Stranger things have happened!

Please pop in at the charming Rose Vignettes blog and give Liz a howdy. Did I mention that she is a bookworm as well as being a diy whiz?

Please click daily to vote for Mrs. BG at the free-ranked blog directory Picket Fence Blogs!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bargain Book Bonanza (14): A Hubby Edition

 Welcome to Bargain Book Bonanza!

A book haul linky party for bargain loving bookworms!

BBB is the place to showcase all the great books (new, used, vintage, electronic, audio) that you have scored on sale.

Each Monday through Thursday, all book lovers are invited to carouse, make merry and revel with bargain book abandon!

Want to join the party? Just visit the Bargain Book Bonanza page for the particulars.

Lesa is hosting this week!

Hi, friends! Apologies for being so late with this week's BBB. This is the third week of summer break and I have already lost track of days! And if you think I've been wallowing and relaxing, think again. Right now, I'm plumb tuckered out from a general frenzy of activity due to unexpected aggravating news that I will share soon. But for now, on with Bargain Book Bonanza...

Have I mentioned before that my spouse is also a bookworm?

My hub, Jim, is an eclectic reader too except in the nonfiction category. He reads it all but his favorites are anything relating to his multitude of special interests, humor  and biographies/memoirs of people in the arts. 

But my man isn't a fictional lost cause-- he read and loved The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings before we met. Good thing that... since he would've had to hit the road otherwise. Seriously. 

The guy had potential so I decided to keep him. And my badgering faith paid off!  A few years ago, he started reading a few of my science thrillers. But the piece de resistance:  Jim read all the Harry Potter books!    Now if only Jillian's boyfriend would put a little bug in his ear regarding a certain bracelet... 

Since Jim is a bookworm and has always bought the most books between us (in my pre-BBB days, that is), it really tickled me last week when he asked: What are you going to do with all your books?

I said: Read them!

Duh, what did he think I was going to do with them!
Of course, I conveniently missed the gist of the question which was book storage.

And guess who found book bargains last week? Yep, my good ol' weak-willed hub.  Only two books though so I guess the house won't burst at the seams

Jim found these at the library's neverending sale. He was particularly excited about the Brian Wilson memoir since the Beach Boys are his second favorite  childhood band after the Beatles.

How good was the bargain?

Two hardbacks for a dollar! Can't beat that!

For discussion:
Is it important that your present/future significant other is a reader?  Did any past relationships fizzle because your significant other didn't get your passion for books?

If you have a bargain book, please share. We love to brag on bargains! The linky will be open through Friday this week.

Please click daily to vote for Mrs. BG at the free-ranked blog directory Picket Fence Blogs!
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