Saturday, March 13, 2010

I am having email withdrawal but it has been good. I have stayed off of my work email for the last couple of days. I spent yesterday wallowing in my books! :-) So now I have the debut YA novels I want to read all in alpha order by author and the other "gotta reads" by favorites authors and ones that pique my fancy in order as well. In the process I boxed up three boxes of books to go to Mary and the kids and two more for a friend of Steve's little girl. :-) You can even see some of the floor in my office. If I took the empty boxes out you could even see more!

The debut YA authors are an educated group -most of them with Masters in Fine Arts and veterans of numerous well known writing retreats/workshops. Plan to do more research into this area as I find it quite fascinating. I haven't gone through the picture books to see what the trend is here but I am seeing professionals in areas such as graphic art joining the world of children's illustrator/authors. I am looking forward to going through those books in more detail.

Also have a pile about as high as my desk of picture books and NF that I want to go through as the illustrations/storyline/format piqued my interest. For example, I picked up Stormy Weather by Debi Gliori. What a lovely bedtime story. It honestly hadn't dawned on me that Gliori is also a very talented illustrator as well as author of children's books. Just scanning the 100 entries that come up on B&N make me realized I've been a bit dense as I know her books, it just wasn't clicking that this is the same author whose humorous spooky stories have me laughing aloud. But this delightful tale of a mother fox and her kit reading a book in bed under a multicolored quilt begin and end this rhyming story of mothers and little ones snuggling down to watch the storm go by. The kit has the bunny and owlet in his arms that are part of the mother/child pairs that watch the storm. The illustrations are bold yet soothing. A perfect book to read on a night the rain is coming down or even the snow (hopefully not anymore this spring!). Gliori lives in Scotland and writes/illustrates from a studio in her garden. No wonder she can let her imagination run as wild as she does. I'd see dragons too if I had that kind of place to write from. :-) I also have a copy of Trouble With Dragon as it is so delightful. I've always had a thing for dragons. These self centered dragons are not aware of what they are doing to the ecological balance of the earth as they scorch trees and anything else they feel like - even the North Pole. Santa standing in a pool of water holding presents sure is a wake-up call little ones will respond to. Hmmm - maybe Al Gore should show this picture at the UN to get across how critical global warming really is - might work better!

I know Gliori more as an author of the hilarious Pure Dead series for 4th-7th grade. I think older readers would enjoy this series too as Gliori has created a family, the Strega-Borgias - that is a delight to read about, from the mother who is no where near as gifted in the magical arts as her children are. Add the maternal spider and the dragon who is in love with Loch Ness Monster as the "household pets" and you can't help but at least chuckle aloud at their antics. This series would also be fun to listen to on a family car trip. For those had the least bit of problem with the Harry Potter books stay clear of these as Gliori add demons and other not so nice creatures to get the best of the Strega-Borgias but in their owns bumbling/fumbling way they always come out on top. Gliori uses such humor in her description of the demons, imps and other creatures that you can't help but laugh rather than be scared of them.

That's it for me today. We are watching an old B/W horror movie about zombies. I don't mind these old ones as they aren't the least bit gory. They had to use scare tactics with a bit more "finesse" than bloodbaths and chopped off heads like modern day horror movies. So I am going to sign off and spend some time with Hollywood's leading men. We watch the Turner Classic Movies (TMC) channel more than any other and when I saw Leading Men: The Most Unforgettable 50 Leading Actors of the Studio Era at Half Price Books I couldn't resist it. So now let's see how many of their movies I have seen. Well, first of all, if I have to browse through the book to see if I agree that they are 50 most unforgettable! I noticed there is one for Leading Ladies as well so I'll have to keep my eye out for it at Half Price. I spend too much money in that store! And yes, I know Cary Grant is in it - his picture is right in the center of the cover, book-ended by Bogart and Gable. I wasn't a big Jimmy Stewart fan but the more of his movies I see, the more I do. He's on the cover too. What a classy guy - we watched a documentary with him in it a while back and he was delightful. We also watched one on the Warner Brothers - they were not delightful! What a wicked web they wove for each other . With brothers like that who needs enemies! If Edison hadn't monopolized the early film industry on the East Coast the Warner Brothers may never have gone to California and we wouldn't have the Hollywood lore we do today.

Okay - now to see if I've seen all the Grant and Stewart "essential" films listed. Robert Osborne wrote the introduction - love his voice!