Thursday, April 29, 2010

Character Connection - Henry Tilney

This is a very interesting meme from the Introverted Reader, where the goal is to spotlight one character of interest every week.

My character for this week is Henry Tilney, the leading man in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. While Mr. Knightley from Emma has always been my favorite Austen hero, he is followed very closely by Henry Tilney, and, depending on my mood, I sometimes would rather have Mr. Tilney as a friend and companion over Mr. Knightley.

Henry Tilney is in his mid-twenties and described as "rather tall, had a pleasing countenance, a very intelligent and lively eye, and, if not quite handsome, was very near it." He is witty, clever and can be quite sarcastic. One thing he is not is a typical romantic hero - he not only is not quite handsome, but he also reads gothic novels and knows his muslin. Now can you imagine Mr. Darcy, Captain Wentworth, Colonel Brandon, or Mr. Knightley discussing the Mysteries of Udolpho or a good bargain on a yard of muslin?

This may be one of the reasons that many Austen fans find Tilney not to be as swoonworthy as the other gentlemen listed above. Another, in my opinion, is that while these other heroes fall madly in love with their heroines and struggle with jealousy and repressed passion, we do not see Henry go through this whole spectrum of intense emotions. It was Catherine Morland who first fell in love with Tilney though he soon reciprocated her feelings wholeheartedly. So secure is Tilney of Catherine's feelings that he barely displays a hint of jealousy at the sight of the odious John Thorpe, and never really has to repress any passion on his part.

All this, however, does not make Tilney any less of a hero than Austen's other men. He is a good brother, devoted to his sister Eleanor, genuinely fond of Catherine and is able to see through her naive and artless behavior and recognize the goodness within. He is aware of the failings of his father the general and his brother the rake, and is able to confront and stand up to his father when necessary. It must be kept in perspective that while Henry Tilney may not have been a good match for Elizabeth Bennet or Anne Elliott, he was perfect for Catherine Morland.

One aspect of Henry Tilney that makes him particularly attractive to me is his sharp wit, and wry humor. After reading Tilney's speech on the usage of the word "nice", who can but think twice before using this word?

"..and this is a nice day, and we are taking a very nice walk, and you are two very nice young ladies. Oh! it is a very nice word indeed! - it does for everything. Originally perhaps it was applied only to express neatness, propriety, delicacy, or refinement; - people were nice in their dress, in their sentiments, or their choice. But now every commendation on every subject is comprised in that one word."

Henry Tilney has sometimes been referred to as cruel for his teasing of Catherine Morland and his sharp remarks. While it is true that we do not really get to understand his true nature as well as we do with other Austen men, I prefer to rely on Eleanor Tilney's high opinion of and regard for her brother, as she is shown to be a very sensible person. Tilney is sensible, caring, and sensitive to the strengths and weaknesses of Catherine. I think I just may choose him over Mr. Darcy and Captain Wentworth as a suitor - again, only Mr. Knightley will give him a run for his money!

And last but not least, I cannot but be impressed by JJ Feild's performance as Henry Tilney in the 2006 version of Northanger Abbey. He is all I imagined Henry to be!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review - The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
Year: 1905
Pages: about 265 (Signet Paperback)
Genre: Classics, Historical Fiction
My Rating: 4.75/5
My Source:

The short of it: An light and easy-to-read classic that is a combination of adventure, romance, historical fiction, and mystery. I heartily recommend this to readers of all tastes.

The long of it: The Scarlet Pimpernel is set during the French Revolution (around 1792), when French aristocrats were being put to the guillotine by the Republican government. At this difficult time, a mysterious man calling himself the Scarlet Pimpernel manages to save the lives of several aristocrats using daring maneuvers and ingenious disguises. He thus becomes the object of speculation in English genteel society to which belongs the heroine Marguerite Blakeney.

Marguerite is the beautiful and clever wife of Sir Percy Blakeney, a rich baronet and reputed fop. She was formerly a French actress, Marguerite St. Just, and along with her brother, Armand, a staunch Republican. Her marriage, the result of a passionate courtship on Sir Percy's part, is strained as a result of an incident in her past that Sir Percy learnt about soon after their wedding. Further, she is being threatened by the villain Chevalier, an agent of the French Republican government, who wants to use her position in society to find the true identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel in exchange for her brother 's life.

This book is a classic that is also a fast-paced page turner. Baroness Orczy has created very interesting characters who evoke the admiration of the reader. Sir Percy Blakeney is the stereotype English aristocrat with too much time and money to spare, while Lady Blakeney is the ideal woman - beautiful, fashionable, clever, and daring. The plot is well developed and all the loose ends tied up at the end. There is also some humor evident toward the end of the book, which makes it all the more endearing. There is something to cater to almost everyone's taste - romance for the romantic, adventure and mystery for the lovers of adventures and mysteries, and history for the fan of historical fiction. The baroness was herself a member of a displaced Hungarian aristocratic family, and it is clear that her sympathies lie with the aristocrats. Her version of the French revolution is no doubt one-sided, but the book is a very appealing read, particularly if you like books set in that era, but, like me, find Dickens a bit dry read.

The Scarlet Pimpernel was staged as a play in 1903 before being published as a novel in 1905 after the play was a grand success. Baroness Orczy also wrote a number of sequels including to The Scarlet Pimpernel, and I am planning to try reading one or two, though none achieved the success that TSP did.

Quote of Note:
We seek him here, we seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven?—Is he in hell?
That demmed, elusive Pimpernel.
- Sir Percy Blakeney

Bonus: There have been numerous film/TV adaptations of The Scarlet Pimpernel, notable among them being a film in 1939 starring Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon, a TV adaptation in 1982 with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour which seems to have good reviews, and another TV adaptation in 1999 with Richard E. Grant and Elizabeth McGovern. The last is the only one I have seen, and while Richard E. Grant did well, the storyline is very different from the book, and is rather disappointing to a true TSP fan.

This book counts toward two challenges - The Awesome Author Challenge hosted by At Home With Books, and the Classics Challenge 2010 hosted by Trish.

This book is also part of the Book Review Perty Wednesday for April 28 hosted by Cym Lowell.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Book Blog Hop, April 23-29, 2010

Jennifer at Crazy for Books has a book blogger hop going on every Friday. What a great way to visit new blogs and get to meet new bloggers! I look forward to visiting several new blogs this week, and a big thanks to all who made their way here through the Hop!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Character Connection: Marguerite Blakeney

This is a very interesting meme from the Introverted Reader, where the goal is to spotlight one character of interest every week.

This week's character is again from a book that I just finished reading. The book is The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, and the character is Marguerite Blakeney, the extremely beautiful, intelligent, daring wife of Sir Percy Blakeney.

The setting for The Scarlet Pimpernel is England and France during the French Revolution when members of the French aristocracy were being put to the guillotine by the Republicans. Marguerite Blakeney, formerly Marguerite St. Just used to be an actress at the Comedie-Francaise whose sympathies lay firmly with the Republicans. She then married Sir Percy Blakeney, one of England's richest aristocrats, a good friend of the Prince of Wales, and a reputed fop.

Lady Blakeney is described as one of the most beautiful and fashionable women in England. She is an active socialite, attending balls and parties where all eyes are on what she wears and how she comports herself. Before marriage, Marguerite was a member of one of the leading intellectual salons in Paris, and is described as "the cleverest woman Europe". Marguerite thus seems to have it all - beauty, wealth, intelligence, and a handsome husband - but happiness eludes her. Her marriage, the result of a passionate courtship on Sir Percy's part, is strained as a result of an incident in her past that Sir Percy learnt about soon after their wedding. Marguerite tries every trick in the book to ignite a spark in Sir Percy, but fails to do so, and is left feeling miserable, She then tries to hide behind a mask of contempt for her husband's inanity, but suffers deeply behind the mask.

Pride and fear prevent Marguerite from expressing her feelings and when she does attempt to open up, other circumstances prevent him from responding to her overtures. Marguerite soon learns of the reasons behind her husband's distance, and becomes aware of her immense love for the man, and how close she has come to betraying him in error. Then, we get to see her courage, passion, and dedication to the two men she loves in full bloom as she risks her life trying to help save them from the clutches of the enemy.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is written largely from Marguerite's point of view, and to me, she is the real hero of the novel. She is indeed a passionate woman in every way, and the reader rides the waves of her intense emotions - love, hate, happiness, misery, guilt, a desire for atonement, fear - what a range of sensations, all within 265 pages! Throughout the book, one feels a strong sympathy for Marguerite, a hope that all will go well for her, and a wish that she will find true love and happiness with Sir Percy.

To me Marguerite is the ideal heroine - seriously, who would not want to be Lady Blakeney with her beauty, talent, intelligence, wit, immense courage, wealth, title, passion, love of life, and above all, the wonderful Sir Percy?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Non-fiction Five Challenge

Trish is hosting the Non-fiction Five Challenge which will run from May 1 to September 30, 2010. Here are the rules from Trish's blog:

1. Read 5 non-fiction books during the months of May - September, 2010 (please link your reviews on Mister Linky each month; Mister Linky can be found at the beginning of each month on this (Trish's) blog)

2. Read at least one non-fiction book that is different from your other choices (i.e.: 4 memoirs and 1 self-help)

3. If interested, please sign up below with the link to your NFF Challenge post (all choices do not need to be posted and may change at any time)

I really look forward to participating in this challenge!

Review - The Murder Room

The Murder Room by P. D. James
Year: 2003
Genre: Crime fiction, police procedural
My Rating: 3.75/5
My Source: Library

The Dupaynes, two brothers and a sister run an esoteric London museum dedicated to the interwar years. All is well until one of the brothers, Dr. Neville Dupayne, decides not to support the renewal of the lease on the museum, a move that will lead to its closing, and have a very negative impact on several people involved with it. Thus, when Dr. Dupayne is soon found murdered in a horrifying manner, there is more than one person with a motive for the murder. Adam Dalgliesh, assisted by Inspectors Kate Miskin and Piers Tarrant sets out to find the elusive culprit, and soon finds himself not only dealing with stakeholders in the museum, but also other who emerge from Dr. Dupayne's shadowy private life.

P. D. James is the master of character development, and succeeds in creating complex and three dimensional characters in this book. As with any good whodunit, there is a closed list of suspects, and clues interspersed throughout the book. James' narrative is, as usual, very refined and makes for a compelling read.

This book also features the introduction of a new sergeant, Francis Benton- Smith, a very handsome and ambitious young man of English and East Indian parentage. There is some tension in his relationships with Inspectors Miskin and Tarrant, and I look forward to the further development of these relationships in the next book. There are also important developments in Dalgliesh's personal life, though P. D. James takes great care to see that her detective's personal life never, at any point, overshadows the plot of the novel - commendable indeed.

This book is a page turner, and Adam Dalgliesh solves the mystery with a combination of brilliant detecting and hard work. However, while this book is a solid read, it is not P.D. James' best, and is certainly not in the class of "A Taste for Death" my favorite of all of James' work. While James' characters are usually very multifaceted, this book has several characters whom I found hard to sympathize with, and others who were rather annoying. All said, I would recommend this to anyone who is familiar with James and Dalgliesh, but not to anyone who wishes to try reading James for the first time.

This book counts toward the Typically British Book Challenge hosted by BookChickCity.

This review is now part of Cym Lowell's Book Review Party Wednesday for April 21

Friday, April 16, 2010

Book Blogger Hop: April 16-22, 2010

Jennifer at Crazy for Books has a book blogger hop going on every Friday. What a great way to visit new blogs and get to meet new bloggers! I look forward to visiting several new blogs this week, and a big thanks to all who made their way here through the Hop!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Character Connection 1

This is an interesting meme from the Introverted Reader, where the goal is to spotlight one character of interest every week.

I have just finished reading "The Murder Room" by P.D. James, and will feature Adam Dalgliesh, her greatest creation, as my character for the week.

Adam Dalgliesh is a detective created by P. D. James and appears in fourteen of James' novels. Dalgliesh is a Commander in New Scotland Yard, very competent, and respected by his superiors and subordinates alike. He is extremely intelligent and astute and exercises his sharp intellect to solve many complex cases that baffle others around him.

He is tall, dark, and quite attractive. He is also an intensely private person who believes in clearly separating his personal and professional life. His colleagues know very little about him as a person although his intellect is never in doubt. He has authored at least one volume of poetry,"A Case to Answer and Other Poems", and is well-respected in the literary world too. He however has no desire to be a professional poet - solving crimes helps him serve society, preserves his privacy, and even inspires his poetry.

Dalgliesh has the gift of making everyone around him feel very comfortable and wanting to confide in him, a very useful gift to possess in his profession. He is conscious of this fact and at one point even ponders

"Hasn't t always been like this? People tell me things. I don't need to probe or question, they tell. It had begun when he was a young detective sergeant and then it had surprised and intrigued him, feeding his poetry, bringing the half-shameful realization that for a detective it would be a useful gift. The pity was there. He has known from childhood the heartbreak of life and that, too had fed the poetry. He thought, I have taken people's confidences and used them to fasten gyves round their wrist"(The Murder Room, 2003).

He is a widower through most of the series, his wife having died in childbirth. He has since had a fear of getting too close to women and of being in a committed relationship, although the last few books see him falling in love ( I won't give away too much here). He is, however, well aware of his shortcomings, and it is this self-awareness that makes him very endearing to me. Honestly, I can see myself falling in love with Adam Dalgliesh!

P. D. James, in my opinion, is the best at character development in the crime fiction world, and Adam Dalgliesh is her best creation. If her books are read in order, one can trace the evolution of Dalgliesh's character which is very well done indeed. Baroness James will turn 90 in August, here's to her - thanks for giving us Adam Dalgliesh and may he live long and prosper!

Monday, April 12, 2010

On Libraries

National Library Week is being observed April 11- April 17. Many of us book lovers also love libraries, and this is a great time to celebrate them. A visit to the library is such a sensory experience for me - the sights, sounds and smells all serve to give me instant pleasure!

Which is why, it is with sadness that I note that our county is seriously considering closing one or more branches of the public library system due to a budget shortfall. I hope to make my opinion on this matter heard by voting in the referendum May 4th.

I have fond memories of the various libraries that I have patronized since my childhood. However, one of my favorite libraries is a fictional one - the library in Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, a great must-read book. Without giving too much away, this library is part of a medieval abbey, architecturally an extremely complex structure, and is also central to the story. According to William of Baskerville, the leading monk-sleuth and his sidekick Adso,

"The library has fifty six rooms, four of them heptagonal, and fifty two more or less square, and of these, there are eight without windows, while twenty eight look outside and sixteen to the interior!

And the four towers each have five rooms with four walls and one with seven...The library is constructed according to a celestial harmony to which various and wonderful meanings can be attributed..."

Now, what I would give to visit that library! Well, at least one can dream of visiting one of the great libraries pictured here, I guess..

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Reading Journal Challenge

The Reading Journal Challenge is hosted by Sea Benjamin at Reading With Sea. Here are the requirements:

Goal: To keep a journal that lists your monthly book purchases and reads.
Timeline: This challenge will be running from March 2010 through February 2011
Guidelines: Participants will keep a journal, which is to include the minimum information: Books bought and books read in each month.

I'm joining this challenge with the hope that I'll keep a better record of the books I buy and read.

March 2010

Books Bought
I hit the library used book sale in March, hence the unusually long list of book bought.

The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
A Place of Execution - Val McDermid
Through a Glass, Darkly - Donna Leon
Sad Cypress - Agatha Christie
Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories - Agatha Christie
Dumb Witness - Agatha Christie
The Daughter of Time - Josephine Tey
Hogfather - Terry Pratchett
Poem Stew

Books Read
Hangman's Holiday - Dorothy Sayers
Jane Austen for Dummies - Joan Klingel Ray
Gallows End - Peter Robinson
Lady Susan/The Watsons/Sanditon - Jane Austen
April 2010
Books Bought
The Scarlet Pimpernel - Baroness Orczy
Ruth - Elizabeth Gaskell
Talking about Detective Fiction - P. D. James
The Butter Thief - Chris Murray and Kim Waters Murray
Books Read
Sad Cypress - Agatha Christie
Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes - Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein
The Murder Room - P. D. James
The Scarlet Pimpernel - Baroness Orczy

Review: Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar

Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein

Publisher: Abrams
Year: 2007
My Rating: Four Stars
My Source: Library

This is a little gem of a book that attempts to marry philosophy and humor. The intention here is to give a lay reader a very broad overview of the main branches of philosophy without the reader being mired in detail and complex terminology. With philosophy, even a broad overview can sometimes be overwhelming, and this books seeks to avoid this by incorporating jokes to illustrate philosophical concepts.

The book has ten chapters each of which deals with one broad area of philosophy - Metaphysics, Logic, Epistemology, Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Existentialism, Philosophy of Language, Social and Political Philosophy, Relativity and Metaphilosophy. Each of these topics is divided into several subtopics with a couple of pages being dedicated to each of these subtopics. There is a brief introduction to a philosophical concept followed by jokes to illustrate it and some discussion as well. The authors have managed to find jokes that are very appropriate to the ideas - no easy task I imagine.

The authors, Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, both hold degrees in philosophy from Harvard, but what strikes me most is their ability to be witty in the text itself. In discussing Rene Descartes, they say

In the seventeenth century, Rene Descartes opted for reason over a divine source of knowledge. This came to be known as putting Descartes before the source.

Descartes probably wishes he'd never said, "Cogito ergo sum" ("I think, therefore I am"), because it's all anybody ever remembers about him - that and the fact that he said it while sitting inside a bread oven.

Humor is fairly subjective and one man's great joke is another's groaner. I can only say I enjoyed most of the jokes very much although there were a few corny ones about - and I doubt if any joke book can avoid a few of those. For instance, the following joke is used to demonstrate the relativity of the perception of time:

A snail was mugged by two turtles. When the police asked him what happened, he said " I don't know. It all happened so fast."
The joke is indeed a relevant example of the relativity of one's awareness of time. Good joke or groaner? You decide!

If you want a very basic introduction to philosophy but would like a page turner as well, this is a good book to read. If you are looking for more in-depth ntroduction to philosophical topics and philosophers, this book is certainly not for you. If you do not care about philosophy at all, I would say that this book still makes for a fairly good joke book.

Bonus: Learn about this book and others by the same author at the book's website which also has audiofiles on some major concepts and philosophers.

This review is part of Cym Lowell's Book Review Party Wednesday for April 14.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Awards Time!

Thanks to Kals at At Pemberley and Whitney at She is Too Fond of Books for presenting me with my very first awards - the Beautiful Blogger Award and the Honest Scrap Award.

For the Honest Scrap award, I need to list ten facts about myself and pass it on to ten other bloggers. So, here I go:
  • I am a bit of a Britophile - I love British books, TV and actors (Richard Armitage, JLM, RP-J and Jason Isaacs in particular).
  • I practice yoga.
  • I enjoy classical music, particulary Bach.
  • In real life, I am a statistician and enjoy the company of numbers.
  • Anton Chigurh from "No Country for Old Men" is my favorite cinematic villain. He barely edges out Darth Vader.
  • My pet peeve is drivers who don't use their turn signals.
  • I enjoy long road trips very much.
  • I love learning languages.
  • I once ran into Shaquille O'Neal at the library, and yes, he is big!
  • My favorite characters from The Simpsons are Dr. Nick Rivera and the Comic Book Guy.

I would like to pass these two awards to the following ten bloggers:

Emidy at Une Parole

Margot Kinberg at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist

Carin at Caroline Bookbinder

Morgan at Smitten with Books

Missy at Missy's Book Nook

Lea Kelley at What Miss Kelley is Reading

Chris and Jess at Park Benches and Bookends

Sumana at Books with a Cup of Coffee

Nancy O at 2010: The Year in Books

Laura at Tattooed Books

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Teaser Tuesday 3

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser for today:

"This joke raises the philosophical question, "How could something finite, like six months, possibly be analogous to somethng infinite, like eternity?" Those who ask this question have never lived with a tax accountant."

- from Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein (page 20).

Friday, April 2, 2010

Review - Sad Cypress

Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie

Year: 1939

Pages: about 224 (Dell Paperback)
Genre: British Crime, cozy, private detective, whodunit
My Rating: Four Stars
My source: Library used book sale

The short of it: A classic Agatha Christie cozy whodunit featuring Hercule Poirot. If you like a tight plot with a clear short list of suspects, you may enjoy this one.

The long of it:

Elinor Carlisle seems to have it all - a pretty and level-headed young London socialite, engaged to the man she passionately loves, in line for a large inheritance - until things begin to go radically wrong. Her rich old aunt Laura has a stroke, her fiance falls in love with an enchanting woman, Mary Gerrard, who is also getting very close to her aunt. When both the aunt and Mary Gerrard die, Elinor is arrested with what seems to be a watertight case against her. Will Hercule Poirot be able to save her, or as he would put it, discover the truth?

Agatha Christie is master at creating a puzzle and leaving all the pieces in front of you, challenging you to piece it together, and she does it well in this book. Almost all the elements that I enjoy in a classic whodunit are present here - the important characters are all introduced early creating a clear short list of suspects, the characters are well-defined, the clues and red herrings are well-distributed (though one non-essential clue is a revealed rather late), and the reader should have everything in hand to solve the crime before the result is revealed. The characters are all well-defined to the point where one can probably find the equivalent of an Elinor or a Mary in one's life. Poirot makes his appearance only at about page 93 minus Captain Hastings, but is at his element in this book. One unusual feature of this book is the courtroom scene at the end, reminiscent of Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason novels. The mystery is eventually solved with all loose ends neatly tied up as is characteristic of Christie.

On another note, I have long been a fan of Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell and am thus a little familiar with the class distinctions that existed in English society in the Regency and Victorian eras, and the transformations that were taking place as opportunities for social mobility increased. Thus it was interesting to note that this book, written in 1939, addresses the persisting class differences. Christie writes about the difficulties faced by Mary Gerrard who, while being from a working class background, is given a well-rounded education by Aunt Laura. One of the characters comments:

"All this schooling and going abroad! It changed Mary. I don't mean that it spoiled her or that she was stuck-up - she wasn't. But it - oh, it bewildered her! She didn't know where she was any more. She was - well, put it crudely - she was too good for me, but she still wasn't good enough for a real gentleman like Mr. Welman."

Mary no longer fit in with the working class, but she can never be considered on par with the gentry!

While this book is not in the caliber of "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" or "The Murder in the Orient Express", it is very enjoyable and is a good book to read when one is in the mood for a quick, stimulating yet cozy read.

Bonus: The title was taken from a song in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Sad Cypress was adapted for TV in 2003 as part of BBC's Poirot series with David Suchet playing Poirot. Rupert Penry-Jones (of Persuasion fame) played Roddy, Elinor's fiance. Dorney Court, a Tudor manor house from about 1440 was used as a filming location.

Challenges: This book counts toward two challenges I am participating in.

1) The Marple, Poirot, Holmes challenge hosted by Kals, and

2) The Typically British Reading Challenge hosted by BookChickCity
This review is also now part of Book Review Party Wednesday (for April 7) hosted by Cym.

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and I would like to share a fun poem by one of my favorite children's authors, Shel Silverstein.

by Shel Silverstein

"I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more--that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut--my eyes are blue--
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke--
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!"

Book Blogger Hop April 2- April 8

Jennifer at Crazy for Books has a book blogger hop going on every Friday. What a great way to visit new blogs and get to meet new bloggers! I look forward to visiting several new blogs this week, and a big thanks to all who made their way here through the Hop!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Curiouser and Curiouser

My 6-year old who is into reading these days is a big fan of Curious George, the mischievous simian, and his many exploits. So I was delighted to read that the Jewish Museum in New York is hosting an exhibit featuring some of the original artwork for the Curious George books from March 14 through August 1, 2010.

The creators of Curious George, H.A Rey and his wife Margret apparently fled Paris in 1940 when it was on the brink of being occupied by the Nazis. According to the Jewish Museum website, they carried a Curious George manuscript with them and this helped them in their flight. They eventually reached safety in the United States, but their narrow escape did have an impact on their writing, which is why Curious George has so many adventures in which he is on the run .

According to the museum, the exhibit features nearly 80 original drawings and will also be in San Francisco from November 2010 to March 2011. I doubt if I will be able to attend either in person, but the absolutely lovely artwork featured at the museum's website is indeed worth a virtual visit!