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476. State of the TBR Pile -- double header #2

Done, at long last:



Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, by Neal Gabler
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte (audio)
My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Fenway Park, and Mary Poppins, by Steve Kluger
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, by Mary Roach
Hero-Type, by Barry Lyga
The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West, by Sid Fleischman
Waiting for Normal, by Leslie Connor

Up next:



The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
The Broken Bike Boy and the Queen of 33rd Street, by Sharon G. Flake
River Secrets, by Shannon Hale
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Lives, by Dan Ariely
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain (audio)

2 Comments on State of the TBR Pile -- double header #2, last added: 7/14/2008
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477. Disney Literature Challenge

My name is Sarah, and I am a Disney fan. I'm also a children's literature maven, which presents something of a contradiction. Any book-nerd worth her salt knows how good old "Uncle" Walt Disney shamelessly ravaged the storybook shelves to find material for his animated features. Loads of purists detest Disney for his habit of slashing and condensing the classics of children's literature into cartoon corruptions. (For a primo example, read Tomie dePaola's 26 Fairmount Avenue. I don't think Tomie's ever going to bring himself to forgive Mr. Disney for what he did to Snow White.) The real kicker, of course, is the way the Disney versions always seem to eclipse the real stories and doom the author to obscurity. Seriously now, everybody knows Bambi and Mary Poppins, but what kid has ever heard of Felix Salten or P.L. Travers? From an author's point of view that stinks, but darn it, I still love my Uncle Walt.

Now, some of my very favorite book people harbor strong anti-Disney tendencies. (Cam, this means you. I'm betting on Linda and Jim, too.) In their honor, and in hopes of putting a tiny chip in the mountain of gratitude I owe them, I'm proposing a Disney Literature Challenge. Let's dig up the uncorrupted originals, and see how these stories looked before Uncle Walt had his way with them, shall we?

For my part, I'm making this a long term, laid back endeavor. No time limits, no minimums, no obligations. Pick the ones you like and quit when you get sick of the whole idea. Wanna skip the bulky ones like Dickens, Hugo and White? Be my guest. If the multimedia approach of comparing the book to the movie appeals to you, go for it. I'm particularly hoping some of the anti-Disney camp might be good sports and take a refresher look at some of the films. Rereads are legal, even encouraged.

If you're game for joining in, please leave a comment. And if you post reviews of the books you read, I'd love it if you'd take a second to link back to this post, leave a fresh comment or ping me at: sarah(at)sarahmillerbooks(dot)com so I can keep up with who's reading what.

(photo from jimhillmedia.com)

For the sake of sanity and consistency (two things I'm rather fond of) I'm confining the Disney Literature Challenge to works based on feature length films that are completely or partially animated. And since I still harbor a big fat soft spot for most things Disney, I'm cutting him some slack in the fairy tale department. Stories that originated in folklore, having no known author, shall be somewhat exempt and fall into the bonus categories at the end. I figure every storyteller has a right to adapt a folktale without being sneered at -- that's what folklore's all about, after all.

This, then, is the official list. Film titles are italicized, with the original stories they were derived from immediately following in bold. An asterisk indicates books I've already read myself.


Pinocchio (1940)
Pinocchio: The Story of a Puppet, by Carlo Collodi (1916)

The Reluctant Dragon (1941)
excerpted from Dream Days, by Kenneth Grahame (1898)

Bambi (1942)
Bambi, by Felix Salten (1928)

Song Of The South (1946)
Tales of Uncle Remus, by Joel Chandler Harris (1881)
(or choose the 1990's retellings by Julius Lester)*

So Dear To My Heart (1949)
Midnight and Jeremiah, by Sterling North (1943)

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mister Toad (1949)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving (1820)
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame (1908)

Alice In Wonderland (1951)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll (1865)*
Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There, by Lewis Carroll (1871)

Peter Pan (1953)
Peter Pan, by Sir J.M. Barrie*

One Hundred And One Dalmatians (1961)
The Hundred and One Dalmatians, or The Great Dog Robbery, by Dodie Smith (1956)

The Sword In The Stone (1963)
The Once and Future King, by T.H. White (1958)

Mary Poppins (1964)
Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers (1934)*

The Jungle Book (1967)
The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling (1894)*

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
Bed-knob and Broomstick, by Mary Norton (1957)

The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh (1977)
Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne (1926)*
The House at Pooh Corner, by A.A. Milne (1928)*

The Rescuers (1977)
The Rescuers, by Magery Sharp (1959)

The Fox and the Hound (1981)
The Fox and the Hound, by Daniel Pratt Mannix IV (1967)

The Black Cauldron (1985)
The Black Cauldron, by Lloyd Alexander (1965)

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
Basil of Baker Street, by Eve Titus (1958)

Oliver & Company (1988)
Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens (1838)

The Little Mermaid (1989)
The Little Mermaid, by Hans Christian Andersen (1836)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo (1831)

Tarzan (1999)
Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1914)

Bonus category: Folklore
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Cinderella (1950)
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Robin Hood (1973)
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Aladdin (1992)
Mulan (1998)

Extra bonus category: Obscurities & Rarities
Dumbo (1941)
Dumbo the Flying Elephant, by Helen Albertson and Harold Pearl (1939)

Lady And The Tramp (1955)
Happy Dan, the Whistling Dog, by Ward Greene (circa 1940)
(orignally published in Cosmoplitan magazine; also called Happy Dan the Cynical Dog)

The Aristocats (1970)
based on a story by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe (???)

Pete's Dragon (1977)
based on a story by S.S. Fields and Seton Miller (circa 1930)


Let the once upon a times begin. 

I'm off to read Bambi now. Wind in the Willows is slated for next week's TBR list. I'll see you happily ever after. (Har har.)

21 Comments on Disney Literature Challenge, last added: 7/30/2008
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478. Just let me be a fly on the wall

Is anyone else getting tired of the English-assignment-turned-novel frame? You know, when the main character takes a few paragraphs on the first page to explain WHY he's writing his story down in the first place, usually blaming it on a summer writing assignment or something similar. Ideally this trick is supposed to make the story more realistic somehow, seeing as most teenagers don't spontaneously sit down to write their life history. Yet for me, the explaining backfires and only reminds me that I'm reading a piece of fiction. It's like The Wizard of Oz: "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" And what's the first thing you do? Look behind the curtain, of course.

Here's the thing: when you watch a movie, you don't think to yourself, "Gee whiz, how did this person's life get on film? Didn't it bug them having those cameras everywhere?" You KNOW it's a made-up story, and you take for granted your role as fly on the wall, just as the actors never acknowledge the cameras and film crews, nor the people in the theater. None of the characters on screen has to take time out to give the audience a plausible reason for how the images you're about to see got captured on film -- unless you're watching Blair Witch Project, and let's just not go there, ok?

As far as I'm concerned, the very act of opening up a novel shows that you're willing to play along, so forget the fancy explanations. I don't care how the character's words got onto the paper -- I'm just grateful they're there at all.

Currently reading:

by Felix Salten

7 Comments on Just let me be a fly on the wall, last added: 7/13/2008
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479. Poetry Friday

Answer July


Answer July—
Where is the Bee—
Where is the Blush—
Where is the Hay?

Ah, said July—
Where is the Seed—
Where is the Bud—
Where is the May—
Answer Thee—Me—

Nay—said the May—
Show me the Snow—
Show me the Bells—
Show me the Jay!

Quibbled the Jay—
Where be the Maize—
Where be the Haze—
Where be the Bur?
Here—said the Year—

~Emily Dickinson

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480. HERO-TYPE, by Barry Lyga

by Barry Lyga

(Houghton Mifflin)

Not so long ago, I claimed that I didn't take ideology gracefully in fiction. And yet I'm totally digging Hero-Type. So either Barry Lyga is slightly more subtle than E. Lockhart, or I just prefer the left-wing soapbox to the feminist pulpit.

I'm sure this story is going to rile some folks up, what with the plot circling around issues like flag burning and supporting the troops, but so be it. The surface question, of course, is What makes a hero? Plenty enough to ponder there, yet under that simmer timely musings about the meaning of patriotism and the nature of freedom -- questions I wish more people were talking about these days. When you get right down to the nitty-gritty, this is all about perspective, point of view, and using your own head instead of sponging off someone else's ideas. Which is fine and lofty, so now consider this goofball notion of mine: I can't help thinking that if George Carlin were a teenager, he'd have a blast with Hero-Type. The politics and irreverence are right up his alley. Council of Fools, indeed.

My only complaint: just a few too many references to Kevin's Big Secret.

(Available in September)

Currently reading:

Waiting for Normal
by Leslie Connor

2 Comments on HERO-TYPE, by Barry Lyga, last added: 7/11/2008
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by Mary Roach


Finally, an informative book about sex that you're supposed to giggle at!

When you consider how many eons human beings have been having sex, it's pretty amazing how little we actually know about its physiology. Bonk will teach you a thing or two, and I promise you won't get bored, or even too squirmy. Mary Roach is funny, and smart enough not to make you snigger at the sex itself. Instead it's the absurdities of the research situations that really got me going, and the taboos that have so long kept scientists from learning about human sexuality. Ok, that and the disparity between the scientific jargon and Roach's colorful commentary. The lady knows how to (pardon the innuendo) straddle the line between frank, average Joe vocabulary and plain old gutter talk. This may not be a book to share with your grandma, but it's far from dirty.

Bonus amusement: the photos between chapters. Not a one of them is remotely suggestive all by itself, but paired with the topics they represent, they're a scream.

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482. Top 100 Books

According to The Big Read, the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books on this list.

The instructions:
Look at the list and:
Bold those you have read.
Italicize those you intend to read.
Underline the books you LOVE.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (read 150 pages)
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible (up to Pslams so far...)
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte 
8. 1984 - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (I don't get it)
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot

21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky 
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (abridged audio, but I'm counting it anyway)
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding (HATE)
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan

51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (only the gory bits)
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods is better!)
75. Ulysses - James Joyce (in theory, at least)
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome 
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt

81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - EB White (especially the audio edition)
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92.The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I believe that makes 33 books for me -- whew!

Stolen (almost) verbatim from Ritka's Ramblings.

Currently reading:

The Trouble Begins at 8:
A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West
by Sid Fleischman

11 Comments on Top 100 Books, last added: 7/30/2008
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483. Poetry Friday


I never did, I never did,
I never did like "Now take care, dear!"
I never did, I never did,
I never did want "Hold-my-hand";
I never did, I never did,
I never did think much of "Not up there, dear!"
It's no good saying it.
They don't understand.

~A. A. Milne

(Not quite the tone you might have expected for Independence Day? Here's the topper: in the spirit of irreverence, I'm wearing my Union Jack t-shirt to the fireworks.)

3 Comments on Poetry Friday, last added: 7/10/2008
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484. THE VIPER WITHIN, by Sam Mills

by Sam Mills


Partway through The Viper Within, I stopped turning the pages just long enough to wonder if the story was maybe a little far-fetched. Maybe it is, but I don't care; it's compelling as all get-out. If you're intrigued by stories centered around religious cults, this is like The Patron Saint of Butterflies' evil twin. It's even written by a former cult member. By the way, don't let the the cover fool you into thinking this is historical fiction -- it's very much contemporary.

I'd imagine that the end will make some readers squawk and launch this book toward the nearest wall, but not me. Heh. Maybe because I'm a fan of Sunset Boulevard...?

Aesthetic quibble: the choice of font face was just a little much for my taste. (See the white text on the bottom of the cover.)

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485. The usual monthly website updates

June Reading Journal is up and complete. I read a whole lot last month; I don't really have much more to say than that.

Currently reading:

My Most Excellent Year
by Steve Kluger

4 Comments on The usual monthly website updates, last added: 7/10/2008
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by Neal Gabler


That is One. Big. Book. If you want to get technical about it, I've been working on this bugger for roughly 18 months, though the bulk of the reading 'only' took 6 days. I can't pretend it wasn't a long haul, but it was worth it. This is probably the most thorough and honest biography of Walt Disney I've read so far.

Gabler doesn't vilify Disney, not by a long shot, yet he makes it clear Walt was no saint. The man chain-smoked, cussed, and he had a temper. He could be demanding and contrary, and this book is straightforward about the frustrations of working or living with Walt Disney. Walt shines, however, when it comes to vision, innovation, and devotion to quality. Surprises for me included Walt's lifelong restlessness, and his relative disinterest with and distance from animation after releasing his first few feature films.

Perhaps it's only fair to say that for me, a significant chunk of the fun of reading this tome had to do with my personal collection of Disney cartoons and movies. I own probably 80% or better of the films Gabler discussed, right down to the government-commssioned training films, so this became a bit of a mulit-media endeavor. Incidentally, the cornerstone of my fascination turned out to be Snow White. It'd been a few years since I'd last seen the movie, but I popped it into the DVD player and sat in front of the hi-def screen with my mouth hanging open. I'd forgotten what the earliest Disney feature animation was like -- more akin to paintings than cartoons. Even the camera work demanded my attention. The care and expense they lavished on that film is astonishing. I came away wanting to know more about the process of animation. I can tell you right now that my copy of Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston's The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation is due for a re-read.

About the writing itself in Walt Disney: it's more than competent, and definitely held an uber-Disney fan like me. I have a suspicion however, that it might not be quite compelling enough to captivate a reader with only a casual interest in Walt Disney for the full run of 633 pages. Even I did some skimming over the business-oriented stuff.

Next on the Disney docket:

The Animated Man, by Michael Barrier

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487. Bibbidi-bobbiti-book

The book fairies of Houghton Mifflin have smiled upon me today:

by Barry Lyga

You can bet this puppy's going to the lake with me on Friday.

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488. State of the TBR Pile -- double header

I tried like anything to upload videos of my weekend reading perches, but no stinking luck. Blogger and Photobucket are not my friends today. Imagine sand dunes, cedar trees, lake views, and woody paths. Imagine two hummingbirds and one very nosy gray catbird that sounds like this. (Just for fun, imagine four chipmunks scuffling and squirting through the brush in a territorial dispute.) Is it any wonder, then, that I managed to read seven of these books in four days?

100 Cupboards, by N.D. Wilson
Booth, by David Robertson
Enna Burning, by Shannon Hale
The Diaries of Adam and Eve, by Mark Twain
Assassination Vacation, by Sarah Vowell
The Viper Within, by Sam Mills
The White Elephant, by Sid Fleischman
The Man Who Made Lists: Love, Death, Madness, and the Creation of Roget's Thesaurus, by Joshua Kendall
Keturah and Lord Death, by Martine Leavitt

Plus nearly 400 pages of That Effing HUGE Disney Book. Erm, I mean:

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination
by Neal Gabler

Once again, I'm running away to Lake Huron over this next Sunday, so it'll be another two weeks before the State of the TBR Pile rides again. My madly over-inflated list of possibilities:

Bambi, by Felix Salten

Dicey's Song, by Cynthia Voigt
Waiting for Normal, by Leslie Connor
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, by Mary Roach
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte (audio -- three hours to go!)
River Secrets, by Shannon Hale
The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club, by Laurie Notaro
Meat: A Love Story, by Susan Bourette
Alabama Moon, by Watt Key
My Most Excellent Year, by Steve Kluger
The Trouble Begins at Eight, by Sid Fleischman
Hole in My Life, by Jack Gantos (audio)

Currently almost finished reading:

Walt Disney:
The Triumph of the American Imagination
by Neal Gabler

6 Comments on State of the TBR Pile -- double header, last added: 7/10/2008
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489. It's somewhere else instead

After a typically eclectic romp through YouTube this morning, I happened to run across this Muppet video which reminded me that Halfway Down the Stairs Children's Bookshop would have turned a full 20 years old this month. I'm not sure why Robin the frog is so wistful, but it makes for a nice, sappy little remembrance, especially if you substitute "store" for "stair":

3 Comments on It's somewhere else instead, last added: 7/10/2008
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490. Poetry Friday

Autumn, by 13-year-old Helen Keller:

(From the Library of Congress American Memory website.)

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491. Remembering Helen Keller (with help)

Heh. I never would have remembered this if Felicity of lookbooks hadn't just reminded me.

Today is the 128th anniversary of Helen Keller's birth.

It's one of my quirks, this persistent forgetting of major dates in my characters' lives. Here's hoping it comes off as charming and/or endearing instead of just plain sloppy...

(By the way, it's also the one-year anniversary of my website going live, but that strikes me as small potatoes in comparison.)

Currently reading:

Walt Disney:
The Triumph of the American Imagination
by Neal Gabler

1 Comments on Remembering Helen Keller (with help), last added: 7/10/2008
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492. Books CAN be dangerous

A person who bought a new MacBook in January and a Wendy House in May has positively no business entertaining fantasies of going to Walt Disney World in the fall. Especially when said person is still without a day job, and has not published anything in nearly a year.

But gads, I'm finally to the halfway point in this monstrous biography of Walt Disney by Neal Gabler, and it's giving me the most wicked case of WDW-fever I've had in ages. Who knew reading could be so perilous... Read the rest of this post

2 Comments on Books CAN be dangerous, last added: 7/10/2008
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493. Easily thrilled

Do me a favor and hop on over to Editorial Anonymous for a minute.

See anything in her new banner that might make me slightly gleeful and wriggly?

6 Comments on Easily thrilled, last added: 7/10/2008
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494. Poetry Friday


Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays,
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways,
And what is mine shall know my face.

Asleep, awake, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me;
No wind can drive my bark astray,
Nor change the tide of destiny.

What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it hath sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.

The waters know their own and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delight.

The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.

~John Burroughs

Currently reading:

Enna Burning
by Shannon Hale

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495. Forget everything I've said about sequels

Holy crap. Listen to the tail end of this HornBook podcast -- Grandma Dowdel rides again in the fall of 2009:


What a combination of glee and dread this news inspires in me. I love Richard Peck. I love Grandma Dowdel. The expectations are so terribly high.

(Link via Read Roger, of course.)

4 Comments on Forget everything I've said about sequels, last added: 7/10/2008
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496. Pondering N.D. Wilson

How on earth is it possible to love an author's writing yet not like his stories? Well that's how it is for me with N.D. Wilson. I love his sentences -- they're full of peppy verbs and pert turns of phrase -- but the books themselves leave me cold.

As with Leepike Ridge, by the time I reached the middle I could not shake the feeling that I'd been skimming instead of reading 100 Cupboards. Something about these books simply does not get through to me, and that's all there is to it.

Ever happen to you?

Currently reading:

by David Robertson

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497. State of the TBR pile




The Smile, by Donna Jo Napoli
What On Earth Have I Done? by Robert Fulghum
Knucklehead, by Jon Scieszka
Homecoming, by Cynthia Voigt
Slam, by Nick Hornby

Next week I'll be in Canada from Sunday through Wednesday, so this'll be a two-week edition of the TBR pile. Whatever I don't finish in the next six days gets crammed into the camper:





Geeze, get real, right? Look at all those grown-up books! Hush up -- I like options when I'm forced to part from the library for more than a day or two. Plus, I'm really really hoping an ARC of Barry Lyga's Hero Type might show up in time to accompany me across the border...

Currently reading:

100 Cupboards
by N.D. Wilson
(And liking it much better than Leepike Ridge.)

5 Comments on State of the TBR pile, last added: 7/10/2008
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498. Poetry Friday

The Secret Sits

We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

~ Robert Frost

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499. KNUCKLEHEAD, by Jon Scieszka

by Jon Scieszka


I have an inkling this is going to be a Big Hit, particularly among young dudes who haven't yet figured out that reading kicks butt. From an author who used to choose his own reading material by its thickness (or lack thereof) comes a slim autobiography sporting all the hallmarks of a reluctant reasder's paradise: ultra-short chapters, loads of pictures, and vocabulary that won't make your head hurt. Plus, it's spattered with explosions, fires, wisecracks, throw-up, and general hilarity.

Back in my Halfway Down the Stairs days, we had what you might call strong feelings about literary sexism -- boy books vs. girl books and all. Well, there's just no way around this: Knucklehead is most certainly a boy book. Hordes of budding goofballs are going to eat this thing alive. It's like a 9-year-old's version of Chris Crutcher's King of the Mild Frontier. Antsy parents may raise their hackles at some of the Scieszka boys' escapades, but I say let 'em squirm. (Just hide your plastic drycleaner bags, folks.)

Oh, and am I the last bookish person in Michigan to know that Scieszka grew up in Flint? Michael Moore, Patrick Jones, and now Jon Scieszka -- what is it about that town?

(Available in October)

Currently reading;

by Cynthia Voigt

4 Comments on KNUCKLEHEAD, by Jon Scieszka, last added: 7/10/2008
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500. Scared?

Triskaidekaphobia: fear of the number 13

Paraskevidekatriaphobia (or Friggatriskaidekaphobia): fear of Friday the 13th

1 Comments on Scared?, last added: 7/10/2008
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