Monday, January 31, 2011

Music Monday - Borromeo String Quartet

Classical music meets Mac.  Makes my heart go pitter-patter.

These guys are amazing!  If you ever have a chance to see them live, please do so--not only are they fabulous players, but they often give lecture-concerts.  If you live in the Boston area you should get plenty of opportunities, but in the next several months they will be in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, Arizona, and Colorado, as well.  Website of the Borromeo String Quartet here.  Calendar here.  First violinist Nicholas Kitchen's YouTube channel here (and check out this video for more Beethoven and for the screenshots behind the quartet).  There was also a recent article about the quartet in the NYT titled "Bytes and Beethoven."

My thanks to Tabatha Yeatts (The Opposite of Indifference) for inspiring this post.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ca' the Yowes - Robert Burns

for Mary Kate

Ca' The Yowes To The Knowes
by Robert Burns

Ca' the yowes to the knowes,
Ca' them where the heather grows,
Ca' them where the burnie rowes,
My bonie dearie.

Hark, the mavis' e'ening sang
Sounding Clouden's woods amang,
Then a-faulding let us gang,
My bonie dearie.

We'll gae down by Clouden side,
Thro' the hazels, spreading wide
O'er the waves that sweetly glide
To the moon sae clearly.

Yonder Clouden's silent towers,
Where, at moonshine's midnight hours,
O'er the dewy bending flowers
Fairies dance sae cheery.

Ghaist nor bogle shalt thou fear -
Thou'rt to Love and Heav'n sae dear
Nocht of ill may come thee near,
My bonie dearie.

Fair and lovely as thou art,
Thou hast stown my very heart;
I can die - but canna part,
My bonie dearie.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Secular Homeschool Jan. Giveaway

The Secular Homeschool Community, a place I love to visit and feel right at home commenting about science curricula, sibling rivalry, and even science fiction, generally has two giveaways running at any one time.  January's are Arithmetic Village, a story-based Waldorf math program I would love to use with J.J., and Learning at Home: a Mother's Guide to Homeschooling (newly revised edition) by Marty Lane.  If you homeschool for secular reasons, I encourage you to check out the community.

Here is where you can find the link to the Arithmetic Village giveaway, and here is where you can find out all about  Be sure to stop by my profile and say hello!  Informational video about Arithmetic Village below.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who are your Top Ten?

The New York Times is currently running a "Top Ten Classical Composers" video series hosted by NYT chief music critic Anthony Tommasini.  The videos are easily digestible, truly informative, and enjoyable--win, win, win--so I greatly encourage you to check them out.  You may need to sign up for the NYT online to access the series, but signing up is free.

Read the article here, then watch the videos (more will be added through January 21st), and cast your vote!  Related Arts Beat posts here.

Mine were Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn (of course), Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Gershwin, and Copland, though I admit personal bias made my choices more than who I think is most important to Western classical music.  Handel and Mozart would have made the list, in that case, at least.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Book Sharing Monday - picture books featuring Korea

We're slowly making our way around the Eastern Hemisphere, and I've especially enjoyed supplementing Core 5 with picture books for the six-year-old.  Here are the books we've found for this week's study of Korea:

The Green Frogs--a Korean Folktale, retold by Yumi Heo

The Firekeeper's Son, written by Linda Sue Park with illustrations by Julie Downing

Bee-bim Bop! written by Linda Sue Park with illustrations by Ho Baek Lee

Behind the Mask, by Yangsook Choi

The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi

The Have a Good Day Cafe, by Frances Park and Ginger Park with illustrations by Katherine Potter

Count Your Way through Korea, by Jim Haskins with illustrations by Dennis Hockerman

In addition, the older two have read or are reading these books by Linda Sue Park:


A Single Shard
The Kite Fighters
SeeSaw Girl
When My Name Was Keoko

Jazz gives A Single Shard high marks, and is starting When My Name Was Keoko tomorrow.  JaneG. admits that The Kite Fighters was a good story, even if it was about two boys.  She's reading SeeSaw Girl now.

Book Sharing Monday is hosted by Canadian Home Learning.  Stop by and find some new books to enjoy and share what caught your eye this week!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Book blurb: Crunch

CrunchCrunch by Leslie Connor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love books in which kids find the inner strength to accomplish monumental tasks, and this one really knocks it out of the park.  The author's writing style and the closeness of the relationship between the siblings in the story reminded me quite a bit of Madeleine L'Engle, even though Crunch is firmly rooted in the Real World.  I passed this book right off to my eldest, and I'm looking forward to reading other books by this author.

View all my reviews

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book review: Rival

RivalRival by Sara Bennett Wealer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the peek into the minds of serious young vocalists!  The competition in their musical and romantic lives makes this book a fast, emotionally engaging read, and the author does a great job of differentiating between the two main characters' voices when they take it in turns to narrate the story.  I didn't want the story to end, and can't wait for this author's next book!

Rival comes out February 15, 2011 but is available for pre-order at Amazon:

View all my reviews

One other quick note: the recommended age from the publisher is "12 and up."  Due to mature content I would push that lower age limit up to 14.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Winter reads

I've come across a wealth of new book titles to check out from a variety of sources.  The Cybils finalists were announced on January 1st, so a big chunk of my library queue was suddenly overtaken by many of the books listed there.  And many book publishing or blogging sites have listed or asked for lists of readers' favorites from 2010 or even from the previous decade.

The stack of books beside me as a type includes


I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan (finished just this morning; a well written, emotionally engaging story, IMO)
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers (read this afternoon; not my usual fare--disturbing story of high school "mean girl"; hard to feel sympathy for protagonist)
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healy
Plain Kate by Erin Bow
The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate (author of Fallen and Torment)

Middle grade:

The Emerald Tablet by P.J. Hoover
The Shadow Hunt by Katherine Langrish
The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
The Dead Boys by Royce Buckingham
The Magnificent 12 - The Call by Michael Grant
Crunch by Leslie Connor


The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley
The Sting of Justice - a Mystery of Medieval Ireland by Cora Harrison

In my queue but not on hand yet:

The Wind-Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Doctor Who: The Clockwise Man by Justin Richards
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke (wow, is this ever a tome--782 pages!)

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
The Shadows by Jacqueline West
Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World by Mary Pipher

A Red Herring without Mustard by Alan Bradley (pub. date: February 8)

Next on my list of things-to-do-that-might-actually-result-in-a-blog-post: go through my reading history in my library account and pull out *my* favorite reads from the past year.

Happy reading!