Friday, April 18, 2014

Fairy Tale Fridays - Frozen

Disney's latest blockbuster, "Frozen," is the most recent fairy tale adaptation to make it big. And by "adaptation," I mean "loosely based on." "Frozen" takes Hans Christian Andersen's "Snow Queen" as its source material and, I suppose, any chance for people to discover new fairy tales is a good thing. "The Snow Queen" was first published in 1845 and is considered by many to be Andersen's best story. It's also his longest, so I'm not going to share it with you here but I highly recommend you read it. At it's heart "Snow Queen" is a tale of redemption and, despite all of the other changes made to the story for the movie, so is "Frozen."

Disney being Disney, every thing's a bit softer in their adaptation...and cuter. You can be sure there are never talking, comic sidekicks that are animals in fairy tales. And the title character in the source material is evil, whereas her movie descendant is merely frightened and confused. But this particular adaptation has some things going for it that other adaptations didn't - it doesn't take the love of a man to save the girl, it takes the love of a sister.

Speaking of "Frozen' and adaptations, have you finally been able to get the song "Let It Go" unstuck from your brain? Good - here's an adaptation of another "Frozen" song, "Love's An Open Door." If this doesn't make you smile, your heart just might be frozen!

By the way, moms and dads, I don't know if this is good news or not but a sequel to "Frozen" is in the talking phase. Given that it's now become the most successful animated movie ever, you've got to think it's going to happen. From a lover a fairy tales, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for even more material from the original tale to make its way onto the big screen.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lit: Uniquely Portable Magic

Congratulations to Donna Tartt on winning the Pulitzer Prize for The Goldfinch. The Omaha Bookworms just finished The Goldfinch for discussion on Tuesday. We split it up into two months and had two great discussions about it. My parents even phoned in to join in the discussion this week as both of them have read it. Even those who didn't love the book had an appreciation for Tartt's skill as a writer.

"Soon I knew, the night sky would turn dark blue; the first tender, chilly gleam of April daylight would steal into the room. Garbage trucks would roar and grumble down the street; spring songbirds would start singing in the park; alarm clocks would be join go off in bedrooms all over the city. Guys hanging off the backs of trucks would toss fat whacking bundles of the Times and the Daily News to the sidewalks outside the newsstand. Mothers and dads all over the city would be shuffling around wild-haired in underwear and bathrobes, putting on the coffee, plugging in the toaster, waking their kids up for school."

I don't suppose it would be possible to convince Tartt after this win that maybe a few dozen pages worth of the book could have been cut without losing anything. Still, it's well worth reading. I meant to get my review up this week but, seriously, I'm still mulling it over.

Have any of you heard of Paperblog or perhaps you've been approached to contribute? I'm trying to figure out exactly what the benefits/drawbacks would be of contributing and who reads it. Is it meant to be something akin to Flipboard or Reddit? 

Nobel-prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez died today at age 87. I suppose it's time to forgive him for Love In The Time Of Cholera. Although, I suppose John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale should share in the blame for obsessing over it in the movie "Serendipity" and convincing me I had to read it. Have you read any of his books? I suppose I should give Marquez another chance and read One Hundred Years of Solitude.

I see that Julia Glass has a new book out (And The Dark Sacred Night). Please don't everyone start raving about and convince me to give Glass yet another chance. Because you know I'm a sucker for a book everyone is raving about but Glass' books just never work for me.

In discussing our book selection for next month, the Bookworms toyed with reading Grapes of Wrath in honor of its 75th anniversary. Almost everyone had previously read it but most were up for a reread. I have, amazingly, never read it. Have you? I have loved the Steinbeck I have read (no, I take that back, I most certainly did not enjoy The Pearl) but I won't be reading Grapes of Wrath with the Bookworms because one member begged us please to not make her read it again. We are nothing if not accommodating.

I finally got back to the library book sale today and picked up seven "new" audio books, as well as an M. C. Beaton book and Kim Wright's Love In Mid Air (on Mari's recommendation). I raced to finish The Warden on the way home today so I can start a new book tomorrow. But so many choices - mystery, literary, magical realism, nonfiction - I don't know where to start. After so many classics in a row, I'm definitely looking forward to reading something more recent!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Life: It Goes On - April 13

It's cold and rainy today, the perfect day to curl up in a corner of the sofa and read all day. Too bad I played all day yesterday and need to accomplish something today!

Yesterday was Nebraska's spring football game and The Big Guy and I headed into Lincoln so he could go with some of the other guys from my family. My mom, sister-in-law and I spent the afternoon shopping at all new-to-me shops. Such a fun afternoon!

Miss H introduced me to a new game this week, Ruzzle. Have you played it? It's ridiculously addictive and definitely bringing out my competitive nature.

Here's What I'm:

Listening To: I'm really enjoying Anthony Trollope's The Warden; a simple enough premise but wonderfully written. Like Dickens, Trollope used some great names for his characters including Abraham Haphazard for a lawyer.

Watching: The telecast of the spring game, just so I could see some of the fun things they did including coach Bo Pelini bringing a cat out. There's a twitter account for "Fake Bo Pelini" and the picture is Pelini's head on one of those awful Christmas card pictures with a cat. Real Bo said he was fine with the account but he wanted his cat back. The crowd went crazy when he came out yesterday with a cat - and then Fake Bo Pelini tweeted "Fine, you can keep her."

Reading: I'm finishing up The Goldfinch for discussion with my book club this week. Oh so much to discuss with this one!

Making: I used the chicken I made last Saturday and made stir fry one night and tostado casserole another night.

Planning: I was still working on getting over my cold this week, not much energy, so this week the plan is just to get caught up on things around the house.

Good Things - one of the great stores we hit up on Saturday
Grateful for: Family time - we are so blessed.

Loving: This morning's thunderstorm.

Feeling: A bit frustrated - BG appears to have brought home yet another cold.

Thinking: It felt great to get back to an exercise routine this week, slowly but surely. Never thought I'd hear myself say that!

Looking forward to: Book club this week made even more fun by my parents joining us. They've both read The Goldfinch.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggins

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
First Published 1903 by Houghton Mifflin

Rebecca Rowena Randall leaves her beloved home at Sunnybrook to journey to faraway Riverboro, where she will live with two elderly and staunchly disciplined aunts. Though it was Rebecca's dependable sister, Hannah, who was truly invited, Rebecca's mother sends her instead, much to her aunts' chagrin. But eventually the charming Rebecca wins them over, along with her classmates, teachers, and the mysterious young businessman she calls "Mr. Aladdin." And though her adventures take her through Riverboro and beyond, Rebecca's heart remains at Sunnybrook.

My Thoughts: 
First off, Librivox largely redeemed itself with this one - fewer narrators, better quality sound, better reading. So right off the bat, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm had that going for it. I'm quite sure I would have enjoyed this book quite a lot if I had read it when I was in grade school. Wait...I practically did. Coming so closely on the heels of listening to Daddy Long Legs, I was struck by how much this book had in common with that book. Check it out, I think there must have been a check list for authors of that time to follow!

Book Plucky Hero(ine) Dead Parent(s) Sent to Live With Others Some Type of School Is Involved  Our Hero(ine) Is Beloved By Most Impulsive Crotchety Caretaker Older Benefactor (+1 if he’s also a trustee of the school)
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
The Little Princess

Daddy Long Legs
Anne of Green Gables

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a charming novel, clearly of a certain time, but one I'd definitely recommend moms share with their daughters.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Most Unique Books

What are the top ten unique books you've ever read? That's what the ladies at The Broke and The Bookish are asking us this week. I like to think that I'm a pretty eclectic reader but, let's face it, I really do tend to stick to my go-to genres. On the other hand, in all of the course of my reading years, through all of my reading phases, there have been a lot of books that really were unique for me at the time I read them.

1. City of Thieves by David Benioff (yes, Game of Thrones fans, that David Benioff) - Me? A story about survival during a siege? Not only did I read it, I loved it.

2. Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice - It was unique for me when I read it; it would be unique for me if I read it now. I'm just not a reader of monster books.

3. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami - Ti (Book Chatter) convinced me to go waayyy out of my comfort zone with this one and I'm so glad she did. Even if I'm still not sure what it meant.

4. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot - I never learned to love science when I was growing up. It's something I certainly never thought I'd enjoy reading about as an adult. Skloot showed me that science can be just as interesting to read about it is to listen to on Radio Lab.

5. Night Film by Marisha Pessl - On the Nook this was a truly interactive experience. Any way you read it, it was mind blowing.

6. Only Milo by Barry Smith - Unique story, unique typography, unique writing style. Dark comedy fun.

7. Animal Farm by George Orwell - Well, duh, it's animals and communism.

8. The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell - my first graphic novel.

9. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid - The entire book is an unnamed narrator having a conversation with the reader, who plays the role of an American stranger.

10.  Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman - Filled with stories of magic and the unexplainable, this collection was so far out of my wheel house that it literally made me uncomfortable to read it.

What books would you put on a list of your unique reads?