Sunday, December 23, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I noticed Marlene and I were both amused by the lyrics of We Wish You a Merry Christmas which went:
Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding.
Now bring us some figgy pudding
And bring it right here!
We won't go until we get some,
We won't go until we get some,
We won't go until we get some,
So bring it right here!
Today, NPR officially answered all our questions by asking baking expert and cookbook author Dorie Greenspan and All Things Considered host Michele Norris to prepare figgy pudding, and this article even includes a recipe (it looks good and they swear it doesn't taste like fruitcake but maybe it is better to sing about than to eat).
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
You can protest this shocking situation to NJ State Senator Raymond Lesniak through his website.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Why Harvard should get a shot at this year's college football national championship title . . .
Ohio State lost to Illinois
Who lost to Michigan
Who lost to Appalachian State
Who lost to Wofford
Who lost to Elon
Who lost to Furman
Who lost to Hofstra
Who lost to Northeastern
Who lost to URI
Who lost to Fordham
Who lost to Bucknell
Who lost to Cornell
Who Harvard beat handily 32-15
Simple transitive property!
(but shouldn't it be which instead of who?)
Saturday, December 1, 2007
1. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.
2. This sweepstakes runs from November 29, 2007 through February 1, 2008. To be eligible to win, you must provide your name, email address, complete mailing address and age in your email entry to firstname.lastname@example.org. Entries must be received by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on February 1, 2008. Limited to one entry per person per email account.
3. One (1) entrant chosen at random from all eligible entries will receive a prize consisting of 10 signed hardcover copies of Bill Clinton's Giving (approximate retail value: $249.50 US). Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Last week I suddenly remembered I should be on the lookout for these cookies, so after the gym (haha but you know exercise makes one hungry!) I zipped over to Trader Joe's and prudently bought four boxes when I saw them in stock. I gave one box to my mother, hid two on a shelf that is hard to reach, and devoured one myself. They are every bit as delicious as promised!
Saturday, November 24, 2007
And by the way, we killed Yale . . .
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
And here is a lovely photo, courtesy of the Washington Post, of our fearless leader discussing Thanksgiving with a close friend...
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
|Which Betsy-Tacy character are you? |
Your Result: Betsy Ray
|Which Betsy-Tacy character are you?|
See All Our Quizzes
(I borrowed this from my friend Kate's site)
Monday, November 5, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Amateur cookie crafters can achieve bakery-quality design and homemade fresh taste. Thanks to the clear instructions and practical methods, Cookie Craft gives readers access to the entire world of decorated cookies, beginning with an inspirational gallery of 150 colorful cookies guaranteed to start those creative juices flowing.
It will be on display at bookstores, including Borders and Barnes & Noble, and available at barnesandnoble.com (my old account, I wonder how they are surving without me) and Amazon.
I could use some of those cookies now!
Friday, October 26, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
In this World Series, the Rockies are not only the underdogs, they are practically invisible as they stroll about town. But that doesn't mean they will be a pushover...
Friday, October 19, 2007
IT ISN'T often that librarians make the pages of an opinion piece. When they do, it is usually because of standing up for patrons' rights or other fights for the freedom of information. This time, however, it came in the form of a negative stereotypical viewpoint of sports columnist Bob Ryan ("QB receives more support this season," Sports, Oct. 15). Ryan wrote, "And you can be sure [Tom] Brady will be seen in public with a homely librarian before he engages in any discussion about the difference between the receivers he was forced to work with last season and the ones he has now." Not only is that offensive, but it reinforces a stereotype that librarians fight against. It is outrageous how Ryan essentially equates librarians as lesser people to be associated with in comparison to, say, supermodels or actresses whom Brady may date more frequently.
It is time to stand up as a society and realize how important it is to break stereotypes and show respect to some of the most valuable community members we may be fortunate enough to "be seen with." As for Ryan, I would advise him to get to know his local librarians better.
TED SCHELVAN, Norwell, MA
The writer is a librarian at Norwell High School.
HOMELY LIBRARIANS unite - Boston Globe beautiful-person expert Bob Ryan doesn't think you are suitable for Tom Brady. Which is saying something, considering that Ryan looks like a cross between Bilbo Baggins, Tip O'Neill, and Elmer Fudd; comes from New Jersey; and makes his living watching other people play games.
On second thought, homely librarians - don't pay attention to what Ryan writes. It doesn't really matter.
JAY PARK, Easton, MA
I will say that Bob had an awesome piece today about sports fans which (partially) makes up for his insensitivity...
Thursday, October 18, 2007
photo courtesty of Getty Images
Of course, tragedy struck, in the form of a suicide bomber, just hours after I wrote this, which must have been devastating for all involved but Bhutto sounds resolute.
Monday, October 15, 2007
However, overall, the process is entertaining and Bookmooch seems to be adding 300 new members a day!
Friday, October 12, 2007
Left to right: Barbara Carter, Betsy Sundquist, CLM, Linda Gesling, Julie Chuba, Kip Sundquist. The ever thoughtful Betsy had also brought me a book to read, and the minute I saw the cover I remembered checking it out of the John Ward School library about 4th grade.
My work conference, which they called "boot camp" was both exhilarating and exhausting, with seminars and lots of practical application and role playing. I enjoyed getting to know the other new associates from different parts of the country but got very little sleep because we were working long hours (I have not mastered all the new technology yet and when I entered my hours for Tuesday, the computer argued with me, "You cannot work 26 hours in one day!" and I realized I had entered Tuesday and Wednesday in the same box. )
Here I am, hard at work, with two of my new colleagues, trying to fight off an (imaginary) infringing company:
I was amused to find the guy in the middle had been 19 years behind me in college! Needless to say, I did not share this with him. He was quite brilliant, and I have never seen anyone so adept with a computer who was not an IT professional. I wished he had been with me the first week of work when I was wrestling with PowerPoint! I have now signed up for a class since it is clearly going to be important to improve my computer skills.
I am always afraid in hotels that I am going to sleep through the alarm and miss my meetings, and Westin's Heavenly Bed threatened to smother me besides. I picked the nicest guy in my group (who unexpectedly confessed he watches Grey's Anatomy with his wife) and made him promise to call if I was missing at breakfast but luckily I made it down by 7:30 every morning.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
photo courtesy of the Boston Globe
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Tilly-Tod sounds like the name of just one little girl, but it was actually the name of two little girls who looked so much alike and were so much together that they were almost one, and so everyone called them Tilly-Tod, just like that, in one breath. There was no use in calling one all by herself, because the other one was sure to be close by her and to come running, too. Besides, if you did manage to get one all by herself, you could not possibly have told which one you had, for they looked exactly alike. (But probably, if it was Tilly you had, she would say, "I'm Tilly," because, for one reason, she was a very good child who liked to be helpful and obliging, and for another, she always wanted people to know that she was she. On the other hand if it was Tod you had, she would probably look at you with wide-open eyes that seemed to be seeing something amusing away behind you, and let you go on calling her Tilly without correcting you.)
They were twins. Tod was just as old as Tilly (and that would be eight on their birthday next July) and she was just as tall as Tilly, and just as round and chubby as Tilly... And they were both dressed alike from the tops of their sprigged sunbonnets to the tips of their square little black ankle ties.
This is from Tilly-Tod by Elizabeth Janet Gray, an author I have collected for years, and this book was the only one I had never come across. I finally got it via interlibrary loan a few days ago, and found it very charming although it is obviously intended for 6 or 7 year olds, and clearly has similarities to Betsy-Tacy, although is set some 40 years earlier. Gray was a noted Quaker, who went as a governess to Japan after World War II to tutor Emperor Akihito of Japan in English, then the Crown Prince. They stayed in touch her whole life, long after she had returned to Philadelphia. She also received the Newbery Award for Adam of the Road, although my two favorites are Jane Hope and The Fair Adventure.
Monday, October 1, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Consumer Insights (yes indeed, who better to be insightful about their chocolate needs)
Strategy Deployment (well, this seems reasonable for a marketing job but it is one of those trendy phrases that no one can actually define)
Communication - Message Development (this was something that came up frequently in my previous job: sales always thought we drove the message, and marketing always whined and argued that they were doing it. Luckily, the two groups were fairly fond of each other so we rarely came to blows)
Branding (that is something I am very experienced with although M&Ms hardly seems to need it, and those chattering/colorful candies you see in commercials are somewhat annoying)
Developing Strategies (why not?)
Trade & Channel Marketing (certainly the candy needs to be in all appropriate channels - no argument from me there)
but they do not list perhaps the most important qualification - pure love of M&Ms and willingness to eat them 24 hours a day. However, I must admit I am not willing to go live in Hackettstown, NJ just for this job. After all, if I wanted to be in NJ now, I would be at that nice lawfirm where the partners loved BeanyMalone and Georgette Heyer (admittedly, they were only two out of 50 or so).
Thursday, September 27, 2007
How do you like the sound of this product to facilitate napping at work? "I came up with the idea for my company while working at Deutsche Bank in New York — I saw colleagues falling asleep at their desks and even sneaking off to the bathroom to take naps," says a rested looking Arshad Chowdhury, founder of New York based MetroNaps, a company that aims to enhance workplace productivity through enabling employees to nap in a futuristic looking device called the Energy Pod.
Back in the day when I took clients to lunch a lot, I was surprised that those who had a glass or two of wine could stay so alert afterwards when we went back to their offices. Or maybe I overestimate my persuasive skills and they were just too tired to negotiate with me! Now, I am happy to say my new office just a few yards away from unlimited hot water and a Coke machine so I can rely on caffeine when needed. They offer what is known as a Flavia Drink Station and all the English Breakfast one can drink... I am curious whether the founder is a fan, like me, of The Prisoner of Zenda but it does not go into detail on the website.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
1. Do not press the snooze alarm because it disrupts your sleep/wake cycle (should I be blamed for something I do before I am even awake?)
3. Sit up straight or you will have muscle tension (I am not saying I *want* to slouch)
4. Drink water constantly during the day (lots of tea but I don't think that counts)
5. Avoid lunch of carbs (does it count if you have no time for lunch at all?)
6. Take a time out if you get stressed (but it's because you don't have time for a break that you are stressed)
8. Wind down slowly with calming activities (I can see this is a good idea but very difficult)
I do manage these two!
2. Maintain caffeine if you enjoy it
7. Exercise (although do not walk as much as when I lived in NYC)
"I do not like eggs in the file," Judge Muirhead wrote. "I do not like them in any style. I will not take them fried or boiled. I will not take them poached or broiled. I will not take them soft or scrambled/Despite an argument well-rambled." He then ordered the egg destroyed: "No fan I am/Of the egg at hand. Destroy that egg! Today! Today! Today I say! Without delay!" (for more, click here)
In fact, an inmate who did not want to eat hard boiled eggs had sent one to the judge from his prison cell. The inmate (a convicted sex offender) says he cannot tolerate hard-boiled eggs and is suing the state Department of Corrections for $10 million. He does not appear to be getting a lot of sympathy but the judge sounds like a great guy.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
In a completely different vein, I was amused by a Boston Globe article this morning which begins, "Underneath the hoodie of Bill Belichick beats a human heart..." Well, who knew? And I am a little surprised that Tedy Bruschi (author of a great new book) , the soul of integrity and passion, supported his coach so wholeheartedly. One would have thought players like Bruschi and Vrabel would be so offended at any cloud overshadowing their play...
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Edith Layton, an author I have enjoyed since my former boss Brian Heller first handed me one of her novels in 1990, has a short story, The Earl's Nightingale, in one of the Regency Christmas anthologies in which the heroine pawns a music box and it is sold before she can retrieve it (there is a happy ending involving a nobleman who joins with Eliza to recover her precious music box).
In real life, pawnshops are also the background for secrets and stressful situations, and surprisingly the pawnshop continues to be a neighborhood institution in certain areas and is thriving, with about 12,000 in the US currently and there are even tradeshows! As the New York Times states, the pawnshop is a place "[w]here people go to put their jewelry to work for them, sometimes pawning the same item over and over again." It sounded a lot more glamorous in Regency England, alas!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
That is my kind of author!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
She also offers advice for dealing with friends and colleagues who can't put their Blackberries away (I read this with interest since I believe I will get one for my new job so will likely be an offender soon).
Like my mother, she abhors use of the phrase "you guys."
I like this one too:
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a physics student and aspiring physicist, and when I answer people's questions about my career plans, I often find myself confronted with a conversation-stopping "You must be so smart!" Despite feeling a little marginalized by this common comment, I realize it is usually intended to be flattering. However, agreeing with this declaration makes me sound arrogant, and disagreeing seems unnecessarily self-effacing. Can you offer any suggestions?
GENTLE READER: "No, if I were really smart, I'd find a way to get on the football team."
Sunday, September 9, 2007
My two favorites were The Highest Dream, about a young woman who goes to work as a tour guide at the United Nations, and Mystery on the Isle of Skye, about orphan (of course!) Cathy's trip to meet her new family in Scotland (Whitney was herself of Scottish descent) and the mystery she finds there. I made sure to do the United Nations tour myself once, and thought about Phyllis as I did so.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Monday, September 3, 2007
Friday was the last day of my clerkship, and I was somewhat melancholy at the thought of leaving my judge who has been so much fun to work with over the last year. I was very busy finishing up projects and writing helpful memos to my successor (since he also went to Duke I thoughtfully left him the 07-08 basketball schedule and a picture of Christian Laetner, but he says he has no interest in sports - what a downer for the Judge, who enjoys them very much) but paused to take a few photos of our beautiful courthouse with my friend Felicia, who clerked down the hall.
My favorite security guard snapped our picture in front of the Oliver Wendell Holmes quote, "The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience." (1881)
Life in chambers is not entirely research: there is occasionally time for hoop!
Of course, I am not going far, merely a few blocks away...
Saturday, September 1, 2007
"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as in, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq and everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our children."
I can't help with her incoherence but I do recommend she play the Place the State game! It is quite addictive. When I first read this story, I pitied Appalachian State, where she is about to enroll, for getting bad publicity. But then last night, they had a win for the ages against Michigan! Naturally, as a supporter of Division 1AA football, I rejoice with them but I was not the only one to connect the two events although ESPN's take was a little different from mine...
The co-author of Freakonomics, who attended the rural North Carolina college, had a great essay in the NYT on Monday on how the win was his happiest moment as an alumnus.
I had been wondering if children color as much as I did growing up, since I have noticed that Crayola has expanded its product offerings into other areas. However, the recent news that Toys 'r Us was recalling 27000 Chinese imported crayon sets containing lead paint makes it sound as if Crayola has been losing market share. Will Americans be willing to pay more for safer products made domestically? It seems clear they expect the manufacturers or distributors to absorb the expense of product safety inspections.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
However, what really seemed ridiculous to me was that the Pittsburgh reporter who said that Michale Vick would have been "better off raping a woman" than being charged with dogfighting was forced to apologize and will no longer appear on the sports show where he made the remark. Surely no one can really believe the reporter was advocating rape. What Paul Zeise meant - and no one seems willing to admit it is true - is that celebrity athletes (and non-athletes) appear to be condemned less for violent crimes against humans than for violent crimes against dogs. Obviously both deserve our outrage and swift punishment. Zeise may well have been accurate when he said a rapist "might have been suspended for four games and he'd be back on the field" as opposed to Vick's being suspended from the NFL indefinitely.
While Zeise's comment was unfortunate and poorly phrased, he invoked (less articulately) the "moral schizophrenia" in our society Professor Francione laments. However, there is a silver lining - Vick said today that this situation has helped him find Jesus. I assume Jesus is running as fast as He can in the opposite direction...
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Why is Derek suddenly the good guy? Derek has been looking for an excuse to break up with Meredith ever since Richard said he wanted to protect Meredith’s relationship so wouldn’t support Derek’s candidacy for chief of surgery. Derek responded to that possible setback to his ambitions by distancing himself from Meredith, stopped staying over, etc. It was very noticeable and seemed obvious he didn’t want to be held back by her. So, while he may be hurt she didn’t tell him about the disastrous first intern exam (not that she told anyone at all but George realized because he observed her staring into space instead of scribbling; maybe he should have been worried for himself), for Derek to blame Meredith for relying on her friends rather than him is absurd. He seemed so insincere when he said she was the love of his life yet that was meant to be an emotional heart-jerking scene. Plus only someone really insensitive would pick practically the middle of a wedding to have a Relationship Talk with the maid of honor. Not to mention that she is still recovering from that dreadful scene where her father slapped her! But as a break up it was a little too abrupt. No one can break up that quickly after three seasons getting together. Meredith should have picked Finn. He wasn’t as needy as the rest of her friends and someone at Seattle Grace needs to date outside that hospital.
Addison is far too beautiful to be so self-pitying, and it is surprising that Callie doesn’t hate her (but they both need someone to confide in so had to maintain the relationship). I was waiting for the woman with the twins to give one to Joe the bartender and one to Richard and his wife! By the by, don't I recall that Joe was having severe financial difficulties with the bar? How can he afford to support twins?
Alex may have felt a sense of connection to Ava/Rebecca, but it seemed more as if he appreciated having someone who looked up to him than was actually in love. And why doesn’t anyone ever tell these interns not to get romantically involved with their patients? They should flunk their exams for that, rather than anything on the test!
It was brilliant of Callie to torment Izzie by saying she and George were working on having a baby. However, Izzie almost deserved it by first telling George she loved him as a friend (causing him to flunk his exams), then (after he gave up and decided to make the best of things with Callie, who is, after all, his wife) telling him that she really did love him and want to be with him. It was never really convincing that he married Callie anyway – there did not seem to be any chemistry between them, plus she is so much larger than he is. But now she is bound to be pregnant, making it harder (as we all know) for him to leave her. I wasn’t sure at first but now I think George and Izzie do belong together (anyone but that awful Seth Rogen!).
I can see why George failed the exam but the show needs George to survive. At first I thought that failing was to prevent him from going to the rival hospital, if he has to repeat his internship. But really having him more or less kicked out is too much like last season when Izzie was the one being potentially tossed. And if anyone deserved a promotion on this show it was Miranda! She is the only professional person in the hospital! To promote Callie, after she lived in the basement of the hospital, is ridiculous, and I don't think she ever displayed characteristics that made her seem like a leader. If anything, she never bonded with any of the interns (except George) and showed insecurity re their cliqueishness.
Derek was a creep to tell Meredith about the girl in the bar, whom I gather was also the new intern talking to George at the end. But how can she be Meredith’s half sister, Lexie? How could they be so close in age unless Thatcher walked out the day Meredith was born? Was he carrying on with Susan before he left Ellis? And why was Lexie in a bar instead of consoling her messed up father about her mother’s death? Would she really pick Meredith’s hospital to do her training, especially given that Thatcher believes the hospital is responsible for Susan’s death? How odd that Thatcher didn’t put his foot down about Lexie going to med school. This is far too clichéd a plot line.
The patient subplots are often very boring, and I especially lost interest in the axe victim.
I think Shonda made a mistake by allowing Meredith to become so whiney and damaged that viewers now seem to dislike her. You can’t treat your star character that way if you want your show to survive declining ratings. Cristina is far more interesting but not very likeable (and looked awful without eyebrows – that was too weird). Izzie needs to cut down on involvement with patients and sleeping with married men/coworkers. Aesthetically, it made sense to have all the characters become single again as a season finale, although it is hard on the viewers!
Friday, August 24, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
However, I really think ice cream is better, and I rejoice in the abundance of ice cream available in Massachusetts, after so many years in NY where ice cream is an afterthought. NPR had a piece recently on the anniversary of the banana split, but in my opinion a plain cone (preferably two scoops!) is preferable to a fancy sundae. My favorite flavor is peppermint stick, and is available commercially from Brigham's, at least in Massachusetts. In my childhood, Brigham's operated many little restaurants, including one in Newton Centre, where we sometimes persuaded my father to buy us cones on the way home from church in the summer. My sister says they were only 20 cents! There are still a few locations but the one in downtown Boston closes at 5 pm (twice I got there just as they shut down, which was most annoying - also foolish - why not stay open until after rush hour?). Luckily, many grocery stores sell the ice cream. People love the locally themed flavors such as Big Dig (our dreadful tunnel construction), Dice-Kream (in honor of our new pitcher), and Fluffernutter (invented in Lynn, MA).
Last week, in Cape Cod, we visited Four Seas, which had been recommended to us by our friend Elayna, and it definitely lived up to expectations. Although my favorite part of our excursion was not even the ice cream but when my not quite 2 1/2 nephew said firmly (and repeatedly) to the server, "Chocolate in a cone, NOT A CUP!" As an adult, you forget what a rite of passage it is to be finally considered old enough to cope with a cone. My nephews are really not that skilled at licking. James proudly said he was biting his cone, but there was not much point in instructing otherwise! Coping with a cone is simply a skill one acquires with age. Several trips were made to Four Seas but we also liked a place in Osterville called Gone Chocolate, right on Main Street.
When my family lived in Brighton, there was an ice cream truck called Arthur's, that served our street. The ice cream novelties were nothing special (although seemed very desirable at the time!) but it was fun to watch the neighborhood kids running to coax their mothers into buying. Now Boston seems to have far too many angry citizens complaining about the tunes from the trucks - what a bunch of scrooges!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Suzanne Brockmann and I (not sure why we are leaning forward!)
Monday, August 13, 2007
Thursday, August 2, 2007
What do you think?
It appears that none of my Minnesota friends was caught in the appalling bridge collapse yesterday but my sympathy is with all those who were there or were affected. Unfortunately, no one is going to feel comfortable driving on bridges for a while. Anywhere.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Normally I agree with the school of thought that feels any books beloved by children are worth supporting but I must make an exception here. While Ramona Quimby's malapropisms are charming: "Turn on the dawnzer's lee light," for example, this series leaves me cold! There are lots of other books with more likeable characters than the verging-on-obnoxious Junie, and I am sure booksellers (although perhaps not Random House, publisher of this series) and librarians can help these readers find something better!
Thursday, July 26, 2007
• Four tickets to 10 games in 2008
• A ceremonial first pitch before a game in 2008
• A suite for one regular season game in 2008
• A trip to Spring Training with a guest
• Official business cards
• A credential to allow entry for all 2008 regular season games
• Periodic appearances on NESN/WRKO
• Periodic meetings with Red Sox senior executives
• Official spokesperson reacting to Red Sox news
And maybe I would get to meet my favorite players, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Janet Lambert's books about the Parrish and Jordon families and Lenora Mattingly Weber's books about Beany Malone and Katie Rose Belford are definitely among my favorites but I caught both authors, so to speak, in their last years when the quality of their writing was not as strong. One author I do recall eagerly anticipating new books from was Ruth Arthur - in particular, The Autumn People, which has some parallels to Mabel Esther Allan's Time to Go Back. In addition, Ruth Arthur was published in the US by Atheneum, then under the auspices of Margaret K. McElderry. Her imprimatur was almost a guarantee that I would like a book in those days, from Susan Cooper's Over Sea Under Stone to Nancy Bond, L. M. Boston and Elizabeth Enright (and more recently, Hilary McKay's books). I am sorry I have never met her because not only am I a huge admirer of her work in publishing but she was married to one of my grandfather's closest friends, Storer Lunt (former president of WW Norton).
If you asked me which authors I most eagerly anticipate now, at the top of the list might be my request for another Damar book from Robin McKinley, and she is clearly tired of that question. I also look forward to new books from Diana Norman, Katie Fforde, Suzanne Brockmann, and Shannon Hale, to name a few. My sister Clare probably awaits Michael Connolly's books with equal enthusiasm.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
And here is a great article from the Washington Post on Pottermania. While I have been a fan since November 1999 when Joe Monti summoned me from the hallway outside his office and said he had a treat for me, then carefully handed me my own copy of Sorcerer's Stone, I know others came to the books later or through their children. Thank you, Joe!
(above, left, the North Drumlin, Spectacle Island; below, Constance and Carolynne on Spectacle with Boston skyline behind)
(above, view from the top of Spectacle Island; Carolynne contemplating the path to the South Drumlin)
(view of distant Downtown Boston from the top of the North Drumlin, Spectacle Island)
As has often been told, my mother collected all the Maida books growing up. After she left for college, my grandmother gave away all her books, including the Maidas (along with a complete set of the 1954 Giants team baseball cards).* Once my mother introduced me to the books, I too became a Maida fan. It took us years to reconstruct the collection, and admittedly the first book is by far the best. Still, if one is a completist, as is yours truly, then one cannot simply own just the first book in a series of this importance.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
As this group of Mormons travels towards Salt Lake City, a young woman dies in childbirth, and Charlotte surprises herself by offering to take care of the baby Rose while the grief-stricken husband Thomas Owen recovers. Cannon does well at describing the difficulties of carrying and tending to a baby as the group struggles along the trail. In particular, Charlotte, who still misses her mother and finds it hard to be taken seriously either by adults or peers (although she has a great relationship with her father), pours her emotions into baby Rose, and the pain of eventually returning Rose to Thomas was movingly depicted (in a different type of book, perhaps, Thomas would have proposed to Charlotte but this outcome was better). There is a strong sense of the difficulties and isolation of the long journey, as well as the physical obstacles encountered as members of this group push small carts containing all the personal belongings each was allowed to bring for the new life. It is made clear that this life in the New World does not offer an easy solution from the problems encountered in the Old World, and some are rightly apprehensive of what lies ahead. An interesting thread was Charlotte's longing to be able to read, contrasted also with her fear that she was losing her memories of her mother. Cannon delicately implies that reading and writing are the way to capture memories permanently (obviously, I agree), and a sorrowful young woman, part of the Mormon group, eventually promises to teach Charlotte how to read after they reach Salt Lake (if there were a sequel I predict this woman would eventually marry Charlotte's father).
I think my favorite frontier book continues to be On to Oregon by Honore Morrow, which was read to my fourth grade class by Miss Barnes many years ago, but this book gave a vivid picture of the exhausting struggle to Salt Lake and provided a sympathetic portrayal of Mormon settlers (not surprising, since the author is a descendant of Mormon pioneers herself), and I recommend it to an audience of 8 - 11.