That is to say, let’s go to the phones and ask JT what month it is.
And now let’s ask me how many books I’ve read.
I finished one! Finally. The trick is installing every conceivable reader appiedoo on your phone, and living in a place where during the day, Twitter is pretty quiet while you all sleep. It’s still counts as a book, even if you read it like checking your email.
It’s very readable, a real page-swiper, and reminded me that perhaps 2008 hasn’t been long enough ago. It’s quite accurate.
So halfway through the year, one book down… should we call it a Half-Dozen Book Challenge?
I wrote about this book before this blog was a month old, way back in ‘07 — and now, NOW, my childhood copy has come home. It lives! In all its vintage (sigh) glory. Important things to note:
- It cost 69 cents on its 13th printing in 1980.
- The dad only appears on the first and last pages.
- They have a 1940s, A-Christmas-Story style carpet sweeper, yet a washing machine that looks like mine now.
- I was obsessed with the making of the pie scene. The little jar of cherries captured my imagination. It’s still there.
- They sing a special song when they pick up the toys they mysteriously had no time to play with since they were busy cleaning house all day.
Yes. It’s a story about cleaning house and putting things away and when they go to bed? THE HOUSE IS CLEAN. Happy ending, the end.
Zoe and Beans and the Magic Hoop is an excellent example of “Healthy Living” and a pretty good unwitting take down of all of the health “experts dot com.”
Beans the dog doesn’t WANT to workout. He’s quite happy just as he is. But Zoe makes him, and Beans goes along with it, thinking she knows best. But then he turns into an elephant too big to go back through the hoop and so he gets put on a stupidly restrictive diet plan which makes him very sad. Of course, because he doesn’t get food all day he’s starving and eats five bags of the very “bad” choccy bears for dinner.
It does not end well.
“Beans Special Diet Plan” is on page 12, and it’s not too far from some of the plans I’ve seen touted out there, so hey, free post idea! However, the healthy moral actually seems to be: know who you’re taking diet advice from…and sometimes you need a few choccy bears.
I suppose if I was keeping track of pithy adages that might pass as wisdom gleaned in the past four months of parenting, I might include:
“Keep making big plans — but keep your shrug handy when things don’t go according to.”
This year’s 25 Book Challenge, for instance, is looking more like a “Collect 25 Books to Read in the Future” quest. While my current Have Read tally is zero, my future perfect tense is teeming with pre-orders, the above, most especially. I will be delighted with past Zoë someday when my attention span comes running back.
Speaking of, there were no racing shoes laced up this weekend. There were only soft baby sweats and tiny warm fuzzy boots. Frankie has her first case of the snarfles and it’s dreadful. How little babies can even be eligible for colds without the ability to blow their noses is one of the top cruelties of the universe. At race time, we were sitting in the bathroom with the shower blasting steam, singing songs, and trying to make it to the finish line of this crud.
And on books and finish lines, if one survives childhood with a name not found on miniature license plates, one eventually gets rewarded.
Now this is a book I can make it to the end of.
Ghostwriting in Sweet Valley…
For the next five years, Sweet Valley became my other, hidden life—at night, on weekends. Over vacations. The whole time I was getting my PhD, I wrote more or less every other book in the series, alternating with another “principle” writer whom I never met.
If you’ve ever read a “Created by Francine Pascal” (Dear Sister was my first, All Night Long was my first sneak) this long-read by one of the authors who ghostwrote a ton of SVH titles is fascinating.
Speaking of E & J fandom, download If You Lived Here, You’d Be Perfect By Now, by the Queen of The Dairi burger, Robin Hardwick.
I’m in. Race you to the Fiat
Thank goodness, now we can really start going to sleep. The year-long book of bedtime stories I heard probably six times each came in the mail this week. This copy is inscribed inside — in GERMAN. Weird.
It’s found its way back, and we have some catching up to do this year. Forty stories, to be exact.
We started this morning, getting to the jaunty tale of a lion who moves to New York, and this might prove its 1960s-out-of-print vintage charm — Mr. Lion gets an apartment with a “huge fire place” big enough for “an enormous supply of hickory logs.”
Mr. Lion must have a trust fund.
(That huge goat on the cover freaked me out as a kid. It still does.)
((281 days until Wise Owl Day — and only SIX until Grandad comes to help read some stories to get us there.))
Lined up as Book #1… It’s promised to be like Nickel and Dimed, and there’s nothing like some good food politics to chew on.
However. It’s the beginning of the second month. And I’ve read not a grown-up book yet. We might acknowledge that given most of my reading involves Lilly’s purse, that the “25 Book Challenge” might be a figurative term, and just hope to get as far as I can this year.
Oh dear, Benjamin Bunny.
I was just looking for some clearance long sleeves, because it’s 20 daggone degrees here and she’s growing like a weed in Mr. MacGregor’s garden, and oh, man. The Peter Rabbit Collection at The Gap? Now NO, she does not need $48 cashmere pants to wear twice, but heavens to Mrs. Tiggywinkle, it’s cute. All of it.
The books, though? Beatrix has a really interesting backstory, I read a biography of her last year, but we’ve been reading the actual story books lately? Let’s say the illustrations > the plots.
And the kiddie clothes inspired by [almost] > both.
All of this perennial reflection, this yearly intention setting, it’s really all about who you will be. Or who you hope you will be.
“This year I will be the kind of person who… (steams kale, runs 10 miles at 5 a.m., picks up sidewalk pennies, and the like.) We want to see ourselves as thinner, richer, better — convinced perhaps that the 2013 version of ourselves will finally be the perfect one.
In these early weeks of January, there are as many different resolutions out there as there are people who’ve dreamed them up. Those tasks are always in the eye of the creator, however. It seems we never outsource inspiration for these intentions; we never ask those around us what we should do more, less, bigger, better. We embark on these crusades in a vacuum.
If that ever changed, if I was ever asked to contribute, I’d say-
“Be the kind of person it’s easy to pick out books for.”
All of the coolest people I know, are the ones who come to mind in the middle of bookstore shelves, the people I send links to when I come across something I think they’d like, and the people who find square packages from me for most occasions. Because think about it — if you can be read like a book reading books, it means you have pronounced interests; it means you have passions; it means you appreciate artistic communication and have articulated how; and it means you want to consume and learn more.
It means you’re an easy [book] mark. And that’s a pretty great thing to be.