Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Master of Suspense

One of my favorite shows that I have been to at Bass Hall in Sundance Square, Fort Worth, is "Hitchcock!". Wild Thing One, my little sister, and I went in November of 2014.

They showed excerpts of several different Hitchcock movies and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra played the mood music that went along with each movie as we watched.
It was an evening of dressing up, feeling fancy at the performance hall downtown, watching some of our favorite suspenseful movies, and listening to the creepy music that goes with them live. The orchestra did fantastic, as all ways, and the movies were wonderful, of course!

They even told us some details about the movies
we didn't know, like what Hitchcock was trying to accomplish with different camera angles, how he used camera movement to mimic a person's gaze, would frame shots to maximize anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative forms of film editing. He was truly "The Master of Suspense", he had stylistic trademarks, and pioneered many elements of the suspense and psychological thriller genres.
It was a fun, fancy, multi-medium-artsy filled evening that will always be a favorite memory!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katherine Green...Review

The Leavenworth Case

Anna Katherine Green

Copyright 1878

This detective novel by Anna Katherine Green was full of twists and turns. I heard about this author through a literature class I took a couple of months ago. The author is known as "The Mother of the Detective Novel", as she was one of the first to write a novel in the detective style. Her writing inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series, and also the popular books of Agatha Christie. Green has many stories and novels that she wrote in her lifetime that are a pleasure for most detective novel enthusiasts.
     It grabs you from the very beginning when Mr. Raymond learns that a very rich and influential New York merchant, Mr. Horatio Leavenworth, has been murdered. Mr. Leavenworth has two young and beautiful nieces that he is the guardian of, they were in the house during the time of his murder, and are in need of the services of a lawyer. As Mr. Raymond is a lawyer he offers his help, but he soon finds himself swept up in the beauty of the two cousins, and in the middle of a murder mystery.
     This story was interesting from the start, Green wastes no time plunging directly into the mystery that the novel surrounds. Having said this though, I have to also say that this book was not all that enjoyable to me. There were things I liked about it, it was well written and plotted, I was unsure who the murderer was all the way to the end, and I loved the wit that Green added into her characters personalities and dialogue. As I like old English writing and ways of speaking I enjoyed the text very much.
     Yet, the story fell a little flat for me. I am not a detective novel fan, therefore it took me much longer to read this book than it should have as I had to make myself keep reading. I do not like the way that the main character in most detective writing talks to the reader. - What do we have here? So what am I to think of this evidence? You can see my confusion when I got this bit of information. etc. etc. - Sometimes I fancy I can actually here the "Dun, Dun, Dun!" you would hear from the mood music, and see the close up of the detectives face you would see from the screen in a detective movie. It takes me out of the story a bit, I feel like I am not a part of it but more a bystander being fed information. A bit like sitting in on a trial. Green's father was a trial lawyer and she learned a lot about cases and law because of him, that may account for this perspective. I would say this novel is a classic "Who done it".
     As I said though, many detective novel fans love her books and I can see why. If that were the type of story telling that I enjoyed, I think I would have found this to be a favorite. I did like her characters, and was happy with the ending that she provided. All the loose ends were tied up, and the ending seemed plausible. If the detective novel is a favorite genre for you I say read this! I think you would really like it. If you don't find that genre particularly enjoyable, my advice would be to skip it.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

There's Love in the Mail

This week I thought I would spotlight an organization I found and fell in love with on Instagram several years ago. I have been writing letters for them, or because of them, ever since. It is called More Love Letters, founded by Hannah Brencher. They put out a list of people who have been nominated by their friends and family as needing love letters for various reasons every two weeks. You write up a love letter, snail mail folks (yes, I know that's a dying form of writing, but that's one reason I love it so much...keeping something real, not virtual, alive), and send it on it's way. Then the person needing love gets a whole stack of love letters!! So simple, and so wonderful in so many ways!!
     To think, me writing a few lines of inspiration and love in a little card and sending it out into the universe to land with a stranger really needing some sunshine on a dreary day could be what brings a smile to a sad heart. Besides the benefit of helping a person that needs a little love, and besides helping keep the post office and a dying art form alive...have you ever tried to write a love letter and stay sad yourself? If you find yourself depressed or in a bad mood, go write a love letter. It will bring some rays of that same sun you are sending to your own life.

     More Love Letters and Hannah Brencher's movement do other things as well. Some people write little secret love notes and put them in random places. Like, library books, park benches, pockets in clothes at retail stores, and so on. They like the thought that someone needing a smile will find them. She wrote a book about her journey to founding More Love Letters as well, and has a stationary pack she designed. She does a lot of speaking engagements, is a loud and proud Christian, and holds writing workshops online periodically. I am signed up for her Spring Writing Intensive...Can. Not. Wait!!!
     The whole movement, and the girl who started it all is very inspiring. So, if you want to spread a little love in what can seem like a very self absorbed, hateful world sometimes...stroll on over to More Love Letters and smile at something that is WRITE in society!!
Here's some links to help you wander through the world of love letter writing a little less lost:

Much Love,


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Naughty Little Monkeys by Jim Aylesworth...Review


Naughty Little Monkeys

Jim Aylesworth

Copyright 2003

This adorable book that follows 26 naughty little monkeys and their antics after their parents leave for a date one evening, was one of my middle wild things very favorite books when he was little. It is an ABC book, and has catchy little stanzas to go with each little monkey. As I was looking at it I tried to think of what made him love it so much, he would go to it first every time and want me to read it more than once. There are many things about it I figure he liked. The illustrations are colorful and cute, all the monkeys are named to correlate with their letter of the alphabet and we always commented about their names, the stanzas are all catchy, but most of all I figure he liked that each monkey did something silly and mischievous but when mom and dad got home they still got to go to the zoo in the morning. He was MY most naughty little monkey, so I figure he was able to relate to their antics. I miss having him so little to snuggle up with and read about the Naughty Little Monkeys! I will keep this book, read it to my grandkids, and tell them how much their dad used to LOVE hearing all about the monkeys adventures. If you have a little monkey in your life that likes to hear stories, pick this one up and see if they love it as much as mine did!