Thursday, April 17, 2008


This hasn't been the best of weeks. I won't go into all the bad happenings, but the major one was crashing J's new car on Tuesday morning. I rear-ended someone. Georgie was with me and we are both fine as is the lady (who stopped abruptly and inexplicably) I rear-ended. Her car came out virtually unscathed, but J's poor car got crunched. I feel so bad! J has always driven beat-up old cars, but finally got a nice one in December. And then I go and crunch it. He was very nice about it, of course, but that only made me feel worse. I wish he'd been a little meaner.

J is growing a beard. I really like it. He won't let me post a photo.

During this bad week, I have taken refuge in reading, as I often do. I just finished the second Kiki Strike book, The Empress's Tomb. I gave the first Kiki Strike (I post about it here) five stars on Goodreads, which says a lot because I'm working hard to resist star inflation. I liked this one too and I'm giving it four stars. What is it that I like so much about this series? The NYC setting is well done and the protagonists are smart and funny. But I think what I like the most about it is that the author strikes the perfect tone for all smart girls: dry, sardonic, and witty; yet down-to-earth and principled. Frivolous and smutty girls, beware. The Irregulars will bring you down. In the Empress's Tomb, Miller does this great send-up of parents and therapists of gifted children. Many lol parts. Georgie and Lidia love these books, too. Lidia just re-read the first Kiki Strike, and re-reading is rare for her.

I've been trying to get some good reading time in with the littlies, too. I read The Get Rich Quick Club with Marcus, and he loved it. Next up, Bunnicula. On his own, Marcus has been reading How To Be The Best At Everything (The Boys' Book), and enjoying it immensely.

With both Marcus and Bernie, but especially Bernie, I've been reading lots of fairy tales and folklore. This is my favorite section in the library. Bernie will sit in rapt attention for an hour or more if I'm reading fairy tales. One she recently wanted to hear again and again is Snow White by Paul Heins, illustrated by Trina Shart Hyman. There are many beautifully illustrated fairy and folk tales, but we also like to read from The Blue Fairy Book and others by Andrew Lang.

Here is one I highly recommend: The Bearskinner, adapted by Newberry-winner Laura Amy Schlitz and illustrated by Max Grafe. It reminded me a little of another favorite of ours, The Quiltmaker's Gift, by Jeff Brumbeau and Gail de Marken. These are both books I'll always have in my library.


Anonymous said...

That is awful (the car)! So sorry for you guys. Is it totaled? I hate it when people stop abruptly in front of me for no apparent reason. Good book recomendations, I love the artwork in the bear book.

Karen ~ said...

Oooh, can't wait to see J with a beard!

Calandria said...

The car was not totalled. Maybe I exaggerated by saying I "crunched" it. The front end passenger's side lights were completely pushed in, front bumper very messed up, etc. Not too much to replace on the inside.

Auntie Lee said...

WOW! He was nice about it? I took 'our' car to church once and parked it in the parking space on the street (church has only a very small lot so most of us park on the street). Someone ripped the mirror off the car and Hans had a fit. He said it was my fault. In December someone backed into my car which was parked where it is always parked in front of the house and somehow that was my fault to. Your lucky your husband has a brain!

athena said...

sorry to hear about the car. and about little marcus too. he seems like such a trooper.

for the goodreads i figured if it's not a good read then i won't list it. i had a few 1 and 2 star books listed but decided to delete them. i think i read somewhere that if you didn't like a book then no need to advertise it. hence the reason why many of my books are 5 and 4 stars.

so when will you be coming this way again. :-)

Cocoa said...

Yikes! About the car. I HATE when people stop abruptly.

We love The Quiltmaker's Gift.

Gabriela said...

So sorry about the car-I feel your pain. 15 months ago I rear-ended someone while driving my MIL's car in Provo. I had to go home and tell her and my FIL and my husband. Not fun. Guapo never gets worked up about car stuff either.

I enjoyed reading about life in Saudi-one of my best friends lived there for 2 years and quite enjoyed it.

Thanks for the book recommendations-I love that you did them for all ages! I am always looking for new books.

Calandria said...

Athena, I've wondered too if I should include books on Goodreads that I don't like, or if I should post reviews on my blog of books I don't like. Maybe it's needlessly negative. But I'm always interested in reading what other people don't like about certain books almost as much as I enjoy reading about what they do like. (I love your Goodreads list, btw, and frequently refer to it.) I don't know when we'll make it back down your way. Maybe you'll have to come up here on your way too... the Arctic circle? :-)

Cocoa, doesn't surprise me that you like Quiltmaker's Gift. ;-) I always think of you and Nestle now when I read it.

Gabriela, do you do Goodreads? If so, I'd like to add you as a friend...

athena said...

i guess i couldn't care less what others thought about a book when it came to being negative. if i were an author of such a book i wouldn't want to read it at all--i gathered that if there was nothing being said about my book, then no review is just as good as a bad review. on the other hand i will rate a book high even though the message was one i hated partly because i think one could still learn great lessons from them.