Thursday, November 29, 2012

From Russia with Love

“If you look for perfection, you'll never be content.”
  ~~Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

# 1858 Tolstoj

 I read Anna Karenina when I was in my early 20's.  I didn't have to, but at that time in my life I read a lot of the classics.  Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and Thomas Hardy were among the many authors I poured over in my spare time.  It took me months to finish Anna Karenina.  I learned a lot from that book.  Namely, that you don't have to finish a book you don't like.  I haven't finished a book I haven't liked since that one, unless it's been a you-have-to-read-it-for-book-club book.

I know, it's a classic.  I know, you loved it.  Or everyone you know who has ever read it loved it.  I hated it.  I read the unabridged version.  I almost want to read the abridged version to see if I can find out why people love the book.  Almost.  I want to see if my ideas about the book have changed now that I'm older.  Maybe it just wasn't the kind of book a single 22-year-old girl could relate to.  Maybe I would really enjoy the book now as I approach the big 4-0.  Then again, maybe not.

For having hated the book, I kind of am glad that I read it.  You see references to it here and there.  Leo Tolstoy's great book, one of the greatest books ever written!  I read it, and hated it.  I never was one to follow the herd.  (I didn't much care for Les Miserables either.)  But, I can say that I read it.  I tried it and didn't like it.  (Same for Les Mis--listened to the audio book and saw it on Broadway.  I liked the book better, but only slightly.)  Reading the classics is a great way to expand your horizons.  It lays the foundation for so many other things.  

The latest movie version of the book comes out on Friday.  I don't think I'll be going to the theater to see it.  I'll wait until the DVD comes to the library.  I'll try to find the abridged version of the book and read that in the meantime.  Maybe now that the internet is so readily available I can track down some discussions about what things mean in the book.  I can get find out what it is about the book that made others love it. 

Now and coming soon are a bunch of movies based on books.  Some of those books I've read and truly enjoyed.  Others I haven't found time to read yet.  Maybe I'll go see one of those instead of Anna Karenina.  Probably Rise of the Guardians, since I never got around to reading it even though I checked out the first of the books in the Guardians of Childhood series last winter.  With the movie in theaters, there is now a long wait for me to get my hands on a copy of Nicholas St. North and the battle of the Nightmare King again.  There's nothing like a movie to bring back interest in a book!

“One of the world's most tiresome questions is what object one would bring to a desert island,because people always answer "a deck of cards" or "Anna Karenina" when the obvious answer is "a well equipped boat and a crew to sail me off the island and back home where I can play all the card games and read all the Russian novels I want.”  ~~Lemony Snicket

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanks for being in my family.

 The family - that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to.  ~Dodie Smith

Happy Thanksgiving!!
Tomorrow is turkey day.  A day of gathering with family.  I've heard a lot of talk shows discussing the best way to navigate these functions.  The rules I remember go something like this

1.  Thanksgiving is not the time to drop any bombshells.  Save your horrible news for a different day.

2.  Help with the clean up.  The host has spent hours cleaning their house and cooking the food, the least you can do is help with the dishes.

3.  Stay away from controversial subjects at the dinner table.  This includes politics, religion, and personal information that is none of your business.

4.  Do not talk about the diet you're on.  Do not talk about the diet that anyone is on.  Food is a huge part of the day.  Eat what you're going to eat, but there's no need to explain the detailed reasoning behind your choices.

5.  Put your phone away.  Have some face to face conversation instead. 

6.  When all else fails, suck it up.  Put on your happy face whether you feel like it or not.  Fake it until you make it.

I'm fortunate that I don't have a family that I have problems with.  I enjoy all of them.  I'm still very lucky to have one set of grandparents to enjoy the holiday with, along with my parents, my siblings and their families, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  There are a lot of us.  A lot.  We have fun together.  We laugh a lot.  Most everyone plays nicely together.

I know how lucky am that this is the case.  And I am thankful for it. 

Family life is a bit like a runny peach pie - not perfect but who's complaining?  ~Robert Brault

Free fun at the library!

Storyhour at the Marble Public Library

Join Alicia every Wednesday from
3:30 to 4:45 pm
For a fun Story, Crafts and Snacks!
For Kids from 4 – 11 years of age!

Upcoming special events:
November 27th:  We will be showing “Brave” at 6pm. Enjoy the movie on our big screen!
December 2nd: 1-3 pm annual Christmas party at the Greenway Township hall.  Join us for sleigh rides,
                             crafts, cookies and cider.
December 26th: Skating Party at the Marble skating  rink.
January 9th: Birdseed snow angel: Come and create snow angels outside and decorate them with seeds,
       Then come inside to warm up with some hot chocolate and cookies!
February 6th: Snowmen build:  We will be joining the Snowfolk festival in Itasca county and help with the
        attempt to build 1000 snowfolk across Itasca county.

All events are free and from 3:30 pm – 4:45 pm unless otherwise noted.
For information, call 247-7676 and/or check us out on Facebook.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I love libraries so much I work at two of them!


This is not news.  I work at two libraries.  I got to work over at the Coleraine Public Library a couple of weeks ago.  During the day.  When the kids came over from the school across the street.  I work one day a week at the Marble Public Library, and we see many of the same kids day after day.  They're used to seeing me there.  It was a surprise to a couple of them to see me at a different library.  "Yes," I told them,  "I love libraries so much, I work at two of them!"

I love libraries.  At the library I have access to books, movies, CD's, and more.  For free.  If I want to try a new author or genre of books, see a movie I didn't want to pay full price to see in the theater, or listen to music that I'm not sure I want to buy; I can get it all at the library.  It's great!  If there isn't a copy in our library system, you can get one sent from elsewhere in the state.  For free.  There are also audio and e-reader books available for download.  For free.  How great is that??  As long as you don't damage or destroy the materials, you don't have to pay a thing.  Did I mention that the library has computers?  That they let you use.  And they're hooked up to the Internet.  For a small fee they'll also let you print stuff.  It's cheaper than buying an ink cartridge, that's for sure.

Libraries have events and programming available for free.  Sometimes you might have to pay a small fee for some sort of fund-raiser, but there sure is a lot available that doesn't cost anything.  Because of Legacy Funding, there are free museum passes available at the library. There are story hours and reading programs for kids.  Sometimes even for adults.  Reading programs that may give kids some incentive to read.  There are prizes to be had, and all at no cost.  If you're lucky enough that your library has some sort of reading program with prizes, how great is that?  

It's free.  There aren't any up front costs; unless you're wracking up fines, destroying materials, or lose your library card.  Indirectly, you've already paid for the services the library provides.  Public libraries are run on tax-payer money.  It's been a while since we've had to deal with the misbegotten idea that a closed library is a cut in taxes paid.  That's not the way it works in library-land.  If you close a library in your town, the same amount of tax dollars will still go to libraries--just not the one you closed.

I love libraries.

If you know of anyone who doesn't, send them my way.  I'll do what I can to change their mind. 

Whenever it is possible, a boy should choose some occupation which he should do even if he did not need the money.  ~William Lyon Phelps
 And so should a girl. ~Alicia Wikstrom