Saturday, January 24, 2015

Learning | Montmartre

Montmarte's been on my mind lately, because of a few books I've been reading. You know Montmarte, the section of Paris with the Can Can dancers, artists, and Bohemian lifestyle at the end of the nineteenth century? The name conjures up visions of the Moulin Rouge, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Toulouse-Lautrec. Image from page 9 of "Le peintre-graveur illustré : (xix et xx siècles)" (1906)
from the Internet Archive Book Images' photostream on
No known copyright restrictions.
The name Montmartre means "Mountain of the Martyr," referring to St. Denis, who is said to have been beheaded on this hill in 250 A.D. It's interesting to note that the older, Roman name for this place is Mons Martis (Mount of Mars.) Here's a YouTube video, with the English pronunciation of the word:

If you would prefer to say a French place name as the French do, you can visit to listen to French speakers speaking the word.

There's an amusing quote about pronunciation of Montmartre in C. Alan Bradley's latest mystery, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: A Flavia de Luce Novel. Flavia described a facial characteristic that "can come only from speaking French from the cradle." She deduces which faculty member at her new school is the French teacher because of this trait; she supports her conclusion in a discussion of a woman in Bishop's Lacey, England. "She was from Montmartre, pronounced through the nose." 

Flavia says so many pithy things, that I probably would not have noticed the Montmartre reference, if I had not just finished reading a more macabre mystery. The Devil in Montmartre: a mystery in fin-de-siècle Paris by Gary Inbinder is a sometimes gruesome historical mystery. Toulouse-Lautrec is one of several suspects, which include Jack the Ripper and some international visitors. The characters include artists, art dealers/agents, writers, doctors, photographers, dancers, prostitutes, ragpickers and acrobats, to name a few categories.  The story takes place near the end of the Paris Exposition universelle de 1889. That was the World's Fair; the Eiffel Tower was created for the event. A young detective on the case tries to get his superiors to accept the use of fingerprints as evidence; he has read about them.  This case provides an opportunity to experiment with techniques for collecting fingerprints, and interpreting the results logically.  Look out for plot twists!

Since I'm on a Montmartre kick right now, I looked around for other historical mysteries related to the topic.  

Murder in Montmartre: an Aimee Leduc Investigation, by Cara Black is not available from SSJCPL's system, but I just requested this book through Link+. It's good to know there's another Aimee Leduc mystery that I have not yet read! I like this fast-paced series, which takes place in modern Paris. Aimee Leduc is a young private investigator with a computer-savvy partner. Because Paris has been around for so long, investigations often touch on objects or subjects which have a link to the past.

Friday, January 23, 2015

She's Crafty | Loose Leaf Journal

Keeping a journal has always been an important practice in my life, though I struggle to remain consistent in creating my entries. At the beginning of every new year I make a vow to practice daily and search for innovative ways to encourage my commitment.

While watching videos about art journaling, I came across a woman who journals some of her entries on loose pages and then inserts the finished pieces into a bound journal. This got me thinking, what about keeping the pages loose even after you journal on them? The pages would remain loose but contained together within a special container of some sort, like a folder. My vision of the whole set includes: finished pages, blank pages, a pencil, and the special as-yet-to-be-defined container. This set would, as a group, be considered my loose-leaf journal.

It's an evolving project. I see multiple options floating around in my brain. One option involves fabric and sewing. Another, various papers and glue.
While I wait for inspiration to hit, I've taken to reading about what experienced writers, artists, and diarists have to say about keeping a journal. I've gathered a few of the interesting finds below.

Famous Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary is an article by Maria Popova, creator of the website Brain Pickings. Along with the video I mentioned earlier this article is a seed of inspiration for my current journal project. Popova packs her post with insight from diarists such as: Madeleine L'Engle, Anaïs Nin, Oscar Wilde, and Susan Sontag. There are links to books that Popova references, or that the diarist she is writing about references in their work. It's a link hopper's paradise, a great resource oasis that I refer back to again and again.

Keeping a Journal by Trudi Strain Trueit is a guide for children on how and why to keep a journal for positive mental health maintenance. Trueit gathers examples for kids to read and offers tips to help get kids into the journal habit. Keeping a Journal also features exercises and plenty of alternatives to writing to keep kids interested in expressing themselves however they feel is helpful and fun.

One last book to push before I go. This one is not so much about the hows and whys and uses of keeping a journal, but gives you a peek at what  of people have done to participate in a far-reaching and on-going project.

The 1000 Journals Project by Someguy is quite a book. I'm still getting to know what the project is all about but it sounds absolutely fascinating! 

Tag from journal 988.

Apparently, Someguy distributed 1000 blank journals to friends, strangers, and left the rest in public places. Each journal is numbered and has a tag with a simple explanation and instructions on how to participate. The book we have available for checkout is a collection of some of the entries people added to the journals. You can find out more by visiting the website 1000 Jounrnals Project. Through a companion website, 1001 journals, you can even learn how to launch your own journal project and send journals around the world for people to fill. Now that gets my gears going...

...if they churn out anything fun, I'll let you know.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Just Life| Cookbooks For Your Little Chef

My daughter loves to cook. Whenever I am cooking, she is cooking too.  

Do you have a little chef at home?

Did you know that the library has plenty of children cookbooks? You can find them in the children non-fiction area in the 641.5 section.

So this week, check out some children cookbooks and let your kid cook you dinner. Although it is better to have Pizza Hut on speed dial.

I think a kid who likes to cook now, won't go hungry while she is away at college. At least, that is what I keep telling myself every time I clean up the kitchen after her cooking sessions.

This week, my coworker J.... who knows about my daughter's love of cooking, showed me this new cookbook. I should check it out for my daughter. 

So here are some cookbooks for your little chef at home:

We [heart] cooking! : totally tasty food for kids

Cool pizza to make & bake : easy recipes for kids to cook

The Minnie & friends cookbook 

Awesome snacks and appetizers 

Eat your math homework : recipes for hungry minds

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha