Archive for May, 2007

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Patty at Home

May 29, 2007

So, it’s the second book, and Patty and her dad are still talking about proportion constantly. I’m curious to see if this lasts into book three, because I don’t remember there being a single mention of it in Patty’s Summer Days, and I’ve read that, like, five times.

Anyway, when we left Patty and Mr. Fairfield, they’d just decided to settle down in the town of Vernondale so that they could keep hanging out with their proportionally perfect relatives, the Elliots. But at the beginning of Patty at Home, Carolyn Wells pretends that they haven’t really made a decision yet so that the Fairfields and the Elliots can have a really dumb mock debate that’s oddly reminiscent of some little kids pretending to be royalty in Marjorie at Seacote, another Wells book. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Alger-related ramblings

May 23, 2007

I major in history at school, and I really like it. I don’t think I’d want to be an English major, and yet when I find myself trying to come up with topics for my thesis, all I can think about are books.

That’s why I spent my shower this morning thinking about an imaginary paper that I would barely need to do any additional research for about money and capitalism in Horatio Alger.

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Moonfleet

May 20, 2007

Moonfleet is a sort of Robert Louis Stevenson-esque historical adventure novel. I don’t know that I really have much of an excuse for calling it RLS-esque except that it reminds me of Kidnapped and Catriona. There’s a similar friendship between a sometimes kind of idiotic young man and an older guy who is involved with something illegal but sympathetic. And, like David Balfour and Alan Breck, these two spend a while in hiding, with prices on their heads.

On the other hand, even David Balfour isn’t as annoyingly stupid as John Trenchard sometimes is. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Patty Fairfield

May 19, 2007

I intend to reread as many of Carolyn Wells’ Patty Fairfield books as I can get my hands on this summer. Seven out of the seventeen books are up on Project Gutenberg, and I own one of the others. I’ve never found a Patty book in a bookstore, but they’re not terribly hard to find online, and…well, the Patty books somehow seem more worth owning than other girls’ series. I hope to own the whole series someday.
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Vita S. Epiphanii

May 19, 2007

 This is kind of an odd post. I’m working on a research paper about a late Roman bishop, Epiphanius of Pavia, and while Magnus Felix Ennodius’ biography of Epiphanius isn’t much like the other books I talk about here, there is a sort of fundamental similarity in that it’s considered to be pretty mediocre and the only people who read it nowadays are classicists mining it for historical detail. Read the rest of this entry ?

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8 Random Facts

May 17, 2007

Jill at My Individual Take (On the Subject) tagged me for the 8 Random Facts meme, so here goes:

The rules –
1: Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2: People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
3: At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
4: Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I’m writing this while packing. Today is the day I leave school for the summer.

2. I have a large and ever-growing collection of paint samples. I stop in at hardware stores just to collect more, and sometimes the employees eye me suspiciously.

3. I had a slight infestation of ladybugs in my room earlier this year, and just now I found dead one stuck to the bottom of my foot. No, seriously.

4. John Le Carré’s George Smiley is pretty much my favorite fictional character ever. And Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy is one of the few cases where I like a movie better than the book it was adapted from. But it’s close.

5. I named my cat, Stella, after the author of Cold Comfort Farm, which was my favorite book when I was thirteen. A lot of people do impressions of Marlon Brando when they hear her name, and I find it really irritating.

6. I won a prize last year for my collection of old children’s books.

7. There are piles of books all over the floor in my room at home, but this summer I’m finally going to get some new bookshelves. I know it’s bad that my first shelf-space-related thought is “now I can buy books again.”

8. I wrote my big interdisciplinary paper in 11th grade on Horatio Alger. I used a Jean Webster book and an anonymous short story from the back of an Alger book for an English paper this semester. I am currently trying to figure out how my history thesis next year can be about children’s books. Or Terry and the Pirates.

I’m not going to tag anyone. Sorry.

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The Queen of the Pirate Isle

May 16, 2007

Polly

Remember how Little Old New York claimed to be “profusely illustrated”? Well, their definition of “profuse” clearly didn’t agree with mine. I’d be more inclined to apply the phrase to The Queen of the Pirate Isle, written by Bret Harte and illustrated by Kate Greenaway. In general, I like Greenaway’s work, and this batch of illustrations is very enjoyable, despite — or perhaps partly because of — the fact that the main character’s clothes seem to change period at random.
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The Leopard Woman Illustrations

May 16, 2007

I’ve had the illustrations from The Leopard Woman sitting on my desktop for kind of a while now, so I’ve put them up at Flickr. See the rest here.

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“Hi, they ‘ve got him!”

May 16, 2007

‘ “WHERE ‘S Polly?” asked Fan one snowy afternoon, as she came
into the dining-room where Tom was reposing on the sofa with his
boots in the air, absorbed in one of those delightful books in which
boys are cast away on desert islands, where every known fruit,
vegetable and flower is in its prime all the year round; or, lost in
boundless forests, where the young heroes have thrilling
adventures, kill impossible beasts, and, when the author’s
invention gives out, suddenly find their way home, laden with tiger
skins, tame buffaloes and other pleasing trophies of their prowess.

“Dun no,” was Tom’s brief reply, for he was just escaping from an
alligator of the largest size. ‘

That’s from Louisa May Alcott’s An Old Fashioned Girl, which I love, and read about once a year, usually in the late fall, when the real cold weather starts to set in.

Anyway, every time I read it, I get to that passage and have to stop for a moment. I want to read that book Tom is reading. It sounds like the kind of book I’d enjoy. I don’t know how to find books like that, but I’ve been searching at random, and I have an idea that finding just one will somehow give me the magic key to finding all the others.

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It Happened in Egypt

May 9, 2007

I finished the final paper for my English class this morning — and if anyone wants to talk about characters who keep their crazy wives locked up a la Mr. Rochester, I’m your girl — and I finally have time to post about It Happened in Egypt, by A.M and C.N. Williamson, a book I actually ended up quoting in my paper. That may not have been the best idea, but it’s no worse than the time I quoted a Five Little Peppers book on one of my high school English finals. I just can’t keep the good books and the bad books from getting mixed up in my head.
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Two Boys and a Fortune

May 6, 2007

So, there’s this family called the Pells. They live in a town called Marley just outside Philadelphia, and there are six of them: Mrs. Pell, fifteen-year-old twins Roy and Rex, two girls called Eva and Jess, and adoptive son Sydney, who is a grown man and a lawyer. They’re poor, and Rex bitches about it a lot. Rex is charming and selfish and feels bad about not being able to do entertain his friends in the style to which they’re accustomed. Roy only feels bad that he can’t do more to help out the family.
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Thistle and Rose

May 6, 2007

Thistle and Rose, by Amy Walton, is a fairly insipid children’s book about a fairly insipid girl called Anna Forrest.

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Dear Enemy

May 5, 2007

I’ve just reread Jean Webster’s Dear Enemy for an English paper I’m writing. It’s the lesser-known sequel to Daddy-Long-Legs, in which orphan Judy Abbot is sent to college by one of her orphanage’s trustees, and the two end up falling in love. In Dear Enemy, Judy and her husband ask Sallie McBride, Judy’s college roommate and best friend, to take over the management of the orphanage and make it a less awful place to live.
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The Leopard Woman

May 5, 2007

They are few genres more sexist than the early 20th century romantic adventure novel. If you don’t believe me, read The Sheik. The Leopard Womanby Stewart Edward White, isn’t quite as bad as that, but it’s the same sort of storyline — the proud, adventurous woman being subdued by the strong, masterful hunter-type.

The masterful hunter, in this case, is named Culbertson, but in Africa he goes my the name of Kingozi. He’s an Englishman, and, along with a German named Winkleman, one of the world’s two foremost experts on Africa. The Leopard Woman was published in 1916, but I’m guessing it takes place a couple of years before that, because war breaks out between England and Germany halfway through the book.
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