Here’s my dilemma: In normal circumstances, when novels are adapted to the small or big screen, readers are left with the question: should I see the film? Or: should I watch the show?  Because these almost never live up to the books (well done imagination!)   So I’m confounded by the rise of the fantastic Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries television series, produced in Australia, which is so much fun and so visually luscious that I’m no longer sure that I should read the books! – Which I had never heard of! – Whose author I didn’t know either (even though … Continue reading THE FABULOUS FLIRTATIOUS PHRYNE FISHER


The word Shakespeare entered my life fairly early on. It almost always sounded like it was spoken entirely in capital letters. No given name necessary. I was also under the impression that reading Shakespeare—which seemed about as amusing as climbing Mount Everest or perhaps getting your teeth pulled—separated the literary wheat from the chaff. When our high school teacher mentioned Shakespeare, he was usually met with eye rolls. We all preferred Dickens, and that’s what we got. Our teacher knew better than to try to force feed us the Bard.   And yet there was Romeo and Juliet ! And … Continue reading LIFE WITH SHAKESPEARE


(SHOULD I READ IT OR WATCH IT?) Where my inspiration for these blog posts comes from isn’t always clear to me, but this time, it may be thoughts of upcoming Easter egg hunts. For younger children, it doesn’t get any better than the search for and discovery of egg after precious chocolate egg, until the basket is full. And though our definitions of treasure may change through the years, the idea of hunting for a hidden trove appeals to us all, I think, and its seed is planted early. Whether it’s hidden in a cave, sunken or buried, where there’s … Continue reading THE PLEASURE OF TREASURE


(SHOULD I READ IT OR WATCH IT?) Novelist Meg Wolitzer wrote that: “Being a teacher at a restaurant in the town where you lived was a little like being a TV star…” It might sound goofy, but many teachers, especially grade school teachers―though I’ve see it happen to teachers at every level―have experienced that strange moment of encounter with a student outside of the confines of school: the student’s stunned recognition at the shopping mall, or the cinema, or even the doctor’s waiting room; the spontaneous smile (thank goodness for that!) and then the: “Hey! Hi Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So!”; … Continue reading TEACHING IS DRAMA!


(SHOULD I READ IT OR WATCH IT?) I was so relieved when I went to bed last Sunday (January 4th) and was able to turn the light off because there was no power failure!  I honestly don’t know how my family made it to Monday unscathed, but we did―sixty year-old maples and all. Still, I spent most of the day with a knot in my stomach, because I was having such feelings of déjà vu.  Did anyone notice that last Sunday’s freezing rain storm coincided with the date of the official first day of the 1998 Ice Storm? I couldn’t … Continue reading ARMCHAIR STORM CHASERS


(SHOULD I READ IT OR WATCH IT?) This is the right time of year to write about books and movies that inspire, don’t you think? With the Holidays a few weeks away, we feel drawn to stories that remind us that though life may be tough, it’s also essentially wondrous, and change is always possible. In December, the first story of change and redemption that pops to mind is of course Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol that most of us know from having watched it rather than read it. No matter its flaws, I love the story and can’t help … Continue reading IT’S DECEMBER: BE INSPIRED!


(from the SHOULD I READ IT OR WATCH IT? category) November seems to have settled over us like a cold damp blanket. Suddenly, driving a car is more complicated, more hazardous and a lot less fun. A hassle, plain and simple. Cars lose all their glamour and appeal in winter: they get crusted over with slush and salt, and they sound and feel arthritic when the deep cold causes them to groan and moan and creak. And yet, they’re such beautiful machines. Emblems of the 20th century. They’re about travel and speed and escape and human inventiveness and freedom. Cinema … Continue reading VROOM! VROOM!