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April 2013

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Apr. 25th, 2013

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Book advice

Hi guys!  I have no idea how often anyone checks in here any more - and heaven knows I'm terrible at posting - but I thought this might still be a better forum than Facebook to ask this question.  And here it is.  We just spent a few days in NYC with the kids, and took them to the Met.  Now, it's The Boy's birthday next week, when he will turn 10 - I know! Impossible! - and I was thinking it'd be a good time to get him From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  The trick is - and of course this would happen - they have a box set coming out in the fall which includes two other of Koningsberg's best reviewed novels:

http://www.amazon.com/The-E-L-Konigsburg-Newbery-Collection/dp/1442497432/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=6DWAWLZFG16C&coliid=I35F0E2AFQH5AK

So, what do you think?  It's a far better price for these three, but I haven't read the others (weirdly shocking considering my proclivities and how much I loved Frankweiler as a kid) and it feels like it might mean more now, after we've just been to the Met.  What do you think?  And yeah, they're all female-centered novels, but I don't know that he cares as long as they're good; he's in a book group which is mostly girls and they read lots of female hero novels.  He does tend to prefer adventure novels to contemporary ones, though, so I think that makes more of a difference than gender.

Dec. 29th, 2012

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Who's watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries?

Because, Friday's vlog?  Eeeeee!

Dec. 25th, 2012

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Merry Christmas!

Because we need the joy overcoming the darkness.

If you are out there, big hugs.  I hope you're having a joyful day; I am, more even than I would have expected.

Dec. 13th, 2012

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I live! (Plus, questions and a plea for answers)

Hi there!   I know, I know.  On the one hand, I lament the lack of livejournal, the lack of depth in facebook interactions; on the other, I contribute by not posting!

So here it is, a posting, and not even a melancholy one.  I have questions!  Or dilemmas, anyway. Do you have answers?

First, I have to explain that I have this long standing dilemma when it comes to introducing my children to my beloved Harry Potter.  It's a tricky series, in my mind, because the books evolve with Harry.  When you compare Sorcerer's Stone to the tragedy and philosophical depth of Deathly Hallows, it's hard to imagine these are books for the same audience.  But how can you introduce the first one, and stop someone from reading the rest?  I swore to adopt J.K. Rowling's plan of not letting her own daughter read the books until she was 10, even though ten still seems young to me for the later books.  But perhaps this is just - as Dumbledore would put it - the mistake of age? 

Well, that's my dilemma.  I knew better, but here it is: The Boy's reading group at the library is doing a Harry Potter Christmas Party, with trivia contests.  Husband Charming and I talked it over, and with input from the librarian and my sister Valancy decided to let him read the first one.  After all, he's 9 and a half.  Will he really be that much more mature on his birthday?  With much trepidation, I gave him the first book, making sure he knew he would have to wait for the second.

Of course, the most predictable thing in the world happened.   He's ensorceled by Harry.  It's his favorite book ever, and he is desperate to read the second one.
In an attempt to change my mind, he even told me that his best friend is reading Chamber of Secrets and begged to read it too, so that they could discuss it on the bus. 

Like he could have said anything that would melt my heart more?  Not that I've given in, but good grief.

Anyway, I'm curious what you guys think.  I feel like I'm being much pickier than most people would be; my brother, the neo-con, let his son (who is five weeks older than The Boy) read them more than a year ago.  In fact, I just finished running an after school quidditch program for third through fifth graders (8-10 year olds) and I know many of the third graders have read the books.  I can't even decide, actually, if I'm afraid that the deaths in the later books will be devastating to The Boy, or that they won't have the emotional impact I think they should because he's too young.  I don't want him to just gobble them up; I want him to savor them, even to be consumed by them instead of the other way around.  

Gah, I am the weirdest mom ever.  

Perhaps I should just trust the books to do what they do?  Maybe they'll be formative; I'd love that.  And if nothing else, he's a re-reader just like his mom, so this wouldn't be his only visit with Harry.  Husband Charming has suggested we let him read a book a month (Sorcerer's Stone took him about a day and a half) starting in January.  Or we can just wait until his birthday.  Or we can cave and let him read the next two now (which I don't see happening).  It's funny; I bought him a bunch of books for Christmas that I'm excited for him to have, so even if it's not what he wants, perhaps he'll be distracted.  One great thing; Chamber of Secrets currently sits in our living room on the shelf, and it hasn't occurred to him to just go grab it.

And here's my other dilemma.  My aunt and two of my cousins are coming out to join us for Christmas, which is wonderful and exciting.  I don't know if I've mentioned this - it's probably come up sometime in the past 7 years - but my much younger cousin is adopted, the unexpected product of my aunt's work with a school in Africa.  I'm looking for adventure books for her, and here's the question; so many of those books are about orphans, about the search for identity, about dead parents or parents who adandoned their children, about siblings desperate to stay together. 

So, weird question, but can you buy that sort of book for an actual orphan - or rather, a girl who was abandoned by her still living parents?  Whose brother was adopted away from her (thought still in our family)?

I think in the past I would have apologized for being overly verbose, but it's been so long since I posted, I think I won't. :)

*No sooner did I post this, but I got a call from my father in law asking if he could buy The Boy his own copy of the Harry Potter series for Christmas.  ARGH!

May. 13th, 2012

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Request for Y'all

My niece is about to turn 12 and sister Valancy and I are looking to get her some books.  Thoughts?  She's a very strong and voracious reader but we think perhaps not ready for too much boy/girl stuff.  She's read a lot of the classics so suggestions on more unusual stuff could be awesome.  She likes fantasy and mystery/puzzle books.  Recent reads include The Westing Game and The Hunger Games trilogy (though we're get the impression that she doesn't need to stay with stuff quite that intense).

Thank you for any recommendations!

Apr. 8th, 2012

taraa!

Happy Easter, all!

I hope you've had a lovely, springy day!  I'm very much replete with homemade berry pie and Lebanese food, and getting ready to play Telephone Pictionary (Valancy's wonderful new party game) with my fam.  I'm smiling out at you guys fondly.

Mar. 1st, 2012

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(no subject)

Okay, so I will not general bore you with tallys and word counts or any such thing, but today, 1679 words.  I've started.  It's not everything - heaven knows what it will be at the end - but it's something, and that makes me feel good. 
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?

Why is a blank computer screen so much more intimidating than a notebook?  Maybe I'll write in a notebook and then type it in until I get used to the blank page.  I thought I was used to doing this, but I think the blog writing format is kinder - there's not so much intimidating white space.  It's a nice safe tiny box, taking up only a neat quarter of my screen, rather than this hollow, echoey Pages. 

I'm trying to do the Novel Writing Month, in case that's not clear.  And clearly I'm freaking out!  But that's why I'm writing you guys.  If I put it out here, then hopefully it'll stop me from backing down. 

Feb. 28th, 2012

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Question for the writers

Hello!  How's life?  I know it's been a while.  Seems like we're all here less and less, actually.  But I'm hoping if you're still out there, you can give me some advice.

Have you guys ever done NaNoWriMo?  So, okay, I know it's not November, but November one of the worst months for me (all that Christmas prep) and I've been thinking about doing it in March.  Of course, now that I'm almost in March, I'm in total panic about it.  There are so many claims on my time!  Kids to watch, birthday parties to plan, freaking huge Good Wife posts to write for RE.  And worse, I still don't have a solid structure.  I have a decently fleshed idea, but I don't have a road map of where I'm going with it.  Do I need to?  Is it better to just force myself to do the work?  Will I get cold feet anyway, no mater what month it is and how prepared I am? 

I know I can write the 50k in a month.  I do that fairly regularly anyway.   The structure part has me panicky, but do I need to ignore that fear?  Do I need to just shove it aside and immerse myself and trust that answers will come?  I'm sort of terrified that if I push it too hard, the answers will be the wrong ones.  But maybe that doesn't matter as much as getting a workable draft into my computer?  I'd really appreciate any insight you guys have.    

Dec. 11th, 2011

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Just wanted to share this

It seems too personal or odd for Facebook.  This bit from a favorite poem, Margaret Atwood's "Variations on the Word Sleep" got stuck in my head:

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

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