Thursday, 13 August 2009

Holidays - staycation! and Coraline the movie

So....if you've noticed, I've been able to blog much more frequently this week. I'm home on a week's holiday with the kids. This is good for relaxing, playing in the sun, taking day trips, and very very very bad for getting anything read. I like that somehow staying home because we are getting windows replaced makes me trendy: "I'm staycationing this year, you know. Staying around Ottawa," and it's cool. I can't remember when that was cool, ever! I'm not the only one: Charlotte at Charlotte's Web is also staying home, her staycationpost is here, and has a post here on her staycation reads. She's got books set aside for her holidays! Why didn't I think of that? How did I not plan to read anything? Maybe because I knew what would happen: I would spend my day doing things with the kids, evening would roll around, and I'd be dozing as soon as they fell asleep.

I am cheered that I feel like reading in the mornings, and after carrying The Shorter Pepys (the edited journals of Samuel Pepys) around on my shelves for almost 20 years, it's time to read it! So every morning before the kids are truly awake, I've been able to read a little. A' little' is the key word here. Here is a link to what the book is about, since it's been re-released with a new title. I've gotten to March of 1660. It is very interesting reading - I like how he talks about where he goes every day, what they eat, the people he meets with. He moved in fairly high circles - he meets the king on occasion, but mostly deals with his Lord (**Added later: Edward Mountagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich) who is his patron (** also added later: Pepys first works as his secretary in 1655) - and seems to be worried about money alot. Not so much has changed over almost 400 years! He also comments on the weather, like a true Brit. If I finish this book - which comes in over 1,000 pages (and these are his EDITED journals!) - by Christmas, I will be very very happy. I wish I'd joined the Chunkster Challenge now!

I'm trying to get through Peter Robinson's Friend of the Devil, but haven't got very far - I'm not sure why, maybe it's not the book for now. I don't really have anything 'to read' for the rest of this week, like Charlotte did. Maybe I should have my own personal read-a-thon day! I'd like that! I'm not sure my children will, or my husband, he will think I'm running from chores and looking after the kids, and he'd be right!

Staycation events so far
So far, we have gone to the library on Monday (only time for books for the kids, not a book time for Mommy!), played at a local outdoor pool and saw a reptile show there on Tuesday - no spiders, hurray! and I like reptiles, so the turtles and snakes were awesome! On Wednesday, yesterday, we had one of the children's friends over for some water play with the water guns and the sprinkler, after which we recovered by renting Coraline and binging on junk food for a movie afternoon. Today we went to the National Museum of Science and Technology, followed by a shopping trip to Toys R Us for flutterboards for both kids for the local pool, and a special toy each (Nascar cars for Graham, Littlest Pet Shop for Holly-Anne), followed by everyone falling asleep either on the bus ride home, or at home (that was me dozing on the sofa!) We have our first heat wave of the summer this week, which is lovely except we are getting hotter and hotter as the week goes on! Tomorrow the kids have voted for swimming at the local outdoor pool with their new flutterboards. I am secretly hoping I can bring a book with me......I can hear you all laughing at me! I know, I have no real hope of getting anything read there, but I live in hope that I can grab some time to read this holiday!!!

Coraline the movie
Coraline was fabulous. I am so surprised at how much I loved the movie. I really thought, because of the commercials both last fall and even before the movie started, that it would be too bright and lose the dark quality that I love so much about the book. I am so relieved and delighted to say that the movie is as good as the book. Yes, I actually wrote that! It might be the first time in history that I think a movie based on a book is as good as the book. It's safe to say we'll be adding this movie to our collection shortly. Everything about it, from the music, to the set design, to Coraline herself, and the cat and those lovely Scottie dogs, and the weird strange neighbors, the good parents and the bad parents - just lovely and perfect. They don't take away from my reading of the book and my private vision of it, which is so rare for me to experience. So I really send a thank you to all the producers and artists of the movie, for staying so true to the spirit as well as the telling of the story.

So if anyone out there has hesitated like I did - please, go rent it and see for yourself. It really is very very good. Thank you bloggers, for persisting in telling me I could see it! I also have a very good friend who kept telling me I should, too.

Bad Bloggers journal
I don't have a picture of it yet, but I thought I would share with you how reading blogs has changed my book-buying habits: I have had to use a special journal that is now 7 1/2 pages filled with titles, authors, and the blogger I got the book from. I started it around April, after I realized I just couldn't keep track of all the books I wanted to read that I'd found on blogs. So thank you, my book blogging friends. You have brought so many new books and authors to my attention, and I know my reading has expanded unexpectedly since I began blogging. Soon to come: more bad blogger points, now that I am keeping track of you all! Someone somewhere is going to win a prize from me at the end of the year, for posting about books that made me want to read them.

The house is hot and sticky and we are all cooling off as best we can. I think I'm going to try to sneak some reading in while everyone is occuppied. Happy reading, everyone!! Happy summer!


Debi said...

Enjoy the rest of your staycation! Sounds like you all are having a lovely time, even if it doesn't involve a lot of reading. :D

Table Talk said...

The blogging journal is a great idea. I'm always picking up recommendations and then forgetting who it was that pointed me in the direction of a specific book. If you don't mind, I think I'll copy that.

Have you read Helene Hanff's '84 Charing Cross Road'? When she requested Pepys Diaries and they sent her the edited version she really did a Queen Victoria and blasted them out of the water. She was not amused. I hope you enjoy it more than she did.

DesLily said...

good to hear that you are enjoying your staycation! (as mr Chekov from star trek would say: new vord! hehe)

it may sound horrid to the avid reader but sometimes a short break from reading is even a good thing! I bet you jump back in with fearocity!

Molly said...

Your staycation sounds like a great time for you and your children. I hope you continue to have a great week :)

Susan said...

Debi: thank you! I am enjoying it. I'd love a reading holiday sometime too, though! Wouldn't that be fantastic? Hope you get some reading done on your holiday too.

Table Talk: Of course! I hope you find a lovely journal to keep track of bloggers and the books they recommend! :-D It certainly is working better for me than the sheets of paper I was always misplacing.

I read 84 Charing Cross Road sometime in the 1980's, after the movie came out. I enjoyed both very much, and of course it sealed Charing Cross as 'the book road' in London! I have to find another copy and reread it soon, I think. I'm enjoying it more than her (the Pepys) because my chances of even finding all the unedited journals over here are quite slim! And the time factor....thanks for reminding me about Pepys being in 84 Charing Cross Road, I'd forgotten that.

Deslily: I know, I like that it's a new word! And I need to keep reading to reach my 100 books read this year goal!!!

Molly: they are having a wonderful time. It's continuing hot, so they're off to the pool in a short while. I'm not sure how they are going to like going back to daycare on Monday! then again, that means I have to go back to work! I could use another week off. thanks for your wishes!

mel said...

I read all of the Samuel Pepy's Diary maybe ten years ago. To me it was an incredible look at the politics, ways of business, as well as a close up look at a marriage. Pepys was a brilliant imperfect man. I found my time well spent in reading his journal. I am planning to reread it one of these days.

Susan said...

mel: did you read the unedited journals, or the selections (the one I am reading)? It is an incredible diary and reading experience, isn't it? I am really enjoying it. It's lovely to meet someone else who has read it, also!

Nikola said...

I had the same reservations about Coraline, but now I really wanna see it! :)

mel said...

Susan, Yes I read the full university of California Edition of the diary of Pepys-I completed it maybe 12 or so years ago. When last in London I visited the museum maintained by the Samuel Pepys society at 17 Fleet Street in a building dating back to the early 1600s. The full diary is not just a marvelous document about daily life in the 1600s but gives us a close up look at a very close but troubled marriage. Pepys lived long after he stopped his diary due to failing eyesight. Clarie Tomlinson has written a very good biography of his life.

mel said...

I see you are currently reading "Possession" By A S Byatt-I read my first Byatt novel, The Biographer last month-I loved it-cant wait to here your reaction to Possession-

Susan said...

Mel: I missed going to Pepys museum! I would have loved to see it. Next time we're over! I did see St Olave's Church and St Bridget of Fleet Street Churches, where he was christened, went regularly to church, and I think buried (St Olave's; St Bridget is where he was christened). In the past year I picked up Claire Tomlinson's biography of him as well!

I've paused reading Possession - I'm not sure why. A long break. I was enjoying it! Everyone is talking about The Children's Book, so I am very curious about it now too. I will finish Possession - possibly in September when I usually want to return to school for a while. Among many other excellent ideas and characters, Possession is about the university lit criticism program basically living off of dead authors and not creating anything. I love that, I did my degree in English lit!

Susan said...

Nikola: I hope you do! It is worth it, very much.

Daphne said...

I liked Coraline too, although I did like the book better. I was pleasantly surprised that the movie was also nice and dark and spooky, although really nothing beats the original for me!

Susan said...

Daphne: It's so unusual for me to say I like both! I always have a preference for the written word, but the movie comes very close this time. I'm glad you enjoyed the movie too!

Booklogged said...

Sounds like your having a lovely staycation, Susan. We didn't go anywhere this year either. We planted a big garden so we really needed to be here to tend and harvest. It was a good year to stay home because it's been so cool (for the most part) - it's been reminding us of our trips to Oregon, Washington and Canada. Fond memories! And we have our Newfoundland/Nova Scotia music CDs.

I do think I need to take some ideas from you and plan to see something around our area that we haven't checked out. We can act like tourists in our own small town.

Hope you gets lots of reading in during your staycation. Glad you enjoyed Coraline. I did, too.