I was at Target this weekend and ran into a couple of old friends!
Yes! The Gruffalo and the Gruffalo’s Child on DVD, based on the books by Julia Donaldson! If you haven’t seen these, they’re definitely worth watching and keeping! They feature the voices of Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, John Hurt, James Cordon and Tom Wilkinson. I’d venture to say they are modern classics. Check them out – now on sale at Target for $7.50!
Have you ever wondered what it takes to dress Queen Elizabeth? Here are just a few details I discovered via this weekend’s very informative Wall Street Journal article:
1. The Queen prefers a two-inch heel.
2. Striking colors are a must.
3. Umbrellas are a necessity (she likes transparent ones the most).
4. She has quite a collection of hats.
More details like these can be found in the book, “Dressing the Queen: The Jubilee Wardrobe” written by royal couturier Angela Kelly, who manages the queen’s public and private wardrobe.
The Royal Mail has just unveiled their latest tribute to children’s author Roald Dahl in a “gloriumptiously collectable” set of stamps. See them all!
I’m also loving the other accoutrements they are offering – stamp books, stamp cards, framed stamps, pin badges … everything that a Roald Dahl fan would eat up with a fork and knife (and maybe a spoon)!
Thanks to A Cup of Jo for bringing this to my attention!
If travel is in the cards in 2012, check out Taschen’s 4 Cities, a box set of 12 volumes covering hotels, restaurants and shops in London, Paris, New York and Berlin.
In the meantime, have a wonderful New Year’s and I’ll see you back here on Tuesday!
With each passing year, my attention span wanes and my reading list gets more abbreviated. Thankfully next year is already being dubbed “The Year of the Short Story,” perhaps in response to those like me who are short on time and long on commitments.
Another piece of good news: We don’t have to wait until 2012 to jump feet first into the short fiction fray. Chris Power of the Guardian has compiled a list of the top short stories published this year and he contends that there were some fantastic short reads if you knew where to look. Check it out.
And for those of you who are too time poor to read the article, I feel your pain. Here’s the recommended list:
1. Alice by Judith Hermann (Clerkenwell Press)
2. All the Lights (And Other Stories) by Clemens Meyer
3. The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories by Don DeLillo (Picador)
4. The Beautiful Indifference by Sarah Hall (Faber and Faber)
5. Best European Fiction 2012 edited by Aleksandar Hemon (Dalkey Archive)
6. Best British Short Stories 2011 edited by Nicholas Royle (Salt)
7. The Granta Book of the African Short Story edited by Helon Habila (Granta)
8. It Was Just, Yesterday by Mirja Unge (Comma Press)
9. Long, Last, Happy: New and Selected Stories by Barry Hannah (Atlantic)
10. Saints and Sinners by Edna O’Brien (Faber and Faber)
11. Scenes from Village Life by Amos Oz (Chatto & Windus)
12. The Suitcase by Sergei Dovlatov (One World)
13. We Others: New and Selected Stories by Steven Millhauser (Corsair)
I’m always a little fascinated when American publishers take a perfectly good UK book and dumb it down for American audiences.
For example, the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was renamed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the US because the dumbledores at Scholastic didn’t think American kids would want to read a book with the word “philosopher” in the title. Sad.
Ditto with Thomas the Tank Engine which had to be renamed Thomas the Train in the US because heaven forbid, we make anything slightly complicated for American children. What did they think? We would confuse Thomas who looks, sounds and acts like a train with a car engine?
But some of these American publishers’ changes are just pure political correctness at their best. My favorite remains … this guy.
If you’re from the UK, you know him best as the Fat Controller. Because he is the train director, and, well, he’s fat. Simple. How much of a backstory do we need to give these characters? It’s not actually until you’re much deeper into the series that it’s revealed that his name is Sir Topham Hatt.
Now if you’re from the US, you know him only as Sir Topham Hatt. Not as The Fat Controller. (I imagine at some point they probably debated calling him The Horizontally Gifted Controller or the Metabolically Challenged Controller before settling on Topham Hatt.) The same is true for the character of The Thin Controller. He is only named Mr. Percival in the US. (Not the Horizontally Challenged Controller.)
And that’s fine. They can call them whatever they want. But in my house? We’re reading the British versions.
Grandma recently sent our son a book that brought back happy memories from my childhood:
But it prompted an obvious question from this American: Who’s Wally and what have you done with Waldo?
Is he part of a witness relocation program and if so, why didn’t they ditch that red and white striped shirt, woolly hat and glasses? Dead giveaway.
Well, after doing a bit of online research, I’ve discovered that Where’s Waldo was actually created by a British illustrator Martin Handford. So let it be known that Where’s Waldo‘s real name is Wally, he is British and he went missing in the UK long before he ever was stateside.
In my research, I’ve also discovered that he has other alter egos. He is Charlie in France, Walter in Germany, Holger in Denmark, Valli in Iceland, Willy in Norway and Hetti in Sri Lanka & Goa. He’s also better known as Waldo in Canada and Japan, if you were wondering.
Yeah, I think we will all sleep better tonight.
If, by chance, you do have trouble sleeping, I’ll leave you with this: