bronze_ribbons: (hooch boots)
Just started reading this. It's a trilogy, each part corresponding to a mother-daughter relationship: Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane, Madam C. J. Walker and A'Lelia Walker, and Marie Curie and Irène Joliot-Curie.

Wasn't sure what to expect, but I am enjoying it so far, having read the Wilder/Lane part over dinner. It's from Rose's point of view, and deals with (non)motherhood, (un)reliability of memories, and choosing what to include in a story (which carries a layer of self-reference here, natch, since Atkins is herself picking and choosing what to tell about Wilder and Lane).
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bronze_ribbons: three daffodiles learning left (daffodils)
He passed away in April, but I found out just a few minutes ago while looking up something else.

I didn't think much of "Anne 3" -- in fact, "acute loathing" would not be understating my reaction -- but I did love the scene where Anne and Gilbert find each other:

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bronze_ribbons: (hooch boots)
Recommended by Brain Pickings, where the many reasons to enjoy it are already described at length.
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bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (DelPo on verge of oh smash)
In the January 6, 2013 New York Times Book Review, there are two letters prompted by a review of Eve LaPlante's new book on Louisa May and her mother. The first is on the correct pronunciation of "Marmee," and the second is on the contempt that certain Greele descendants (i.e., Marmee's side of the family) hold toward Bronson (which I admittedly share, and thus read with a perhaps unseemly sense of gratification). The conclusion of the second letter, by Richard S. Greeley:


Wineapple [the reviewer] makes it clear that Bronson was always demanding of his wife and children, reflecting in part the strong male dominance in family relationships at that time in the 19th century, along with a perverse inability on his part to take any responsibility for his family’s welfare. My great-grandfather, Samuel Sewall Greele of Chicago, mentions in his memoir that his father, Deacon Samuel Greele of the Federal Street Church in Boston, pulled him out of Bronson’s primary school in some disgust, and my side of the family never had much to do with the Alcotts after that.





Over in tennis fandom, the Australian Open is now underway. Yesterday, I was reminded anew of the joy of hanging out (over on Twitter) with other obsessives, because when I saw that Benoit Paire and Thomaz Bellucci had paired up for doubles, I exclaimed, "Oh dear God," and people immediately understood. (Paire is talented and demented. Bellucci has the mental stamina of a sparrow. The likelihood of phenomenally dubious shot selection [and point distintegration] is through the roof. *adds popcorn to shopping list*)
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bronze_ribbons: drawing of a contented bull (cow)
I spent part of my Friday evening with two books by Laurel Snyder, Good night, laila tov and Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher.

"Laila tov" ("good night" in Hebrew) is a phrase that instantly takes me back to Tel Aviv. There are also a pet cat and a pet dog, which those of you who have read my other reports may remember tends to mean automatic points with me. [/unapologetic sap] In Baxter, a woman rabbi saves the day. (I am also inordinately amused that the book carries a blurb by Lemony Snicket.)

Also, at Snyder's blog: her unpublishable tribute to Maurice Sendak
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bronze_ribbons: Image of hand and quote from Keats's "This Living Hand" (living hand)
I borrowed Dave Horowitz's Five Little Gefiltes from the library yesterday. It is totally, utterly silly.

And then I went to the store today and picked up a jar of horseradish and a jar of gefilte fish. :-)
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bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
It's over a year old, but I only now just read Arthur A. Levine's post on what makes a good book good:


...isn’t this the exact question a writer asks himself when sitting down to write? What do I have to say that is original, that contributes, that hasn’t already been done, said, written a thousand times before.

Of course when I’m in the editor’s chair I have an answer for this. I tell the concerned author that it isn’t what you say, it’s how you say it that makes an important, a worthwhile story. After all, books are like people—there are only so many positive qualities going around: intelligence, sensitivity, humor, physical attractiveness. As a person you can’t realistically think you can reinvent these categories in order to make an impact—to get people to like and notice you. It’s the particular combination of those qualities that makes you an individual, that draws people to you or repels them.


(I can already hear some of you sputtering, "But what about...?" FWIW, I was too (I share [livejournal.com profile] mrissa's "can't say never 'cause..." problem. Though it's not really a problem, just a nuisance when one's itching to indulge in a Categorical Declaration instead of a Long-Ass Parenthetical Tangent. That, and the phrase "only so many" is automatically a red flag, even though he means well).

Still, I like what he said anyway. Mainly because he goes on...


....people often ask me how I stay responsive to wonderful new manuscripts when I read so many every week, every day. The good news and the bad news is that the really special ones stand out as distinctly as real flowers in a shop full of plastic imitations. And it’s just like that really. The actual, living flower, has a smell. It isn’t perfect, it’s colors can be off a bit. But it’s REAL and you know it.


And, he really does use the phrase "channeled kosher raisins" later in the speech.)

On the personal level, I'm at the dining room table with a plate of chicken livers and my second can of cherry Coke and a whole heap of whaling-through to whale through:

  • Currently frustrated with a story because I've identified at least six places (in addition to the editors' concerns) that don't seem real enough to me now that I've had a month away from it. (But I did fix one problem tonight. 500 words up; I'm guessing there'll be another 1,000-2,000 net once I excise the glib bits and come up with whatever should be said.


  • Currently inching along on the essay I'd intended to wrap up last weekend, but I'm going to have to tear myself away from it in a few minutes because I still need to (1) finish reading the playscript a student loaned to me on Dorothy L. Sayers, and (2) pull together my outline for today's lecture.


  • Other stuff due this month: The sermon, three courseware scripts, two other essays, an HP illustration, and a poem on Francis Cabrel's eyeglasses are all simmering on my mental back burners, but I can't do anything about them right now.


  • Anyway, I was looking up a detail for El Essay when I came across Levine's blog, which is what prompted this post. So, back to it I go.


    ETA: ....And, this from the Spring 2007 Signals catalog: "If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called Research." - Einstein
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    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (feather)
    ...can be downloaded or from getcaughtreading.org, for $5 s/h (up to 12 posters). Celebrities featured include Yoda, Naruto, two of the Avenue Q monsters, Sandra Boynton, Renee Fleming, and assorted congresspeople.

    [*rereads the cherrypicks* I do have a diverse friendlist, don't I? Go me! *g*]

    [And, I have to confess the one that currently tickles me the most is the photo of former Minnesota Rep. Martin Olav Sabo, because he's holding a (Norwegian?) copy of Tomie dePaola's The Knight and the Dragon, which is one of my favorite-est picture books ever.]
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    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (feather)
    (Inspired by [livejournal.com profile] schemingreader's query in yesterday's comments.)

  • You Can't Take a Balloon Into the Museum of Fine Arts by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser (Dial 2002). I could look at this book for hours -- partly because I love Boston, but also because the artist's selective use of color as a storytelling tool within her hilariously detailed line drawings is really cool, as are the parallels between the MFA paintings and street-scenes depicted. (The cat cameo is on page 16, which also includes a glimpse of the Make Way for Ducklings duckies.)


  • The Three Pigs by David Wiesner (Clarion 2001). This earned the Caldecott Medal (which Wiesner won again this year for Flotsam). Again, terrific use of art as a storytelling tool -- here, the pigs "escape" from the traditional story into several others (and collect a fiddlin' cat and a dragon along the way), and Wiesner's command of different illustration styles (photo-realistic, storybook, pablum) is wicked.
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    Miles to go before I can leave the office (to work still more at home), and I just said "no" to something in August... but seriously, the caffeine's starting to kick in (and it's only my first cup of coffee of the day), the work is interesting, and cool stuff aboundeth:

  • It's sunny and 68 F right now, and I got to scoot outside and enjoy some of it (ran errands when someone else needed my desk for an hour, and not even getting stuck in post office traffic could harsh that glow).

    Plus, "Hurts So Good" on the car stereo and catnaps in the parking lot...


  • Errands done! We are no longer low on detergent, beer, or pears.


  • Microwave-in-the-package vegetables. Eating healthy-like away from home has never been so easy.


  • Came across a picture book called On Sukkot and Simchat Torah at the library. Text by Cathy Goldberg Fishman, illustrations by Melanie Hall (Kar-Ben 2006). It's pretty! (Too many series books aren't.)


    My grandmother says that, if you put together the very last letter and the very first letter of the Torah, it makes the Hebrew word "lev" meaning, "heart".

    [Punctuation = what's in the text.]

    I can't quite get over the fact there's a picture book on Simchat Torah, and that my public library has it! *am inordinately thrilled about this*


  • Also at the library: Falling for Rapunzel. Text by Leah Wilcox, illustrations by Lydia Monks (Putnam 2003). This is a hoot: "Once upon a bad hair day / a prince rode up Rapunzel's way..." She keeps mishearing his request for her to let him in, and the twists leading up to the happy ending are delightful.


  • One more from the library: A Green Horn Blowing. Text by David F. Birchman, illustrations by Thomas B. Allen (Lothrop, Lee and Shepard 1997). Gorgeous illustrations. A boy who wants to learn how to play trumpet learns the basics from a migrant worker, using a "trombolia" squash:


    It took me almost a week to coax my first sound out of that trombolia. Fortunately, John Potts was a patient man. "All it takes to play a horn," he said again and again, "is a whole lifetime."
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