The Sound of Music Story by Tom Santopietro (St. Martin’s Press, 2015) is a celebration and explanation of how a story about a “beguiling” novice becoming the stepmother to singing children became (or inspired), as the book claims “the most beloved film of all time.” It takes a true fan of The Sound of Music to be an eager reader of this book, and I am not surprised to find that I must not be alone, since this book covered the history of the real story and the history of the filming for those interested. I loved learning about the real Maria von Trapp, and the story of the actors, filming, directors, and so forth only helped me enjoy the movie all the more!Continue Reading
The Princess Problem by Rebecca Hains (Sourcebooks, September 1, 2014) focuses on the issues surrounding the princess culture so rampant in our nation among the youngest of girls. Ms. Hains focuses on the problem with an emphasis on princesses among young girls, the issues of what is portrayed in the popular princess movies, and what parents can do to help negate the negative affects of the abundance of princess culture in a young child’s life.Continue Reading
I love a book about books, so I thought I’d pick up the slim 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, and the sequel, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street. Between reading the two books, I also watched the movie, staring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins as part of Chance #10 (Book/Movie Comparison) for the Take a Chance Challenge.
I hadn’t realized when I began reading that these books were true, but then I found them in the nonfiction section! The first is collection of letters between Helene Hanff and Frank Doel, the proprietor of a used book shop in London, during their 20-year correspondence (1949-1969). The second book is Helene’s journal when she finally makes it to London, a lifelong dream that comes true only after the first book was published.
I loved the book talk, and while neither of these books were favorites of mine, I did love learning about Helene’s reading and studying style. Oh, the power of books!
There is something to be said for close, careful reading.
I must have read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar with the rest of my tenth grade class, but I honestly didn’t remember any of it. I decided to read it this month as a part of the Martel-Harper Challenge, for which Yann Martel chooses “book[s] that ha[ve] been known to expand stillness.”
Reading Julius Caesar just once didn’t do anything to help “expand stillness.” I was confused: it started in the middle of a dramatic scene. I didn’t know who the characters were and why they were making the choices they made. Why did Caesar consider Brutus a friend? Why was Brutus called “honorable” when he was committing murder? What is “honor”? Did any of this really happen?
But as I spent a few days rereading portions of Julius Caesar, listening to the audiobook, watching the movie, and reading various commentaries about the play, I was enlightened. I think it did encourage “stillness” because I wasn’t just reading to turn pages; I was reading to learn and experience. I seriously loved the experience of truly reading Shakespeare, even by myself.
Note that this post contains “spoilers.”Continue Reading