It was to be expected: now that I’ve resumed working, my blogging time and motivation has dwindled to almost nothing. I use most of my spare time being around P. I still manage to read at a steady pace and watch films now and then. It’s harder finding time for music, not to speak of crafts and cooking.
Here is a book I enjoyed: The New Ghost, by british illustrator Rob Hunter. The story is as delicate as the drawings. Like the title says, it’s about a ghost on his first day. The author happens to drum in Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains. This book is published by Nobrow Press which seem to publish most excellent stuff (I remember Natalie posting a photo here of another seemingly nice book).
Posted: July 8th, 2012 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Art & illustration, Books | No Comments »
How is everyone doing? I have just finished reading my first e-book. As a librarian in love with physical books, I would never have thought I’d be tempted to get a reader. ‘Don’t saw off the branch you’re sitting on’ says a French expression (‘Don’t dig your own grave’). But one day it dawned on me that this could be a cheaper, less space-consuming way for me to read in English so I bought one for that purpose and I’m excited with my purchase.
For instance, I was curious to read the infamous ‘French children don’t throw food‘ by Pamela Druckerman I already mentioned here, but I didn’t really want to buy the physical book because I knew I wouldn’t re-read it and wouldn’t want it to occupy precious apartment space.
What I was curious about was not discovering the French way of bringing up children because I have an idea of what it is like, but of what it was like in the US and the UK in comparison, and why French parenting seemed of interest. Everything the author describes about French parenting is well-documented, absolutely accurate and spot-on. I can only assume that what she writes about the Anglophone way is too.
Well, to say the least, I got my money’s worth of cultural differences! In this global world you sometimes end up thinking everyone’s not so different after all, since we wear the same clothes, love the same tv series, live in the same Ikea furniture etc. But I already had hints from North-American blogs I follow that we were not on the same wavelength on the topic of children. I’m not going to say that the French way is superior, but now I know I couldn’t do it any other way. Honestly, I’m not even sure I would have wanted a child if I had been living in an Anglophone country. From what I read, it seems to me a recipe for unbearable brats and unhappy, enslaved parents. But Anglophone parents are probably as horrified as I am of the French way. Anyway, it was an enriching, thought-provoking read!
Record of the day: My Bloody Valentine – EPs
Posted: May 26th, 2012 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Books, Children | 7 Comments »
Daniel Johnston was in town on Monday. I missed the gig because, unlike for Frànçois the other night, this one was scheduled early (6PM), making it difficult to leave P.’s dinner, bath and bedtime to a babysitter. Daniel probably can’t stay up too late. But F. got me a nice consolation prize with this ace tote bag which will add up to my collection. There are video clips of the show here and here.
I have received the Lightships album (Electric Cables) a couple of days ago, and it’s a really georgous warm and free-flowing record.
I have been reading good novels, including Howards End by E.M. Forster, 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, Caribou Island by David Vann, and some youth fiction as I’m returning to work in 2 months…
Here is a pack of Petit Bateau onesies I got for P. to wear in the Summer, and with the loyalty card points we got these coincidentally matching notebooks. I love the look of them! They also issued a range with the band Herman Dune. I don’t know what to think when bands get involved with brands, but I quite like this t-shirt, and there are onesies too.
Also, I have been busy making drawings! I will let you know more about that in due time.
Record of the day: Lightships – Electric Cables
Posted: April 13th, 2012 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Books, Music, Wearables | 6 Comments »
Yesterday on TV, American journalist Pamela Druckerman was promoting her book untitled French Children Don’t Throw Food / Bringing Up Bébé. She has lived in France and thinks French children are better behaved than american kids. Here is an article about her controversial book.
I wasn’t really aware that we French had a particular way of raising children, but come to think of it, I often found myself more strict than most blogger mums from various countries who share about parenting, but this way of doing doesn’t seem strict to me, just normal. I would be curious to read that book, not to say we are the best or anything like that, but to understand which are the main differences in education.
Record of the day: The United States of America – s/t
Posted: January 28th, 2012 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Books, Children | 6 Comments »
Even though I am staying at home at the moment, I haven’t felt like resuming knitting because I prefer using my precious spare time for other things. Why would I bother anyway, when P.’s grandma makes outfits as wonderful as this one? I must say it’s great to see P. wear the items I have made for him though. He has worn these two a lot but they’re already too small now.
What I haven’t given up on is reading. I have been reading bestselling novels The Help by Kathryn Stockett and am currently reading Room by Emma Donohue. Two very different but very gripping stories, both about domination somehow. In both I appreciate the way the authors give voice to the characters (two black maids and an educated white girl / a 5-year-old boy), they sound really true to life. I would have preferred to read them in English but it was cheaper this way, and the translations are really fine.
And Santa brought me a beautiful big book about finnish textile design brand Marimekko.
Record of the day: The Who – Quadrophenia (The Director’s Cut)
Posted: January 5th, 2012 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Books, Crafts | No Comments »
Don’t Dick Bruna books look so cute? I was glad to score this little cardboard one for P. at a jumble sale. But these two pages annoy me: “Who is hiding behind the packet? It’s Daddy / Who is hiding behind the socks? It’s Mummy” Do I want these sexist stereotypes to feature in the first book I ever read to my son?
And how about Roule Galette, which is a true classic, read in every french kindergarten? At the beginning of the book, an old man says to his wife “I would like to eat shortbread. Bake me some. Go sweep the attic to find wheat grain.” She does so and brings him the shortbread. “It’s too hot!, he shouts, get it to cool down!” Shouldn’t the woman throw it in his face?
These two books were written in the 1950s, but similar stories appear in contemporary books. I’ll make sure to pick something else instead, at least until I’m able to discuss these with my child.
Record of the day: The Kinks – Kinda Kinks
Posted: December 13th, 2011 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Books, Children | 2 Comments »
The Raising by Laura Kasischke
After Special Topics in Calamity Physics which I didn’t enjoy much, I was a bit tired of ‘drama on american campus’. But having loved every book I had read by Laura Kasischke, I knew this one couldn’t be bad. It was actually really great. I can’t decide whether the ending was disappointing or not, though. It’s kind of a letdown, but I can’t think of a better idea.
Trois femmes puissantes by Marie NDiaye
This one won the 2009 Prix Goncourt, so I picked it up just to see what it was like. It’s actually 3 different stories with ‘strong women’ as main characters. The writing style is interesting, but slightly too pompous maybe. I only read the first of the three stories: even though I quite enjoyed it, I couldn’t be bothered to read the rest.
Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Having seen the trailer for the film, I felt like trying this one. I went about halfway through it. I didn’t completely dislike it, but it was dragging on a bit too much. The atmosphere of school and childrens interactions were accurately depicted, but not much was going on, plus the french translation was truly awful. Has anyone seen the film? Any good?
Three dollars by Elliot Perlman
I just finished this one, and it was really good. I enjoyed it as much as I had his other novel Seven Types of Ambiguity. From the beginning, we know the main character is going to end up with only three (australian) dollars. The novel is the story of his rise and downfall. Grim, ok, but a good picture of modern life, and the book has a lot of beautiful or funny moments too.
Record of the day: Atlas Sound – Parallax
Posted: December 3rd, 2011 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Books | No Comments »
Two graphic novels are on my Christmas wishlist:
Baby’s In Black by Arne Bellstorf is about early Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe. Being a beatlemaniac I already know the story: when I was 16 I got my hair cut short after Astrid Kirchherr’s. But the drawings in this graphic novel seem really great.
And Paul au parc by Michel Rabagliati is the 7th volume of Paul’s adventures and is set in Paul’s youth, contrary to the previous 2 volumes in which Paul was an adult. It can only be good.
Record of the day: Piano Magic – Low Birth Weight
Posted: December 1st, 2011 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Books | 2 Comments »
First, I would like to apologize if anyone bought Intrigue à Versailles by Adrien Goetz on my suggestion! As much as I enjoyed the previous novel, I really didn’t like this one, and I’ve now seen bad reviews here and there. Too many historical references, not enough plot, really not the easy captivating read I was expecting.
When I came home from maternity, I instead returned to the novel I had started reading before giving birth: Border Songs (A vol d’oiseau in French) by american author Jim Lynch. I went for this one not because the cover matches my favourite cushion, but because his first novel, The Highest Tide, had made a strong impression on me a couple of years ago. It was about a young boy fascinated by sea life, and had a great poetic atmosphere that was quite unique.
Border Songs is his second novel, and takes place around the border that separates the US from Canada in the west, that is to say the Washington State from British Columbia. It follows a handful of endearing characters from both sides, the main protagonist being a member of the US border police, a slightly autistic young man. The novel deals with many issues: drugs, terrorism, paranoia, nationalism, difference. It’s not as beautiful as The Highest Tide, but still it’s a book I enjoyed and would recommend.
In France it was published by Editions des Deux Terres. They have only put out a small number of books, but I really liked the couple I have read. I’ll probably further explore their catalogue.
Record of the day: The Clientele – Strange Geometry
Posted: October 12th, 2011 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Books | No Comments »