Let’s TALK About ‘A Little Princess’

This week the Lansing Community Library Adult book discussion group meets for the second in a three-part series on reading “Children’s Classics,” a Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) program sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council (KHC).  KHC furnishes the books and discussion leaders for the Lansing TALK series. For more information about KHC, please visit www.kansashumanities.org.

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, January 12, 2017

WhereLansing Community Library, 703 1st Terrace, Lansing, Kansas 66043 – 913.727.2929

Who: Sister Rosemary  (Rosie) Kolich is an assistant professor of English at the University of Saint Mary.  She teaches at both the main campus in Leavenworth and at the Overland Park campus.  She earned her PhD from Saint Louis University. One of the courses she team teaches is called Good Books, which pairs works from theology and literature with similar themes.  Sister Rosie joined the Kansas Humanities Council TALK program as a discussion leader in 2008.

WhatA Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924)

Burnett’s turn-of-the-century Cinderella story tells of a little girl who goes from riches to rags to riches again, all along maintaining her compassion and love for those around her.  After wealthy Sara Crewe moves into a strict girls’ boarding school, she learns that her father is dead, leaving her both penniless and an orphan.  Her faith in her father and her sense of justice enable her to overcome poverty, hardship, and abuse, and to create her own family and community.  Burnett, a playwright and novelist for adults before she wrote children’s books, never over-simplifies the complexities of a dangerous world; at the same time, she never forgets what it’s like to view that world as a hopeful child.

From WikipediaA Little Princess is a children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, first published as a book in 1905. It is an expanded version of the short story Sara Crewe: or, What Happened at Miss Minchin’s, which was serialized in St. Nicholas Magazine from December 1887. According to Burnett, after she composed the 1902 play A Little Un-fairy Princess based on that story, her publisher asked that she expand the story as a novel with “the things and people that had been left out before”.[4] The novel was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons (also publisher of St. Nicholas) with illustrations by Ethel Franklin Betts and the full title A Little Princess: Being the Whole Story of Sara Crewe Now Being Told for the First Time.[1]

Based on a 2007 online poll, the U.S. National Education Association named the book one of its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children”. In 2012 it was ranked number 56 among all-time children’s novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience. It was the second of two Burnett novels among the Top 100, with The Secret Garden number 15.

♥ ♥ ♥

Please join us Thursday evening as we TALK about A Little Princess in the warm indoors forgetting momentarily the bleak midwinter outside.

Posted in Books, Reading, Reviewing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Book Club Gathering of 2017 Results in Book Recommendations

Between the Lines Noon on First Fridays at Westport Library

Every First Friday of the month I venture a few blocks north over lunch to the Westport Branch of the Kansas City Public Library to discuss books and other tangential topics with the women (and an occasional man) of the Between the Lines book discussion group.  When last we left off in December, we did not have a designated book to read for January, so we were supposed to come ready to give recommendations.

That got sidetracked by the good intentions of our library liaison, Seth, who provided our facilitator, Rose, a last-minute selection for us to read.  I received the email a few days ago and happened to run into Seth at the Plaza Branch (which just happens to be on the first floor of the building I spend every week day at) and asked him for a copy of Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal.  We both went searching for a copy, Seth to the New & Notable display section and me to the Fiction section.  Neither one of us found it at first but I returned to the New & Notable display and found it on the top shelf (neither Seth or I are what you’d call tall).  I checked it out and planned to read it over the weekend since it appeared to be a short book (short to me is anything less than 500 pages).  I did finish it quickly, over a couple of days.

Due to the late notice, only one other member of Between the Lines actually read Kitchens of the Great Midwest and she and I agreed that it was an interesting read for the relationships portrayed but not that interesting as a ‘foodie’ type book.  I found the book oddly compelling to read up until the last couple of chapters and then it just fell flat for me.

My Top 5 Books from 2016

In conjunction with my previous blog post about my reading statistics from 2016, I referenced my ‘loved-it’ shelf at GoodReads but didn’t give specifics.  Faced with a blank page provided by Rose to be passed around the table asking for Recommended Books, I quickly reviewed Continue reading

Posted in Books, Fiction, Musings, Reading, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Double Infinity Sideways

I said farewell and good riddance to 2016 three days ago.  I set a reading challenge goal of seventy-five (75) books at the start of last year.

2016gr_readingchallengecompleted

I participated in three real-world book discussion groups in order to diversify my reading horizons.  I nominated, voted and attended the Hugo Awards during 2016.  I joined two reading programs at my local library (summer and winter).  I also set other personal goals that I didn’t statistically track but achieved despite real-world hurdles.

I began the year by reading my first ever graphic novel – Persopolis by Satrapi – one of three graphic novels I would read in 2016, two of which were for different book clubs.  I wrapped up the year with my second ever Hemingway book in paperback edition – his memoir A Moveable Feast – for a total of eighty-eight (88) books read.  Click here for a complete list of books I read in 2016.

88 looks like double infinity sideways to me (hence the odd title to this blog post).

Continue reading

Posted in Books, Musings, Reading | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

On the Xth Day of Xmas

Lest you fear I forgot, here’s the annual addition to my building’s infamous un-Holiday-like lobby decorations:

20161208_081452

I took this several days ago, but have not been in a blogging mood (and still am not).

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and an even Happier New Year!

Posted in Musings | Leave a comment

Late Fall Cord Cutting Viewer Update

I’m ever so close to cutting that cord to my satellite provider.  I watched only two shows this fall via my DVR rather than through an app or service.

Television Series:

  • Arrow (first season via Netflix) — 3.5 stars
  • The Crown (first season via Netflix) — 4.5 stars
  • The Fall (first season via Netflix) — 4 stars
  • Limitless (first and only season via Netflix) — 3.5-4 stars
  • Missing (first and only season via Netflix DVD) — 4 stars
  • Star Wars Rebels (via Disney channel) — popcorn for my mind
  • Timeless (first half of first season via NBC) — 3.5-4 stars
  • WestWorld (first season via HBO) — 4.5 stars

Continuing to watch:

  • Arrow (second season via Netflix)
  • Flash (first season via Netflix)
  • The Fall (second season via Netflix)
  • Mars (Nat Geo channel)
  • Timeless (via NBC)
  • Black Sails (final season via Starz streaming app)

Movies:

Continue reading

Posted in Movies and Television Shows, Musings, Reviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Tenacious Dedication

I feel nostalgically melancholy today.  I am remembering a time, about a decade ago, when I seethed with frustration surrounding a disappointing rejection my daughter suffered through.  When I requested an explanation for the rejection, the response I received  accused my daughter of “not being dedicated enough.”  In my mind, “not dedicated enough” became “not rich enough” because the evidence supporting that theory appeared overwhelming.  Other more affluent students with less talent and training achieved admittance, while my daughter was passed over.

Across the intervening years, I’ve watched and listened to my daughter devote countless hours in vocal training and coaching, music studies, daily practicing, auditions, rehearsals and performances.  Her perseverance, tenacity and, yes, dedication, knows no bounds. Her vocal coach is amazed out how extraordinarily large my daughter’s voice is, the largest she has heard.  I weep with pride, joy and love when I get a chance to hear her perform.

She recently performed the Contralto solo in several performances of Handel’s Messiah.  My only regret is I couldn’t afford to fly to Seattle to listen to it live.

Next week, my daughter flies to New York for her last audition of the year.  To date, she’s flown over 20,000 miles this year for auditions, all across the Continental United States:  from San Francisco, to Chicago, to Houston, to Chicago again, to New York, etc. etc.

Where are these other ‘more dedicated’ students now? Personally, I could care less.

Break a leg next week Rachelle!

Posted in Art, Family, Music, Mutterings, Vocal Performance | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Personal Reading Challenge Met Early

lastsixreadingchallengesOn the ides of November, with forty-six days left in 2016, I achieved my self-inflicted reading goal.  I have read seventy-five books so far this year.  I will read more before 2017 arrives.  I am currently reading four books simultaneously in various formats: an audiobook (classic mystery by Christie); an ebook (one of next year’s most likely to succeed Hugo Nominees); a hard cover (non-fiction Kansas Notable); and another ebook (bible study ongoing).

For the most part, I avoided reading duds this year.  I only abandoned two books, both of them book club reads that I just couldn’t get into.  I read a lot of books for discussion groups.  That leaves me little room to squeeze in the must-read new releases that I buy to support my favorite authors.  Of the seventy-five books read since January 1st, I added fourteen to my ‘loved-it’ shelf and forty-eight to my ‘liked-it’ one.  The remaining thirteen books wallow on my ‘meh’ shelf, which is just slightly elevated above my ‘disliked’ and ‘abandoned’ shelves.

Since 2011, I’ve averaged eight-nine books per year, with peak reading occurring in 2013 (102 books read) and 2014 (136 books read).  My lowest reading year occurred last year, where I only read a measly sixty-two books.  I can’t remember why I didn’t get as much reading done last year.  Still, that means I’m reading  between seven and eight books per month.  Makes sense when you consider that I’m involved in 3-4 real world book clubs and a couple of virtual ones plus tackling my huge to-be-read pile not associated with any discussion groups.

I should be able to finish another half-dozen books by year’s end.  In fact, I’ll probably read another ten or so.  I have several novellas I need to read, and those usually only take an hour or so to finish.  Perfect for lunch time reading.

But what to challenge myself with next year?  Should I play it safe, again, and set the bar back at seventy-five?  That might be a wise decision as I’m returning to college after a decades long hiatus to complete my degree.  I see the mist of my spare time for leisure reading evaporating before me.  Perhaps fifty might be an even safer bet?

Only time and my capacity to absorb the written word will tell.

Posted in Books, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Reading, Reviewing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment