Inspiration From The Distant Past

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

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wallowing In Precious Time

Freedom is sinking in and I am settling in for a good long wallow. Wallow, you ask? Oh yes, lots of delightful wallowing is about to commence. Why, you ask? Because...
♫ School's out for summer! ♫

Alice Cooper on the Muppet Show-- Too Cool!

Time to do anything, everything or nothing is wonderful but it does take a day or two to sink in. Wednesday afternoon, the Cozy Book Nook family went to see How To Train Your Dragon to kick off our traditional summer movie-ganza. Thursday was basic housekeeping day and a town run to prep for Little Cozy Book Nook's playdate on Friday.

So two busy days that could have been any weekend except it was the middle of the week... summer time freedom began to settle over me like a cozy comforter. Then Thursday night, I actually joined the family to watch a dvd movie... an entire movie on a weeknight with no multi-tasking involved... freedom tickled around the edges of my psyche.

Friday morning it happened.... the aaahhh moment... the summer holiday is actually here moment... the no job for two and half months and loads of precious time moment. Pure bliss! Can you guess what triggered this joyous awakening? Just the simple act of reading a whole magazine over a bowl of cereal. :o)

Sounds mundane, I know, but having time for the mundane is wallow-worthy in my book. So here I am wallowing in all the amazing potential summer has to offer. Wallowing over time for: sleeping... serious but leisurely decluttering... home improvement projects... gardening (not weeding but the beauty and eating involved)... killing poison ivy (yeah, I'm vicious)... traveling... trying new recipes... working puzzles and playing games... running through sprinklers... and, of course, reading... glorious summer reading.

Will I make much of a dent in my TBR mountain? I don't know... the library always has intriguing summer offerings to lead me astray but I do know this much: I will definitely get to the bottom of my magazine TBR stack. It is a whole lot shorter!

Happy Summer to all the educators... and to everyone else too!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Coco and Igor

Have you ever seen a movie that made you want to read the book? Like most women I love learning about Coco Chanel, but I had never known much about her life.
Coco and Igor is based on the book written by Chris Greenhalgh about the later years of Chanel's life. She is painted as a not-so-nice lady, and the movie has some graphic R rated scenes, but I found the sets and costumes amazing. The relationship between music and fashion, the Ballets Russes and French society in the 1910's - 1920's was so interesting. I had known that the Russians took the French by storm, but not that Chanel had such an integral role.

So now I have another book on my TBR list. Has anyone read it?

And by the way, the photo has very little to do with the book, but I thought you might like this image from a French teenager site. It's Mads Mikkelsen, the Danish star of the movie. Apologies to our male readers, you brave vanguards of testosterone in the female-dominated book blogging world.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Books That Made Me Love Reading

Top Ten Picks is a weekly meme hosted by Jillian at Random Ramblings. This week the topic is 'books that made you discover your love of reading'.

Such a fun topic because, as all bookworms know, the next best thing to reading a favorite book is reminiscing about a favorite book.

Like many bookworms, my love for books and reading began at a very early age. In fact, I reckon the bookworm trait must be encoded in my DNA. Of course, my mother did read to me constantly so a lot of nurture in the mix as well... but if I had been raised by wolves I would still be a bookworm... at least, once I returned to civilization and learned to read. ;o)

My Top Ten Picks cover my earliest book memories from age three/four through elementary

1. Wonder Books and Little Golden Books

Like Jillian, these precious little storybooks were a huge part of my toddler and childhood years. Even after I outgrew them, I was still reading them to Little Brother #1 and Little Brother #2.

My mother, angel that she is, kept them all safe and sound. Most are still at her house but I've brought a few home to Oklahoma to read to my little boy. He loves them too.

Wonder Books... I wonder what ever happened to Wonder Books. I found practically no mention of them in a google search other than folks collecting or selling.
Do any of you... ahem....'older' bookworms remember Wonder Books?

A few of my well loved and well read Little Golden Books. I distinctly remember cuddling next to my mother at age three and four while she read So Big and The Little Book to me.... over and over and over. I still remember the thrill of knowing what was coming next in the story and the anticipation I felt as each page was turned. Yep, definitely born a bookworm.

Actually, the Tootle and Love Bug may be Little Brother #1's books... he is five years younger... but I remember reading them for myself. All these Little Golden books cost thiry-nine to forty-nine cents. Hard to believe, isn't it.

Some of Little Brother #2's collection. He is thirteen years younger so these were purchased in the early 80s and cost eighty-nine cents.

A couple of my little boy's books. Today, these cost $2.99... the $2.50 price is a Walmart special.

Oh my, haven't prices changed!

2. Dr. Seuss

I may have been born a bookworm but I wasn't born a reader so I give credit to Dr. Seuss where credit is due.

I vividly remember being boggled by everything in first grade especially reading. Quite nerve wracking, really, when you are expected to perform and it all looks like Greek. I spent most of the year in the Pug reader, the lowest reading group... while gazingly longingly over at the Blue Dilly Dilly group. Yes, I'm still peeved.

After speaking with the teacher, my mother enrolled me in the Dr. Seuss bookclub. Lots of practice reading went on during the summer between first and second grade.

At the beginning of second grade, the teacher called each student to her desk to read aloud to determine which reader they should start in. While waiting nervously for my turn, I whispered my page over and over... each word seemed to make sense... but I lacked confidence. My turn finally arrived and I read the whole page fluently! I was in the top reading group from then on... Whoot Whoot! Take that, Pug!!

Thank you, Mama and Dr. Seuss!

By the way, the books in the photo are my thirty seven year old copies. Apparently, my brothers and I were hard on books.

3. Danny and the Dinosaur

This book was a favorite picture book of many students so was rarely available to check out at the school library. The idea of a museum dinosaur coming to life, befriending a little boy and exploring the city was absolutely enthralling.

4. The Funny Little Woman

This retelling of a Japanese folktale is charming and magical. A funny little woman who makes the best dumplings and always laughs 'Tehehehe' chases a rolling dumpling all the way to the demon underworld. The head demon keeps her as dumpling maker. She finally escapes, sells dumplings and becomes rich. Wow, this story must be where my love of fantasy began.

This picture book was such a favorite that I rechecked it from the school library countless times. I've searched for this book for years but couldn't remember the title... I kept thinking it was 'the runaway dumpling'. No one ever recognized which book I was describing... so frustrating. Finally, this week the Google Gods smiled and I found it! Now, I can buy it for my little bookworm.

Are you familiar with The Funny Little Woman?

5. Little House in the Big Woods

This book was my first beloved chapter book. I read it and the sequels over and over from the end of second grade through middle school. The later books fall more in the YA category.

I loved reading about perky Laura and her family's adventures as they moved farther and farther West in search of a better life.

6. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

Isn't Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle the cutest little lady? This series of books kept me laughing during third and fourth grade. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside down house and carries a big bag full of all kind of cures for children's misbehavior and bad habits. She is a parent's dream. If your child has 'gobbley-monia' or 'won't go to bed-itis', just call Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.

7. Beverly Cleary Books

Oh, how I loved Henry, Ribsy, Beezus and Ramona. I read every Cleary book in my school library. I owned a copy of Ramona The Brave and read it so many times.

8. Bobbsey Twins and Boxcar Children

Yes, I know, different authors, but I just realised this is number eight so must lump some together. These are more favorites that I read from third grade to fifth grade. I loved immersing myself in the adventures of other children and families.

9. Lois Lenski books

Around age nine or ten, I discovered Lois Lenski's regional books at the public library. Strawberry Girl, the best known, is about two girls from feuding families in the early 20th century South becoming friends.

Being from the South, I loved reading Lenski's books. I especially loved that the dialogue was written in various Southern dialects. To this day, I thrill when an author accurately captures a dialect on the written page.

10. Andrew Lang's Colored Fairy Books

Another public library discovery around age nine. Oh, how I loved these fairytales. My library didn't have the whole collection but I remember avidly reading the green, red, blue, yellow, and brown fairy books.

11. Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators

I found this series at the public library too and read it from fourth grade through middle school. These are such deliciously shivery mysteries. The Secret of Terror Castle is the first in the series and I've never forgotten it. Isn't it funny how the covers changed over the years.

Do you know this series? I'll be blogging about The Three Investigators Series in a future Tuesday Treasures post so stay tuned.

What a wonderful experience reminiscing about the early books that cinched my love of reading. Thanks, Jillian!

Drat, I didn't mention A Little Princess and Heidi...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Welcome! Thank you for hopping in for a visit.

What could be more cheerful on a rainy mucky day than hopping through the blogosphere meeting new bookish friends?! So fun and no wet feet!

If you would like to hopalong, head over to Crazy For Books: read the rules and link up.

Put your hand on the mouse
Put your eyes on the screen
Do the Book Blogger Hop
Hop hop hop

Drat... Now the Bunny Hop tune is stuck in my head!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mystery Aussie word

First of all, a lament about my beautiful pre-teen daughter who was perfect, and who now comes home from high school reporting about the different way she got in trouble today. Any words of wisdom from parents of teens? I am floundering.

Anyway, at the table tonight she confessed that she had forgotten to write her Indonesian homework in her diary and, of course, not done it. The teacher said, 'Being a bit of a berk, are we?'

Hubby, a born Aussie, says it's spelled 'burke' after Burke and Wills, the ill-fated Outback explorers who died. Burke wouldn't take advice from Aborigines, was ill-prepared, etc. That definition fits the situation perfectly, but I can't find that exact etymology in any dictionary, paper or online.

My Macquarie Dictionary of Australian Colloquial Language, which has been a faithful companion since my immigration from Texas, has:

'berk, also birk, burk, burke n. (offensive) an unpleasant or despicable person. [rhyming slang, Berkshire Hunt cunt]'

Do you know about rhyming slang? It originated from the Cockneys and is part of Aussie lingo. Hubby calls his friends 'China'. It comes from 'mate'--> 'plate'--> 'China plate'. Get it?

Merriam-Websters' online has the same etymology, with the addendum, 'fool British.'

What do you think? Fool I'll accept, even unpleasant, but not a despicable person or the rhyming slang for rude bits!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jo Linsdell: Italian For Tourists and Promo Day for Writers!

RYCJ of OEBooks posted a fabulous interview with Jo Linsdell the author of Italian For Tourists and the organizer of Promo Day for writers.

Jo Linsdell visited Italy a few years ago and never left. (Reminds me of my co-blogger, DeLynne, a Texan transplanted in Australia who just happens to speak and teach Italian.) After learning to speak Italian, Jo wrote an user-friendly phrasebook of basics for tourists. Sounds like the perfect book for me!

Jo is also the organizer of Promo Day which is a free annual online event for writers. The next Promo Day will be held this Saturday May 15. The website and information regarding the workshops/forums available are listed in the interview.

I loved reading about Jo's journey towards writing and publishing Italian For Tourists and her insights on traveling and communicating in Italy. If you plan to vacation in Italy or are a writer interested in Promo Day, check out the the interview at OEBooks for more information.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Breakfast at Tiffany's

NB In proof-reading this Top Ten Pick, I realize that it is just a thinly disguised musing of my own, so I completely understand if Jillian chooses to unlink it.

I've chosen for my Top One Pick (I am the opposite of Lesa when it comes to lists!) the book/movie
Breakfast at Tiffany's. Have you seen/read them both? If not, you really must.

They really shouldn't be listed as being the same story: they are quite different, set 20 years apart with opposing endings. It could be argued that the novel
Breakfast at Tiffiany's isn't very romantic, that the couple aren't really in love. That would be true, but the film was based on the novella, and no one can read the book without picturing the luminous Audrey Hepburn.

It is a beautiful, poignant book, and I think many women can see some of themselves (even only if thinking wishfully) in Holly Golightly. Holly's relationship with 'Fred' is so innocent and yet provocative. In the movie 'Fred' has a real name and a much more romantic relationship.

I suppose this convoluted justification is just an excuse to discuss the actress we spent a very pleasant afternoon watching. See, for Mothers' Day hubby gave his Mum a copy of
Roman Holiday. Princess Anne and Joe Bradley would be my number two pick, if I wanted to make a list longer than one. My girls kept exclaiming over her beauty (Audrey, not my MIL) and asking about her. The elder said watching Audrey makes her feel 'galumphing'. They were smitten!

So, back to the book at hand... If you haven't read
Breakfast at Tiffany's, do. Truman Capote was a genius, really a genius. The story will surprise you if you've seen the movie, and it will make you think regardless. It might also make you feel 'galumphing,' but that's your problem.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Top Ten Picks: Favorite Love Stories

This week Jillian's Top Ten Picks topic is favorite love stories from books, film, tv ect. Who doesn't adore a great romance?! If you would like to join in the fun, post your picks and head over to Jillian's Random Ramblings to link up.

My favorite romances usually contain one or more of the following components: fairytale elements, witty repartee, quirkiness, fun, tempestuousness, ladies with moxie and rakes with redeeming qualities... oh, and I do like bad boys... pirates, swashbucklers... sorry, I digress, maybe favorite bad boys will be a future Top Ten Picks. (hint hint Jillian)

1. Scarlett and Rhett

I do love tempestuous...

2. Gigi and Gaston

Gigi is one of the most charming and delightful fairytale-esque musical love stories of all time!

Have you read the novella Gigi by Colette that this musical was based on? I haven't but I hope to find it. The author's adventurous life and notorious love affairs and other literary works are very intriguing. Wonder if DeLynne has read any of the original French versions of Colette's novels?

3. Adam and Amanda Bonner

Classic movies have such clever romances and Adam's Rib is one of the best... like Madonna sings in Vogue: ladies with an attitude.. fellows that were in the mood.

In case you have never seen this movie, Adam and Amanda are married lawyers who take opposing sides of a case involving a woman shooting at her cheating husband. Passions run hot... this couple is so in love and the flirting is delightful... but, they become so furious with each other. The under-the-breath insults they trade in the court room are hysterical. This movie is worth seeing for the romance, comedy and the depiction of feminism and chauvinism in the late 40s.

(These old movie trailers are a hoot and very different from trailers today. I noticed that there are no spoilers or best lines shown in the old trailers)

4. Shrek and Fiona

The perfect fairytale couple to represent my love of fairytales-- and I love them all from Pretty Woman to Princess Diaries to Ella Enchanted to all the Disney's...

5. Sandy and Danny

The romance movie of my pre-teen years. If only I had a dollar for everytime I've watched it. Apparently, I am hopelessly devoted...

6. Han Solo and Princess Leia

Just did a Stars Wars Marathon (my little boy's first) and, yeah, these two are more hokey than my teen self thought back in the day but I still love them.

7. The Thorn Birds

I have not seen the mini-series or read the book in over twenty years but I'll never forget the passion between Meggie and Father Ralph... (Isn't Ralph a particularly unsexy name though-- What was McCullough thinking?! I can't imagine anyone moaning 'Oh, Ralph' in the midst of ectasy or even whispering it lovingly.. it reminds me of retching!)

8. Strictly Ballroom

A wonderfully quirky fairytale romance... yes, I know my number four covers this one but I do love it so...

9. Ghost

I don't usually do sad but...

10. Sweet Home Alabama

I gotta love the quirky South... since I resemble that remark.

In case you are wondering about all the romances in my beloved books, yes, they are definitely favorites. I adore Elizabeth and Darcy, Anne and Gilbert, Aragorn and Arwen ect but they have all been well represented on everyone else's Top Ten Picks. Please check them out here .

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Scholastic Book Fair!

Do you visit your public school library's Scholastic Book Fair? If not, you should consider stopping by the next one. Plenty of deals to be had and also great gift ideas for the young bookworms in your life. Plus, there are adult books, computer games, posters and novelties.

Most schools have a fall and spring fair. Everyone is welcome and purchases help the school. Just call for the dates and stop by the office upon your arrival to introduce yourself--- just so the school isn't thrown into lockdown mode because a stranger is wandering the halls. (Not that any of our lovely readers look like strange and unsavory characters but schools have to be extra careful nowadays)

I'm very pleased with my bargain table books-- three hardbacks and three paperbacks for $13. Have you read any of these? I've enjoyed Cornelia Funke's other books so I'm hoping Igraine is a fun read.

Maybe some will be suitable for reading aloud to my pre-k child. He loved the Percy Jackson movie (except for scary old Medusa) and I've read bits of the book to him this week. He even takes a turn reading sight words on the page... yes, I'm proud of my burgeoning little bookworm.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Top 10 Picks; YA books

This week the clever Jillian has asked us to give our favourite YA books. I am afraid some of mine are a bit juvenile, but I have included them because rules were meant to be bent!

A Wrinkle in Time series, but I need say no more, since I notice it on several lists.

Twilight. Yes, I know all the criticism leveled at them, and I do agree to a point. But there is no denying the pull, the absolute NECESSITY of reading them if you are a young woman or spend time with young women. Hey, if a juggernaut rolls by I am going to jump on!

I started reading them after confiscating four books in one day from my high school students. These were only books the girls were actually reading during my class time, you know, while I was trying to teach them something else. Can you imagine how many girls were reading outside of my lessons? Stephanie Myers has done a great thing for girls, in my opinion, by getting them to read, discuss books and express their opinions (Edward or Jacob?) (Hate the books or love them?) (Fave in the series?).

The Black Stallion. I was never a horse-y girl, but I did love horse books. Walter Farley's characters, both human and equine, captured me and I wanted to live on a deserted island and race horses. I must see the movie some day.

Le Petit Prince is a book I read in French at university. I just loved the simple story that left so much to the reader to work out. Reading it made me feel intellectual, and I loved the little drawings. The idea of little planets and little princes is so enchanting.

Have you ever read The 21 Balloons? Oh, my! Diamond mines, balloon carousels, adventures, secret islands, daring escapes, fantastic homes, volcanoes and amazing food, riches, and celebrity. This book by William Pene du Bois has everything.
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