May 11th, 2010


To-Do Lists & Noel Streatfeild, THE PAINTED GARDEN

I seem to be in a sort of rut but am keeping afloat with to-do lists. I really don't feel like doing anything except lolling around reading, but am trying to keep up with the gym, and laundry, and writing, and business associated with writing, not to mention the day job.

I've been adding to the to-do lists every day, pretty much, usually tiny things that only take a minute to actually accomplish. It seems to get me moving when I know that if I do them, I can cross them off the list. The mind is strange.

I finished reading Noel Streatfeild's The Painted Garden yesterday. In this one (most of her books are, ahem, very similar), the oldest daughter dances ballet, the youngest brother plays the piano, and the (unsurprisingly) bad-tempered middle daughter lacks talent but ends up cast in a movie being made from The Secret Garden. Streatfeild never met a cheesy stereotypical dialect she didn't like, and in this one, since the family travels to America, we get not only an Irishman and a couple of Italians but a Negro train porter and cook, who aside from her "sho' nuf'" accent is twice described as rolling her eyes. *shudder* But I was sort of used to all that, given the Chinese soldier, the various British dialects, etc. in the other ones I've read.

No, the thing that made me laugh and shudder in true horror was when, near the end of the book, a grown man gives to a eight-year-old boy the gift of a fancy cigarette case that plays music, and all of the men at the party offer him some cigarettes to keep in it. How times and mores have changed!