Sunday Post #17: Happy Mother’s Day!

Sunday PostHappy Mother’s Day to all the moms! I didn’t get breakfast in bed, but I did make pancakes with my new griddle. I have to say that it was much easier. I have always hated making pancakes because you have to make them one or two at a time with a frying pan, but with a griddle, I was able to make them for the whole family in nothing flat.

I’m not sure if I have any other plans, aside from perhaps making some soap and also doing some reading. Speaking of soap, I’m giving away a bar of the Dead Sea Mud Spa Soap I just made. Head over to my soaping blog to check it out if you’re interested. What are your Mother’s Day plans?

It seems appropriate to start with a list of my favorite literary moms.

  1. Best mom in my book is Molly Weasley. She not only keeps all the unruly Weasleys in line but also adopts Harry, too. And when Bellatrix Lestrange tries to attack Ginny, she famously intervenes, yelling, “Not my daughter, you bitch!” before destroying perhaps the most deranged and evil of Voldemort’s Death Eaters. She’s nurturing and bad-ass.
  2. Hester Prynne devotes herself to Pearl and becomes a model mother even as her entire community is castigating her for having Pearl out of wedlock.
  3. Scarlett O’Hara is devoted to her mother Ellen in Gone With the Wind, but let’s get real—her mother is actually Mammy, and Mammy was the best mother for a headstrong, stubborn person like Scarlett.
  4. Mrs. Quimby from Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books. I think it’s in Ramona and Her Mother when Ramona squeezes an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink, and her mother makes Ramona scoop it into a baggie. Ramona has to use that toothpaste until it’s gone, while the rest of the family gets to use a brand new tube. Serves her right!
  5. Marmee from Little Women whose reputation precedes her, as I still need to read this book. I know, right? How did that happen? I’m not sure. I promise to fix it soon. But the authorities say that Marmee is about as perfect as it’s possible to be.

Bookish Updates for the week: I finished listening to Conversion by Katherine Howe and started listening to The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (read by THE Colin Firth). I have also started reading an annotated Walden by Henry David Thoreau, but truthfully, I might have started that last week rather than this week. Memory’s fuzzy. I definitely started
Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving this week, however.

I added the following books to my TBR pile:

And finally, U2 busking in the subway:

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and things we have received. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme.

Scout and Atticus

Best Dads in Literature

In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I’d pull together my own list of the top five dads in literature.

Happy Fathers’ Day to all those dads, but especially to my husband, Steve Huff; my dad, Tom Swier; and my grandfather, Udell Cunningham.

Scout and Atticus

Atticus Finch. Probably first on any list of great literary dads, Atticus Finch of [amazon_link id=”0061205699″ target=”_blank” ]To Kill a Mockingbird[/amazon_link] showed his children through example why doing the right thing is always best, even if it isn’t easy, and that there are all kinds of bravery. Atticus is believed to be based on Harper Lee’s own father Amasa Lee. Harper Lee gave Gregory Peck (pictured above with Mary Badham as Scout), who played Atticus in the film of [amazon_link id=”0783225857″ target=”_blank” ]To Kill a Mockingbird[/amazon_link], her father’s pocket watch.

Arthur Weasley
Arthur Weasley by Makani

Arthur Weasley. The beloved patriarch of the Weasley family in the [amazon_link id=”0545162076″ target=”_blank” ]Harry Potter[/amazon_link] series, Arthur Weasley is a role model to his children and a father figure to their friend, Harry. He is brave, loyal, hardworking, and fair-minded. Some readers may not know that J. K. Rowling considered writing Arthur Weasley’s death into [amazon_link id=”0439358078″ target=”_blank” ]Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix[/amazon_link], but he was given a reprieve when Rowling realized losing his father would alter Ron’s personality in ways that wouldn’t work for the character.

Señor Sempere. Father of Daniel Sempere in [amazon_link id=”0143034901″ target=”_blank” ]The Shadow of the Wind[/amazon_link], Señor Sempere was a bookseller who took his son to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books to adopt a book. The elder Sempere is the only parent young Daniel has after his mother’s death, and he sacrifices to buy him Victor Hugo’s pen.

Pride and Prejudice

Mr. Bennet. Hear me out on this one. [amazon_link id=”1936594293″ target=”_blank” ]Pride And Prejudice‘s[/amazon_link] Mr. Bennet has his faults. He lets Lydia and Kitty run wild. He holes himself up in his study on a regular basis. On the other hand, he loves Elizabeth and encourages her to marry for love. On Mr. Collins’s proposal, after Mrs. Bennet tries to enlist Mr. Bennet’s help in making Elizabeth see reason, he says, “An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”

Ramona and Her Father

Robert Quimby. Ramona’s dad is awesome. In [amazon_link id=”0380709163″ target=”_blank” ]Ramona and Her Father[/amazon_link], Ramona’s dad loses his job and her mother goes to work. One of the most heartwarming episodes in children’s literature is the chapter in which the Quimby family can finally splurge and go out for hamburgers, and a nice elderly man at another table pays for their meal. Having been the recipient of this exact kindness myself, I can tell you how much it means.

Who do you think the best dads in literature are?

My Life in Books: Part Two — The Ramona Quimby Series

Ramona Collection, Vol 1My daughter Maggie and I are reading Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby Series. I read these books when I was a girl, except for Ramona Forever and Ramona’s World, which came out after I had “outgrown” the books. My older daughter Sarah never expressed much interest in them, but Maggie loves them. She named one of her stuffed animals Beverly, and she even wrote a letter to Ms. Cleary. It was the first time I’ve ever seen her fascinated by an author.

I can remember very well the good times I had with Ramona and Beezus and the rest of the gang on Klickitat Street. Ramona is a great character because she sometimes has impulses she just can’t control. She tries very hard, but she’s an average kid. She’s not perfect. I thought Maggie would really be able to relate to Ramona. I identify more with Beezus now that I’m grown. I think I was a lot like her as a child. One thing that hasn’t changed about the books since I read them as a child is the acumen with which Cleary is able to perfectly capture the feelings of children. Her stories never ring false, even if they were written for a generation of children whose grandchildren are reading the books today.

Beverly Cleary is in her 90’s, and it is likely that Ramona’s World will be her last published work. I think Cleary’s books were some of the first chapter books I read. I read most of them in second and third grade. I am really excited that Maggie likes them so much. We just finished Ramona Forever, and I am looking forward to Ramona’s World, but it will be bittersweet when we close the last book. Maggie wants to read the Henry Huggins books next, but I think she’d like Socks or Ellen Tebbits better.

This post is Part Two of a series. You can find links to each post in this series on My Life in Books.