Hold Your Breath, Make a Wish…

November 26, 2013 at 4:12 am (Events, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

StorytellerTitle: Storyteller

Author: Donald Sturrock

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster

Genre: Biography/ Literature

Length: 656 pages

“…Count to three…

Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.

Take a look and you’ll see into your imagination.

We’ll begin with a spin…

Traveling in a world of my creation.

What we’ll see will defy explanation!”

I don’t know anyone who didn’t grow up enthralled with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the movie).  I know many who were equally amazed by the books below, though obviously less because after all there aren’t as many book-nerds as there are movie goers.

Roald Dahl

I dreamed of writing books like these as a child.  As an adult, though I am an aspiring novelist with a novella recently published, however, I find myself longing to be a biographer.  That’s where the real talent lies.

Donald Sturrock’s Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl is fascinating.  You wouldn’t think reading a biography on a man who hated biographies would be so riveting, but it is.  I also never expected the man who had such a vivid imagination to have such an involved life.  For some reason I usually expect people who imagine much to live little.  I am constantly being proven wrong.

When reading the opening pages, I was at first struck with how much I previously didn’t know about Dahl at all.  Little things, like his height.  I didn’t know that Dahl was so tall, six foot five! Then describe his personality: a witty bit of a curmudgeon… an entertainer, someone always intrigued by the best of things… in those early pages I thought I might fall in love with him! Too bad he was married, would be far too old if he were living, and by the way is also dead.

Further into the biography, the magic wears off as he becomes more and more a real person.  Everyone has flaws.  I find his attachment to celebrity and his name-dropping a huge turn off as a human, but I still adore him.  However, rather than continue to adore Dahl the way I did from the start of the book, I find myself completely compelled to discover more about this biographer.

The life of researchers ever pique my interest.  I am an amateur.  I read and read and read, take notes, and then hop and skip over to a new topic.  I rarely develop ideas as thoroughly as I should, and though I never become bored with a topic I quite frequently find myself distracted by the shiny newness of others.  A biographer – a good biographer – can’t be so willy-nilly.  I respect that.  I am envious of that.

In regards to Roald Dahl, all I can say is that you should read Sturrock’s biography.  I don’t like giving away spoilers, but I think the year 2014 will be full of Dahl titles, both because I am newly inspired to read them and my kiddo is ready to hear me read the children’s titles aloud, I think.

Roald Dahl chocolate table 4

Dahl died November 23, 1990.  In honor of his Death-aversary, Good Books in the Woods held a chocolate tasting (compliments of Schaokolad in The Woodlands).  One of the patrons had actually met Dahl in person before his death so the discussion, as all discussion at Good Books, was exciting and rather involved.

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When I’m Not Reading – Riders of the North

July 12, 2013 at 7:35 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Riders of the North

Riders of the North is a Social Bike Ride in the northern suburbs of Houston in an attempt to get a Critical Mass going.  Our first run was last night (Thursday) from 7:45 pm until… well… much later.

First Riders of the NorthWe had our first ride last night and at any given point in time had between 15-20 people.  Not bad for a first run.  We met in Old Town Spring and traveled to The Woodlands, hung out in Market Square at Bar Louis, and headed back to OTS again.  Depending on where you were coming from, whether you rode your bike or drove your car to OTS, the ride was between 20-25 miles.  My legs feel AWESOME, aka this is one of the best work outs ever.

We’re going to be doing this weekly until we get enough people interested in doing a formal Critical Mass at the end of every month.  We’d love to have more riders join us, just hit up our facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/610444132308669/

We stopped to eat at Bar Louies where I downed a Chicken Caesar Salad, a crap ton of water, and Angry Orchard Beer.  That beer was phenomenal and extremely refreshing after cranking out ten miles on my bike.

So while I’m not reading, come join me for a bike ride.  Even in the Texas heat, after dark with the wind in your face, the world feels great.  There are some great peeps on the ride and despite a few kinks along the way (people riding at WAY different speeds, two flat tires, and a spill), I think we all had a blast.  I certainly did.

If you know of any great bike books, leave me a comment.  I’ll read them.

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When We’re Not Reading – August Edition

August 13, 2012 at 4:24 am (Education, Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Old MacDonald’s Farm – Humble

… Is such a great place to take kids.  Ayla has a blast just running in any place that has vast, open spaces.  Add farm animals and swing sets, and you just can’t go wrong.  It’s only $8 a person to get in, so even if you’re not one of those cool people with coupons (like me), it’s pretty cheap if you only have one kid.  The baby goats were easily kiddo’s favorite as they were about the size of a one year old beagle, you know before the hounds get fatter, so they were easy to maneuver around.  Although we didn’t use these particular things, because we were only there for about an hour, there’s a swimming pool and pony rides too.  The most gratifying part for me, as both a mom and a reader, was when she was able to identify the pigs, having seen them previously in her Gossie & Friends books.

Woodlands Waterway & Park

> Kiddo making friends with Guitar playing strangers; these two lovely people were incredibly sweet considering my daughter totally invaded their date night.

Find a parking spot, buy your picnic food at HEB (which is right there), and head on over to the park.  Again, the kiddo loves having vast, open places to run and play, and apparently everyone is willing to share balls and frisbees with a toddler.  Good thing too, because I think she may have stolen them otherwise.  What’s great about hanging out here, I discovered thanks to my bestie, is that you can pretty much hear any concert being held at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion for free. This is great for families with small kids and poor students because you can pop in for a bit, not feel obligated to stick around for the whole thing, but still hear a great show. Artists will sell demo cds (for donation only, of course) and the hipsters sit around and play their guitars while dads throw footballs with their kids. It’s great. There was a lady there this evening at the Jason Mraz and Christina Perri non-show that had citronella candles and bottles of wine, made me incredibly jealous, she was so cozy and prepared.

Meteor Shower

I’d write about our meteor shower adventure last night, but really we just did even more running in fields and caught a few really low flying airplanes that kiddo thought was pretty cool.  We sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and pointed out stars, and that was it.

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