Little Women by Louisa May Alcott


littlewomenLittle Women has been on my shelves back home for like forever. I guess, it’s one of those classics that has always been there in the shelves even before I was born. It’s a shame that I only finally got to read it this year but hey, it’s better late than never!

This book has a very simple but realistic plot. There were four sisters who all have different views of life, different dreams and ambitions. Jo the feisty and most carefree and with whom I can relate very much, Beth who happens to be the saint of the family, Meg who wants to become rich and Amy, the youngest and a brat. So the story focuses on these four sisters and how they try to achieve their dreams by facing different challenges and learning the different virtues to live a good life.

I am very pleased to have finally…

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David Bruce: The Funniest People in Books, Volume 3 — Education


• Children’s book author Barbara Park — creator of Junie B. Jones — got a college degree in teaching, but after some bad experiences in the classroom, she discovered very quickly that she did not want to teach. For example, when Barbara did her student teaching at a rural junior high school, the experienced teacher she was supposed to be assisting simply handed her a geography textbook and told her, “There you go — teach.” One day, when she was alone with the class, she decided to hold a geography bee, but she had not learned how noisy a group of students can get when a competition is exciting. Eventually, an angry voice came from the intercom in the room, but Barbara decided to ignore it because she didn’t like talking to machinery instead of people — it took her years to go through her first drive-through at a fast-food restaurant. The voice kept demanding to talk to the classroom teacher, and eventually the students said, “Our teacher isn’t here.” (She really wasn’t; Barbara was just the classroom teacher’s student assistant.) After a lot of confusion, the voice of authority coming from the intercom told the students, “You’re being far too loud, so we’re sending a student teacher down there to take charge.” Barbara still could not bring herself to talk to machinery, so the students informed the voice of authority that they already had a student teacher: Barbara. Barbara doesn’t remember exactly what happened after that. (Apparently, the memory is too traumatic, so she has repressed it.) However, she did quickly stop teaching, and eventually she started writing for children — lovers of children’s literature definitely think she made a good trade of careers.

• Children’s book author Helen Lester started writing with a purpose at a very young age. When she was three years old, she wrote grocery lists for her mother. True, no one could read the lists except for young Helen, who could not read other kinds of writing, and true, when you looked at an upside-down list it looked much the way it did when it was right-side up; still, she was a world-champion grocery-list writer — something she continued to be until she started to go to school and learn to make letters. There, she ran into a slight problem. She was a mirror writer, and to read her writing her teacher had to hold it up to a mirror. However, eventually she conquered that problem, graduated from school, and became a teacher of second-grade children. When a friend told her that she should write a children’s book, she thought, “I spent ten years in second grade, so I know a child from a chicken. Maybe I should.” She did, and she became a published author, with a few mishaps such as the first time she sat at a desk so she could sign autographs, only to notice that a famous author at a desk next to her had a long line of people waiting to get an autograph whereas in front of her desk was a line consisting of exactly no people. (Still, Ms. Lester enjoys doing what she wants to do — write — and she gets published, so she is in a position that many, many people would like to be in. Plus, later the line in front of her desk became much longer.)

• In 1945, Erma Bombeck enrolled at Ohio University — an event that turned out to be disastrous for her. She received C’s and lower in her freshman writing course and the student newspaper would not let her write for it — even though Ms. Bombeck had worked professionally as a reporter. After the semester was over, Ms. Bombeck went to see a counselor, whom she told that she wanted to be a professional writer. The counselor looked at her grades, then told her not even to think about it. Fortunately, Ms. Bombeck withdrew from Ohio University and instead attended the University of Dayton, where she was encouraged to write and from which she graduated. Before she died in 1996, she had written several best-selling books and her humorous column was syndicated, appearing at one point in 900 newspapers three days a week. In addition, because an instructor at the University of Dayton had encouraged her by writing the note “You can write” on one of her papers, when she died she not only left the University of Dayton all of her papers, but she also left it a lot of money so it could hold a writers’ conference annually. What is the name of the conference? It is called, “You can Write.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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Music Recommendation: Jack Earle — “Happy Hour”


Music: “Happy Hour”


Artist: Jack Earle

Artist Location: Melbourne, Australia

Info: The Jack Earle Big Band is run by pianist, trumpet player, vocalist, composer and MD Jack Earle, and features 18 of the finest musicians in Melbourne, regularly playing in some of the city’s best-known jazz venues.

Price: $15 (AUS) for 13-track album; tracks cannot be purchased separately

Genre: Big Band Jazz


Jack Earle on Bandcamp