Category Archives: Classics

Happy Birthday Hobbits!

Hobbit_cover If you are a fan of hobbits you will know that yesterday, September 21, 2012, was the 75th Anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit. You may also know that today, September 22, is the birthdate shared by Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

My first introduction to hobbits was in Grade 5 when our teacher read the book to us in class. I was fascinated by the story from the first pages – especially the page with the iconic map of the magical lands where the story The Hobbit or There and Back Again takes place.

One of the things I remember about hobbits besides their hairy feet is how they like to enjoy several meals a day including breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.

As second breakfast was Bilbo’s favourite meal of the day it is no surprise that fans of The Hobbit from all over the world have been celebrating the last two days by eating second breakfasts of their own.

In our library second breakfast guests enjoyed Hobbit Scones and homemade cinnamon doughnuts prepared by a couple of my library regulars. Apples fresh off the tree, home-made raspberry jam, Manitoba clover honey, hot chocolate and a wide variety of teas were also served.

I displayed my 50th anniversary editon of The Hobbit and streamed a video of  the second trailer for the upcoming Hobbit movies.
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Reading and Watching Jane

Just watched the movie “Becoming Jane”. I rented it after deciding to take home all of Jane Austen’s books from my library over the summer to read. Not sure why I haven’t read them before, but, if you’re looking for inspiration to read these classics, watching the movie might just do the trick.  I’ve had several students check out Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility after watching the movies. The DVD releases of “Becoming Jane” and “The Jane Austen Book Club” have prompted interest in Austen’s other works as well.

Becoming Jane“Becoming Jane” takes a semi-biographical look at Jane Austen’s beginnings as a writer during a time when it was unheard of for a woman to “live by her pen” and women were expected to marry for money rather than love. The bonus features on the DVD reveal that the story depicted in the movie  is an embellishment of Jane’s real life.  However, Jane did actually meet and fall in love with a man with the same name as the male lead. Anne Hathaway plays Jane and as a self-proclaimed Austen fan apparently does an excellent job of capturing the real author’s character. The supporting cast and beautiful sets and costumes also make the film well worth watching. The story gives insight into how Austen gathered the themes for her novels and, well, to say much more would be to say too much.

“The Jane Austen Book Club” is a modern-day film about a book club made up of  a recently separated mother, her close female friends, her daughter and a younger man recently introduced to their circle who previously only read sci-fi/fantasy books. Having just started reading Jane Austen and being a sci-fi/fantasy reader myself, I enjoyed watching the male character’s growing appreciation of Jane Austen’s works over the course of the movie. The underlying relationship plots interwoven with details about the relationship woes of Austen’s characters made it a fun popcorn movie while inspiring viewers to consider reading all six of Austen’s novels and other works.  At least it inspired me.  So, back to reading… oh, Mr. Darcy, how could you?

Life would be a terrible thing without books…

AnneofGreenGables2A quote by L.M. Montgomery I have posted both at my school library and in my home library proclaims: 

“Life would be to me in all respects a terrible thing without books.” – L.M. Montgomery

If you have been following this blog since its inception, you already know that the L.M. Montgomery series of Anne and Emily books are my favourite books from my childhood, and, books that I have re-read many times as an adult. 2008 marks the 100th year since the publication of Anne of Green Gables. There will, of course, be a number of events to celebrate this milestone. One of the most interesting I have seen advertised so far is an event presented by the L.M. Montgomery Institute of the University of Prince Edward Island.  Entitled “L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables & The Idea of Classic”, the event is billed as an “international celebration of imagination and creativity” and takes place June 25-29 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. More information here about the week filled with all things Anne including scholarly discussion, special themed dinners, theatrical productions, guided tours, musical productions, a book launch and more.

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How to break your classic reading into manageable bites…

warnandpeaceA little while back I blogged about Project Gutenberg, the internet’s oldest producer of electronic books or ebooks, designed to let readers access classic public domain fiction for free on-line. DailyLit.com takes the idea one step further and sends bite-size portions of classic books via e-mail or RSS feeds to readers each day. The books are sent to subscribers in installements designed to be read in five minutes.  Readers select which days and what times they wish to receive the book segments. After reading one installment, a reader can decide to receive the next installment immediately. A quote from the site operators, a team of publishing professionals and technology experts headquartered in Mamoroneck, New York:

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The classics online…

gutenberg.JPGTo me, there’s nothing like browsing and buying books “offline” in an old favourite or newly discovered bookstore. But, living as I do in the country, at least an hour away from the nearest real world bookseller, I often purchase books online. Usually my purchases are from the websites of my favourite bookstores. Sometimes, however, I’m not necessarily looking for an entire book.  Maybe I just need a quote for a writing project, or, simply want to check a reference to a classic I don’t have on my own bookshelf.  That’s when I like to take advantage of the growing number of ebooks available online. Project Gutenberg is the internet’s oldest producer of free electronic books or ebooks. Run by volunteers, the project provides free access to out of copyright books.  Mostly classics, these books are chosen with care by the volunteers who convert the books into an e-text.  The project ensures anyone can enjoy the works of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and countless other titles. In my case, I have my own copies of these particular books on my bookshelf already.  Still, it’s nice to know if something ever happened to them, somewhere out there, there’s a virtual backup.  You can find out more about supporting Project Gutenberg here.

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