Daily Diversion #14: Trouble us not…



I went to a bachelorette party last night. Whilst sipping cold drinks on the bar’s lush and sunny patio, I caught this fellow looking over my shoulder. Whether he meant us harm or was simply offering good wishes, I’ve no idea.


A Year in Books/Day 152: Heidi

  • Author: Adapted from the novel by Johanna Spyri
  • Illustrations: Steffie Lerch
  • Year Published: 1969 (Gautier-Languereau-Paris)
  • Year Purchased: 1970
  • Source: My mom brought this back from an extended stay in France, well before I was born.
  • About: Heidi, the plucky Swiss girl who goes to live with her grandfather, is one of the most famous characters in kiddie literature. There have been many film interpretations, including a 1937 version with Shirley Temple. This little book, in French and meant for early readers (or those just learning the language), was adapted from Spyri’s 1880 novel. It is highly abbreviated, and features sweet illustrations.
  • Motivation: My mother bought this for her younger sister, who gave it to me years later. It quickly became a favourite. I still have it-although it is rough around the edges from repeated childhood readings. It was, and remains, well-loved.
  • Times Read: Countless
  • Random Excerpt:



  • Happiness Scale: 10++

A Year in Books/Day 151: Roget’s Descriptive Word Finder

  • Title: Roget’s Descriptive Word Finder A Dictionary Thesaurus of Adjectives
  • Author: Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph.D.
  • Year Published: 2003 (Writer’s Digest Books)
  • Year Purchased: 2003/2004
  • Source: Writer’s Digest Book Club
  • About: The title is its own best review. All I will add is that this book is helpfully broken down into alphabetized categories, from Abandonment to Zoology. It also includes, as an addendum, a Quick Word Finder. As with all good reference books, it is practical and easy to use. Its highly specific nature-the twist of being composed entirely of adjectives and adverbs- is what gives it an edge
  • Motivation: Writers need reference books. Although I use modern technology daily, I am comforted and nourished by old-school reference materials. I love them and, as far as my personal collection goes, I say “the more the merrier.”
  • Times Read: Cover-to-cover: 1/As reference: countless
  • Random Excerpt/Page 1: “This book contains thousands of entries for describing people, places and things with adjectives. It is a combination dictionary and thesaurus exclusively for adjectives and adverbs. Writers can avoid clichés by using fresh, accurate details and by finding the most evocative word or phrase for what they want to describe.”
  • Happiness Scale: 8

A Year in Books/Day 150: Classics of the Silent Screen

  • Title: Classics of the Silent Screen A Pictorial Treasury
  • Author: Joe Franklin
  • Year Published: 1959 (Cadillac Publishing Co., Inc.)
  • Year Purchased: 1990s
  • Source: Antique Barn at the Ohio State Fair
  • About: When this book was published in 1959, silent movies could still be glimpsed in the cultural rear view mirror. The childhood memories of those over 35 would likely have included going to the movies before talkies existed, when the only noise in the theatre came from the accompanying orchestra or fellow patrons’ coughing and munching. Classics of the Silent Screen is split into two parts, with the first half devoted to Fifty Great Films and the second to Seventy-Five Great Stars. The variety of  films and performers is more interesting than the standard roll call usually found in contemporary studies, as the fame of silent movies and their stars has dropped considerably in the last five decades. Franklin is  both a solid film scholar and an unabashedly passionate fan-the ideal combination for a movie writer. The stills that adorn the text are priceless, and add greatly to the book’s appeal. It is well worth the effort to track this one down.

    Betty Bronson

    Betty Bronson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Motivation: When I bought this book, I hadn’t started writing about silent movies. I was just a young old movie fan turned theatre student, still in the early stages of learning everything I could on the subject. This was one of the first volumes on silent cinema I owned.
  • Times Read: 4 or 5
  • Random Excerpt/Page 72: “Even Peter Pan seemed almost ordinary by comparison when, the following year, director Brenon and star Bronson teamed again to make this second adaptation from Barrie. One of the loveliest and most poignant films ever screened, it was, sad to relate, a flop at the box office-putting an immediate end to further follow-ups.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10

Things Your Autopsy Report Should Not Say

And now, in the interest of public service, we present:

  • Hot air balloon full of heroine ruptured in stomach
  • Pioneered new sharkback riding school.  Well, tried to …
  • Lacking hammer, used skull instead
  • Heavily armed, highly unstable mime
  • Hit by body of Burl Ives going 200 mph
  • Didn’t believe offspring’s insistence that monsters were under the bed, swept there anyway
  • Dedicated self to opening up minds of inner-city high school youths to joys of reading via The Turner Diaries
  • Psychopathic cellmate serving eight consecutive life sentences for unspeakably sadistic killing spree couldn’t take joke
  • Picked at it
  • “Whack it on the nose” survival tactic only pertains to bears, never to out-of-control buses
  • Willie Tyler and Lester.  Google them.