Hooray for Friday!

A few happy material items I've collected recently, mostly due to birthday gift cards:  a set of used Mary Poppins books in hardcover, Hildafolk by Luke Pearson, the next two Oz books I needed, my favorite Iron & Wine album on vinyl, and a Little Pullip and Little Dal of my very own.  And yes, I am in my mid-30s.  Upper-mid-30s in fact.  

I am so ready for the weekend.  I want to lounge tomorrow in my pajamas, and binge on TV via Netflix.  That would be lovely.  I started watching Once Upon a Time yesterday.  When I am home alone, I seldom turn the TV on, but yesterday, I decided to watch something while I scaled Mt. Laundry.  Why not start a series?  I was in a fairytale-y mood.  When I watch actual live television, I usually stick to comedies or PBS Create.  Let's blame my college obsessions with Ally McBeal and (especially) The X-Files, series I had to give up on after a point.  So far, I'm enjoying Once Upon a Time.  It's escapist fun.  Of course, I'm only a few episodes into the first season.  We'll see.

But enough about the boob tube.  Guess what?  We've been reading again!  I have books to share with you!

We read:  

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by L. Frank Baum.
Originally published by Reilly & Britton, 1908.Books of Wonder edition published by
HarperCollins, 1990.

Yay, we finished Book 4!  The girls enjoyed this one very much.  Big Sis is especially taken with the Wizard's nine tiny piglets, which you can see on the cover.  This one isn't a favorite of mine, although the illustrations are lovely. (We started The Road To Oz last night, however, and that one is a favorite!  More on it next week!)  Dorothy is traveling through California to meet up with Uncle Henry, when the cart she is in falls through the earth.  It's 1906 - it's the San Francisco earthquake!  She, Eureka her kitten, Zeb the farmboy, and Jim the cab horse fall to a strange land under the earth, where they are soon joined by The Wizard, who falls through in his balloon.  The group encounter many strange beings and lands before finally being saved by Ozma, who summons them to Oz.

I read:

Bed-Knob and Broomstick
by Mary Norton.
(Consists of The Magic Bed-Knob; Or How
to Become a Witch in 10 Easy Lessons,
  JM Dent, 1943.
And Bonfires and Broomsticks, JM Dent,  1945.)
Omnibus originally published by JM Dent in 1957,
illustrated by Erik Blegvad.)
Odyssey Classic edition published by
Harcourt, 1990.

After watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks a few times this summer, I finally decided to give the source material a try.  The book, pictured above, is actually made up of two books.  The first, The Magic Bed-Knob; or How to Become a Witch in 10 Easy Lessons, tells the story of how three children discover that their aunt's next door neighbor, Miss Price, is a witch.  She bribes them not to tell anyone by charming the bedknob in the youngest child's pocket.  It can take them anywhere they want to go, simply by twisting it on the bed and making a wish.  The first time they use it, they go to see their home in London, only to discover their mother is away from the house at the moment.  They are taken into the police station, but are able to break out and take the bed back to their aunt's house in the country.  Miss Price decides to accompany them on their next adventure.  They pick a South Pacific island that is supposedly uninhabited, pack a picnic, and head there for the night.  Unfortunately, the island is inhabited, by cannibals, who take the group prisoner.  (This is very un-PC, folks.)  In Bonfires and Broomsticks, the aunt is dead and the children are to be sent elsewhere for the summer.  They find an advertisement by Miss Price, and convince their mother to stay there instead.  Miss Price has given up witchcraft, but even she cannot resist the pull of the bed.  The children wind up going back in time to the Restoration period, just before the Fire of London, where they meet a man named Emelius Brown, who is supposed to be a necromancer, but doesn't have much luck at magic.  I preferred the second book to the first, and the movie to the books.  I confess, I missed the WWII subplot and the witchier Miss Price from the film.

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger.
Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2010.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.
St. Martin's, 2013.

I found both of these books via this list on The Nerdy Book Club.  Several books on the list sounded interesting, but these two intrigued me the most.  I loved them both.  I read Eleanor and Park first, which is about the relationship that develops between two Omaha teens during the 1980s.  Park is half-Korean, good-looking and popular.  Eleanor is the new girl, overweight with crazy red curls, and bizarre clothes.  They wind up being forced to share a seat on the school bus.  They become a couple, first secretly then publicly, although they still keep it a secret from Eleanor's family.  Eleanor, it turns out, has a nightmare home life, and it's the nightmare at home that threatens to drive them apart in the end.  The Duff was my airplane read on vacation.  When we meet Bianca, she is sitting at the bar of a teen club, drinking her Cherry Coke, refusing to join her two best friends on the dance floor.  She is joined by Wesley, the hot "male-slut" (Bianca's words) from school, who informs her that he is trying to make friends with her because she is "The Duff" of her group:  the Designated Ugly Fat Friend.  Bianca throws her Coke in his face.  Bianca and Wesley are assigned an English project together, and Bianca starts to physically use Wesley as a distraction from her problems at home.  In the process, she learns that Wesley has his own issues, and while she still claims to hate him, she wants him all the time.  The Duff has an awesome main character in Bianca.  She may not be as thin and pretty as her friends, and Wesley may have knocked her down a few pegs by calling her The Duff (or Duffy), but she's rather self-assured for a teenager, with a pretty clear idea of who she is.  She has wonderful best friends and a great sense of humor.  Both of these books were great reading.  (NOTE:  While reading both books, especially The Duff, I couldn't help but think of the furor a book like Judy Blume's Forever caused back in the day.  Language and adult subject matter is treated so differently in teen books now.  Be warned, anyone who prefers to avoid those things in their reading.  Both of these books are pretty frank.)

Riverhead, 2012.

A grown-up book!  (Yes, I read grown-up books, too.)  I have wanted to read this book since it was published last year, but I just got to it.  I picked up the paperback at my favorite indie bookstore last week.  I loved it.  You may know I have an obsession with old Hollywood and classic film.  Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures is a fiction story about a young girl from Wisconsin, whose father owns a summer playhouse in their converted barn.  She winds up in Hollywood, married to one of her father's actors, and is pregnant with her second child when she meets the studio head's second-in-command.  He gives her the stage name "Laura Lamont," and after her child is born, grooms her for stardom.  Having read many film star bios and Hollywood histories, I can say that Straub really knows her stuff.  The relationships in the book seem very real, and Laura is a very likable, even relatable character.  This was a great end-of-summer read.  

For more on this book, check out this interview with Emma Straub and Laura Moriarty.  Moriarty wrote The Chaperone, another book having to do a bit with Old Hollywood, in the form of silent movie start Louise Brooks.  I love The Chaperone, I love Louise Brooks, I love the research Moriarty put into the book.  I love reading about my hometown, Wichita, and places I knew existed but are long gone.  I went to Moriarty's signing here last summer, and she seems like a very nice person, too.  (I stood in line for the signing next to Clare Vanderpool.  We chatted with Louise's niece, with whom I used to work at another bookstore.  That's my weird little name-droppy moment.  I live in Kansas.  I don't get many of those.)  

I'll have lots more to share with you on the book front next week! 

 I hope you checked out and enjoyed our Happy Happy Lunch Box blog hop!  One more thank you to Michelle who organized it.  Be sure and visit Whitney's post at Pen Pals & Picture Books today.  The lunch note ideas she shares are too wonderful.  If you missed anyone's post, look here:   Tues., 8/22:  needles and nest, Wed., 8/21: Julia's Bookbag, Thurs., 8/22:  Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes, Fri., 8/23:  Pen Pals & Picture Books.

Until Monday, Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading!


  1. Girl. I have a fantastic retro copy of Bed nob and Broomstick, and I was going to put it off for sale until I read your post... I'm keeping it, and reading it!

  2. Hey Danzel- I apparently got a Liebster Award back in March (?!) and am forwarding the love onto you and your wonderful blog. http://ameliesbookshelf.com/awards/ Because it's awesome. :)

    1. Awww, thank you! I don't know if I'll accept it, but I do appreciate the honor! xoxoxo

  3. You girls have been so busy! All these books look so great, and I love your little russian dolls-- SO sweet~!

    1. The girls have that whole school thing now. Mama needs a job! Until then, I do laundry, dishes, and read. And thanks! I enjoy them. :o)

  4. I loved the movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks when I was a kid - keep meaning to get it for my daughter.

  5. I saw the movie Bed knobs and Broomsticks but I didn't know it was a book too! Oh the things I learn online :D I remember thinking what a cool concerpt! Would love to read it one day!!!

  6. DUDE!!!!!!!!!!!

    We have the SAME DOLL. Did you know that??? The same one! The Russian one at the top!!!!! WILD!

    Also, got Mary Poppins in the Park.

    Love your books picks. I'll be looking to read all of them!

    1. I thought that was the one you got. She was on my Amazon wish list with a few others, but she was my favorite, too. She came with a matryoshka! Can't say no to that! And the Little Dal Meena looked so nice with her.

      I'm looking forward to starting all the Mary Poppins books with the girls, but Oz is still calling. We're already on page 93 of The Road to Oz! The girls LOVE it.

      I just finished The Elite, by the way - the sequel to The Selection. READ THEM.

    2. I read The Selection but I forgot about the sequel. I think the list was a mile long at the library. Maybe it's more reasonable now!


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