Saturday, April 4, 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

Happy, Happy Birthday Book Portraits

My bestest of all daughters, Nico, has been an avid reader her whole life except for when she was too little to read herself...and then she was an avid listener. She is like the original, real life version of Rory Gilmore, whom we adored for being the bestest of all TV daughters! It is no wonder she grew up to be a Young Adult Librarian, that best of all genres! In honor of her Birthday I am present-ing her with a special blog of portraits of 31 of her favorite books from the past. She has many, many, many other and newer favorites, but these are ones that helped to make her the fabulous well read person that she is!
In no particular order, these books are all special. You can tell by their covers that they were well loved and read often! On a few I added a note. But mostly, the books will speak for themselves!

1. The Alfred G. Graebner Memorial Handbook of Rules and Regulations by Ellen Conford.
2. O Ye Jigs & Juleps by Virginia Carey Hudson . This is such a charming book, it deserves to be re-read every so often. (from a review: Virginia Carey Hudson must have been a remarkable child--one that a teacher has only once or twice in a career. These essay are true events taken from her own life--each with a child's twist and perspective. She was approximately ten years old when these essays were written. They were discovered in 1960 in a locked attic trunk).
3. Moomin Valley in November by Tove Jansson (this one stars Snufkin, so it is, of course, one of our favorites!)
4. I'm With the Band by Pamela Des Barres (Not everyone can (or would want to) sleep with Rock Stars, so Miss Pamela tells us what that's like, among other things!)

5. Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
 6. Love, Loss and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman
 7. Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (one of the most hilarious series ever!)

8. The Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
9. Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block (love, diversity and acceptance and so innovative, descriptive and beautiful)
 10. Home Sweet Homicide by Craig Rice (Perfect in every way. Plus a King Tut glossary!)
11. Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll / illustrated by John Tenniel
12. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
13. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White /illustrated by Garth Williams
14. The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden / Illustrated by Barbara Cooney
15. Eloise by Kay Thompson / Illustrated by Hilary Knight
16. George the Babysitter by Shirley Hughes
17. My Uncle Nikos by Julie Delton / Illustrated by Marc Simont

18. Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
19. How my Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman / Illustrated by Alan Say
20. A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams (will make you go boohoo every time!)

 21. Where Did the Baby Go? by Sheila Hayes / illustrated by Eloise Wilkin
The following three books were books I purchased as Weekly Reader books when I was in elementary school and which I loved and shared years later with Nico. They are perfect and eminently re-readable.

22. No Children, No Pets by Marion Holland

23. The Pink Motel by Carol Ryrie Brink
24. David and the Phoenix by Edward Ormondroyd

25. Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink

26. Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
27. Junior Miss by Sally Benson
28.  Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams / illustrated by William Nicholson
29. Mr. Petersand's Cats by Louis Slobodkin

30. A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes
31. And, finally... Linsey Woolsey by Tasha Tudor (This was one of my own very first books and one I passed on to Nico)
(and that is my mother's handwriting, below)
So, Happy, Happy Birthday! Not only does she have many new and wonderful favorite books and authors...
She even gets to occasionally hug the authors:

and sometimes help organize them and share them with others

Friday, February 20, 2015

The 2015 Kitty Awards

Where has the year gone? It seems like the Kitty Awards were only yesterday and no... even though I don't update this blog THAT much... it has been a whole year since the best awards show of the season. Well, OK, the Academy Awards is on  this weekend and they have learned their lesson as far as hosts because, yes, they have our host with the most... Neil Patrick Harris!!! Way to go, AA!
But we had him first, well, the Tonys had him first...but we had him second and plucky guy that he is, even with all the grueling AA rehearsals etc... he still found the time to join us here! We are honored by his loyalty!!  And here he is... looking as dashing and elegant as ever, Mr. NPH!
By now, you all know who has been nominated for the Academy Awards. As you know, the Kitty will go to the most deserving winners. Not the movies that cost the most, or the biggest stars. As always, we will use the Academy Award list of nominees so you can see if the judges at the Kittys agree or if they have surprising new nominations that you can get excited about! Nominees the Academy may have overlooked! Now, get ready to settle back and enjoy the show! It's time for... the 6th Annual (can you believe it???) Kitty Awards for all you viewers (well, readers) out there!
Take it away, Neil!
OK, get ready, here is the first Award:
Best Supporting Actor
 Robert Duvall in The Judge
Ethan Hawke in Boyhood
Edward Norton in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons in Whiplash
Of these movies, the Judges have only seen Boyhood. Given that...the winner can only be Ethan Hawke! And hey, the judges LOVE Ethan for all the Before Sunrise etc. films also by Mr. Linklater. He can do no wrong as far as the judges go. Congratulations, Ethan! The AA can only be a letdown after this amazing win!!!

 Now, on to:
Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

Laura Dern in Wild
Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game
Emma Stone in Birdman
Meryl Streep in Into the Woods

The judges found this to be an iffy year for movies... but an incredible one for actresses on TV. They thought, hey, media is media, all things end up on TV, or cable eventually and  they want to show some love for the woman who steals every scene she's in since she came on board on the Walking Dead! Let's hear it for the Kitty's Best Supporting Actress of any media: Michonne!!! Or, as she is known in real life, Ms. Danai Gurira !
Here she is in action: (fromYoutuber AdamIsLulz )

  Congratulations, Danai!
Now for one of the big ones!

Best Actor
Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”

Oh AA ... has anybody actually seen any of these movies? The judges hope to catch up with them on DVD or someplace. In the meantime... what actor is missing from this line-up in a movie people actually flocked to the cinema to see? No, not one of those super-hero movies. I'm talking Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow. Check out the Trailer:

The judges often have mixed feelings about Tom, but he's a winner here... and a winner of the Kitty! Hooray! This is your night, Tom!
And here is the award for:
Best Actress
 Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore in Still Alice
Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon in Wild

But, you know, there was a great and even classy film that did not get any attention with two most fantastic leading ladies: Belle, anyone? So the Judges are nominating
Sarah Gadon and Gugu Mbatha-Raw  as the two young women raised by their uncle, a Chief Lord Justice of England in the 1770s. Take a look at this:

Great work. Don't you want to see it just from this preview? So the winners are
Sarah Gadon and Gugu Mbatha-Raw! Congratulations, ladies! Well done! 

 Now for:
Best Director
 Birdman Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Boyhood Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher Bennett Miller
The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson
The Imitation Game Morten Tyldum
Based on his oeuvre (fancy film festival word!) and the Judges love for those Sunset/Midnight movies and the fact that Ellar Coltrane was so darned adorable they unanimously voted for Richard Linklater.
 See for yourself:

Congratulations Mr. Linklater. Here is the whole cast to join you in this honor!

Best Foreign Film of the Year
Ida Poland
Leviathan Russia
Tangerines Estonia
Timbuktu Mauritania
Wild Tales Argentina

The judges haven't seen ANY of these... but they have seen Blue is the Warmest Color on Netflix and we think that counts as it is an unforgettable story of two girls in love in France with wonderful performances by Léa Seydoux  and Adèle Exarchopoulos as the leads. Have a look:

Looks good, right?
And the winner of the Best Foreign Film category is, can there be any doubt? Blue is the Warmest Color! Congratulations, Léa and Adèle!

Best Original Song
Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”
Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Glory” from “Selma”
Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”
Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”
Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois
And what is missing from this list, the judges ask. Why the end credit theme from Edge of Tomorrow by John Newman. We don't know if it is "original" regarding this film, but we know what we like! Have a listen:

Way to go, judges!

Now, for the 3rd year in a row, a very special award!!! It's time for the Kitty Lifetime Achievement Award! The award honoring a star's fabulous accomplishments in the arts or what have you and our amazing winner is...Surprise! Neil Patrick Harris!!! Our Host with a capital H! Yes, Neil, it's you!
This year alone you co-starred in a major movie and a major TV show! Who could ever forget you as the creepy ventriloquist in American Horror Story: Freak Show?
And then you played a major role in a major movie as the kind, yet disturbed and possessive though always there for you former boyfriend of Gone Girl who meets a shocking, icky end.
And looking back at his great body, yes, you do have a great body, we've seen a lot of it this year, but we meant... of work, Neil, of work! Remember him as the singing Super Villain, Dr. Horrible? What could be cuter or more dear than this????

And this look from Youtube on your 10 Greatest Moments:

                                      Congratulations, Neil!

 And now... the BIGGEST award of the night. Get ready, here are the nominees. Which picture will get the Kitty? It's exciting, it all comes down to this.
Best Picture
American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
While the judges did love the Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood... they also love a good action movie with repetitions...scenes where the lead has to relive moments of his life to get it right at some point, and this year's fantastic action movie with those kind of scenes was Edge of Tomorrow or Live, Die, Repeat as it even has two titles! Tom Cruise was already a winner as was the end title song. So, the Kitty Judges have spoken and the Best Film Award goes to Edge of Tomorrow! Here's another look at this great movie!

The excitement is coming to a close for this, the 6th Annual Kitty Awards, probably the most exciting ever! We can hardly wait for next year! If you haven't gotten to see any of the winners and nominated flicks...  you can wait for the DVDs and then check them out at your local Library for FREE!. Thanks, again, to our host, that talent of talents, Mr. Neil Patrick Harris! See you next year and good luck with those Oscars! 
* A note about the Kitty Award itself. The statue was inspired by the late and majestic  cat among cats: Big Eric. He will live on in the hearts of all the Kitty Award recipients.