Monday, November 26, 2007

Literary Tidbits

Recalling our first successful foray into books on tape, we prepared for Thanksgiving driving with a visit to the library. This time we discovered that books on tape are not magic bullets: it all depends on the reader. Since it was our first time, we had no idea that part of the reason we loved Ballet Shoes was the engaging, multi-vocal, dramatic voice of the woman who read it. Little Women, in contrast, was a bust. The reader's voice was not particularly attractive to begin with, and her reading was monotonous at best. We made it to supper after the Christmas play, and that was it. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm was a great improvement, even if the dramatic variation occasionally verged on shrill. The book is a wacky commentary on, hmm, I'm guessing either 30s or 50s middle-class motherhood. Looks like 50s. Anyway, the fathers are useless, the mothers are distraught, there are lots of women's clubs and crazy food like peanut butter-sardine-prune salad (I made that one up, but really they are all like that), and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, who has no kids of her own, as far as I can tell, is the master of motherhood.


On a lovely hike in a rocky glen, the grandfather, uncle, teenager, M, and I played Quotations--is that a game? If not, it should be. Basically (you knew this ten words ago), one person says a quotation and the others have to guess who said it. We ranged from Archimedes to A Tribe Called Quest, but we specialized in Big Bill, Big Bob, and the Big Bs*, which tells you something about how white, middle-class, liberal, and over-educated our family is. At any rate, it was very fun, and especially fun that everyone was having such a good time and could contribute and participate, and that the rocks of the rocky glen made for such good climbing.


E spent about half a day with Abby Hayes and has now moved on to the Beacon Street Girls. She is in first grade, and the Beacon Street Girls are in seventh grade, or so M tells me, and I'm feeling a bit anxious about this, but it's not like I'm going to stop her. M says the stuff that's too old for her will just go over her head, and I'm guessing she'll give up pretty soon, as the real point is to Do What M Does. She's quite excited, though, pointing out to me how the font changes when there are emails, and that each chapter has the name of a girl so you know who's thinking it. She is becoming very observant in her reading. The other day she told me that some books take you into people's heads, but some books just watch people. I did not take the opportunity to discourse upon omniscient narration, but I did tell her she was right.

*That would be Shakespeare, Dylan, and the Beatles, for anyone who might be wondering.

1 comment:

Jenny Davidson said...

Exciting about E. and the narration!