Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Salon, Where Author Kate DiCamillo Tells How She Became a Writer....

Did I tell you that I have committed to reading and reviewing 264 children's picture books between now and Christmas? Did I tell you that I spent the entire last weekend in heaven, otherwise known as the Texas Book Festival? Did I tell you that I'm working on a lovely post about all the amazing authors I met last weekend, but that there is no way I'll finish that lovely post in time to actually publish it today? Did I tell you that this week was Dress-Up-as-Your-Favorite-Book-Character week at school and that I spent all week helping the 600 four-to-eight-year-olds at my school figure out what character to be and what costume to wear and what book to carry during the parade? I probably don't even have to tell you that I ran out of Transformer books and princess books on Monday and that by Thursday morning, just before the schoolwide Book Character Parade, I was handing children copies of any book that was still left on the shelf, mostly the two hundred Margaret Hillert early readers from 1963, and telling bewildered children there was a princess in there somewhere, there was a superhero somewhere, I was sure of it, just take it with you for the parade....

Yes, I'm a little tired today.

So, just for today, I'm not writing a Sunday Salon. Instead, I'm posting this little video I took of author Kate DiCamillo at the Texas Book Festival, where she tells how she became a writer, because it's a nice little story and you'll enjoy it, while I go back to bed and get some rest....



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Top Ten Books To Read During Halloween

Here are some of my favorite scary books
for young kids:


In a Dark, Dark Room


Go Away, Big Green Monster!


The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything


La Llorona


Little Red Riding Hood


Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg


Haunted House


Hansel and Gretel


I Need My Monster!


The Viper (My favorite!)


Do you have recommendations?


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Books with Intriguing Titles

 I buy many books because they have great titles,
including these:

Never Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You


When the Air Hits Your Brain:
Tales of Neurosurgery


How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe


Hank the Cowdog and the Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse


Love, Loss, and What I Wore
 
 
How Reading Changed My Life
Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America
 
 The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs



Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside


Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?


What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage:
 Lessons for People from Animals and Their Trainers


Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You


Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar:
Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes


If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote,
They'd Have Given Us Candidates


Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?

The Polysyllabic Spree

Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading:
Finding and Losing Myself in Books

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake


Enslaved by Ducks


Everything Bad is Good for You


To Say Nothing of the Dog

Are you like me?
Have you chosen books just for their titles?




Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

And I'd also invite you to sign up for
This month,
I'll be giving away a lovely copy of
the book Matched!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Principles of Uncertainty

JUGGLING
I am the girl who loves juggling the beautiful colored balls. See them now, way up in the air. The big red ball. The little yellow ball. The sparkling silver ball. My favorite, the blue ball with white stripes. See me juggling. They are all in the air, spinning, around and around. We are moving. We are alive. It's magic. Beautiful.

I am also the girl who loves the moment when all the beautiful colored balls fall to the old wooden floor, with the last bits of sunlight shining desperately under the blue curtains, the balls still spinning, rolling to a stop under the table, behind the bookcase, next to the five-panel door. A tiny beautiful moment. But then, quickly, before the anxiety sets in, I want the balls back in the air.

I like the juggling more than the stopping. But just for this week, I'm going to let all my juggling balls sit there on the floor and I'm going look at this beautiful moment and resist the urge to put them all back into the air. It's tricky.

THE PRINCIPLES OF UNCERTAINTY
I read a book this week. In truth, I reread a book. For me, that's quite remarkable.

I reread The Principles of Uncertainty. It's a picture book, really. A picture book for grownups. Maira Kalman writes and paints. She feels anguish and pain and thinks about Dostoevsky's epilepsy and alcoholism and gambling addiction and chronic debt. She shares with us, her readers, paintings she makes of people she sees in New York and beautiful food and surprising hats. I like her best when she wearies of thinking and suggests a trip to Paris instead.

Maira Kalman is really good at looking at all the beautiful juggling balls that have fallen on the old wooden floor, with the last bits of sunlight shining desperately under the blue curtains. She looks at each juggling ball carefully, and points out the little crack in the big red ball and wonders if it got the crack when the cat was batting the red ball around the dining room. Kalman notes that the little yellow ball stopped next to the five-panel door and shares with us the story that the five-panel door was scavenged from a construction site where workmen were using a wrecking ball on an old Victorian home in downtown Houston. We like knowing that. She tells us that the silver ball is slightly lopsided, but that, too, seems to be okay. She also likes best the blue ball with the white stripes and that is satisfying.

Maira Kalman, unlike me, seems to be able to look for hours and hours at these beautiful balls on the floor, reflecting on the way the final bits of sunlight fall on the shiny silver ball, questioning what might happen if a husband might step on the yellow ball in the night on his way to the bathroom, remarking on the beauty of the scar in the old wooden floor where someone once dropped an iron. And, if things get too anxious and tense, there is always Paris.

It is nice, sometimes, to sit and look at the juggling balls, still on the wooden floor.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top Ten Children's Picture Books I Wish I Could Read for the Very First Time (But Which I Fear I'll Never Be Able to Read*)


Top Ten Children's Picture Books
I Wish I Could Read for the Very First Time
 (But Which I Fear I'll Never Be Able to Read*)


I'm trying to read all 1001 of the 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up. All of these are out of print in the US and impossible to find at the public library. So far, I have not been able to read any of these.
I hope a publisher out there is reading this.


Little Brown Bear by Claude Lebrun



Little Spook's Baby Sister
by Inger Sandberg



Julian the Rabbit by Nicoletta Costa
(I couldn't even find a photo of this one!)



Bunny Bath by Lena Anderson


Tatu and Paty in Helsinki by Aino Havukainen
(Another book for which I could find no photo)



Okilele by Claude Ponti



Fire-Engine Lil by Janet McLean



 Pancakes for Findus by Sven Nordqvist



 Postman Pat's Treasure Hunt by John A. Cunliffe



 Leo and Popi by Marie-Agnes Gaudrat

Don't you think these should be widely available?! 



*I modified the prompt to suit my own purposes.



And I'd also invite you to sign up for
This month,
I'll be giving away a lovely copy of
the book Matched!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Sunday-Salon/Literary-Blog-Hop Mashup: Dinner with Your Favorite Literary Figures

Literary Blog Hop

Welcome to the Literary Blog Hop
hosted by The Blue Bookcase!

This monthly blog hop is open to blogs
that primarily feature
book reviews of literary fiction,
classic literature, and general literary discussion.

Our question this week comes from Mel u over at The Reading Life:


When I was in my early teens I read a book called Van Loon's Lives by Hendrick Willlem Van Loon. It was written in 1942 (Van Loon was a Newberry Winner for another work). I was maybe ten or so when I first read it and I was totally fascinated. The story line is that Von Loon and his good friend found a magic way to invite three famous literary figures from different eras for a Sunday Dinner. The book gives mini bios of the guests, explains the food the would have wanted and shows their dinner conversations. If you could invite any three literary figures from different eras to a Sunday Dinner who would they be? Magic takes care of the language issues.


Let's have our Sunday Dinner in a small café near Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris. Trays of fresh fruits and cheeses with crusty baguettes and all the best wines. An endless supply of macaroons. I'd have little tables of three or so, but there is no way I'm limiting myself to three guests.

I'd love to seat eighth century Chinese haiku poet Li Po with twentieth century mysteriously disappearing poet Weldon Kees and (Stop it! I know it's odd, but it's my Sunday Dinner!) Billy Collins, all at the Poetry Table. I'll place my favorite librarian Nancy Pearl with avid readers Steven Gilbar and Sara Nelson and Michael Dirda and Susan Hill at the Let's-Talk-About-Good-Books table. I'd like to see ZAMM author Robert Pirsig with the Dali Lama and Happiness Project author and blogger Gretchen Rubin at the Happiness Table. And, finally, I'll put Dr. Seuss with snarly Mo Willems and William Steig and Window author Jeannie Baker and Don and Audrey Wood (happily reunited in marriage and writing and working together again) and the she-could-sit-anywhere Maira Kalman at the Picture Book Table.

And I, merrily flitting from table to table, refilling glasses of Bordeaux and sneaking off now and then to scribble down some of my guests' beautiful words. 

Of course, you are invited. You know how these Parisian soirées can run late into the night. Come on over. We are waiting for you.



And I'd also invite you to sign up for
This month,
I'll be giving away a lovely copy of
the book Matched!