Thursday, February 28, 2013
A small village in the north of England shuts itself off from the outside world as the plague arrives in 1666. Those who survive, a third of the population, are forever changed. Anna Frith's wits,resourcefulness and compassion are tested over and over again, but she is a true survivor and a memorable heroine.
Monday, February 25, 2013
A book of two halves, in the first of which von Igelfeld meets a wealthy widow, Frau Benz and dreams of marriage and living in her Schloss. In the second half, an annual student retreat to the Alps has startling consequences for the good professor.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
In the first story, On Being Light Blue von Igelfeld's birthday wish leads him to a four month stint at Cambridge University where he is nonplussed by the eccentric English academics and their constant infighting. In the second story, The Villa of Reduced Circumstances, von Igelfeld unwittingly becomes embroiled in a military coup in Colombia after being invited there to receive an academic award.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Professor von Igelfeld visits Rome to conduct research in the Vatican Library with startling consequences. He later accepts and invitation to give lectures to cruise ship passengers and finds that his popularity with the passengers, who are mostly divorced and widowed German ladies, overwhelming.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
In this first book of the series, we are introduced to Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld and his colleagues at the Institute of Romance Philology in Regensburg, Germany. McCall Smith's quirky characters are memorable and engaging. This satire of academics and the ivory towers they inhabit had me laughing aloud on the subway.
Using goal setting, self praise and self correction called "recovery", the method outlined in this book teaches self-awareness and motivation. Our students who are "helicopter parented" lack risk-analysis and confidence and this approach can help students with both issues. The framework is simple and doable and I have already set my first goal.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
This delightful collection of "Crick Crack" stories from the Caribbean, is beautifully illustrated by Gioia Fiammenghi. Facing drought and starvation in their land, a group of animals make the trek to a lush part of the jungle. Each night they take turns sharing "just-so" stories.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Probably the best known poem from this collection is "The Owl and the Pussycat." The others seem rather dated, not surprising as they were first published in the 1870s. I wondered if there were deeper meanings, or socio-political messages behind them, but after doing some web research, I think they are simply meant to entertain.
Miss Read, village school teacher, copes with her matchmaking friend Amy, school cleaner Mrs Pringle walking off the job, a film company doing a documentary about a local poet and many other challenges. Who knew living in a small village could be so hectic and stressful?
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Contributing Authors: Rod Anderton, Pat Viggiani, Erling Holm, Mike Correa, Wil Wegman, Meg St. John, Chris Robinson, Colin Lake, Kelly Snow, Charles Weiss. A very informative, well illustrated and layed-out booklet that is part of the City of Toronto Biodiversity Series. I received a copy, signed by wildlife painter Charles Weiss at the opening of an art exhibit hosted by SONSI (Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrators). I would like to read others in the series and acquire them for classroom use.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Thursday, February 07, 2013
This novel is divided into four "books":1 Mrs Baines - relates the childhood and adolescence of sisters Constance and Sophia Baines; 2 Constance - the elder sister marries the respectable Mr Povey and takes over the family business; 3 Sophia - the younger sister elopes to Paris with a rakish salesman and becomes a hotel proprietor; and 4 What Life Is - the denouement in which the sisters reunite and the story lines are brought to conclusion.