Books read in May, 2013

Only four books, two of them picture and two of them YA?  What happened?  Oh wait, the television series Friday Night Lights happened.

A love story starring my dead best friend
Emily Horner
I grabbed this book just for the title and found a great YA story bravely taking on issues of death, sexuality, friendship, musical theater and bicycling.  The main character reminded me a lot of a friend I knew in high school, which probably helped.  Great read.

The Lighting Dreamer
Margarita Engle
Read for librarian book group
The story of nineteenth century Cuban poet Gertrudis G√≥mez de Avellaneda told through poems.  Avellaneda was an interesting person, rejecting a lot of conventions of her times, so that made for interesting reading.  I liked the poems in that they were short and accessible, but didn’t find them particularly moving.  Overall, okay.

Grumbles from the Forest
Jane Yolan
Read for librarian book group
Fun concept: two different perspectives of familiar fairy tales in poetry form.  Great illustrations.  So-so poetry.

Hoop Genius
Coy, Morse
Read for librarian book group
The story of how basketball was invented.  I loved the illustrations which reminded me of 1930s Soviet Union propaganda posters (but in a freer style).

45RPM: Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah

Where I match a song to a specific memory.

In my mid-twenties I lived in my version of Shangri-La:  a five bedroom house with two bathrooms and four other female roommates. One of my roommates was dating one of our neighbors, a late-20s PhD who spent his days doing some sort of scientific research I didn’t understand.  He lived alone, but his younger brother was often over and we saw a lot of the two of them. We called them the James Brothers.  His brother, in the fashion of younger brothers the world over, was the hipper, freer James Brother, working in a job I don’t remember, but more importantly, painting his car with chalkboard paint and playing the guitar here and there.  He was pretty darn attractive, and even more so when he played his guitar for us in our house.   One evening he launched in to the song “Hallelujah” and I knew from the first verse this was a song that needed to become a part of me.  After he finished playing and we clapped I made inquires.  The younger James brother lent me his Jeff Buckley tape so I could spend the next few weeks rewinding and hitting play. Much like the experience of my twenties, the song is both simple and complex, hopeful and melancholy, wrapping angry words in a poetry that hits an incredible range of emotions.  I’ve heard other versions, but I come back to Jeff Buckley,* because the fact that  he was a talented artist who died too soon adds yet another layer to what is already a complex and beautiful song.

*Although I shut off the song when he gets to his “general wailing” part at the end.

Three sentence movie reviews: Before Sunrise/Sunset

My friend at work realized after we had the big double feature, that she too wanted to watch these movies, so I borrowed them back from Christi and watch them we did.*  It’s very fun for me to watch a film I love with someone who hasn’t seen it before, because if they love it, we can talk about that, and if they don’t love it, it is interesting to hear why.  She loved them, though and was a quite astute observer, catching a few details I hadn’t noticed.

Cost:  free (thanks Christi)
Where watched: at home with Tiffany & Tim.  Matt came out at intermission for snacks and conversation.

posters from the same place they were from last time

*And that is how good these flicks are.  Two viewings in two weeks and I still was enraptured.

45RPM: Oh what a beautiful morning.

Where I match a song to a specific memory.

One summer, I worked the night shift two days per week at a budget motel.  There were a lot of “betweens” that summer.  I was between colleges and boyfriends, my parents were poised between marriage and divorce and my brother was between residences.  I loved and hated the night shift.  It was fun being on my own, the only one awake among hundreds of sleeping motel guests.  I loved that I was an official “creature of the night”.  But it was exhausting, pushing myself all the way to 6:00 a.m., and sleeping during the day was a challenge.  There also wasn’t much to do in the middle of the night after all the grumpy traveling families had checked in and were tucked away in their beds, and all the truckers had wandered from their endless conversations in the lobby to their slumber.  I listened to cassette tapes to keep me company and every morning at 4:30 I would take a “security walk” around the parking lot. It was really just an excuse to get out of the office before people turned out to complain about the toast bar.  By 4:30 the dawn had broken and the clear Boise sky was melting into blue.  No matter how tired I was, no matter how boring the night had been, it was always a beautiful morning and I sang this song aloud as I ambled through the lot.  Oh what a beautiful day.

ps.  Hugh Jackman! He’s the man! He’s rather broad, but you have to picture him much further away from you, up on stage.

Postcards from Spain and Limburg

O! Postcrossing, why do you give me two postcards on the same day instead of spreading them out?

Those Boise, Idaho readers know that I loved this Basque Country postcard. For those not in the know, Boise has a pretty strong basque community. The postcard is from Dani, who asks me to send her something.  I’ve not yet done so, but I’m not ruling it out.

And where is Limburg?  Why the Netherlands, of course, didn’t you know?  (I didn’t, I had to look it up.)  Peggy sends me this card and remarks that it’s funny she is sending a postcard to me in Portland, Oregon as she will soon be leaving on a trip to the Pacific Northwest, traveling from Seattle to San Francisco.  She was planning to visit either Portland or the Gorge, depending on weather.  When I registered the postcard, I told her that sounded like a fabulous trip.

Reading her Postcrossing profile, I found that Peggy is also very cool because she requests the tourist cards (some Postcrossing people don’t like them) and then uses them to plan her travels.  You are a smart lady, Peggy.

Stay stiching the neckline, joining the shoulders

Now that all that basting is done (three movies worth, geez-almighty) I can move on to the next step: stay stitching the neckline. we do  this to ensure it doesn’t stretch out with repeated wear.  I’m in.

Here, I have traced my sewing line in disappearing marker so I know where to sew.

I’m choosing the organza strips and I get to not only pin, but also to baste the organza.  That Gertie lady is crazy for basting.
The finished stay stitched neckline.  You can’t really see it, but it’s done.  And I got to sew together the shoulders!  Very exciting.

Three sentence movie reviews: Argo

Matt hadn’t seen this and so we watched it together. It was a good one to watch a second time as I wasn’t so tense and worried and had time to notice details, plus ponder if John Goodman is one of the most under-rated actors of our times; because that man always delivers. I will conclude by saying that this movie still has the best toast of all time.

Cost:  $2.00 from Videorama
Where watched: at home.

(special bonus posters because I think they are great.)