Discovering Betsy-Tacy #2: Betsy-Tacy and Tib

Betsy-Tacy and Tib (Betsy and Tacy Books)

In my first post, I meant to credit Emily for first bringing the Betsy-Tacy series to my attention.  But I forgot.  So I will thank you now, Emily.  I’d also like to acknowledge Book Club Girl.  Her frequent tweets about the series piqued my curiosity even more.

I read the second of the Betsy-Tacy books this weekend: Betsy-Tacy and Tib.  I enjoyed this one more than the first, not so much because it is better but because I knew what to expect going in.  Again, it was a nice read for young readers.  The format was similar to the first – each chapter was a different story of some game Betsy, Tacy, and Tib were playing.  Despite being 3 years older in this book (the mature age of 8), it actually tackled less serious issues (minus Tacy’s bout of Diptheria).  The books read so quickly that it doesn’t really matter that the depth might not be there yet – it’s still an enjoyable reading experience.  I see the potential for great character development.

One part that made me thankful I grew up when I did was when Tib’s father credited Frankie with building the house in Tib’s basement when I’m sure (being an older sister to a younger brother myself) it was mostly Tib.  I am glad that it struck her as odd.  Maybe this is a hint at what is to come in later books.

I’m looking forward to the next in the series (although I think the library has done something very strange with my request and it may need to be placed again…).

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Before Twilight, Sookie Stackhouse, and the Vampire Diaries

I had 20 minutes to kill before dance last night so I popped into the bookstore to browse for a few minutes.  As I walked by stopped and perused the “teen vampire book” table, this book caught my eye:

Thirst No. 1

I think: Christopher Pike has a new book? And it’s about vampires? I loved Christopher Pike when I was younger. Especially his other vampire series, The Last Vampire.  I probably read it 6 times. I hope this one is as good.  [I pick up the book and read the back]. Hmm…this sounds familiar. 5,000 years? Creator returns? Ray? Wait a minute. This IS The Last Vampire! They’ve renamed it and reissued it in order to capitalize on the vampire craze. That was smart. Teenagers today would probably pick up Thirst when they’d pass over the cheesy Christopher Pike covers of yore. How exciting that a new generation of girls are going to discover fantastic-ness that is The Last Vampire.

If only they’d reissue The Starlight Crystal…

My well-worn copies (yes, I still keep them somewhere that I can easily reach them for photo ops like this one):

Photo

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The Jane Austen Book Club

The Jane Austen Book Club: A Novel

(It’s halfway though the Everything Austen Challenge and I’ve just now finished my first book, but I’m not giving up yet…)

I began reading The Jane Austen Book Club because I was losing focus reading Pride and Prejudice.  I love Pride and Prejudice so I couldn’t figure it out.  This book made me remember that I love Jane Austen and now I’m excited to get back to P&P.

For the one person who hasn’t read it, the JABC is about 5 women (and 1 man) of varying ages and personalities.  They meet once a month for 6 months to discuss one novel.  During these discussions we learn more about one of the characters.   There was less Jane Austen in the book than I expected, but I liked what I found instead.  Life goes on for the JABC participants.  They fall in love, out of love, grieve for lost love ones, and continue finding out who exactly they are.  But they kept reading the books and meeting through it all.

I love the reverence that each of the characters (except maybe Grigg) has for Jane Austen. It’s amazing how much she can affect us 200 years later.  Aside from Shakespeare what other English author is so loved?

My favorite passages:

“Jocelyn turned out to like fiddling about with the original story no better than Prudie did.  The great thing about books was the solidity of the written word.  You might change and your reading might change as a result, but the book remained whatever it had always been.  A good book was surprising the first time through, less so the second.  The movies, as everyone knew, had no respect for this.” p. 82

“From the sound of it, no one who’d known Grigg since infancy could have doubted he was born to be a heroine.” p. 152

“There was something appealing in thinknig of a character with a secret life that her author knew nothing about.  Slipping off while the author’s back was turned, to find love in her own way.  Showing up just in time to deliver the next bit of dialogue with an innocent face.  If Sylvia were a character in a book, that’s the kind of character she’d want to be.” p. 171

Personal Thoughts

Everyone brings their own life experiences to their reading and a few things came to me while I was reading.

There was one section near the beginning when the book discusses how divorce affects adult children.  How they merely have their Christmases ruined.  My parents announced that they were getting a divorce last summer after 31 years of marriage.  And it’s a weird thing because I don’t live near either of them and I didn’t at the time they split up so part of me never really had to deal with it the way I would have had this happened 10 years ago.  It’s strange going home because they sold the house I grew up in and the family feels so small.  Sometimes I get homesick for something that doesn’t exist anymore, but usually I just go on with my life.  [However, I am spending Thanksgiving in Boston with Dad and Christmas in Michigan with Mom and Ben’s parents.]

Prudie discusses how her mother used to convinve her she’d done things that she hadn’t actually done.  She had trouble remembering which things she actually did and which were just stories.  My dad does the same thing to a lesser degree.  He tells me stories of all the places he took me when I was too small to remember but others tell me some of them didn’t actually happen.  In a  similar vein, we got our first video camera (a 20 pound contraption in the 1980s that only my dad could lift) when I was 6.  He made me and my brother reenact the first 6 and 4 years of our life to make up for it.

I guess this book made me think of my parents.

Final Thought: All Austen addicts should read this. Also, am I the only one that has a red cover for this book?

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Teaser Tuesday

After the wonderful week that was BBAW, I’ve decided to try and be a little more active in the book blogging community and since I can’t make myself finish my books faster, you get this meme:

“She hadn’t spoken up. She sat and seethed over her Red Vines and thought about moving, but only if it could be done without an implied accusation; she was, ask anyone, courteous to a fault.”

– Page 82 of The Jane Austen Book Club  by Karen Joy Fowler

teasertuesdays31

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!

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The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

The Elegance of the HedgehogI wasn’t sure about The Elegance of the Hedgehog when we first decided to read it for RBC.  I hadn’t heard much about it, but I decided to give it a go anyway (plus I got it for really cheap via the book depository).  But it only took a few pages for me to begin to fall in love with it.

The story features two characters.  Renee is a 50-year-old widowed concierge.  She is well-educated, though self-taught.  She enjoys Russian novels, classical music, and Japanese films, but she pretends to be just another dull concierge and fools all the tenants.  One of the tenants is Paloma – a 12-year-old girl who is planning on killing herself and burning down her family’s apartment on June 16 (Ulysses reference?).  Then a new tenant moves into the building and everything changes.  I don’t really want to say too much else because I want you all to discover it on your own.

It was a very enjoyable read.  I generally try to read book club books slowly with the schedule, but I just had to finish this one.  I actually ended up finishing it on the flight back to Florida which really says something about the book because as an anxious flyer under the influence of prescription drugs concentration doesn’t come easily.

The book was full of beautiful language and thought-provoking ideas.  The book is originally French, but the English translation is wonderful.  I started taking notes in the margin as a I read it but about 70 pages in I got too absorbed by the story (and I think I need to accept my fate as someone that does not make margin notes).

I’m looking forward to reading Barbery’s other novel, Gourmet Rhapsody.

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Until I Return

I'm leaving for Ann Arbor later today.  If you want the play-by-play to my weekend of family, old friends, and bridesmaid craziness you can follow me on twitter.

Also, Go Blue!

*Michigan is playing Western Michigan this weekend which is Ben's alma mater as their season opener.  Unfortunately, my friend Janelle planned her wedding at the same time.  But I will try to soak up the football vibe around me.

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Books: August 2009

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  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy

Full list can be found here.

Books Purchased:

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  • Shelf Discovery by Lizzie Skurnick
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  • The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy
  • Jane Austen by Carol Shields
  • America, America by Ethan Canin
  • Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands by Michael Chabon
  • Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
  • Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
  • Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon
  • You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers

Full list can be found here.

The last four books are actually from July but I’d forgotten about them and incorrectly reported that I hadn’t bought any books.  I have a 3:1 books bought to books read ratio if you exclude those.  I think I need a moratorium on buying anymore until I read more.  If only I hadn’t recently discovered bookdepository.com.

Not sure how Gatsby always manages to sneak into the shot the second I take the picture.

PS – The reason this post is so timely this month (it’s only September 2!) is because I really should be packing for Michigan.  So far I’ve put the suitcase on the bed and load of laundry in the machine.  Then I started doing this.

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