Thursday, December 31, 2009

It is sweet and surreal to be back home after two weeks in India, especially with the snow coming down strong and frosting everything like so many sheetcakes. (I just learned firsthand the real value of salted roads and snow tires—yikes!)

I'm looking forward to 2010 and hope it brings the best for all of you. "Baby-Sitters Club" fans definitely have something to look forward to! (Though I know a sequel with the girls all grown-up would do wonderfully, too. Don't give up on that idea yet, Ms. Martin!)

I also found this discussion of L. Frank Baum's influences on and intentions for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz fascinating. I think I will have to add it to my growing list of 2010 to-reads.

Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Indian winter

This will be my last post before the holidays, as I'm off to spend my Christmas vacation abroad. (Doesn't that sound glamorous/pretentious?)

To get my fill on holiday Americana before I leave, I've been enjoying the Christmas-movie marathon on Lifetime that's been running for weeks now. One of the best (and by that I mean cheesiest) so far was the one featuring Joanna Garcia, Luke Perry, and a Christmas wedding--a lethal combination!

So obviously, I love a good romantic comedy, and can generally look past their plot holes and overly simplistic (and overly gendered) characters. However, there's one holiday rom-com that so many women love, and I just can't understand why. I know this is going to be controversial, but it's . . . "Love Actually."

That movie is not romantic at all, at least not for women. It's been a while since I've seen it (and I've seen it only once, because I hated it so much), so forgive me if I'm getting the details a bit wrong, but here's what happens at the end to the "regular" women:
- Karen's husband leaves her for a younger woman.
- Sarah has to give up the opportunity to be with the hot foreign guy to be caretaker to her handicapped brother. (Which is love, sure, but do women always have to sacrifice? Can't they get both romantic and family love?)
- And, yes, Aurelia the maid gets to marry Colin Firth (Jamie, the fancy-pants novelist), but she and her husband don't even speak the same language, and she leaves her home country, once again, to be with him.

As for the guys:
- Hugh Grant, the prime minister, gets his assistant (who is beautiful and so not anywhere near fat, despite what the movie purports).
- Bill Nighy, the old fogie, runs of with some hot young thing.
- Jamie, as we know, marries the hot young Portuguese maid even though they can't even communicate. (Notice any pattern with the power differentials here?)
- And that one perverted guy goes to Wisconsin, where three hot young things very unrealistically submit to his every fantasy.
- Sure, there's the one boy who's in love with Juliet and doesn't get her, but good, because he shouldn't break up a happy young marriage between his best friend and his wife.

Perhaps this movie just showed on one hand what happens realistically to women and on the other what men would like to happen, but for this reason I just can't understand why it's such a holiday favorite with us females. I would like to rename it "Love, Crappily."

On that note, I wish you all actual love this holiday season, and only truly feel-good movies.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The debate continues

I read this article, about a Canadian private school going totally electronic with their textbooks, with interest.

I can remember lugging my huge backpack full of heavy textbooks home from school every night, so I definitely see the advantage on that end. And of course environmentally this makes much more sense.

But I still can't imagine flipping through my e-reader to find the page I remembered X on, like I did (and still do) with physical books. Maybe kids today find this totally natural, though?

It's true that it's quite easy to do a "Find" search with a computer document, so maybe this has replaced for them the visual memory of us old-fashioned types. (Does anyone else have my frustratingly incomplete visual memory, one that can call up what the page looks like, but not exactly what was written on it?)

- L'Editrice

Saturday, December 5, 2009

All about books

While we were all recovering from our Thanksgiving overeating last Friday, "On the Media" was talking about books and their future. Interesting stuff.

A few days later, Sherman Alexie made it clear to Stephen Colbert that he's very much in the traditionalist camp when it comes to book dissemination:

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- L'Editrice

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Decadent December

L'Editrice is back, after some busy days. I hope everyone else is likewise basking in a nice Thanksgiving afterglow. As George Burns once said, "Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city."

Ha! But honestly, I had a really nice reunion with my family, almost completely drama free.

To kick off December, I thought I'd share the etymology of the word "cookie," one of my favorite words all year round, but especially appropriate at this time of year. Here's what The Improper Bostonian says:

"From the Dutch word for little cakes, 'koekje,' cookies started as test batter to gauge an oven's temperature, but evolved into pats of butter and dough that represented their baker's ingenuity, pastry skills and, during the holidays, affection for the lucky recipient."

Wishing you a cookie-filled holiday season,