Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ohhh Topper.

I am slogging away at Topper.  So far I find Topper himself misogynistic, condescending, and chock full of himself.  The book hints heavily at sex, without being erotic or titillating. I do find the name of the cat, Scollops to be charming.  But Toppers attitude toward the French and is quite....

I have completely given up on old Topper, he is sexist and I forget the word.  I think I want to say imperialist.   God Almighty, I tried my best.  I really thought I would like this one since I like the Topper movies.

Anyhow, thank God, my book order finally came in.  So more will be up soon.  As soon as my son stops cutting molars. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Upcoming review Topper Takes a Trip

Topper Takes a Trip by Thorne Smith- rating #80537.  I haven't died, my son has been keeping me hopping.  I get in bed with Topper and- no reflection on him but I fall asleep.  My copy of this book is from 1932. It's rank is 5,193,261.  But I included a link to a newer paperback version that should be easier to find.
I love the hardcover, it's pages are so old that it's the color of a New York cheesecake.  The illustrations are charming.  My copy is my Mom's but was originally  owned by Frank Celko Jr.  Because I am a freak, I googled him and he was a member of the 74th engineers.  I looooove used books.  I especially enjoy a used cookbook with notes and splatters so you can see where the good recipes are.  I like the feeling of connection to other book lovers who clearly could not bare to throw a book in the garbage.  Quelle horreur! I should have the complete review up in a few days, but I just wanted to let you know what was up.  I also have two books by Betty MacDonald on order but they are taking forever to get here.  And, I have the new book by John Waters which I already read but wanted to refresh on before I reviewed it.  TTFN troops.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Best of Clarence Day

Can you imagine a New York City with no cars, with no phones? I love The Best of Clarence Day.  Ranked #755990 on Amazon.  In fact, I have two copies of this book.  Clarence Day grew up in New York City, in a large family of all boys.  But his brothers take a backseat- the real story is his parents.  His father is  loving, brash, and tyrannical and hearing their family clashes retold is completely absorbing.  The books are set up in an essay format, which makes it great for picking up and putting down.   I love that if I have a few moments I can read a short story- it's a favorite while I am breastfeeding.  Reading about New York City over a hundred years ago is so interesting.   

Coming from a family that had it's full share of fighting, I can relate to the tumultuous life of the Days. Not the part where they are rich. Or the part where they have a cook and a laundress and a nanny and a coachman and a farmer.  But the part where they have screaming rows at dinner and while the mom backseat that I can relate to.   Part of what drew me in to this story was that behind the circus of their home life, was a family that was deeply interested in each other.  The book has three main parts, God and My Father- which is quite short and explores how young Clarence's faith was shaped by watching the simple piousness of his mother juxtaposed with his fathers grudging acceptance that going to church was what you did, as long as it wasn't too much trouble.  Life with Father- Clarence Jr and Senior butt heads which is somewhat like watching a rowboat take on an ocean liner.  Life with Mother- very absorbing especially when you see what life was like before "women's liberation."

Is this book politically correct?  Nope.  Who cares?  Not me.  Help yourself to a different perspective, and you'll fall in love with the Day family just like I did. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Onions in the Stew

Onions in the Stew by Betty Macdonald. Amazon ranking 1,116,580 

I remember twenty five  years ago when I picked up The Egg and I at a library book sale.  It was a quarter.  I read that book till it fell apart.  But this was BEFORE THE INTERNET.  I was reduced to combing used book stores looking for that and many other titles I kept on a list in my head.  I was filled with joy when I was at The Strand bookstore in New York City( for our first anniversary) and I saw Onions in the Stew just sitting on the shelf like it had been waiting for me to grab it and hustle it home.  It continues the story of Betty and her new husband( what happened to the old husband?) her children( when did the second daughter happen?)  What? How? Who?  I was confused yet elated to be immersed in her life again.  The book zips along, not glossing over her divorce but not giving me any of the sordid details I wanted either.  She tells us of their tame(ish) raccoons, and ill tempered dog, the nasty weather, the troublesome appliances. 

So what you say? You can hear all that ( well, excluding the raccoons) just by calling your Mom.  Noonoo, you can't.  While I'm sure your mother is charming, Betty MacDonald is  not just funny, but wry, with a keen sense of the ridiculous in the every day.  Her books are effervescent and completely absorbing. 

I started this blog because so many books are being lost.  Who will remember Onions in the Stew, or Life with Father, or The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio? It makes me sad, and so I'm throwing my voice out into the void and hoping that I can throw a life raft to these charming wallflowers.