Saturday, July 4, 2020

Six Degrees of Separation: from What I Loved to the Joys of Love

It’s time for #6degrees, inspired by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. We all start at the same place as other readers, add six books, and see where one ends up.   This month’s starting point is What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt (2018).  It is written from the point of view of Leo Hertzberg, an art historian living in New York and focuses on themes of love and loss, so I decided to do likewise.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Bookshelf Traveling - July 3

Time for another round of Bookshelf Traveling in Insane Times which is being hosted by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness.   The idea is to share one of your neglected bookshelves or perhaps a new pile of books.   And hooray for a vacation day because that means lots of time for reading!
Someone in my Betsy-Tacy discussion group mentioned Elizabeth Janet Gray the other day, which sent me straight to this shelf.  Gray is one of many authors I came to through my mother.  Gray was a distinguished writer of children's and adult books and is best known for Adam of the Road, which won the Newbery Medal in 1943 and was illustrated by Robert Lawson (the only person to have ever won both a Newbery Award and a Caldecott Medal).  Set in the 13th century, it is the story of Adam’s life with his minstrel father and how Adam copes when they are separated, learning how to survive on the road alone through a series of adventures.   Perhaps I can inspire my youngest nephew to read it this summer.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown, Chapter 11

Chapter 11, Mrs. Poppy’s Party

Preparing for Christmas is big in the Ray household and there are many secrets in the mix.  Everyone is waiting to see Margaret’s face when she gets a talking doll on Christmas morning.  In addition to her new English bob, she has big eyes in a serious face.  The long black lashes seemed not so much to shade them as to make them bigger and brighter (foreshadowing!).  The Rays trim the tree on Christmas Eve just like my family.   Betsy hangs her new red ball.  They add strings of popcorn and cranberries.  Finally, the candles are lighted.  Bits of live flame danced all over the tree, and it’s a Christmas miracle that the house doesn’t burn down.  They read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
The next day there are stockings and gifts and the first appearance of joke presents.  Betsy got one of her own much-chewed pencils “With Sympathy from William Shakespeare.”  Betsy receives a copy of Little Men.  It is a happy day, and there is no post-Christmas letdown because the following day is Mrs. Poppy’s party.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Bookshelf Traveling - June 26

Time for another round of Bookshelf Traveling in Insane Times which is hosted by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness.   The idea is to share one of your neglected bookshelves or perhaps a new pile of books. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Bookwanderers (Pages and Co. #1) - imagine if you could wander into your favorite book

Title: The Bookwanderers (Pages and Co. #1)
Author:  Anna James
Publication: Philomel Books, hardcover, 2019
Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction/Fantasy/Series
Plot: Eleven-year-old Tilly Pages has taken refuge in the books at her grandparents’ bookstore since the loss of her mother. But when her favorite characters “wander” into the shop, Tilly learns she can follow them into their stories and her adventures begin. Can she use Bookwandering to solve the mystery of her mother’s disappearance?

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown, Chapter 10

Chapter 10, Christmas Shopping

Wondering about her story, Flossie’s Accident (which I keep wanting to call Flossie’s Head – I think that must be how it has been colloquially discussed over the years), Betsy asks her father how long it takes a letter to go to Philadelphia.   He says two or three days.   Except that Betsy waits and waits and The Ladies Home Journal does not send her $100.  Julia is curious about who Betsy knows in Philadelphia.  As an older sister, I know that feeling of wondering what on earth your sibling is up to now!

“The King of Spain maybe,” said her father.  He was teasing.  For when Betsy, Tacy and Tib were only ten years old and didn’t know any better, they had written a letter to the King of Spain.  They had received an answer, too.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Bookshelf Traveling - June 20

Time for another round of Bookshelf Traveling in Insane Times which is being hosted by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness.   The idea is to share one of your neglected bookshelves or perhaps a new pile of books.  Yes, I have hundreds of unread books in this house but hearing some of my library holds were ready made me do a little jig!
 
I was so excited to drive to Newton for Library-to-go curbside pickup yesterday!  In addition, as I drove past a small library in a nearby town, I saw a rack of books they had put outside, presumably as discards to compensate for not having their curbside pickup up and running. Naturally, I stopped to investigate! I helped myself to copies of An Old-Fashioned Girl (one of my favorite Alcotts) and an entertaining YA I read several years ago called The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You (a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing) which I think my nieces would enjoy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Sorting Author Mail

Most of my publishing career was in sales but I spent about a year as an editor at Penguin USA.   I learned many things during that time, of which the oddest was the snobbish rivalry between editors of literary fiction and popular fiction, also sometimes manifested as hardcover books vs. paperback books.   The latter sometimes occurred on the sales side too but that is another story.  Or three.

One day I heard the editorial assistants had been told to spend a Friday afternoon dealing with fan mail.  They were bribed with pizza and soda to do this about twice a year.  I offered to help which surprised them but won me a few friends.
Several huge boxes of mail appeared and were dumped onto a conference room table.  We each took a handful and started to go through it.   It was completely amazing the way people sent letters and, based on how they were addressed, even more surprising they reached us at Hudson Street.