Author Archive

On May 2nd, Chris and I visited the Eco-Fair at Weaton Arts and Cultural Center in Millville.  We got free tote bags!  We also bought a composter to save for the Future House.  I saw a presentation about how to grow berries, and we did a tour of the trees on the ground.  I had some lemonade with agave – tasty!  In spite of a little rain, we had a suprisingly good time, and Chris only got one little argument with the vegan table.  I’m considering that a win. 

Ecofair1  Ecofair2

On April 18, Chris and I took the train out to the Book Fair at the Philly Free Library.  I wish they’d had the free shuttle like last year, since the Phlash wasn’t running yet; walking out was OK, walking back laden with books was painful.  Especially since somebody wanted to make a stop at Rosie’s Yarn Cellar for their sidewalk sale.  Jeez.  Anyway, I did get to see Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame.  He sang for an hour and did a total of 4 songs.  He was great, but I think you need to have kids to get the full effect of the audience participation.  We chatted afterwards and signed a couple of books for me.

book1  book2

On Thursday, I was able to visit the Free Library again to see the renowned actor, Christopher Plummer. He’s probably best known as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Incidentally, he hates that movie with a passion, although he’s apparently gotten more of a sense of humor about it in recent years. The interview was very interesting, and he was quite charming and funny. He also certainly did not seem to be almost 80. I even asked a question about his voice-over work and found out he’s going to be in the next Pixar movie. He spoke extensively about his theater work and his favorite roles. He commented that he would really like to be able to play Hamlet now, because when you’re the right age for the role, you don’t have the technique or wisdom to play it correctly. He also appreciates King Lear as a character, but doesn’t think the pacing of the play showcases him correctly. I was able to get a copy of his new memoir, In Spite of Myself, signed for my dad (shhh…it’s a surprise).

On Wednesday, Chris and I went over to the Free Library in Philly for a panel discussion in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Oxford English Dictionary (nerds!) The panel featured Ammon Shea, whose book Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages, relates some interesting words he would while being the only person to read the OED from cover to cover. Shea had a lot of entertaining comments, and I wish he was given more opportunities to speak. Next was Jesse Sheidlower, author of The F Word and the only North American editor-at-large of the OED. He was very well-spoken and interesting. The final panel member was Barbara Wallraff, author of Word Court and Word Fugitives and a “professional dictionary user.” The only problem with the panel was the moderator and local children’s author, who seemed to think she was presenting to children. She wasted a lot of time with her slow-as-molasses readings of book excerpts and she didn’t seem to know the format for the evening. I wish the panel had taken it upon themselves to moderate the moderator.

Capping off a busy week, Chris and I traveled to the much-anticipated Collingswood Book Festival.  My favorite part about this festival is always the Town Book.  As usual, it was something I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own.  This year’s selection was The Stolen Child, by Keith Donohue, a novel that delves into the concept of identity while the narrative follows a band a changling fairies and one of their own who has taken the place of another.  The festival hosted a book discussion last Tuesday and the author was there on Saturday to give a presentation and autographs.

We ended up bringing home more books than we have space for, as usual.

Chris and I can’t resist the “up close and personal” feel of the Collingswood Shakespeare Company and the pseudo-in-the-round presentation at the American Legion.  They always make the most of the small space to bring the audience right into the show, so you’ll have characters practically dying at your feet.  The feeling that you’re a part of the show, and not just the audience, really makes the emotional ending all the more personal.  Jacqueline Holloway as the Fool was an unsurprising standout and I did appreciate that she had the very last moment.  We can’t wait to see what they have planned for the upcoming year.

This past week, Chris and I celebrated Banned Books Week with a reading at the Philadelphia Free Library.  Local notables read passages from their favorite banned books, such as Raisin in the Sun and To Kill a Mockingbird.  The host, Gene Shay of WXPN’s folk show also presented “banned and taboo” music samples.  The standout favorite was a reading of “noted evildoer” Shel Silverstein.  Next up at the library – the OED 80th Anniversary, Nov. 18th.

Last week Chris and I went to see a very interesting band – Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams. Awesome. I discovered this free event last week while poking around the Camden County events website. A cross between British invasion/rockabilly/classic rock/folk, plus a few other things, I’m sure. They’re definitely unclassifiable. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t get a chance to use the theremin that was one stage, at least not that I could see. Local noise ordinances being what they are, they weren’t allowed to give us the encore they wanted to, and I heard lead singer/songwriter Joziah Longo remark afterward that he’d be up all night because the set was too short to burn off all his energy. The venue, Haddon Lake Park, was surprisingly intimate and had a great sound. We did come home with a bunch of CDs, plus a few autographs. The only downside to a sunset concert? Bad pictures:



In an attempt to better ourselves through yarn reading, Chris and I journeyed into the city to visit the Philadelphia Book Fair at the Free Library last Sunday. We certainly did not go for the sole purpose of meeting the inimitable Yarn Harlot, who was there giving a talk and signing copies of her new book, if that’s what you’re thinking. (Chris tells me to keep the knitting-related news items to a minimum. I don’t understand why yarn and gaming have to be mutually exclusive, but whatever.) My apologies to the Yarn Harlot for the photo:

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

The library was very efficient with moving people, though, so I didn’t get to take a picture with the sock, alas.

While I was hanging out with the knitty people, Chris went to hear the discussion by the folks from LibraryThing. (Visit our Library!) They talked mostly about the implementation of interesting new features, and I have to say, it keeps getting better over there. I especially like that you can now label books with the Date Started and the Date Read, so I can finally keep track of that sort of thing. (As an aside, Chris nixed my idea of doing book reviews, unless they were gaming-related or themed. He didn’t think the geeks would like to hear about Atonement. Maybe I should take a survey).

At this point, it started raining. We putzed around, and it started to rain harder. So we jogged over to the nearby Franklin Institute (sorry, it’s “The Franklin” now, it seems) to purchase some appropriately dorky drip-free umbrellas. By that point, everything was beginning to close up and we headed home. Hopefully we’ll have better weather next year, and we can actually use the tote bags for new books we brought along.