I first found Epinions when my daughter was a baby. When I go back and read some of my early reviews here, I realize how many were distinctively shaped by my entrance into motherhood (and by the length of my baby's naps!).
Now my "baby" is nine years old. She's in fourth grade, and we're in the fifth year of our home schooling journey together. I feel so privileged to be able to teach her and guide her! For the past several years I've also taught graduate level courses in church history.
Because I'm the mom and teacher of a little one, many of the reviews I write here are reviews of children's books. I love good books, and it seems to me that most of the best stories being written today are those written for children. I think it's because writers for children understand that their audience is not messing around. Thankfully, children aren't sophisticated enough to delve into literary symbolism or demand literary innovation. They want a good story (one with a beginning, middle and ending). They want stories that make sense, that look and feel beautiful and real, that help them laugh or cry, that give them courage. The kinds of stories that help them realize they're living in a well-written story and that the choices they make matter.
Those are the kinds of stories that will last. Those are the ones I'm constantly on the lookout to find and celebrate. I'm excited because lately it seems as though I'm finding more and more of them, which encourages me no end. Incidentally, they're also the kinds of stories I'd love to write, though that kind of writing time these days feels rare and precious.
A few of the deepest writers of my heart who show up often in my reviews: Shirley Hughes, Maud Hart Lovelace, C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, and J.K. Rowling. Yes, I do sometimes review books for grown-ups. Other writers of my heart (who for some reason I have not yet reviewed often): Madeleine L'Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dorothy Sayers, Jon Hassler, Eugene Peterson, Louisa May Alcott, Jessica Powers. And there are more...
I also enjoy reviewing movies. As you'll discover if you read many of my movie reviews, I'm a bit of a romantic. I like to see highbrow and lowbrow mix things up, which makes me a fan of Kenneth Branagh's films. I also tend to love movies that have literary connections or are based on books. Huh...I'm even a bookworm when munching popcorn! My childhood love of musicals persists and I'm on a long-term quest to see and review every Gene Kelly film I can. It's going to take me a while...
As an advisor in books, I try to read and rate (fairly, I hope) as often as I can. There are wonderful writers on this site and I've learned much from them.
Here's the part of my epi-bio that I never change: I love rain, bluegrass music, dark chocolate and poetry. I'm a collector of green glass, an admirer of white roses, someone who likes to write in very small notebooks. Old and gentle mountains are the landscape of my heart; spring dogwoods make me sing. I fell in love while scuffling through autumn leaves and my husband is the kindest man I know. My little daughter's smile lights up a room. I'm grateful for so many gifts, especially for the love of God who is both great and good, and who calls me beloved daughter. "Lord, send my roots rain." (~Gerard Manley Hopkins)
July 2008: Recently updated reviews...
Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansion
Thanks to some help from my tech-savvy friend Erin (bilbopooh), I'm slowly adding drop-down menus of some of my reviews. I'm still working to categorize them, so consider this very much a work in progress. But please check back!