Tuesday, September 3, 2019

August Favorites: Space Operas, Broadway Musicals, and Ballet Studios

I got some vacation reading done while the kids and I were away in August. I burned through this book during a couple of evenings in dog-friendly hotel rooms--

--and I loved it! I'm a fan of travel memoirs written by bumbling travelers (apparently this is an Especial Thing done by bumbling hikers in particular), especially when the writing is able to endear me to the narrator, and I found myself, two nights in a row, eating from a styrofoam cup of Ramen and getting super invested in the condition of Strayed's feet.

My favorite book of the month, though, is one that I scavenged from Will's reading log:

Space Opera sucked me in despite myself. I started off irritated that it was just seeming really derivative of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, my FAVORITE book, and also the main character was annoying and unappealing.

Will, it seems, has an affinity for main characters that start off irritating and unappealing and then, as this main character did, as well, draw you in and make you love them in spite of yourself.

And no, Space Opera isn't anymore derivative of Hichhiker's than anything is in an age in which the Guide has long been part of our collective canon. Instead, it's appreciative of glam rock in a time in which we've recently been reminded of how bittersweetly we loved Freddy Mercury, and also it's winkingly derivative of Eurovision, which you know by now that the kids and I ARE DEEPLY INTO.

And there's a reconciliation between two people who were friends in the best days of their youth. I cried, because it speaks to probably my fondest, most impossible fantasy. I miss you, Mac.

Here's the rest of what I read in August!

Will had a LOT of favorites in August. For one thing, she's been randomly obsessed with Tom Swift, and counts one of his adventures as a favorite for the month:

She also adored this little children's fantasy novel:

AND this children's sci-fi novel. Have you ever noticed how innovative and imaginative children's literature can be?

And would it even be a Will's Favorites list if it didn't have a Tamora Pierce novel on it?

When I was Will's age, I was just as into fantasy as she is now, so I think it's fun to see all the "deep in the middle of the series" fantasy books that Will counts as her favorites:

And this is a favorite of Will's that I've put in my own must-read stack for September!

Probably not this one, though. Will has a LOT more patience for Avi than I do!

I AM requesting this favorite of Will's, though. It sounds magical!

In all of the escapist fluff, it was lovely to find this beautiful novel, set in post-World War 2 Germany:

It's moving and complicated, and I'm sorry that it seems to be out of print. Perhaps your library, too, has an old copy!

Here's the rest of what Will read in August!

In the World of Weird YouTube videos, here's what Syd gathered the entire family around to watch recently:

She thinks the giant waterslide looks AMAZING. I think that kid is just one bottle of baby oil away from flying off it at forty miles an hour and landing in a stand of sharpened bamboo.

Here's another one for Syd, although I get the credit for finding it. We love odd ballet performances!

We also really like these Royal Opera House lectures. We've seen this one several times, and I still think it's super interesting!

And here's an example of the kinds of rabbit holes that Will falls down! She wants to up her dog training game, so that led to watching some dog training videos, and of course if you're watching dog training videos YouTube is going to suggest that you watch some dog agility trials!

Fun fact: if you watch enough dog agility trials, YouTube will also suggest that perhaps you'd also like to watch Corgi races:

Reader, you would.

My own rabbit holes in August were related to Broadway musicals, as usual, but also grizzly bears. I LOVED this documentary on the making of just one scene in Broadway's Annie:

I won't share with you the video that I watched on grizzly bear attacks, but I'd just finished reading a VERY vividly-composed chapter on bear attacks in Death in Yellowstone (that will be on my September book list, because I only just finished it this weekend!), and wanted to see if there were any videos on the topic.

There are. Feel free not to watch them.

Instead, tell me what YOU loved to read and watch in August!

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