How the Library (Not the Prince) Saved Rapunzel

When the Covid lockdowns started, many folks went on a buying spree (we all know the toilet paper jokes). Ever the dutiful one, off I went too. I was feeling rather pleased with myself when I got an extra bag of rice, and headed onto the library (to get books to tide us over during the lockdown).  When the husband called to ask where I’d gone, I sheepishly said that I was at the library just in case we were unable to get books during lockdown. I could hear a sound like a paper bag bursting – his version of a cross between a snort, and the urge to laugh. I bragged about the extra bag of rice, and I could see his face wondering why he had to be landed with someone, who in P G Wodehouse’s language, ‘must’ve been bumped on the head as a baby’. 

Well, I must say that when we staggered home with books for the children and self, I felt better. The local library has been one of my favorite spots to visit of course, but over the Covid period, I felt like Rapunzel in the book: How the Library Saved Rapunzel (Not the Prince). The library allowed us to schedule an appointment and arrange to pickup books on hold. What was more, they were kind enough to include a few picture books of their choice if you requested them to do so. I am eternally grateful to have access to libraries.

I felt almost an irresistible urge to increase my Science based reading this year (maybe this is a tiny rebellion for the disturbing anti-Science strain emerging with the 45th POTUS office). Starting the year off by re-reading Carl Sagan’s Cosmos set the stage for the year ahead. The following books gave me no end of pleasure and learning over the year. (My Science writing class for children)

trees_komerabi

2020 was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day

  • Unbowed – Wangari Maathai (in progress)
  • On Looking  – Alexandra  Horowitz
  • Losing  Earth  A Recent History – Nathaniel Rich
  • This is the Earth – Diane Z Shore & Jessica Alexander, Paintings by Wendell Minor

Bill Anders said: “We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.”

What a lovely statement that is, and together with his Earth Rising image, contributed to the concerns around Planet Earth that led to founding of Earth Day in 1970.

1200px-NASA-Apollo8-Dec24-Earthrise

It was also a wonderful year to take in poetry. Mary Oliver & Margarita Engle were always welcome in a year when poets alone seemed to know the right turn of phrase for the bizarre. Dr Seuss & Jackl Prelutsky always know to turn one’s frown into a smile. 

  • Blue Iris – Mary Oliver
  • Enchanted Air – By Margarita Engle
  • Dog Songs – Mary Oliver
  • Owls and other fantasies – Mary Oliver (Yes! no!)
  • Be Glad your nose is in your face – Jack Prelutsky
  • Dr Seuss books (always worth reads and re-reads). I found a few gems that truly tickled the mind and got out some belly laughs.
    • Horton hears a Who
    • Horton Hatches an Egg
    • Sleep book
    • Oh the Thinks you can Think
    • How Lucky You Are
    • Thidwick the Big Hearted Moose

summer-collage

With the Black Lives Matter movement, the year was ripe for educating oneself on the inequities of society and civil disobedience. The local library, news media, and friends all helped with an excellent array of reading material. Notable among the works read then were:

  • Becoming – By Michelle Obama
  • Black Panther – by Ta Nehisi Coates
  • Sneetches and other stories – Dr Seuss
  • A Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela‘s children’s book version
  • My Many Colored Days – Dr Seuss

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With uplifting books and humour, life can be truly marvelous. My all-time favorites kept me company, and I am eternally grateful to their influence of course but a few others were added to the list this year.

The world isn’t such a good place either, and reading books such as these helps to remind us about the many problems that still beset society

The lure of power, and how we are seeing it all play out in real life

  • The Fate of Fausto – Oliver Jeffers
  • Louis I – The King of Sheep – Oliver Tallec
  • Yertle the Turtle and other Stories – Dr Seuss
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (pieces relating to the Minister of Magic refusing to acknowledge Voldemort’s return so he could stay in power)

Of course the true magic of life is never complete without children’s books. There are so many of them in this genre, that I did not even note half of them. But a few of them lit up my life

  • My Grandma is a Ninja – By Todd Tarpley, Illustrated by Danny Chatzikonstantinou (When I become a grandma – though it is a few decades off, that is how I wish to be 🙂 )
  • Gondra’s Treasure – By Linda Sue Park
  • Enchanted Wood – by Enid Blyton (old Saucepan Man, Silky and Moonface with the lands above the enchanted tree – though it doesn’t hold the same level of magic it did as a child, it still has its charm)
  • The Red Pyramid – By Rick Riordan (this was the son’s recommendation, and thoroughly enjoyable it turned out to be romping down the Egyptian myths!)
  • The Quiet Book – by Deborah Underwood
  • A Fun Day with Lewis Carroll – Kathleen Krull & Julia Sarda
  • Peter Rabbit’s Tales – Beatrix Potter
  • Why is my Hair Curly – By Lakshmi Iyer
  • A History of Magic – Based on Harry Potter Universe
  • Tintin Comics (a fair few)
  • Calvin & Hobbes
  • The Velocity of Being – Maria Popova & Claudia Bedrick

velocity_being

On that magical high note, here is wishing everyone a healthy, happy new year in 2021. Things are already turning around, and looking hopeful. Keep reading, and sharing 🙂

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One thought on “How the Library (Not the Prince) Saved Rapunzel”

  1. Full list here:
    Cosmos – Carl Sagan
    For Small Creatures Such as We – Sasha Sagan
    Blue Iris – Mary Oliver
    The Wizard’s Tears – Maxine Kumin, Anne Sexton
    A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized our Understanding of the Cosmos – Dava Sobel
    What are we Waiting for? Moon (Nice children’s book) Like my Dream Pusher one – Scott Menchin/Matt Phelan
    The Quiet Book – by Deborah Underwood
    Creative Spark – By Michael Shapiro (interview with Jane Goodall, Pico Iyer, Barbara Kingswonder – good
    The Little Prince – By Antoine Saint Exupery
    Science as a Candle in the Dark – Demon Haunted World – Carl Sagan
    The Perfect Place to Read – children’s book
    Maurice Sendak – Mickey in the kitchen
    Tales of St Austin’s – P G Wodehouse
    Hidden Worlds – Looking through a Scientists’ Microscope – Stephen Kramer & Dennis Kunkel
    Wind, Sand and Stars – Antoine Saint De Exupery
    Horton Hears a Who – Dr Seuss
    My Grandma is a Ninja – love this one!
    The Magician’s Elephant – Kate DeCamillo
    The Book that Nobody Read – Nicholas Copernicus – Owen Gingrich
    Village Diary – Miss Read
    I Can Lick 30 Tigers – Dr Seuss
    Sleep Book – Dr Seuss
    The Quiet Book – Deborah Underwood
    Brave Jane Austen – Lisa Pliscou – Illustrated by Jen Corace
    Life in the Garden – Penelope Lively
    Year of the Monkey – Patti Smith
    Colleges that change lives – Loren Pope
    Farewell to Fairacre – Miss Read
    On Looking – Alexandra Horowitz
    Losing Earth – A Recent History – Nathaniel Rich
    Stiff Upper Lip – P G Wodehouse
    This is the Earth – Diane Z Shore & Jessica Alexander, Paintings by Wendell Minor
    Music for Mister Moon – Philip Stead, Illustrated by Erin Stead
    Be Glad your nose is in your face – Jack Prelutsky
    Uncle Tungsten – Oliver Sacks
    A Fun Day with Lewis Carroll – Kathleen Krull & Julia Sarda
    Peter Rabbit’s Tales – Beatrix Potter
    Frank Einstein and the Spacetime Zapper – Biggs Sciezka
    Blandings Castle – P.G.Wodehouse
    Eighteen Carat Kid & Other Stories- P.G.Wodehouse
    Women in Science – Rachel Ignotsky
    Tales from a Village School – Miss Read
    The Fate of Fausto – Oliver Jeffers
    The Sea Around Us – Rachel Carson
    Maps of Meaning – Jordan B. Peterson
    Village Centenary – Miss Read
    Yertle the Turtle and other Stories – Dr Seuss
    If I Ran the Circus – Dr Seuss
    Butter Battle Book – Dr Seuss
    Work and more work
    Weird Math – Charlotte Leane
    Thidwick the Big Hearted Moose – Dr Seuss
    Gondra Is a Treasure – dragon book that is so lovely!
    A History of Magic – Based on Harry Potter Universe
    Becoming – Michelle Obama
    Sneetches and other stories – Dr Seuss
    A Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela’s children’s book version
    Life with Jeeves – P G Wodehouse
    The Velocity of Being – Maria Popova & Claudia Bedrick
    My Many Colored Days – Dr Seuss
    Winter in Thrush Green – Miss Read
    Astrophysics for young people in a hurry – Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Soonish – Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
    Extreme Physics – Basher Science
    The Enchanted Wood – Enid Blyton
    Why is my hair curly? – Lakshmi Iyer
    A Wodehouse Bestiary – P G Wodehouse
    A Strange Wilderness – The lives of the great mathematicians – Amir D Aczel
    Biomimicry – the childrens book
    Everything I need to know I learned from a Disney little golden book
    Curious George Discovers the Stars – H.A.Rey
    The Fabled Life of Aesop – by Iam Lendler, Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
    Anne of the Island – L M Montgomery
    50 Ivy League Essays
    Tintin and the Broken Ear – Herge
    Lab Girl – Hope Jahren
    In the Red – Christopher Sweidler
    Enchanted Air – Margarita Engle
    The Luck Stone – P G Wodehouse
    Farewell to Fairacre – Miss Read
    Dog Songs – Mary Oliver
    Owls and other fantasies – Mary Oliver (Yes! no!)
    How the Universe got its spots – Janna Levin
    Unbowed – Wangari Maathai
    At Home in Thrush Green – Miss Read
    Night Flight – Antoine de Saint Exupery
    The girl with the louding voice – Abi Dare
    Small Wonder – Barbara Kingsolver
    Bring on the Girls – P G Wodehouse
    Giant Jelly Jaws and the Pirates
    Explorers on the Moon – Tintin comics – Herge
    The Homemade Cake Contest – By Midori Basho
    Oh! The Thinks you can Think – Dr Seuss
    Garfield Chickens
    Persepolis – by Marjane Satrapi
    Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

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