Monday, September 21, 2009

what i'm reading

I have been reading The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo out loud with Jack. We finished it last night. At a very high-stakes, emotional point in the story, the princess puts her hand over her heart. She is preparing to forgive a rat. Jack's hand moved involuntarily over his own little heart. When Mig was reunited with her father, he gave a happy little clap. "Well, I hope she's written more books because that was the best book I've ever read."

Reading with Jack is one of my favourite things in the world, ever.

We are going to read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, also by Miss DiCamillo, next.

Speaking of reading, I am also going to try to use this blog to keep track of... well, everything. But especially reading. I know there are whole websites for this sort of thing and I might around to that sometime soon but I'm going to start here.
Sooo, this week I am consuming (like a fire! I am on fire! Reading books like a crazy lady!), the following books:

  • Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market 2007, pub. by Writer's Digest
  • The Encylclopedia of Writing andIllustrating Children's Books by McCannon, Thornton and Williams, pub. by Running Press, 2008
  • Back Roads of Ontario Map Book (pub?). I love maps. Very much.
Children's Novels
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (she is so amazing)
  • A Kind and Gentle Knight by Kit Pearson. Great great great.
Picture Books
  • Good Night Sam by Marie-Louise Gay. I love Marie-Louise Gay. Their house is always a little bit messy, because they are busy being kids and I find this very endearing.
  • Pirates Don't Change Diapers by Melinda Long and David Shannon
  • Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
  • Please, Louise by Frieda Wishinsky and Marie-Louise Gay, pub. by Groundwood: well, here is the book I would like to write about Jack and Sal - it has a great twist at the end.
  • The Trailer Park Princesses by Pete Marlow and Leanne Franson pub. by Annick Press
  • Some Birthday! by Patricia Polacco
  • The Art Room by Susan Van de Griek and Pacsal Milelli: about children taking art classes from Emily Carr: Last line/page: "and then went out to see/ with eyes that were wide." Lovely. Reading this with Jack, he said: "I looove these pictures. I wish she could give me art lessons."
  • Hello Twins by Charlotte Voake pub. by Candlewick. I love Charlotte Voake's Ginger books. So happy to find this one. Another great brother and sister book.

I also have some grown up novels that I'm dying to take a crack at when I have a minute: A Little Stranger by Sarah Waters and The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

living under a rock

I have a confession to make. It has been weeks since I watched or listened to a newscast. You might be kind and imagine that I am getting all of my news of the world from online sources. Or perhaps you assume that I have been reading the newspaper. But, dear reader, this is just not the case. When I am online I am in the tiny soundbite world of Facebook or deep in knitting or writerly blogs. My television time is strictly DVD these days. I gave up several hours of my life last week to Absolutely Fabulous, which I had never seen before and am now totally besotted with. I want to marry Jennifer Saunders and her genius for physical comedy and cringeworthy-yet-lovable characters. But I digress (as usual). I have read a big pile of fiction in the last month and several gorgeous essays and am currently trying to read as many award-winning children's novels as I can lay my hands on. When I am in the car I have been listening to The Good Lovelies and The Weakerthans. I am starting to feel downright irresponsible. Not about listening to fantastic Canadian bands and reading well-crafted children's novels - gosh, that seems rather wholesome, doesn't it? - but about my lack of interest in the greater world. When I say greater, I mean the world outside of my personal sphere of influence.
The next book on my shelf is Thoreau's Walden. My dad loves this book and I have never read it. I'm sure he will have something to say about this sort of thing.
Maybe I will simplify and cleanse during this coming week: bread, water, Thoreau, walks in the forest, paper and pencil only. And the radio tuned to CBC.

(Hmmmm. This is feeling very Bridget Jonesy. Stay tuned for posts about how many times I've checked my Facebook, how many gin and tonics I've consumed, how many home decorating magazines I have "flipped through" and how many episode of Ab FAb Volume 2 I have watched-probably all.)

p.s. sept 21st - facebook: about 50 times, no g & t but large quantities of pie and froot loops and sorry mr. thoreau, i have not cracked Walden once. news: not even going to go there.. but i did subscribe to the Globe and Mail! For which I was admonished to never answer the phone when i am home alone again.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

many hats

I was going to title this post too many hats but I removed the too because I think I handle the many.
So, if anybody is still out there reading this, I am back on again. It's the back-to-school effect. Back on the blog wagon.
After a long, rich summer of travels, nuptuals and hello-agains and farewells (too many farewells for my liking) I feel shook out and ready for some shape and routine.
The kids were delighted to head back to school. They were on Tuesday, anyway. But this morning Sal pitched a fit and reawakened some of my old guilty feelings about full time daycare for her.
I am supply teaching again this year but am relieved to not feel guilt about not doing that full time. According to our accountant, I worked exactly the right amount last year to maximize my financial input for this household. Armed with that, I feel more confidant to plan out a life that includes time for the work I really want to be doing: writing. (Colon or semi-colon there? Help, please.)
Of course, there are still all of the other realms that I am a part of too: mothering, accounting (badly), keeping house, cooking, gardening and making things and hanging out friends and family. I am trying to be pickier about who and what gets my time, which is not easy for me.
I can't wait to start my Nia class again next week and have been entertaining the thought of running again. Well, I have invited this thought over for tea and we have been tossing dates back and forth but have yet to really make it happen.
My house is full of peaches and pears, ripening like so many good intentions. And fruit flies, hovering, like so many doubts and excuses.
Jam will be made, dammit!