Posts Tagged With: reading

book sharing at its finest

Last week, I read a little book called Daisy Jones & The Six.

I will say that I absolutely adored this book. I truly felt as though I was part of this story. I couldn’t put it down. I devoured it in one day.
I mean, sure, it’s written as a series of interviews so it reads easily, like a play, but that’s not what I’m talking about. These characters hooked me from the word go!
This story is my childhood! I was learning about music from my dad during this time, and so much of Daisy Jones, and The Six, and even Daisy’s disco queen friend Simone reminds me of him and the music he shared with me. Especially when Daisy sings Janis Joplin. She was a favorite of my dad’s and mine.

The whole while I was deeply enmeshed in this story, I kept thinking how much Thing 2 would love it.
She’s got a very late 70s vibe about her. While she’s currently committed to Folk Punk music, she’s always been curious about music and loved exploring “old music”. That girl has an old soul, and music from another time somehow just gets to her. Thing 2 is actually a teeny bit Daisy Jones, I think.

When I finished reading, I closed the book and immediately ordered one for Thing 2.

It arrived Tuesday.
She took this pic as she began reading Friday morning.

I was so hopeful it would land with her the way I suspected. That she’d love it as much as I felt she would. I believe this book was written specifically for my second daughter.
Well, I didn’t have to wait too long to find out.

My work here is done.

Categories: music | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

who’s on your list?

I just read this book called The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle.
On the eve of her thirtieth birthday, Sabrina is late to meet her closest friend for dinner. When she arrives at the restaurant, she finds not only her friend Jessica, but, her deceased father, favorite college professor, estranged boyfriend, and Audrey Hepburn.
These guests from the list she wrote at the insistence of her friend when they were nineteen and in their first year of college.
Let’s just say that while wackiness ensues, there is a great deal of love at that dinner table.

Haven’t we all considered the question:
What five people, living or dead, real or imagined, would you invite to dinner?

But how do you really answer it if you know it’s never going to be an actual thing?
Do you just choose randomly?
Does your curiosity drive your list?
Do you create your list based upon unfinished business?
Do you consider things such as, desire to interact with these particular people, but not how they might interact with one another?

I’ve been thinking about how I would create this top five guests list, and I’m noticing it changes with my mood.
For instance, I’ve always wanted Grandaddy to know Thing 1 and Thing 2. I’ve also wanted him to know YBW. But that’s four out of my five guests.
And honestly, I know and love these people so much, it doesn’t really matter if they know each other. Three of them know each other and all of them know/knew me. Perhaps that’s enough.

As I consider this dinner list, I have to ask myself, what’s my motivation?

Perhaps I choose a straight literary guest dinner?
Or film industry folks?
Or musicians?
I mean, picking Billy Wilder’s brain at dinner sounds absolutely wonderful…but do I plan an entire dinner party around that?

What if I choose at random?
Just five humans I’m curious about, you know?
What kind of dinner party does that actually create? That goes back to how my guests would interact with one another. And let’s get real for a moment, that’s an important part of planning a successful dinner party.

So, what if I create a guest list at random? I invite people that fascinate me.
That list could look like this:
Ben Bradlee
Mark Twain
Erin Van Vuren
Rick Bragg’s mama
Grace Kelly

I mean, WTF kind of dinner party is this?
Would these guests get on together?
What would I actually serve these people?
I’d be fangirling about three of them to the point I might actually pee my pants!
Or would I?
Perhaps I’d be lovely and gracious and we could all learn wonderful things from and with each other.

Ha! Let’s get real!
I’d be worried I’m not smart enough to be in the same room with Mark Twain.
Not informed enough to be in the same room with Ben Bradlee.
Not clever enough to be in the same room Erin Van Vuren. Though honestly, I feel like she’s the safest bet.
Not graceful enough to be in the same room with Grace Kelly!
And while I suspect I’m down to earth enough for Rick Bragg’s mama, I feel like she’d judge the food, and that would break my heart.

No, I don’t think I’d enjoy myself at that dinner.
I don’t feel like it would meet my expectations of ‘The List’.
A dinner party should be enjoyable for the hostess as well as the guests.

That’s why I considered it from a different perspective.
Who would I like to talk with and enjoy spending the evening with in a way that suits who I am as a person?
Who might actually enjoy spending time with me, and each other?
Who do I want to connect with on a deeper level than fascination or fangirling?
With whom do I want to drink cocktails and/or wine?

After some serious thought, I present my dinner list:
Alan Cumming
Carol Burnett
Dominique Browning
Nick Drake
Richard Burton

For me, this dinner is an ideal combination of playful, serious, humor, kindness, and darkness.
A dinner party to really sink my teeth into.
I mean, sure, there are people I ‘like’ more, or am a bigger ‘fan’ of, and whatnot, but, this group of people feels at once comfortable and challenging. And I love that!

I’m curious what y’all think of my list.
I’d love to know who’s on your list, and how did you decide?
Is it harder than you expected it to be?

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thanks, Roald Dahl

matilda

Like Matilda, I am not alone. For I have books-a-plenty.
Thanks, Roald Dahl for this hopeful and comforting message.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

food for the soul

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis once said: There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.

I believe this with an unparalleled fierceness.
I tell all parents of young children this is my philosophy of child rearing: First you feed a child with food, then with books, then you worry about whether or not their shoes fit.
If you could see the looks on their faces. They have that initial moment of WTF? but then I see their eyes widen as they begin to understand how this makes some kind of sense.

I believe this principle applies to grownups too.
You ever been to someone’s home and find no books and feel like there is something so completely wrong with that? I don’t trust a person who doesn’t read.
I love to explore what other people have on their shelves.
We all know that someone who has books on the shelf for show, you know damn well that person doesn’t read them, they’re there lined up like little soldiers just to impress.
If you looked at my bookshelves, the majority of the books are either children’s books or biographies. Of course there are other things mixed in, adult fiction and textbooks, even some pretty amazing nonfiction too.

We must eat food to sustain our physical lives.
But books are food too. Soul food.
They feed our imagination. They feed us inspiration. They feed us information. They feed us laughter and love and tears. They feed us fear and loathing. They feed us when food isn’t what we need to ingest.

When Thing 2 was a small girl, we were waiting at the doctors office. I was reading and she was reading. She had just begun to read “proper” books, and was reading her first chapter book. It was the first time I didn’t read to her as we waited somewhere. It was the first time I read my book and she read hers. When the realization washed over me I began to cry.
After a big breath, I said to her: You’ve given yourself the best gift you’ll ever receive.
She looked at me from behind her coke-bottle glasses with confusion. I indicated the book.
She said: You gave me this book.
I said: Yes I did, but you learned to read it. And from now on you’ll be able to read anything you want. What a wonderful gift you gave to yourself!
She thought about this for a moment and then gave that jack-o-lantern smile (She was missing three teeth at the time.) and said: You’re right!

Both Thing 1 and Thing 2 love books. And shoes. They’ve been influenced by my parenting philosophy quite literally. (There’s a trees and two apples and never are they terribly far apart.)
I know that they will pass on their love of books to their children, and their nieces and nephews, and one day, their children’s children.

This quote has been attributed to Stephen King: Books are uniquely portable magic.
And they feed the soul.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

getting my literary dork on

At the dinner table last night, we were going over the course catalog for Thing G’s high school career, YBW, Thing C and I were remarking how taking yearbook as an elective would be a really great experience and why. Thing G gives us his one raised eyebrow, mouth slanting down one side “y’all are so weird” look, which in actuality is rather charming and not offensive. (He was SO not feeling us.)

Thing C told the story of how the yearbook his junior year had been rushed to press and was riddled with mistakes, which lead him to recite the quote: All in all you’re just another brick in the wall. Then he said, “It’s cool because the school is named after Jackson, so I get the wall part, but…yeah, that quote doesn’t really mean what they thought it meant.”
First we laughed about The Princess Bride: you keep using that word I do not think it means what you think it means. But Thing G has not yet seen that so we had to quickly explain about “inconceivable”. (Must show him that movie, I suspect he’ll actually like it.)
He was much more interested in the wall quote and why it was inaccurate for the yearbook which means we then had to explain all about The Wall…which was humorous to say the least. YBW was spectacularly accurate in his explanation. (I did not know that my sweetie was a closet The Wall fan…I can’t decide if that’s cool or freaks me out…though I guess we all went through that phase, I know I’ve seen that movie at least 10 times…but not since the middle 1980’s.)

Thing C remarking about misusing a quote reminded me of being in model home during a “parade of homes” visit years ago. In the most beautifully decorated nursery I’ve ever seen there was a Shakespeare quote painted on the wall above the crib. …to sleep, perchance to dream…
This blew my mind! Why would ANYONE write that on the wall of a child?
Uh…because they had no idea what it actually means.
So I relate this story and Thing C is in agreement, YBW seems to accept my point of view but I feel his frustration that we’ve moved so far away from course selection.
Thing C and I talk about Hamlet’s soliloquy and how inappropriate it would be to encourage that for a child. Thing G doesn’t understand why I’m making such a big deal about, so we explain why Hamlet says those words and how trying to decide whether or not to take your own life is written beautifully by Shakespeare, but taken out of context it doesn’t mean what the designer thought and it’s not a positive message to aid a baby’s sleep.
We finally sorted the course schedule for next year, and in addition to the core curriculum, Thing G is interested in technical drawing and NOT yearbook.

Thing C and I began an offshoot conversation which began with his remark that he’d never read or seen Macbeth. Which made me go all theater girl about the superstitions surrounding that particular production. “The Scottish Play” stimulated an interest to do research, so away from the table we went, we spent the next forty minutes our faces in his laptop screen getting our Shakespeare on. The only way it could have been more perfect was if Thing 1 had been here…she shares our passion for the Bard.
I have so much love and gratitude for Shakespeare, his words continue to delight, entertain and educate me, and for Thing C, who shares that love with an unfettered heart.
Golly, I love exercising my literary dorkiness!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

sixteen books in five minutes

With my books packed in boxes I realized the only book I have to read at the moment is the narcolepsy-inducing economics textbook…while I’m required to read that this school term, it isn’t the sort of thing I want to read before bed or take into the tubby. I was longing for something to change my point of view for even just a moment, something I could become a part of for a while…leave this reality and tag along in some other one just long enough to give my brain a rest.
So I tried to do that from memory, I’ve been participating in certain book realities for many years. It wasn’t the same though. Books are a tactile experience for me…I enjoy experiencing books with every one of my senses…yep, even taste, gotta lick my finger to turn a page every once in a while.

A curious thing happened, the failed book from memory experiment caused me to think of books I especially love, and why I love them.
So, I decided to list the first books that came to me, the ones that have had the most impact or influence on my life, the ones I loved as a child and continue to love as a grown up.
I gave myself five minutes to list what came to me and this is what I wrote:

Outside Over There
The Secret of the Strawbridge Place
The Secret Garden
The Bell Jar
The Great Gatsby
Sense and Sensibility
Dancing on My Grave
The Outsiders
Plantation Doll
The Mists of Avalon
Sam, Bangs and Moonshine
The End of the Affair
Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human
Peter Pan
Long Walk to Freedom
The Tangled Wing

I listed each one as it appeared in my brain. I did not over-think nor did I edit the list in any way.
Now there are certainly other books I love, books that mean so much to me but just aren’t listed here.
Why?
I don’t know. And for once, I don’t really have the desire to figure it out.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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