Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I received a terrific gift for my birthday, and it WASN'T a book.  (Let me 'splain, Lucy!)  My great friend Karen gave me a DVD set of Cranford and Return to Cranford, starring Judi Dench, Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins among many others.  This BBC/PBS mini-series is based on the mid-nineteenth century books of Elizabeth Gaskell.  I have to admit I had never heard of her, but after being mesmerized by the film, I decided I had to check her out.  I started with Cranford, published in 1853. Wow. She was WAY ahead of her time.  And SO funny!  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Gaskell writes stories based on her own personal experiences in a small provincial town, one that seemed to be populated mainly by women.  Strict social rules are in place, and woe to those who break them.  Basically, the women are large and in charge, attending to the important social graces of the time.  I think my favorite quote is this:  "A so in the way in the house!" But their worst enemy is change, which is a HUGE problem with the railroad heading their way. 

I watched the DVD first and then read the book, and I'd recommend everyone do it that way.  The book is not hard to read, in fact, Gaskell translates amazingly well to our world today.  But the film is brilliantly acted and produced, and it just added to my enjoyment of the book.  Am I making sense????  In a nutshell:  WATCH Cranford, then READ Cranford.  You'll be glad!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Am NOT Sick of Flavia de Luce!

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, by Alan Bradley, is the newest installment of his Flavia de Luce mystery series.  The only problem I have with this book is that I already finished it, and now I have to wait until he writes the next one.  Flavia is just SUCH an interesting character that it is nearly impossible to stop reading her books once started.  After all, how many 11-year-old-girl-chemistry-geniuses-with-a-penchant-for-stumbling-upon-murders do you know? And now, back to the book...

Flavia and her family live at Buckshaw, the ancestral de Luce estate.  It is an idyllic English country home  with not so idyllic debt trouble.  So, Flavia's father rents the estate to a film production company, and that is when mayhem ensues.  Oh, it's also Christmas, and Flavia is determined to prove that Santa exists, whilst at the same time proving her horrid older sisters wrong.  This will involve some rather sticky chemistry.  Literally.

Does Flavia catch Santa, or just a murderer?  It's elementary, my dear...Read the book!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Hey, y'all! After several "likes" I have just read a book that I LOVED.  Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman is the story of Cecelia. She has lived the first 12 years of her life in a small Ohio town, complete with lilac bushes and 4th of July parades. It sounds idyllic, but when your mother runs around in old prom dresses and tiaras, you are deemed crazy by association, and your only friend is 80+ Mrs. Odell next door, nnnnot so much.  After her mother's tragic death, CeeCee is whisked away to Savannah, GA by her Great-aunt Tootie, where she is dropped into a fairy tale world of incredible gardens, historic homes and eccentric women.  It is a cinnamon roll scented place of healing, and I want to go live there.

I was enchanted by Saving CeeCee Honeycutt from the first sentence of chapter one.  So make yourself some sweet tea and get to reading.  This one is a peach!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Here's an idea for a cold foggy a classic, then watch the movie!  I recently re-read Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, and this morning I popped in our old VHS tape of the 1950 Disney movie.  It was worth the trip down memory lane, and made my ironing more tolerable.  Try it some time!