Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Rereading the classics

A few books stay on my keeper shelf forever. Others have wandered away (NoMoreLendingBooks!), leaving only their memories. Some, I mean to reread and analyze. Others, I can practically quote them verbatim. In that category:

 Theophilis North by Thornton Wilder. What a charmer. A writing style I will never achieve.

 Falling Woman by Pat Murphy. So cool, even years after the first reading blew me away.

Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer is going to get an analysis - I'm going to outline the structure - because it's so unusual.

Anne Tyler's A String of Blue Thread is going to get the same treatment. The death of the narrator in the middle of the book threw me a loop, but she manages to weave her back into the story in the second half with effortless style. I don't think I can do that, so I need to learn how Tyler pulled it off. Or if she didn't, and I'm just hoodwinked.

Laura Kinsale's Flowers from the Storm. What a hero. What a heroine. What an incredible opening. I still see certain scenes, and I haven't read the book in a long time. Must go find it now. . .

There are many others, but these always jump into my head first thing when I'm looking for a book to pick me up and give me something wonderful all over again.

Oh, and of course, Pride and Prejudice. Or as it's referred to in our house, P&P. Wish I owned stock in that book. It has paid me incredible pleasure dividends over the many years since I first found it.  Dialogue to kill for.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The skies are gray

but it's coming - that elusive sprite, Spring!!! Feels like a Mamas and Papas song, right? Anyway, I'm busy buying out the greenhouse store, collected a new pair of garden gloves, and my snips and trowel are already in action. Yep, I'm getting happy. Humming Pharrell Williams as I dig.

I found a doll stuck in a box the other day, a Madam Alexander Cissy model that was my mother's. I remember my father giving it to her in the mid-50s for Christmas. The doll has red hair, wears a lacy teddy and thigh-high stockings, and is in perfect shape. I wish I knew the backstory, but I don't. Maybe my mom had wanted a doll like her when she was a girl, and never gotten her. Still, it's odd to think of my father, the army officer, buying this sexy looking doll for his wife, the mother of his two children.  She was very proper, my mother. And she kept that doll through moves all across the world, until she passed away.

When I was 8, I got a Cissy doll for Christmas, too. Mine is named Helen, and she has a wardrobe filled with clothes my mother and grandmother made for her. She had high heels that laced around her ankles, pearl studs in her ears, and a white satin evening gown with a bunny fur wrap.  She was the most beautiful doll I ever received, and I, too, still have her. Helen, however, is in much rougher shape than my mom's doll. Helen saw a lot of imaginative play and hair combing and clothes-changing. We are still buddies, even though she resides in a pink doll case. I can't imagine parting with her. 

Especially since my eldest daughter looks just like her.