I turned in my manuscript, and I just finished moving. I was a crazy person for a little while . . . well, crazier than usual.
But now things should be back to normal for awhile. And I can finally get up these posts I’ve been dying to write.
This one is long overdue.
Several years ago, we were both writing books. Hers was a novel set in Regency England, and mine was a contemporary novel set partly in England. Naturally, there was only one thing we could do: we had to go there to see for ourselves.
We each saved our pennies (or opened up new credit cards), and met at the Gatwick Airport in London. What followed was a whirlwind of exploring the southern half of the country over the next five days. But it was enough for her to research what she needed to write Edenbrooke.
Edenbrooke has a deep meaning for me, as I was a witness that week to so much of what inspired her writing. Nearly every scene in the book takes me back to a place we saw there.
But for all of you who weren’t there with us, I think you’ll find Edenbrooke positively delightful. As many times as I’ve read it, I have a hard time putting it down. What I love most about it, is how Julie fully explores the relationship between Marianne and Philip, with several moments of clean, blissful sexual tension.
Once you’ve finished reading it, I’d love to know what your thoughts are. As with other reviews, be sure to write at the beginning of your comments, which chapter you’ve read through as a spoiler alert.
And now I will confess something I am very much ashamed of: I have never read Jane Eyre.
I am now pausing while I can feel your virtual rotten tomatoes smashing into my face. I am sorry. I have never read it. Or at least, not the whole thing. Surely I read enough of it in tenth grade English to get by with a quickie book report. But that’s all.
And is it sad of me that I only now want to read it because the new movie looks so good? And I know Rochester is supposed to be on the homely side, but I have to say, he’s the reason I’m so excited to go see the movie. I suppose if I invest a couple of hours into a movie, I want Rochester to be at least ambiguously handsome. I guess I just like eye candy.
Here is the trailer:
I want to squeeze in reading it before I break down and watch the movie.
And so, this will be our book club book for June.
Our new favorite picture book around here was a Christmas gift to my son. Splat the Cat, by Rob Scotton, is about a kitty who overcomes his fears on his first day of cat school. With brilliant and funny illustrations, it is the kind of golden children’s book that families will want to read again and again.
But in case you’re still not convinced, this is what my son had to say:
me: Tell me about Splat the Cat.
CKR: Um, he rides a silly looking bike.
me: Why does he ride a silly looking bike?
CKR: Because it’s an old fashioned book.
me: What’s the book about?
When I saw this book I thought it was like any other book you would see. I was at my mom’s friend’s house and I felt I was going to die of boredom. I asked my mom (the sophistimom) for something to do and her friend pulled a book from their shelf and it was The Name of this Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch.
There are supposed to be five books in the Secret Series, and I’ve read the first three. The first is of course The Name of this Book Is Secret, then the second is If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late. They are followed by This Book Is Not Good For You, and This Isn’t What It Looks Like. The last book, which comes out on September 21st, will be called You Have to Stop This.
Now let’s get to the story.
Cassandra, a 12 year old survivalist stumbles across a dead magician’s Symphony of Smells, a box of little vials that contain different smells in them. She teams up with Max-Ernest to find out clues. They discover the dead magician’s hidden notebook and get tied up fighting for the gift of immortality. Each book is associated with a different sense; the first ties in with smell. The most recent one I read, This Book Is Not Good For You, is all about taste. Particularly chocolate. Which brings us to revealing the name of the secret sandwich, which we posted a few days ago.
Thank you to everyone who entered the Ramona giveaway! Random.org has cleverly selected Natalie H. So, congratulations, Natalie! You’ll be going to see Ramona and Beezus this summer! If you are Natalie H., please leave a comment on this post, and I will get that prize to you right away!
And now, for another announcement! How many of you saw Toy Story 3 last weekend? Well, we saw it, and it was fantastic (aside from the fact that a man—with lots of facial hair—told me he was a little kid when the first Toy Story came out, and made me feel old, since I wrote my junior year undergraduate research paper on Toy Story when it came out!).
But what I was really excited about during that movie was . . . can you guess? The trailer for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader!! Now, this is important, everyone. I love those Narnia movies. They make me happy. And we’ll all be very sad if they don’t make another one, so make sure you go and see it in December. See it 10 times, even! And tell everyone you know about it. Tweet it from the rooftops! In case you haven’t seen the trailer yet, here’s a quick look:
Now, I have no idea why all four Pevensies make an appearance in there, but I am not complaining. You know how I feel about King Peter. And did you see Ben Barnes? I’ll be grinning the entire movie—yum!
My seven-year-old learned to love reading this year, and I can’t tell you how happy it makes me.
Sadly, my mother couldn’t say that about me when I was young. Though I loved certain books here and there, reading never ranked high on the list of things I wanted to do until I was a grown-up. I was a worried my little first grader was headed in the same direction when she got off to a rough start this year.
For the first few months of first grade, she was the new kid in school and felt like the only kid with parents getting a divorce amongst a sea of happy families. She had trouble holding her pencil right and getting her homework done. That was why, in February, when she picked up Superfudge and read it cover to cover in about a week, I was ecstatic. She read most of Blume’s books in that series, and then turned to tackle a 500 page anthology of classic children’s tales. I can thank a patient first grade teacher for this, and a school that works hard to instill a love of reading—not by pushing deadlines and homework and book reports, but by letting each child be free to choose the books they are naturally drawn to.
A couple weeks ago, I saw the new trailer for the Ramona and Beezus movie, and then remembered how I actually enjoyed the Ramona books when I was young, and hoped my daughter would as well. She finished finished the first book in about a week, and now can’t wait to read the next and see the movie.
My mom sent us this book a couple of years ago, and for some reason it was the only board book that made the journey here to Utah and didn’t wind up in storage. Needless to say, it is now a favorite. I love it because it uses Margaret Wise Brown’s lilting style, very similar to her book Goodnight Moon, which has been a favorite of all my kids. Another reason I love it is that it has been newly illustrated (well, newly, as in twenty years ago) by the wonderful Felicia Bond, who illustrated the favorite If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books.
I interviewed my son about why he likes the books today. Sorry some of the pictures’ exposure is a bit off. My son didn’t want to put on his shoes before going outside, and then when I asked him to stand in the shade, he told me his feet were too cold. It’s a miracle I got the shots I did.
Anyway, this is how that conversation went:
me: What is the book about?
ckr: Barns, barns, barns.
me: What else is about?
ckr: Animals, animals, animals.
me: What is you favorite part?
ckr: When the animals say, (He makes a breathed in hiccupy sound)
me: Oh yeah?
me: Which animals make that sound?
ckr: The roosters.
me: Hm. What other animal do you like?
I mentioned The Morning Gift was my favorite book a couple of weeks ago when I posted the vanillekipferl recipe. Though this isn’t a Christmas book, it fills me with such happiness that I am sharing it with you now. I hope you all like it, too.
Eva Ibbotson is this amazing writer who caught my attention with her book A Countess Below Stairs (recommended to me by Julie). Her writing style is varied and complex, which, along with her exceptional knowledge of all things European and wonderful, makes you feel slightly inferior for just a moment before resolving to be smarter and better informed in the future.
Ruth, the main character in The Morning Gift, is an old-fashioned heroine, slightly reminiscent of Anne Shirley—intelligent, quirky, and lovable. She is half Jewish and living in Austria in the midst of Hitler’s power at the start of the second World War. Everyone in her family escapes, but due to terrible complications, Ruth is stranded in Vienna. Her story starts when a young professor and colleague of her father, comes to check on the family to be sure they have all left the city safely. When he finds Ruth there, they discover the only way to get her out of the country is to marry. But dissolving the marriage when they arrive in England is more trouble than they expect.
This is one of those books that is more fun the more you read it. I found myself laughing out loud and calling my mom on the phone every time I got to a good part (She loves it too, by the way).
Some of Ibbotson’s Young Adult novels have some mature themes (nothing too steamy, though), as they were written initially for grown-ups. If you’re wanting a daughter to read this or any of her other Young Adult novels, you may want to preview them first.
Calamity Jack, the sequel to Rapunzel’s Revenge, is written by Shannon and Dean Hale, and illustrated by the awesome Nathan Hale. It is a modern retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, complete with giant villains and giant vegetation. It even brings in a few new characters. I like the fantastic new adventures, and Jack seems more cool in this book.
Calamity Jack is well written and magnificently illustrated. It’s even funnier than the first book.
—Mr. Book Reviewer (That’s me up there, reading the book!)
If you don’t know what I am talking about, then first you need to go out and get The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Click here if you want to read my review of The Hunger Games), and read it. If you leave right now to go get it, you should have the book finished by tomorrow afternoon, easy. Then go out and get Catching Fire and read that.
I may spoil things for you if you read on, so be sure you read the books first, or that you don’t care about stuff like that. I won’t spill anything from Catching Fire, but I’ll talk as if you are up to speed on Hunger Games.
Phew! Now that that’s out of the way—let’s get to my question.