In celebration of Women’s History Month I am reading a fascinating book about four sisters who married powerful men during the 1200s and were active participants in the power struggles of the time. Their marriages and children seem to entwine all of Europe. They made quite an impact. The book is called Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe by Nancy Goldstone.
Marguerite – Queen of France (1234-1270); Married King Louis IX
Eleanor – Queen of England (1236-1272), Married Henry III
Sanchia – Queen of Germany, Married Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall (elected King of Germany 1256)
Beatrice – Queen of Sicily, Married Charles I of Naples (crowned in January 1266)
I went to this presentation last year at the History Center of Olmsted County, Rochester, Minn. It was excellent. I encourage you to attend this year’s virtual presentation. You can enjoy from anywhere! It’s a wonderful love story. And true, discovered when the author began researching her family history and was given a bundle of letters the her grandfather and his first love exchanged. Incredibly sweet.
It’s tomorrow! 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets still available!
1. I’m very much enjoying this wonderful memoir:
World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatahil
It was the Barnes & Noble 2020 Book of the Year.
2. And last year I truly loved the 2019 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year:
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
It makes me happy. I’ve read it several times.
3. And if you love a unique bookstore…
This book highlights unique, quirky and beautiful bookstores from around the world.
A few years ago Mayo Clinic’s Plummer Building brought back an old tradition – it’s Christmas Tree – much to the delight of Rochester, Minnesota residents. The above photo is from the Rochester Downtown Alliance.
Here’s a photo I took of this wonderful Christmas display while strolling through downtown Rochester on a December evening.
It’s Veterans Day. Remember. Honor. Be thankful for their service, their sacrifice, their bravery, their patriotism.
They protected and preserved our precious freedom and liberties. Some of them gave the ultimate sacrifice.
So proud. So humbled. So awed.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Photo: U.S. Department of Defense
Regardless of your party affiliation I hope you expertise your right to vote. It is such a privilege. I’m proud to be a citizen of the United States of America. So, so proud! Our country is not perfect, but no country is, and we are always evolving and striving to improve ourselves.
“The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” (Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835, “Democracy in America”)
I really enjoyed the following NBC news article:
U.S. Election: World’s fascination not just about American power, but also hope
A few must watch Halloween shows
1. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
It’s a classic! It’s a tradition shared by generations; it crosses generations and binds us. it’s upsetting that this year it won’t be on TV for the first time is four decades and can only be viewed by purchasing a subscription to Apple TV. That’s not right! Everyone should have free access to this cultural gem.
2. Hocus Pocus
This one is just 100% enjoyable! Love the costumes, the talking cat, the overall story and the three Sanderson sisters – portrayed so wonderfully by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy. And who won’t enjoy a humorously spooky Halloween tale set in Salem, Massachusetts?
3. Halloween (1978 – the original)
Simply, iconic. When I taught a college course about American cinema, I loved showing this film to students during fall semester. It truly started the slasher horror flicks, but it did so in a very tasteful way. Does that sound strange? How can a slasher movie be tasteful? Well, it bypasses blood and gore and instead focuses on building suspense and unique point of view camera angles. It started a genre and introduced a new way of telling a visual story.
4. Sleepy Hollow
One of Johnny Depp’s best! I love the Washington Irving folktale about the infamous Headless Horseman. And Tim Burton’s gothic vision of this classic American story is a true delight. It’s beautiful and scary and the scenery and music are fantastic. And the cast? Fabulous. Perfect.
5. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
It’s a much lighter telling of the spooky horseman and his midnight rides, but it so enjoyable. I watch it every year and it makes me laugh. Bing Crosby is the narrator and Disney’s Ichabod is a gangly, awkward, and rather absent-minded teacher who falls head over heels in love with Katrina Van Tassel, which puts him in the path of the Headless Horseman.
6. Practical Magic
Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest and Aiden Quinn are absolutely charming in this magical film. Although the story line entwining the two witch sisters, played by Bullock and Kidman, is entertaining, I enjoy the scenes with their eccentric witchy aunts, played by Channing and Wiest, even more. Alice Hoffman’s book on which the movie is based is a wonderful read and you can also find out more about the Owens family in two additional books, The Rules of Magic and Magic Lessons.