Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review

Mr. Popper's PenguinsMr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love to read a children's book now and then and this is a classic, written in 1938.

Mr. Popper is a wall paperer/decorator, married with two children. He has always longed to travel to the Antarctic. He receives a huge surprise delivery from Captain Drake, an explorer..... a penguin! From there, adventures abound, as you might imagine, with a penguin in your house.

Rather sad at being alone, another penguin arrives to make a couple, with the expected arrival thereafter of a number of baby penguins. It takes a lot of money to feed and house them, so a way must be found to fund it all.  Mr. Popper develops an act for the penguins and they take it on the road with great success.

A delightful read for young and not so young. Most children today probably only know of this title through the recent movie with Jim Carrey. As in most cases, the book is far superior and should be on the reading list for middle to older grade schooled.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Review

A Good AmericanA Good American by Alex George

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This story began in a beautiful way, with a young couple seeking a new life in the United States in the early 1900's. They came by way of Germany to New Orleans and made their way on up the river to Missouri, settling in the fictional town of Beatrice. Here they ran a business, raised their children, faced World War I and all the day to day occurrences that happen to all of us.

Frederick was determined to be "a good American" in every way. He had won his love through music and wanted his children to also learn to love music and to perform with their voices.

For the first two-thirds or so of the book, the story was good, believable and enjoyable. Then, it appeared that the author decided to take a turn at writing by way of say, Garrison Keillor. He developed a thread where almost all the boys in town had a one time fling with the music teacher, at her request. He then contrived to make the minister of the Christian church believe that he saw the 2nd coming of Christ due to seeing one of the boys on the river with his hands spread out as he stood on a pier, but with no other changes happening in the town or to anyone else. Most Christians realize that the 2nd coming will certainly cause a multitude of events to happen rather quickly.

These last threads seem to denigrate the book for me. What had been a good family saga with their struggles through life and history became a comical farce. Disappointing.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

GOODREADS Shout Out and Book Review

Do you have a good system for ordering the books you have read and those on your list to read?  Do you like to see what others say about a book that you have read?  Do you like to take quizes about books and she how your memory holds? 

Good Reads is a great source for all these things and more.  I recommend it for anyone who is bookish like me.

Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" by Margaret Powell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Margaret Langley was rather a spitfire of a girl, beginning to serve as a kitchen maid in 1920's England. This memoir is what the creators of Downton Abbey used for some of their inspiration.

The book begins with her family background in Hobe, near Brighton. Her family was rather poor and at the age of 14, Margaret needed to be in the work force. She began in a laundry, but soon moved on as was her way in life, to continue to move onto better positions. She apply conveys the hard work and dowdy conditions she had to work in and describes the work of kitchen maid in detail. She worked her way up to Cook.

In her early years she worked for "Them", as they called their employers, who were unconcerned with their servants conditions or surroundings. Through the years she did see a change in the attitude of "Them", with her later employers offering better living arrangements and more respect to those who cared for their every need and want.

Written in a very personal, fun style, the story is a fascinating look into a world long gone. It finishes with her married life including children and further schooling for herself, as she always longed to read and learn.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Book Review

The Flight of Gemma HardyThe Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A more modern day version of Jane Eyre in many ways, this story is set in Scotland in the 1950's and 60's. Much like Jane, Gemma is an orphan, living at the mercy of her cruel aunt. She is sent away to school where she is put to work physically as well as academically. She is constantly trying to plan how to get to a better place and find the roots of her family, which she knows, reside in Iceland.

The story continues to follow for the most part the one of Jane, although without the same depth of emotion. I did not like Gemma a great deal.

I believe the book's closing was open ended, perhaps, for the next book to follow.

A very good read, but certainly not to be substituted for Jane Eyre.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Obsessed with Book Page Art

I am crazy about books, as in reading them, but also, for those that have lived past their expiration date, I am enamored with seeing them made into something else.  I have made a few of the simpled folded books for display and made one for my friend Tami.  BUT, this one to show today is my fave thus far.  From a book called babies that I have loved for a long, long time, but it was wanting to be turned into something new.

It was so much fun folding the pages and seeing it take shape.......................The pretty end papers were already there.....................

Oh yeah, did I tell you that this book is only 2 inches tall?  That is what makes it so precious. And, one of my new FAVORITE THINGS.


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