Since Luke turned three we've signed up for every activity under the sun. We started preschool yesterday and gymnastics today, both of which seemed pretty successful. Well, the gymnastics ended in tears but that was because I hadn't had enough lunch. Seriously, though, I'm exhausted -- from the strain of sitting back and letting him go. I'd like to write a proper post but find I can't string two sentences together. So I'll just post a bunch of quick links to stuff I've found lately:
This Boston Globe profile of Lois Lowry reminded me of her A Summer to Die, a book I read and was floored by as a child. It's written from the point-of-view of a girl whose sister is terminally ill with leukemia. There's a frightening scene where the sister suffers a seemingly unstoppable nosebleed -- for years after I read it every time my nose bled I thought I was going to die. Actually, to be honest, every time my nose bleeds now, I still think I'm going to die. I've reserved the book at the library, to see how it stands up. For some reason, it is linked inextricably in my mind with the 1976 Jodie Foster tearjerker Echoes of a Summer, which was played repeatedly on television here in the late 70s and early 80s. It's about a precocious eleven-year-old girl with an incurable heart condition whose parents take her to their summer home at the seashore to die. I don't know if it's supposed to be set in Chester, Nova Scotia -- a village near here where a lot of wealthy Americans have summer homes -- but it was definitely filmed there.
HBO has a new Classical Baby series -- this one's devoted to poetry. We don't get HBO so Luke and I will probably pick up the DVD. You can watch animated versions of three poems by Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, and Garcia Lorca here, read by the poets themselves. I love Gertrude Stein's voice. Via Omnivoracious.
If CAAF and Gwenda say that The Return of Jezebel Jones was bad, then it was bad -- but I'm surprised. I never got to see any of the episodes -- I'm not sure if I just missed them or if they didn't show here in Canada. And I can't view the ones available at Fox on Demand because I'm located in Canada. (BOO.) I wish Sherman-Palladino would put the scripts online or make them into a novel or something. The premise is too good to give up on.
So last year before we went to Paris, I did a little preparatory reading including Antonia Fraser's Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King and Marie Antoinette.
(Ugh. The cover image wasn't of Kirsten Dunst at the time.) Fraser's
writing so engaging and readable that I promptly borrowed all the other
books by her I could find at the library and read them all in quick
succession. I can't even remember what they all were but I do know that
one of them was The Wives of Henry VIII.
Unfortunately, that messy little binge on historical biography did nothing
to clarify my confusion about the history of the British royalty, a
subject I've had very spotty knowledge about ever since we covered it
in the 8th grade. In fact, it worsened it because now, instead of
simply mixing up the British kings with each other, I now get them
mixed up with the French ones. So I was pleased to find that I sort of
knew who people were when I started watching Showtime's The Tudors
series on DVD last weekend. That is, I thought I knew what was what
-- until Henry's sister Margaret married and promptly murdered the
elderly King of Portugal by smothering him with a pillow as he slept. I
think I would've remembered that. The scene sent me instantly to google
where I discovered that the makers of The Tudors have taken great
liberties with historical accuracy. In the series, Henry's sister
Margaret is actually a composite of his two sisters, Mary and Margaret (which really messes up subsequent history, since they were the ancestors of Lady Jane Grey and Mary Queen of Scots respectively. I think. I wouldn't take my word for it, if I were you.)
And while Mary was married off to a much older man -- the king of
France -- neither of them killed their husbands. Oh well, at least Jonathan Rhys Meyers is mesmerizing to watch. The Bloopers are fun, too. I was most impressed with how the actors could instantly transition from goofing around to seriously impressive emoting. Most of the time I can't even act convincingly as myself.