Monday, September 22, 2008

Books, Beautiful Books

Be sure to check out Jacqueline's post on novels turned into movies over at Another Old Movie Blog (click title of this post). She mentions many of my all-time favorite books and has some wonderful illustrations of book jackets.

By coincidence, my 13-year-old has been reading MAMA'S BANK ACCOUNT by Kathryn Forbes. She finished it tonight at 11:40 p.m. One of the advantages of homeschooling is you don't have to quit reading if you're in the middle of a book you can't put down!

We have a video copy on hand of I REMEMBER MAMA, with Irene Dunne's Oscar-nominated performance in the title role, so I suspect she'll be watching it soon.

I first came across MAMA'S BANK ACCOUNT in my junior high school library. That's also the place where I first discovered GONE WITH THE WIND, MRS. MIKE, JUBILEE TRAIL, CELIA GARTH, OUR HEARTS WERE YOUNG AND GAY, PAPA'S WIFE, DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, and LET THE HURRICANE ROAR. My oldest daughter attended the same school -- based on her experience, the other children are all skipping it -- and they still had the same copies of GONE WITH THE WIND in the library. I wonder what happened to the rest of the books...

The high school library was also quite good back then. That's where I first found I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, AS THE EARTH TURNS, THE EDGE OF TIME, TRYST, and my all-time favorite books, Elswyth Thane's seven WILLIAMSBURG NOVELS.

When my daughter attended the high school, she brought me a unique treasure: the library's copy of Thane's YANKEE STRANGER still had a "check-out" card with the signatures of students who had checked out the book, including my own name. In this computerized age, the card had been unused for over 20 years, as the library had changed to a "modern" checkout system; it was pure chance that the card was still in the pocket of this particular book. (I hope the fact that the card hadn't been thrown away didn't mean the book was sitting on the shelf ignored!) The card was certainly destined for the trash at some point, so she brought it home to me and I tucked it in my own copy of the book. It's a wonderful little memento of the first time I "met" Thane's Day and Sprague families.

Happily, over the years I've managed to track down copies of almost all the above titles for my own bookshelves and share them with my children.


Blogger Jacqueline T Lynch said...

"When my daughter attended the high school, she brought me a unique treasure: the library's copy of Thane's YANKEE STRANGER still had a "check-out" card with the signatures of students who had checked out the book, including my own name."

That's neat. Thanks for the nod, and I hope your readers will recall books-into-movies they loved.

4:43 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

I've only the play version of "I Remember Mama". Now, I must look for the book. Also, I didn't know that "Meet Me in St. Louis" was a book. Thanks for the many book titles.

5:01 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

"I hope your readers will recall books-into-movies they loved."

I hope so too, Jacqueline!

Some of my favorites were never filmed -- for instance, the frontier romance THE EDGE OF TIME by Loula Grace Erdman, which was published in 1950, would have made a marvelous movie. I've always wondered if it might have been filmed if it had been published 10 or 15 years earlier.

I was delighted to learn a few months ago that Texas Christian University Press brought this book back into print in the late '80s, as part of a series of books about that state, with the general title Texas Tradition. It's available via Amazon.

I would dearly love to find the obscure 1934 film made of Gladys Hasty Carroll's AS THE EARTH TURNS (which, if I remember correctly, was a Pulitzer nominee). Jean Muir played the lead. I've never had the opportunity to see it.

Best wishes,

Best wishes,

8:34 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

"Also, I didn't know that 'Meet Me in St. Louis' was a book. Thanks for the many book titles."

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS started out as a series of magazine stories, which were then published as a book, also known as 5135 KENSINGTON. It's fun to compare to the movie -- some things are identical, and some things are very different. For instance, third sister Agnes is a much more prominent character; I recall reading that Agnes was based on the author, Sally Benson.

I hope you enjoy checking out some of these titles! Please drop me a line if I can supply any author names to help you in your search. :)

Best wishes,

8:38 AM  
Blogger Michele B. said...

I'm so happy your daughter has read yet another of my favorite books - I re-read Mama's Bank Account on a regular basis. When is she going to start on the Williamsburg Novels? The book pictured is my favorite (I know which one yours is!) How neat that your oldest brought you that card.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Michele! She started reading SENIOR YEAR by Anne Emery for the first time today. Told her if she likes it she's got a lot more to look forward to. Maybe MEET THE MALONES next? :)

Oldest daughter has been trying to convince youngest daughter to start in on the WILLIAMSBURG books...hopefully soon! Although my favorite is EVER AFTER, as you know (grin), I think the YANKEE STRANGER cover is the prettiest!

She just finished a literature unit on JANE EYRE. Fun! Oldest just worked her way through the first 7 POLDARK books. :)


6:13 PM  
Blogger Ms.Daisy said...

Laura, I read MRS MIKE in High School and loved it! I had just been thinking that I'd like to read this book again and so was pleasantly surprised to see it listed in your post.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Jean, MRS. MIKE is a wonderful book. I have a very vivid memory of reading the whole thing in a single afternoon and evening -- I didn't move for hours. :)

(I do have a more trouble reading it since becoming a parent, though...I'm more sensitive to certain subject matter.)

There is a fun movie with Dick Powell & Evelyn Keyes I'd love to see again, although this was a case where the book was definitely better than the movie. I hope you're able to read it again soon.

It's fun to find out the books we all have in common!

Best wishes,

11:16 PM  
Blogger Ms.Daisy said...

Laura, I know what you mean by "certain subject matter" as I was quizzed by the school principal AND the school librarian as to what I thought of the book, Mrs. Mike! At the time, I read books as a whole (not taking them apart - like some of my friends did!) and I said as much! With what is out there in this day and age, though, that was tame.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Jean, the difficulty I have now with MRS. MIKE is the sad stuff...I got emotional when I read it "back then" but now I *really* get emotional! LOL.

I heard there is a sequel to MRS. MIKE that was written years later, but unfortunately it's not supposed to be very good...


11:00 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Update: The 1934 film AS THE EARTH TURNS will air on TCM January 29, 2009.


4:17 PM  

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