Sims Blog Created

Ok, Michael and Viv have been encouraging me to start a blog to journal the lives of my sims. I started it here at LiveJournal. It’s actually a community so other people can join and post. Joining requires approval, but anyone from the table who wants to won’t have to worry about being approved or anything. My sims are nuts, but I hope people enjoy hearing about their crazy lives anyway! :D

Book Journal

Ok, I’ve had a LiveJournal account sitting around and couldn’t decide what to do with it. I’m turning it into sort of a book group for myself. I’m going to post about what books I’m reading and what I think of them as I read them and stuff. I’d like to hear other people’s thoughts and stuff too. And if no one ever comments, that’s just fine! It can be me talking to myself! Yay! Anyway, if you are interested, it’s Here.

Madison Law

How depressing this is! I had hoped Madison was a little better than this. Lately I’ve really been frustrated with being female in this country. I am really starting to feel like second class citizen. What’s next? Voting? Running for public office? Working outside the home? Owning property? And if a law has been deemed illigal by an attorney general, shouldn’t they not be able to pass it? I’m confused. And sad. :(

Book: Kitten’s First Full Moon

Kitten’s First Full Moon
Kevin Henkes
2004

This was last year’s Caldecott Medal winner. It is a wonderful picture book about a kitten trying to get to the moon, which she thinks is a bowl of milk. She has no luck and everything she tries backfires, but eventually she finds some luck and gets her bowl of milk.

The story is simple, but cute. What really makes this book are the wonderful illustrations. They are black and white and incredibly simple. Even so, Kitten is amazingly expressive and one cannot help but sympathise with her throughout her adventure. The pictures have a simple, childlike elegance that really stands out. I can’t help but smile when I see this book (even the cover is wonderful).

I highly recommend this book. It is wonderful and has a special childlike magic that is rare in picture book. This one is something special and deserves all of the awards and attention it has recieved.

Book: Bears

Bears
Ruth Krauss
ill. by Maurice Sendak
2005

This is a very simple book. The poem that makes up the text is very uncomplicated. It is a series of rhyming lines describing bears doing different things. There are maybe 40 words in the whole book. The pictures illustrate each line and to tie them together is a little boy chasing a dog who has stolen a teddy bear. The boy should be familiar to most people as the kid in the wolf suit from Where the Wild Things Are.

The book is cute, and I did enjoy it, but there isn’t enough to it. The plot with the boy and the dog is amusing, but the actual text feels like it is getting in the way of that story. And the story ends oddly, with the teddy bear on the floor and the dog in bed with the boy. I just wasn’t terribly impressed with this picture book. The pictures are nice, they have a crayon feel to them and tend to be complicated and funny. They just weren’t enough.

This is a cute book, but it isn’t worth buying. You can read it in about two minutes. If you want to read it, go to a library. It’s very cute, but Sendak’s other stuff is far better.

Book: Seen Art?

Seen Art?
Jon Sciezka
ill. by Lane Smith
2005

This is a very cute picture book about a boy looking for his friend, Art. He is supposed to meet Art and cannot find him, so he asks someone. He is directed to the Museum of Modern Art in New York (near where he was supposed to meet his friend). In the MoMA he asks various people where Art is. Each one takes him to a different area of the museum to show him what they consider art. The plot is funny and cute and the child discovering art is charming.

This book is designed wonderfully. The drawings have photographs of various works of art on display in the MoMA integrated in them, so the reader gets to see the museum as the boy in the story does. Some wonderful pieces of art, as well as some unusual ones are included in the book (my favourite was “Starry Night” by Van Gogh). The story is simple, but very cute.

I enjoyed this book a great deal. It was a fun read. I particularly enjoyed seeing the art chosen for the book and being reminded that everyone has a different idea of what true art is. I would recommend this book, although one read is probably enough.

Book: While Mama Has a Quick Little Chat

While Mama Has a Quick Little Chat
Amy Reichert
ill. by Alexandra Boiger
2005

This book starts with the telephone ringing. Mama answers it and tells her daughter she is going to have a “quick little chat” and that the little girl should get ready for bed. As any small child knows, a “quick little chat” is never quick or little. This chat is so long that while her mother talks the little girls manages to host an impromptu party with a magician, a band, waiters and everything. And manages to get it all cleaned up and no trace left by the time her mother gets off the telephone. The book is very cute.

The text of this picture book is wonderful. It portrays wonderfully the exasperation and frustration of the little girl as she keeps being told that her mother will be off the telephone soon. The language is simple, but it doesn’t feel dumbed down. The language feels perfectly appropriate for reflecting the feelings of the little girl, which is what it should do. The flow is perfect as well, always matching the pace of the plot.

The pictures were what really made this book special. As wonderful as the text is, the pictures take it that extra step to make it great. They are bright and colourful, but not incredibly detailed. Instead, they have all of the energy of the child and as the party grows, the energy in the illustrations grows as well. The mood is completely set by the wonderful colours and simple but striking layouts of the pictures. Details like the telephone cord getting wrapped around the mother’s foot as she talks reinforce perfectly the irritation that the little girl (and by extension, the readers) feel with her. The pictures match the text wonderfully and really take the book that extra step to make it memorable.

I loved this book. I would most definitely recommend it and intend to add it to my collection when I get the chance!

Birthday Gift!

I got a birthday gift from Tamay at Eden Enchanted! Isn’t it adorable! Thanks Tamay!

Book: Summit Avenue

Summit Avenue
Mary Sharratt
2000

This was a rather ponderous novel about the experiences of a rather unusual young German immigrant girl living in Minneapolis during World War I. The girl becomes a translator for a wealthy lady working a book about fairy tales. Throughout this time, she becomes friends with the wealthy lady and stuff happens, just not a whole lot of stuff. The writing isn’t bad, but the book only really has enough plot for 75 pages (the book is actually 252 pages long). The characters are rather archetypal (the narrator is painted as hopelessly naive until she is “shocked” out of it, and even then is still ridiculously naive).

The writing flows well and is easy to read, but the book feels long. Part of that is because of the lack of actual plot happening, but a large part of it was due to it being difficult to really care about what happened to the character telling the story. The book is also frustrating to read because the main character’s life gets a little better at the beginning, and then goes progressively downhill from there with no hope of it ever getting better again (we know how she ends up at the beginning). Even worse than the progressive worsening of the character’s life is the fact that the end of the book provides no resolution to the story at all! It really feels like the author knew what was going to happen next, but was too bored of the story to finish. Resolution is important. Otherwise the book leaves me with a sour taste, even if the majority of the book was great!

The comments and attitudes concerning fairy tales in the book tended to irritate me. The very much followed modern “feminist” writings on fairy tales, which (besides being inappropriate for the time period) tend to rather miss the point and make me wonder why the character spouting the theories believes that they like fairy tales. They clearly don’t really like or respect them, so why do they think they do? The other thing that really irritated me was the main character’s repeated comments that “fairy tales are for children”. A young woman who grew up in a small town in southern Germany in the earliest years of the twentieth century would have absolutely no reason to say or think that way. For her, fairy tales would have been something that everyone in the village would have told and listened too. They would have been told for entertainment, comfort, the teaching of lessons and the reinforcement of community ties. No German peasant woman of the period would have any reason to feel that fairy tales are for children. Why does this woman think that then? It makes no sense.

Anyway, I’ve said very little good about this book but it wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t good and I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you have a copy and need something to read, it could be amusing in a pinch (just don’t feel bad skimming over the long sections when nothing happens!). The writer is actually a pretty good writer; this just wasn’t a great book. I would be happy to read something else she wrote in the hopes of it being better.

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