Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Meanderings

I want to apologize for the many responses to comments I need to make, the many posts I need to read, and the lack of posts I've meant to write...

I've just finished a three day weekend (no school on Friday) with an out of town husband and a little person attached to me for most of the time. She seems to sense when things are different, that is, when one of us is not just at work but is actually away - and really wants to be near the person with her. Which is lovely, really, but there's not much reading or blogging or anything else to be done when that happens. All in all we had a very nice weekend, played with some preschool friends we haven't seen since kindergarten began, saw an unexpectedly funny move (Bee Movie) - the reviews were terrible, and purchased some Christmas decorations.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed this week. I have some volunteer work to do at the elementary school that I signed up for a while back - helping with the Scholastic Book Sale - perfect job for me you know, school conferences, I'm hosting bookclub this Thursday which means cleaning and baking, and a party for 11 5-6 year olds on Saturday - more cleaning, baking and decorating. I'll be relieved when Saturday evening arrives.

I've actually finished two books recently, the second one quite short. The first was Case Histories by Kate Atkinson which my bookclub will be discussing here on Thursday evening. This was actually a re-read for me and I think I enjoyed it this time just as much as I enjoyed it the first time. The novel opens by describing three separate and seemingly unrelated crimes. Jackson Brodie, private investigator, becomes involved with all three incidents and the people involved in each one. This is a mystery, but a very literary mystery. I think I enjoyed this book more than Atkinson's follow-up, One Good Turn, which also features Jackson Brodie.

The second book I read arrived on Saturday compliments of a swap. I started paging through it and before I knew it I'd read the entire book in about an hour. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff is an utterly charming book and I'm so glad I read it. I'm not sure what precipitated my reading it - perhaps it was Karen's post last week regarding books of letters. In any case, it was educational, informative, funny, and really, just what I needed. I realize that I simply cannot fully comprehend the situation in the UK in the years following WW2. Of course, I've read that the situation was bad and that rationing went on for years, but I found this line stunning:

'Brian told me you are all rationed to 2 ounces of meat per family per week and one egg per person per month.'

Goodness. In any case, I am so looking forward to Hanff's follow-up, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street which is on its way to me from the library.

Ever since I told Nan about Bloglines, I've had nothing but trouble with it. Each post I look at reappears as a new one - I can't make anything go away! Is anyone else having this problem?

18 comments:

Kay said...

Tara, I'm not having trouble with Bloglines, but I do see that they are having some work done right now. Maybe others were experiencing difficulties.

I have not read Case Histories yet but have read a couple of other books by Kate Atkinson. This one sounds nice. And...I love 84 Charing Cross Road. I think that Nan and Les were probably instrumental in my reading it several years ago. I have not read the follow-up but will at some point. I'm glad you liked it.

Also, glad you had a nice weekend with your little one. Cherish those moments. Good luck with your book club, the book fair (I used to love helping with that) and your party this weekend.

Jennyellen said...

84 Charing Cross Road is one of my favorite books. In fact, I love all of Helene Hanff's books. You should also check out the movie version of Charing Cross with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins if you haven't seen it.

Cath said...

I second the recommendation for the movie version of 84 Charing Cross Road. It really is charming and delightful. The Big Apple by Helene Hanff is also an entertaining read and I learnt a lot about east sides and west sides which I previously had no clue about.

Tara said...

Kay, it looks like bloglines resolved their problems last night - thank goodness! I'm sure I've seen 84 Charing Cross Road listed on Nan's side bar for some time - and then the title just kept showing up everywhere as they sometimes do. Thank you for your kind words.

Jennyellen, I will check out the movie - thanks for the recommendation. It looks like the library has it!

Cath, our library has a book entitled Apple of My Eye by Helene Hanff...from investigating I'm wondering if it's the earlier version of the The Big Apple. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

Lisa said...

84 Charing Cross Road is one of my favorite little books. It takes no time to read -- in fact, it's over much sooner than you want it to be! For anyone who loves books, this is a must-read. It is absolutely lovely.

Bookgirl said...

Bloglines seems to be acting up a bit for me too.
Isn't 84 Charing Cross wonderful. I need to look for my copy for a quick re-read. I've never read the follow-up though! I will have to look for it.

Cath said...

Tara, I got the title of the book wrong (I'm hopeless at remembering titles). It *is* The Apple of my Eye not The Big Apple. Apologies.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Tara
I love 84 Charing Cross Road, the book. There was also a remarkably good film of it, with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins who both capture the characters' wonderfully well. I don't generally like 'the film of the book' but this was a rare exception. Ah - I just read jennyellen's comment and feel a bit superfluous. I'm always telling the kids I teach "think before you speak" - I guess I should read before I write.... and now I've seen Cath's comment I feel silly! Well, with three recommendations, you must watch the film now.

When you say you saw a Bee Movie is that what we on this side of the pond call a B Movie? (i.e. second rate, from the B side of an LP) or was it a film about bees???

I agree with Kay - time with your children is precious. I know everyone says the time flies past, but it's true!

As a voracious reader you're very welcome to drop by and visit my blog. It would be lovely to hear from you.

Tara said...

Lisa, I couldn't agree more - the book was over much too soon!

Tara said...

Cath, thanks for confirming the title - now I know I'll be able to read the same book you enjoyed!

Tara said...

Leigh Russell, hello! I absolutely must watch the film now with so many recommendations! We use the same term here for a B-movie; this is an animated film about bees with Jerry Seinfeld as the voice of the main character -very funny.

Tara said...

Bookgirl, now blogger is giving me trouble too! I'm glad you enjoyed 84 Charing Cross as well; I'll let you know what I think of the sequel.

heather said...

Good luck with all of those activities!

LisaMM said...

Sounds like a fun and busy weekend. I can relate about the Scholastic bookfair and getting ready for kid parties.. I'm hosting 3 kid parties between now and Christmas!!

Gentle Reader said...

I love 84, Charing Cross Road--it's one of those books I can read again and again. I also love the movie! Anne Bancroft is great, and so is Anthony Hopkins!

Karen said...

I'm so glad you liked 84, Charing Cross Road because it is a delightful book, and I agree that the film is perfect.

Nan - said...

This was a beautiful note, Tara. I loved reading about all the different facets of your life, and especially your daughter. It makes me ache a little, though I am so thankful that my girl lives nearby and we see each other often. It is very fun having a grown up friend who happens to be my daughter. And my son, as well, though I don't see him so frequently. I listened to 84, Charing Cross Road just a while ago which makes the second reading of it just this year. I have read it at least twice before this, and have seen the wonderful movie. Anne Bancroft is utterly perfect in the role, as is Anthony Hopkins (before he got scary in movies).

Lazy cow said...

84 Charing Cross road, what a lovely book. The movie isn't bad either. I haven't read the sequel, but have read Apple of my eye, about Hanff's experiences in New York.