Frankly Scarlett

75 years ago today a big fat book was published. It was written on a Remington typewriter at a little desk in front of a little window by a little woman named Peggy who lived in Atlanta and was recovering from a car accident.

Gone with the Wind, by Margaret “Peggy” Mitchell, won the Pulitzer Prize two years later and later was transformed into a American film classic of gargantuan proportion.

I love Gone with the Wind. I remember watching the movie as a kid and covering my eyes during the Atlanta fire and marveling at Scarlett’s famed 18″ waistline (that corset scene still makes me laugh! How she managed to eat eggs after that I would love to know).

As an adult I picked up the book and, despite being intimidated by it’s weightiness, thought I’d give it a shot. I couldn’t put it down! From the lovely parties thrown at Wilkes Manor to the dirt and potatoes of poverty, Scarlett makes you love her, hate her, and love her again. She is one of my most perplexing characters in the literary world. “After all, tomorrow is another day,” she frequently laments.

Here are a few ways to spend your weekend in honor of the 75th anniversary of Gone With the Wind:


1. Sew curtains!

Or learn how to sew curtains! This is going to be on my list of things to do shortly. Everyone remembers the scene in Gone with the Wind where Mammy transforms the living room drapes into a marvelous dress for Scarlett so she still looks nice and rich when she visits Rhett in jail.

2. Make sun tea!

I know I”m a Yankee and all, but I know Southerners love their sweet tea. I don’t think I’ve ever had sweet tea, but I love sun tea! Or maybe my goal should be to try sweet tea? Don’t they serve that at McDonald’s now?

3. Yardwork!

Some of you may be scratching your head with this one. We tend to only remember Scarlett the southern belle. The one fluttering her eyelashes and making boys bring her cakes while making googlyeyes at Ashley Wilkes. While that character is a quite glamorous, Scarlett spends most of her time in the book taking care of Tara (her family’s plantation, for those who haven’t read the book) by farming the land and tending to animals. After all, thanks to Pa, the concept of land is a major motif throughout the book, so taking care of the land I shall do.

4. Read it, Silly!

Or you could always honor the anniversary the good ole fashioned way – pick up the book and start reading.

Or you could just watch the DVD… “after all, tomorrow is another day.”

Top 9: Expecto Patronum

To say I am anxiously awaiting the epic final film installment of the Harry Potter movies would be an understatement.

Although I was a little slow on the uptake when the books came out, I read all of them a few years ago and have continued to re-read them on a regular basis.

To help curb my appetite, as I have been watching the HP movies this week and keep seeing the trailer on TV, here are my top 9 Etsy HP buys:

1. These earrings are possibly the cutest Harry Potter paraphernalia I came across. Subtle enough for us nerdy muggles to pull off.

2. This is a classic HP charm necklace. A pendant for those with a penchant for the Boy who Lived.

3. Looking to send a post by owl? Send one of these adorable notecards! “I love you like Neville loves Herbology”. Love it!! Although I don’t think my husband would get it…

4. SPOILER. For those of you who haven’t read the books…. don’t read the next sentence….. really. Stop here. *Sigh, we find Severus Snape’s soft spot. (There. Was that vague enough for you movie-only watchers? I hate giving away things.)

5. My lifelong dream is to become a vela. I will be one step closer with their awesome hats! Now I just need to learn how to flutter and I’ll be on my way to Beauxbattons.

6. I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good. This metal-pressed keychain is cute. Although I’d rather have a real Marauder’s Map instead!

7. I would love to hang this up in the subway and crash into it with a shopping cart!

8. LUNA LOVEGOOD earrings! AHH!! Haha! Luna is the greatest little weirdo in the HP series. Put on a pair of these and grab a Quibbler and you’re set to go.

9. Yum. Pumpkin juice. I wonder if they also sell this at the Disney Harry Potter World? I’ve heard the Butterbeer is delish.

“I always knew that Harry’s story would end with the seventh book, but saying goodbye has been just as hard as I always knew it would be. Even while I’m mourning, though, I feel an incredible sense of achievement. I can hardly believe that I’ve finally written the ending I’ve been planning for so many years. I’ve never felt such a mixture of extreme emotions in my life, never dreamed I could feel simultaneously heartbroken and euphoric.”

Says J.K. Rowling on the Deathly Hallows.

I read once that J.K. Rowling started telling her son a made-up story about a wizard named Harry. I remember she said that the character Harry walked into her head fully formed.

I’d like for a multi-billion dollar idea to just walk into my head please.

Pssst.

Beware. It will be stuck in your head for the next day.

Thoughts from a Bookworm

One of my favorite authors once said “you can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” Say it again, Clive. Although I’ll admit, I occasionally substitute that tea for gummi worms.

As a kid I was a bookworm. The wormiest, as opposed to bookish. Bookish would imply that I was abnormally smart, rather than the scrunchie-wearing, craft-making, reading-fiend of a creature that I was.

I would read huddled next to my alarm clock with the little nightlight on after my lights were supposed to be out. I even remember reading by the little bit of light that peaked in from the hallway. And I wonder why my eyesight is so bad?

I still have this alarm clock. I can’t bear to part with it. The buttons are shaped like clouds and raindrops and the alarm is to the tune of “It’s a Small World”. I may or may not have used this clock through college.

I had a temporary reading lapse during the college years. Who has time to read for fun when you have to read endless pages for class? That didn’t last long. As soon as I was done with classes I picked up my trusty Lord of the Rings trilogy set and haven’t stopped reading again since.

Here’s my two cents on reading.

Read 25 Pages of Anything. I only started reading Twilight (and Harry Potter for that matter) at the bequest of a good friend. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read that took me a while to get into, but ended up loving the book. I’m now (no apologies) kind of a twerd (Twilight nerd). Alright, not kind of. I am one. I thought vampire books were lame, now I love them. But that’s besides the point. I have Fyodor Dostoyevsky next to J.K. Rowlings next to Jane Austen next to Sophie Kinsella. The point is, read anything. It doesn’t need to be impressive, just enjoyable.

Not Interested? Put ‘er Down. I’ve stopped reading quite a few books after just 25 pages. Life is too short to read books you aren’t interested in. Move on. I am always reading 3-5 books at once. Some people think it’s crazy. Some books I finish in 2 days, others it takes me months to finish. If I don’t feel like reading it at that moment, I don’t.

Plus, it improves your memory, expands your vocabulary and you’ll already know the end of pretty much every movie that will ever be made.

That being said. I’m off to read. : )

Water for Elephants

 

I am brimming with excitement for Water for Elephants to release next Friday. If you haven’t read Sara Gruen’s book yet, go get it this weekend! RUN! Hunker down with a bowl of caramel popcorn and enjoy.

The story is about Cornell veterinary drop-out, Jacob, who mistakenly joins a traveling circus during the Depression. He is made the animal caretaker and meets Marlena, the beautiful show girl. Marlena is married to August, the violent and antagonistic ringmaster.

The story is filled with colorful images of crazy, carnival life and a huge, lovable elephant named Rosie. I always hate to give too much away when I recommend books or movies to people, so that’s all I’m going to leave you with. : ) I know. I’m annoying like that.

Here is the official movie trailer:

 

My excitement doubled when I saw these new photos in this month’s Vogue magazine. I don’t read Vogue, but I saw these photos of Reese Witherspoon online, who was cast as Marlena, and I am PUMPED!

Witherspoon is a perfect casting for how I envisioned Marlena. And look at ROSIE!!

Okay, enough. That’s all from me.

But really, it’s a good read. : )

And don’t forget the caramel popcorn.

The Writer in You

I’d like to take a moment to pass on a message about a former professor and fellow writer.

Wendy was one of my professors of my very first class freshman year. Somehow I wrangled my advisor into letting an itsy bitsy freshman to get into her senior seminar class on launching a magazine. Long story short, it was an awesome class and Wendy was an awesome teacher!

She just released her 11th book and has started a publishing company! Go girl!

Along with that she has just started an online writing class called “Write Your Life: The Magic of Journaling”.

Here is a course description from her blog:

“This course focuses upon cultivating an intentional approach to writing in a journal, which ultimately gives voice to the narrative of your life. By means of specific writing exercises you will put pen to paper to begin developing a theme and structure that serves to build your life’s narrative while igniting your inner reflection and imagination. This class prepares you to write your own story and further, to keep writing your story, in a way that enables you discover and appreciate the unique gifts and perspective that you alone bring to your life’s sojourn. You will also develop your individual style and creative expression. You will work with a published author who has kept journals all her life and turned their contents into three published memoirs.”
If you are looking to brush up on your writing or want to have some fun, look into taking her class!

Check out her blog and her online writing classes here: http://eqwrite.blogspot.com/

And here is a link to her publishing company: http://eccoquapress.com/

Mugging Jane Austen

Like many other girls on the planet, well at least many other bookworm girls, I am a Pride & Prejudice fan.

A fan in a read-the-book, read-the-spinoffs, seen-the-movie, seen-the-8-hour-PBS-version-back-when-it-was-on-six-different-VHS tapes way.

Actually, some girlfriends and I started a book club two summers ago, that was our first and only read together. After that it all fell apart. : )

So clearly you could imagine my delight when I stumbled across these mugs by Etsy seller, Brookish.

(That one is for you GraceHepburn!)

I love that she even uses a font designed after Jane Austen’s signature. How clever.



Be sure to visit Brookish’s shop to see her other P&P wears.

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Book Review: At Home by Bill Bryson

Preface: I, Kat, solemnly swear I will not bombard you with reviews of every book that I read. However, I will post about books that I think are deserving enough to spread the word about. As previously mentioned, I am a voracious reader and if I reviewed them all you would never come back.

Bill Bryson is a GREAT author. I have thoroughly enjoyed every book of his that I have read. Bryson is a best-selling American author of witty books on culture, travel and language. He current now resides in England with his family in a Victorian parsonage, the house that launches his idea of his most recent book.

Amazon.com summarizes the book well:
“Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to “write a history of the world without leaving home.” The bathroom provides the occasion for a history of hygiene; the bedroom, sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen, nutrition and the spice trade; and so on, as Bryson shows how each has fig­ured in the evolution of private life.”

Basically, Bryson walks through the house chapter by chapter. He will start a chapter talking about his kitchen sink and end the chapter analyzing how ice and transportation revolutionized the way we eat.

In fact, I learned that a small lake, only 10 minutes from my house, was instrumental in that plight. The lake was famous for it’s crystal clear ice and was shipped all over the world. Food was displayed on this ice in the windows of London shops in the 1840s. Eventually people realized they could ship food all over the world via ice.

Somehow Bryson manages to forcefeed you historic trivia and you love it. Why do we use salt and pepper as our main two spices? Why does a fork have 4 tines? Whatever happened to the drawing room? How did we evolve from mud huts to rolling estates?

I first heard about this book because it kept appearing in the ad section on other home decor blogs that I follow. I knew I had to read it. It’s amazing to discover why our homes are constructed or decorated the way they are and the people who (unintentionally) changed home life forever.

“Houses aren’t refuges from history. They are where history ends up.” – Bryson

The subtitle is “A Short History of Private Life“, but I will warn you; it’s not exactly a short history. It was a whopping 550 pages. I admit, I started to lose interest 400 pages in, I’m only one for trivia for so long and with no culminating plotline to carry you through to the end one can lose focus.

I do, however, give it a 4/5.

Cheer Up! and an Oz Tangent

I am not a morning person. But I MAY become one if I had this adorable carafe from NYC boutique Fishs Eddy:

I am also loving these vintage illustration Wizard of Oz cups. My mom would love them.

That reminds me. Did anyone else read the old Oz books? I was mesmerized by them as a child. The illustrations are fantastic. They don’t make books like this anymore.

I remember my FAVORITE was the Patchwork Girl. Looking back now, I’m not sure why. I’m surprised she didn’t scare me (she’s a little creepy looking, isn’t she?)

I LOVE books. I love to read them and I love beautiful bindings. I suppose it made perfect sense that I studied writing and design in school.

Does anyone else love going into used bookstores and looking for hours? My husband is quite patient with me. I could hide in a corner and peruse through books like this every weekend.

Images from:

http://www.fishseddy.com/browse.cfm/2,61.html
http://www.kellscraft.com/Scarecrowofoz/scarecrowofozcontent.html
http://www.rareozbooks.com/Frank-Baum-available-books.html