Monday, August 29, 2016

Wonder Women

Sam Maggs has written a fun collected biography (as we call them in the library trade) about women in science, medicine, innovation, espionage and adventure titled - wait for it - Wonder Women.

Maggs writing style is up-to-the minute and whip smart.  I'm only one third through this book and my mind is totally boggled.  Without flipping another page, I would give this book 5 stars.  Maggs searched long and hard and found women heroes from Asia, Europe and the Americas, of all colors and persuasions.  Her mini-bios between segments - Maggs arranges the books by the various disciplines cited above - give peeks into the lives of other accomplished women.  Maggs also includes interviews with women professionals who work in those disciplines.

Anyway, I am so excited by this book's content and writing style that I couldn't wait to tell you all about it.  Thanks to Sam and to Quirk Books for offering this title.  Not out til October!  You can pre-order it here  (This is not an affiliate link.  I just don't like Amazon all that much.), or order from your favorite bookseller.  Don't let ME tell you what to do.

Changes.

Tomorrow, the little girl starts kindergarten.  This will reduce our little girl time to 2 or 3 hours a day.  Am I happy?  Actually, um, no.  She has a lot of playing left.  And I am not all that enamored of our public education system.  

Still, she is ready.  But who will play with me during those extra hours? 

Everybody else keeps growing up!!!

In The Secret of Goldenrod, Trina is almost 11 and entering fifth grade and her father is so embarrassing.  They are off to refurbish Goldenrod, a stately home in the middle of nowhere, that has been empty for almost a century.  Unlike their other jobs that kept them busy for a month or two, Goldenrod will take a whole year and Trina will have finally time to make friends.  She hopes her mother will stop gallivanting around the world and finally return to the family. 

Then she sees the old house in a field of yellow weeds, and the house doesn't want them there.

A hidden room, a forgotten dollhouse and its tiny doll, a nasty schoolmate and a small town with secrets add up to a great story.

Author Jane O'Reilly sets this up as a convincing haunted house story, but with the discovery of the dollhouse things begin to change.   The last few chapters are the best as they pull everything together and give a happy ending that is also unexpected.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Oh my!

Have I been gone that long?

I picked up three more hours at the library for which I work.  I have done a smattering of storytelling engagements. - but enough to keep me busy and distracted.  I have read.  A lot.  Mostly eBooks.  Because actually budging to go to a library once I get home is just too much work.

So...The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.    The writing in this book swept me well into the fray.  There is a village.  Every year, that village leaves the newest baby deep in the forest as a sacrifice? gift? to the evil wicked awful witch.

And there is a forest wherein dwells an old witch, a swamp monster whose importance can only be imagined and a dragon who never seems to grow older.

The witch gathers up each child, - always wondering why the villagers leave the infants there but never wondering for very long, - and carries the infant to the other side of the forest where loving adoptive parents wait.  The witch feeds each child on starlight.

Meanwhile, in the village there is grieving and sadness and someone who feeds on both.

One day,  the witch falls asleep and the infant in her arms feeds on moonlight... and everything is changed.  

This is a novel about oppression and parenthood - which really are NOT the same thing.  The witch finds parenting her moonfed child harder than she could imagine.   The novel is also about questioning the status quo and about powerful people who are parasites.  And the novel is about pain.

The novel is also a bit more complicated than I wanted it to be.  It all fits together nicely in the end. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

A month? Or a lifetime?

I wrote this post a month ago.  More storytelling stuff has happened.  More books have been read and more wizard stories have been acted out.  I am NOT just twiddling my thumbs... 

If you pay attention, you will note that I posted over a month ago.  Well, it has been quite the month.  Personal stuff:
1.  Son and his family moved home; bought a house; son got new job; found a day care for the little one; lived in our apartment for two long, eventful and adorable weeks.
2. Nope.  No.  #1 is quite enough.

 Storytelling stuff:
1.  Group performance in Woodbury NJ. Thanks to good tellerfriend, Ingrid Bohn,
for driving
2.  Arts Day at Thos. Jefferson Elementary.  So much fun!

Reading:
1.  The Princess in Black books by Shannon Hale; many other picture books; and "A Chinese Fairy Tale" from the Junior Classics - all of these out loud.
2. Some Charlotte MacLeod Sarah Kelling/ Max Bittersohn mysteries.  It is wonderful to revisit old favorites as if I never read them at all.  Memory loss has an upside.
3.  Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle.  Just closed the book half an hour ago.  Lovely writing.  Thoughtful look at the confusion of young teenager hood and the pull to always believe in magic.  The book mirrors how I feel after having the little girl here from early morning until bedtime and then, poof!.  Honestly, I don't know what to do with myself or what is real anymore.


Writing:
Well, we play a lot of make believe, the little girl and I.  I tell her stories that pop into my head and if she likes them, we act them out - over and over and over again.

There has been a rash of foolish wizards turning fairies into flowers and animals because they love animals and flowers and have no idea how those things occur in the REAL world.  We have reached chapter 13 or 14. I am sure I missed one or two when I wrote them down.  The last chapter was the best.  Tell you more later.

Painting Pepette Book Trailer


Sorry for my absence.  Here's a book trailer to apologize.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Scraps

Today was a Rube Goldberg day.  Instead of moving in an orderly fashion from one task to the next, I started one task, noticed something that led me to another task.  Wait!  Here's how it all worked out.

I wanted to tape the baseboard in my office so I could prime the walls (1). 
But I had to hang up two jackets (2) which made me open the closet door.
Then I remembered that I needed to fit a large bin into that closet, so I had to reorganize the floor space (3).
The bed linens that I keep on the closet shelf needed reorganizing(4), so I did that.
By then, I had several items that had to be moved to the attic. (5)
That done, I returned to the office to finish taping the baseboard. (1a).  But some plaster was loosened in the process.  So I had to clean and spackle that section (6).
Remember that large bin?  There was a smaller bin on top of it full of books that needed to be shelved(7).
While looking for space for those books, I found an old steno pad.

Ahhh!
On the steno pad were notes for a story titled "Rupert & Ivy".  The notes were fairly detailed, including three questions and rhyming answers.   Did I write these notes?  Or was I describing something I read?  Oh, to have a young memory once again!

I searched for Rupert & Ivy online but nothing came up.  And Rupert is one of my all time favorite character names.  And the ending was very vague in a "to-be-continued" sort of way.  I wrote it.

That steno pad had another story scrap -  dialogue between a brother and sister left on a new England island for the summer.

It isn't a steno pad at all.  It is a treasure chest with pieces of my memory within.  This is why I have notebooks and binders piled around me.  I might find three questions with the answers in rhyme.

BTW, I got the baseboard taped.  Maybe I'll prime the walls tomorrow - if I don't unearth another treasure.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Thanks, Conan Doyle



A Study in Charlotte  by Brittany Cavallaro   Jamie Watson gets a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a boarding school not far from his estranged father's home in Connecticut.  Charlotte Holmes is also a student there.  Jamie has followed Charlotte's exploits since they were both kids.  Jamie's father knows EVERYTHING about the Holmes family. 
When someone tries to frame Jamie and Charlotte for the murder of a Sherringford student, their families' generations long connection is reignited.  Charlotte shares her famous forebear's skills at observation and his deductive reasoning AND his skill on the violin.  Alas, that is not all she has in common with great-great-great-whatever Sherlock. 
The crimes that she and Watson - also a great-great-great-whatever of Dr. John Watson - investigate reference some of Holmes' most famous cases.  Holmes and Watson are in serious danger here.  Explosions, poisons, muggings, chases, - THIS is the beginning of a beautiful book series.

Honestly, what would modern mystery fiction do without Holmes and Watson?