6.19.2008

randomness


My children are finishing school tomorrow and next week and I am so looking forward to slowing down and enforcing some nice quiet time every day. I bought this book last week intending to save it for summer vacation, but I made the mistake of taking a peek -- and then I read it all that day, staying up until the wee hours to finish. If you can't read the title in the picture it is I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith - and it's by far the best novel I've read in a long time. I loved it, times about four million. Charming characters, funny conversations, great language, a little bit of romance and a pretty cover - everything I crave in a good book. What are your summer reads?

Also in the picture are my terrariums. This is my third attempt (wheat grass, because it's only 99 cents), destined for death in about a week, I'd guess. So far we've killed a lot of moss (I think by over-watering? but how do you stop a determined four-year old with a spray bottle?) and some other short plants that I never really learned the names of. I think part of the problem might be that the children keep putting small plastic farm animals and shark teeth in them, to create little scenes (of death) and so the humidity is all messed up. Oh, and I'd hazard a guess that dropping the terrarium probably wasn't good for it, either.

Happy summer! And please, book recommendations! I'm in Dodie Smith withdrawal now.

50 comments:

Des said...

I was JUST thinking of this book today! I read it last year and loved the characters and conversations! Your cover is way cuter than MY cover. I guess there's a movie out about it as well, but it's rated R. I'm thinking what in there is rated R???? I hate hollywood. Just clicked over here to your blog from somewhere else from somewhere else. :) Is Sugar City for Sugar City Idaho??

Des said...

oh....forgot my recommendation. Highly, HIGHLY recomment Three cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Relin. Non-fiction, but a page turner. Inspiring and thoughtful. You'll want to do more and give more with your life.

Megan said...

I have been reading your blog for a little over a month and I'm just amazed by the sewing! I can't wait for your patterns to be available. My *favorite* book is Expecting Adam by Martha Beck - amazing read.

Megan said...

And one more! - I also love Leaving the Saints by Martha Beck. It's not warm and fuzzy but really makes you think. Even with that said, I'd still say it's a great summer read!

Rebecca said...

Oh man! I have been obsessing about terrariums lately!! I love the wheatgrass idea.

French Knots said...

I have been re-reading books from my childhood - Little Women, The Secret Garden,Swallows and Amazons - lovely.

Deborah W said...

Love your blog! Here are some of the best books I've read recently: "Losing Julia," by Jonathan Hull, "The Lovely Bones," by Alice Sebold, "You're Not You," by Michelle Wildgen, "Finding Fish," by Antwone Fisher, "Peace Like a River," by Leif Engel, "Water for Elephants," by Sara Gruen, "Without a Map," by Meredith Hall, and "A Three Dog Life," by Abigail Thomas. All excellent. I have never read Dodie Smith so look forward to following your recommendation for "Capture the Castle." Have a great summer!

melissa said...

I'm excited to have a good summer read. Maybe I'll read it while on the airplane, flying across the country with my three small children. Well maybe not then. I think I'll really being crying...Anyway, I always love your book recommendations. I'm going to order this one right now! Thanks Lynne!

melissa said...

Oh and yes, to answer Des' question, this is Sugar City Idaho!

brooke said...

in response to the first comment - the movie is really great (especially to cure those withdrawals - i had the same problem!). the only reason it is rated r is because crazy topaz likes to go nude and they like to show it. so close your eyes for those 2 scenes and it is very PG.

btw, my husband and i grow wheatgrass all the time. you'll want to take the lids off those jars if you want it to survive. and also try growing them without dirt (crazy, i know, but it is much better and tidier - no dirt for the kids to mess with either).

Poshyarns said...

Oh, quite possibly my favourite book ever! One of the very few books I have read more than once. My top ten also includes "The Diary of a Provincial Lady" by E M Delafield.

lynne said...

man, i didn't even know it was a movie! awesome. and, thanks for the tip on the wheat grass. who knew?!

Jeannie said...

Lynne, I love this blog! You and your sister (or sis-in-law?) are so creative! Thanks for the book recommendation. I'm always looking for a good one to read! I hope you enjoy your summer. I can't believe how big your cute kids are! We miss you here in CT!

Collins said...

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger was one of the best books I have read. You would also enjoy The Prize Winner of Defiance,Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan. A long title, but a wonderful book!

Kari said...

This was a great book. The movie was an unusually good adaptation too. I'm trying to get my reading group blog up, we'll have lots of recommendation when/if we ever do!
www.readinglate.blogspot.com

Grosgrain Kathleen said...

Oh oh oh, I have the best book for you! I don't know if you are a David Sedaris fan or ever heard of him but he has a new book out.... "When You Are Engulfed in Flames"
He's the funniest writer I've ever come across. I don't know if I can fully recommend it, since I haven't gotten a chance to read it yet but I'm only a day away from starting.

louise said...

Also my one of my favourite books, as is The Pursuit of Love, by Nancy Mitford, Our Spoons Came from Woolworths by Barbara Comyns, and Elisabeth and Her German Garden by Elisabeth von Armin. I also liked Leaving the Saints...but found it truly shocking.

meg said...

read The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. it is ridiculously good.

Grosgrain Kathleen said...

I have two more....both are being made into movies are will be released within the next year....
"The Time Travelers Wife"
"The Lovely Bones"

Carolyn said...

I also loved I Capture the Castle and since I've read it, I have tried to celebrate Midsummer's night in style (not dancing nude...in the hills) but with friends and food and fire. Last year we involved some little kids and dressed up as fairies and cooked s'mores over charcoal grill in the woods. By the way tomorrow is midsummer's night. The last book I read that I really enjoyed is "the Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. It is extremely creative, funny, tender, and has beautiful prose. It takes place in WWII in Germany and the family is a poor family with a foster daughter. Enjoy!

Prue said...

I'd be really surprised if you killed moss by overwatering (I am a botanist, who studied moss at Uni). You can't even kill it by underwatering it - it just dries out and then you wet it again and it continues to grow... But it could be that it went mouldy...

jessica said...

Have you read: a tree grows in Brooklyn? I really enjoyed I capture the castle too. Also: The True confessions of Charlotte doyle, it's young adult - but a good read. It's by Avi, i think.

heather said...

Here are the best things I've read this summer...and they've turned into some of my favorite reading experiences:
The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters and it's sequel The Dark Volume (both by D.H. Dahlquist),
and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (by Susanna Clarke).
They're both a little historical-fiction-y, a little mysterious, and so enjoyable to read!

Janelle said...

I'm reading The Kite Runner right now, and will possibly also read 1000 Splendid Suns this summer. For light and easy summer reading, I would recommend Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. Fun book!

claire said...

Oh, 'I Capture my Castle' is one of my favorite books! I also recommend 'North and South' by Elizabeth Gaskell (the BBC movie is also excellent). BBC's 'Persuasion' with Amanda Root is my all-time favorite movie, too. Melissa, I love that coat that you made so much. In fact, I made one for myself using the pattern you recommended and your pictures as guides. It turned out beautifully-thanks!

Jen said...

I can't wait to read this! YAY! Love the terrariums too Lynne!

Some really great comments on this blog! Thanks ladies!

Emily said...

My friend Becki loves Bill Bryson, so I finally read his "A Walk in the Woods", curious to see what all the hubbub was about. Funniest environmental history book you've ever read. And I also just got around to reading "Memoirs of a Geisha" which was equally as good...but not as funny .

Leila said...

I'm reading POSSESSION by A. S. Byatt right now and it's FANTASTIC! I'd recommend it to anyone. It was a movie a few years ago with Gwenneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart but I like the book better.

Thanks for the recommendation from you! I have a lot of books on my reading list but I think something might just get bumped . . .

Good luck with the terrariums

Leila said...

Ah! Hello again. I just came back from amazon. I THOUGHT that was the name of the author of 101 Dalmations. It's a really good book (believe it or not!) if you really just can't get enough Dodie Smith!

paige said...

I love when a book is so good large portions of time are devoted to it. I would recommend Wives & Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. I love the book AND the movie!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Thanks for the recommendation!
And as far as others, I'll be bold and say to take a look at mine :)
The New York Times liked it, for what it's worth!
Have a great weekend!
Becky

Laura said...

My summer reading is "Witness" by Whittaker Chambers. It is one gloriously messy tale of a Soviet spy, "his personal degradation and desperation, followed by his political and religious redemption and salvation." The story encompasses "the elements of a thriller and a courtroom drama", with a witness of what true love and sacrifice really are. In addition, the author just happens to write brilliantly.
This will be my third time reading it. It is one of those books I couldn't put down!
P.S., I love your blog!

anne said...

Hello! Love your blog! Inspired me to sew a cute little dress when I was home visiting my parents for Father's Day. I'm not very handy with a sewing maching so I enlisted my mother!

Anyway, I would recommend "The Ice Chorus" by Sarah Stonich. Also, anything by Jennifer Weiner. She's funny.

jendoop said...

love I capture the Castle also. was going to recommend Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Book Thief others beat me to it. how about Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Zafon?

Jeanne_2008 said...

You should check out Shannon Hale's "The Goose Girl" and "the Princess Academy." Geared a little more towards young adults, but so great and clean. I loved them. I also enjoyed "Enna Burning" and "Book of a thousand days." Can't wait to read her other books.

Denise said...

I loved this book, I must dig it up for my daughter.

Bethany Hissong said...

Thanks for your recommendation! I started reading "The Friday Night Knitting Club" by Kate Jacobs while I was on vacation and I'm totally enthralled, but only in the first part of the book! It's great so far!

Margo said...

I LOVE DODIE SMITH!!! After I read "Castle", (this year - - why did it take me so long to discover her?! I was an English teacher!) I found "A Tale of Two Families" also by her. It's quite good.

If you like Dodie Smith, I bet you would like Rumer Godden too. She's whimsical and creates very real characters, just like Smith. Unlike Smith, Godden is much more prolific - what a great thing to find a wonderful AND prolific author! One of my favorite Rumer Godden books is "The Battle of the Villa Fiorita" but I just finished "Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy" (some of it is set in a convent, but it's NOT boring).

lynne said...

Wow, I am so excited... I have read some of these books but many I am just learning about from all of you. I can't wait to go to the library with my list now...! Thank you!

Alexandra said...

Thanks so much for the book suggestions. I am always on the lookout for a good new book. Unfortunately, I have been through a string of worthless ones lately.

Thanks again for the inspiration to grow things with kids. You have such great ideas and you really have helped me branch out creatively as a mom. I love the internet.

Ravenhill said...

your blog is a great summer read in my opinion! I cracked up at the scene you described in the wheat grass. No, kids cannot be stopped in their imaginative play! Wonderful!
~Emily

Anonymous said...

Hi,

My favourite book of all time right now is called "Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell" by Susanna Clarke. It is a fictional tale of magicians in England complete with footnotes and wonderful, whimsical and occasionally dark (as any story involving fairies and magic should be) characters and situations. It is the only book that I will ever reread.

Jess said...

I just stayed all day and read "Water for Elephants"
Really good read.

Stevi said...

I love A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, too. I remember reading it together with my grandmother one summer when I was about 12 and went thru a book every few days! That was one of my grandmother's favorite books, too.

When I looked up Dodie Smith on Amazon, I was shocked that she wrote 101 Dalmations, too! How neat!

Kitty said...

'I Capture the Castle' is one of the great summer-time, sitting-under-a-tree-with-an-apple reads, and when I finished it, one undergraduate summer, I was devastated: I thought I wouldn't find anything I liked quite so much, ever again... Not true, of course. Nancy Mitford (The Pursuit of Love / Love in a Cold Climate / The Blessing) fills the gap-they have just the same flavour, frivolity offset against the anxiety of growing up. Then there is Frances Tower's 'Tea with Mr Rochester', published by wonderful Persephone Books; they also brought out the marvellous 'Mariana' by Monica Dickens and 'The Making of a Marchioness', by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which Linda is reading in 'The Pursuit of Love'. You might also like Angela Thirkell's comedies of manners, set in 1930s rural England, or Georgette Heyer's many and marvellous regency romances: try Venetia. But if I were you, I would take Jan Struther's 'Mrs Miniver' on holiday with me: I think, if you haven't already read it, that it might be the summer read for you.

lynne said...

Again, thank you!!! There are so many books that sound so great. I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Don't know if this helps, but spider grass is pretty good in terrariums. We (accidentally)propogated about a hundred or so (okay, maybe twenty( by jamming the things in old coffee jars, and leading them on a path of neglect/over enthusiastic care. Not as pretty as the wheat grass though.... Janet

monster paperbag said...

"Black Swan Green" by David Mitchell is really good :).

Karen said...

Oh my God, I love that book! I felt like I had discovered it, but now that I've finished I'm seeing it everywhere. It really is a fabulous novel, isn't it?

I highly recommend A Tree Grows In Brooklyn as a chaser to I Capture the Castle. Or you can chase the other way around. They just suit each other.

Karen said...

I obviously commented before reading the comments. Many others seem to love the I Capture the Castle / A Tree Grows in Brooklyn combo. You are obviously destined to read or reread it.