In memory of Jonathan Crombie, here’s an absolutely lovely video from Sullivan Entertainment, the production company behind the much-loved miniseries adaptation of the Anne of Green Gables books.
Oh, and if you haven’t seen it, you must watch Green Gables Fables, especially the final episode of the first season, which I highlighted in my Literary Web Series Roundup
Way out at the end of a tiny little town was an old overgrown garden, and in the garden was an old house, and in the house lived Pippi Longstocking. She was nine years old, and she lived there all alone. She had no mother and no father, and that was of course very nice because there was no one to tell her to go to bed just when she was having the most fun, and no one who could make her take cod liver oil when she much preferred caramel candy.
Pippi Longstocking. A forever classic and a book that, along with Brian Jacques’ Redwall and Roald Dahl’s Matilda, encapsulates childhood for me, and even thousands of others. The rollicking, carefree, care-filled, complex elasticity of childhood where there aren’t any lines or boundaries, where everything is immensely fluid, adventure lasts forever, umbrellas, apples, rain, chocolate, Caribbean islands, forgotten gardens, and old cupboards are equally magical and the most ordinary thing can turn into pure gold. Pippi is purest adventure in its purest form, in the same way Redwall is warmth, Matilda is cleverness, and The Secret Garden is magic.
Unstoppable, redheaded Pippi Longstocking lives alone in a tiny town, eats whatever she likes without ever getting a stomachache, and teams up with the children next door to go on wild adventures that include pirates and islands and everything a child, or adult’s heart, could dream. Own this book my loves. Go buy it on Amazon for 6 bucks (edition pictured above because this girl did). And if you haven’t read it yet, buy it, read on a long winter day after another day of office work, or on a slow humid summer day when the island seems to fall out of the pages of the book into your lap. Read, and love.
I. Am SO excited for this. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 book is one of the most beloved children’s books in the world, and one of my personal favorite books, so utterly magical. The first episode of this dodges the mistakes I’ve seen a lot of webseries make as far as labored explication and overly-long dialogue; it jumps refreshingly straight into the story with an outspoken, sarcastic Mary, yet also lets viewers engage with her immediately by referencing her tragic past. I expect to love this.
Nicole Kidman informing Jimmy Fallon that she was into him that one time she visited him apartment is one of the most adorable things I’ve seen in weeks.
Barton’s Milk Chocolate Million-Dollar Bar. How adorable is this?? A sweets shop just opened close to where I work, and while I rarely eat candy, I did of course check out their chocolate selection and found this. How Willy-Wonka is this? Unfortunately the quality of the chocolate isn’t great, but this is a great stocking stuffer or fun/prank gift. I can tell you, some small part of me expected to find a Golden Ticket in this as I unwrapped it. Never stop living in dreams, kids. Note: you can buy these at World Market.
Voluspa Goji & Tarocco Orange candle. Have I mentioned before how obsessed with Anthropologie’s Voluspa candles I am? It’s really really hard to find candles that are long-burning and have a strong, lasting scent, but these are scent magic, the perfect candle. I gravitate toward citrus scents in all candles and perfume so it’s no surprise that my favorite is the Voluspa Goji & Tarocco Orange with notes of goji berry, ripe mango and tarocco orange. It’s an incredibly deep, rich, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, heavenly smell. These also burn forever and the scent, while not overwhelming, distinctively floats over the entire space, unlike every other candle brand I’ve ever tried (Luminesccence which Sears sells comes in second, but has a much more bland scent range).
And finally, this music video for Kdrama Pinocchio is gorgeously romantic.
1. Gilbert Blythe, Anne of Green Gables series. Gilbert Blythe doesn’t literally live next door, but he’s exactly the type – he grows up with you, teases and pulls your pigtails when you’re younger, than turns into a kind, sweet friend, then a smoldering romantic interest. Mostly though, he’s just that sweet, dependable, good-looking guy next door that you’ve always taken for granted and one day fall for.
Drug of choise: Watch webseries Green Gables, which is utterly dull for most of its run but sparkles right up with the introduction of Gilbert Blythe offering warm coverings in the rain. See also Staircase Wit’s Top Ten Most Romantic Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe Moments.
2. Cricket, Lola and the Boy Next Door. In Stephanie Perkin’s delightful second novel in her young adult series, Cricket literally lives across the street from strong-willed aspiring clothing designer Lola. The two kind of grow up together, then start to fall in love, have a fight, and Cricket moves away…until he comes back in Lola’s senior year of high school. Lola’s first love now inhabits the balcony across from hers. Cricket is a family friend, loved by her parents, and creative like her – his hobby is mechanical inventions made of metal and wood. Funny, supportive, and vulnerable, he’s very much a boy next door.
I know there are more, but most fictional heroes frankly fall into the snarky, aloof mold or the icy arrogant, combative mold. Who are your favorite boy-next-door figures?
Joan Aiken‘s website is surely one of the most gorgeously designed author websites I’ve ever seen. Like stepping straight into a fantasy land.
Celeste Ng at The Millions highlights 5 Series You Probably Missed as a Kid (But Should Read as an Adult). I’ve read half of these and HIGHLY recommend them, especially Half Magic, and am adding the other half to my to-read list. RT
Gorgeous, heartbreaking. David Mitchell on translating an autistic Japanese teen’s memoir, and his own son’s autism. “The conclusion is that both emotional poverty and an aversion to company are not symptoms of autism but consequences of autism – its harsh lockdown on self-expression and society’s near-pristine ignorance about what’s happening inside autistic heads.” RT
The ‘verse has been ablaze with the ending of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series (which is a great series, by the way. Veronica Roth speaks out. I think she made a brave choice. But I would have hated her for it had I found out only upon reading the book. RT
More The Millions’ goodness, making me want to re-read Colm Toibin’s The Master, which I read prior to reading Henry James. “He feels love profoundly, for women and men alike, but he can’t act on it in any way that might compromise his freedom as an artist, and instead he pours out his love for them in his novels after they’re dead. That, in this case, his love for Minny Temple gave us The Portrait of a Lady may be enough for some. It isn’t for me. As much as I care about books, I think people matter more in the end.” RT
Surprisingly, according to this roundup of reviews for it via Entertainment Weekly, it appears that the star-laden The Counselor was a very bad film. RT