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Reading one of my Christmas books, Bill Bryson's "At Home: A Short History of Private Life" and I just encountered this bit:

"The Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker of Cornwall wrote poetry of distinction and was much admired by Longfellow and Tennyson, though he slightly alarmed his parishioners by wearing a pink fez and passing much of his life under the powerfully serene influence of opium."

I want that in a story with either Eleven or Jack. LOL

Also in that same paragraph is the interesting fact that Sabine Baring-Gould who wrote "Onward Christian Soldiers" also wrote the first novel to feature a werewolf. Right on!

And now back to my book... :)

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bluecastle: (bookmarks)
Right. So in honor of it being Lucy Maud Montgomery's birthday today, let me tell you about how an adaptation of Emily of New Moon traumatized me last night. So thanks for that Canadian TV. Aren't you guys supposed to be the NICE country?  LOL

It was, actually, a really nice bit of drama. I haven't read the book in a long time, so I'm not 100% sure, but I think they played fast and loose with the book canon ... but whether it was in the book or not, Emily's widowed father finally succumbs to his heart ailment (while trying to get Emily's cat off the roof of their house) ... and then the maternal side of the family rolls up and they start trying to boss the pants off everyone.

So far so good, but then they went and took my breath away during the funeral scene. They're doing the "ashes to ashes... sure and better hope..." bit and Emily is sobbing at the graveside. At which point the bossiest of the bossy relatives, Aunt Elizabeth, pulls her back and says "Don't make a spectacle of yourself."

Well, that punched my buttons in a way I wasn't expecting.

Yeah, I've heard that all my life. That ... "be less, for what you are is an embarrassment."

And what KIND of a message is that to tell a child?????

I mean, sure, there are inappropriate places and times to get all over emotional... but crying at your father's funeral shouldn't be one of them.

And THEN. *rolls eyes*

As if all that wasn't bad enough ... and for some reason this, in the moment, just really gutted me.

Bossy Aunt slings Emily into their carriage to cart her home with her since there's no one else to take her. Emily is discovered smuggling her beloved cat in her carpet bag, and Bossy Aunt turns around, grabs the cat by the scruff of the neck, and drop it over the side of the carriage. We're left with a shot of a lone, meowing kitty in the middle of a dark forest watching as the carriage drives away.

Well, that just did me in. There I was, sobbing on the couch thinking about that cat suddenly being all alone in the forest. Abandoned.

I'm telling you, that cat better show up at the new home in episode two, or something. If they leave that untouched... well, I'll be forced to make up my own happy ending for that cat. I mean REALLY.

I appreciated that this episode didn't shy away from death, or prejudice, or injustice, or meaness. Lots of things which don't always get included in adaptations of children's books. But I draw the line, apparently, at abandoning kitties in the forest.


Anyway. It just was more of a gut sucker punch than I wanted as I looked for something to watch after rehearsal and before I went to bed. Ah, the power of stories.

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bluecastle: (bookmarks)
Some of you have been following the saga of my friend with the bookstore/cafe who lost her lease at the beginning of the month, so I thought I'd give you a quick update. They will be closing this weekend, and I presume putting the books into storage somewhere. But there have been a number of positive things happening. The Facebook solidarity group is over 3,000 members. There have been numerous fund raising efforts -- benefit concerts, an art auction, and direct appeals for donations. To date the store has raised around 50% of their $40,000 goal.

So it looks like, sometime this Fall, the bookstore or/and the cafe will re-open at another location downtown. We hear rumors that that new store will have performance space, but no one will or can say where the new location is yet. (It was always awkward to perform in there, as the seating section was in the middle so you were sandwiched between the cappuccino machine and the cash register, and always had people wandering through the playing space. Which lends a certain charm to things, but does limit some kinds of events.)

Anyway, community has been formed, and has raised 20 grand in a month. That's not too shabby! And we will *crosses fingers* have a new place to gather in the not too distant future.
bluecastle: (Default) seems I'm not the only one who loves my friend with the bookstore... Someone started a "we love this bookstore and want to support it" facebook group yesterday when the news broke (or maybe it broke the day before, I'm rather muddled by the heat). Overnight the group has 1,300+ members! They had a meeting at the store last night which got about 100 attendees, and have another one tonight. I'm not sure ultimately whether anything be done. Cold hard facts of the case are that the store has been arrears in their rent for a while now, and the landlords decided to give them their 30 day notice.

But hopefully something can be done to either preserve the store in its current location or set up some way for it to reopen in another downtown location. The current store is just about one block from the center of campus and as such is the defacto meeting place downtown.

Good and bad on both sides, but important for my friend to know how much she is loved, and how needed a small independent bookstore/coffee shop/record (vinyl) store is to a college town. It is the only used book store in town, and the only non-chain not-aimed-at-students-buying-textbooks bookstore.

Hell, I mean, Harvey Pekar dropped by one day and stayed for a while signing books while he was out on his latest book tour, just as a for instance of the vitality of the place. This is a woman who when she purchased a bunch of books from an elderly woman looking to downsize, and found a first edition "On the Road" in amongst the boxes, returned it to the woman as it was like five times more valuable than the whole lot of books she'd just bought. She is good people...

So my fingers are crossed as we watch our community come together in some odd mash-up of You've Got Mail and It's a Wonderful Life.
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Just returned from the library which I work FOR but not AT to hear about the upcoming renovations to the whole first floor. Exciting times coming up and it makes me wish I was in public service and not a behind the scenes paperwork monkey. The short/medium term goal is to get back to working AT the library sometime, so we'll have to see how that goes.

I'm here, and not in my car on the way home as the bosses were also at the same presentation, so I had to stop back at the office and make a show of returning to work... but I'm about to run off home and try and get ahead of the squalling snow. I don't need a repeat of the last panic-attack inducing trip home that I had as a result of the last snowstorm.

Over lunch -- a trip back to the school lunch line menu of chicken soup and a peanut butter sandwich -- I started reading a book I downloaded from Gutenberg ... "Ashton-Kirk, Investigator" from 1910. It's sort of a mash up of Sherlock Holmes and Lord Peter Wimsey. So, obviously, delightful.

I mean, Chapter 3 begins:

"When Ashton-Kirk returned that evening from the theatre, where he had gone to witness a much heralded new drama, he sat with a cigar, in his library; and stretching out his length in great comfort, he smoked and smiled and thought of what he had seen and heard."

There's a German butler named Stumph ... and additionally Ashton-Kirk apparently employs someone upon the lines of a secretary -- described in the last chapter as "a brisk, boyish looking young man" called Fuller.

There's a mysterious numismatist, a baffled fiancee Edyth Vale ... and a sidekick called Jimmie Pendleton (oh god of course there is).

I love these light novels and books for children from the ninteen tens and teens ... I just feel at home there somehow.

OK, both the bosses have left, and so I will depart for colder climes. (See how the language rubs off?!)
bluecastle: (bookmarks)
I have been woefully remiss for a long while now in leisure reading (as my place of employment tends to call it). There just doesn't seem to be time.

But thanks to some prodding from my flist, I have got my hands on some Georgette Heyer books from my aforementioned library of employ, and will attempt to fling myself into the world of Regency romances for a while. 

After all, Publisher's Weekly says of the Heyer I have here on my desk, "Lady of Quality" ... "Any number of emancipated young women of the twentieth century will encounter more than a twinge of sympathy with Miss Wynchwood.

So I am off to make the acquaintance of this sympathetic miss.

bluecastle: (Default)
Got to work and ended up in a blue funk ... so I went out at lunchtime for a little retail therapy at Barnes and Noble.

I needed a new blank book, which I got, and then ended up with the following in my bag:

The sweetest, most wonderful vintagey 2010 Day Book which I love already. Bonus points for the blue satin ribbon bookmark!!

Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin. I actually thought I was picking up Tales of the City, but I read the first three chapters while I ate my lunch, and I'm hooked already. A really vivid first-person narrative, and delightful (and a bit cracky) so far. Am jealous already of how free and easy he makes writing fiction look.

Also off the bargain rack I picked up a nice, hard-bound, feels-good-in-your-hand copy of Walden. It seemed like appropriate Fall into Winter reading somehow.

and then seeking a bit of inspiration for my bad mood, I bought myself a magnet (printed with certified wind power, it says) with the following quote:

Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you!
-Christian D. Larson.

Truly, words I need to hear all the damn time.


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January 2015

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