Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Japanese Magnolias and Scheherazade


The pink magnolias -- or Japanese magnolias, or saucer magnolias, whatever you want to call them -- are blooming away now. They're one of my favorite trees. I still remember from my New York years the stunning display they produce every spring around the obelisk in Central Park.

Dave is happy because "Gardener's World," perhaps his favorite BBC TV show, is back on the air. It doesn't broadcast in the winter, when British gardeners evidently give up for a couple of months. Last night we watched a segment about daffodils, which are certainly out in profusion at the moment.

The squirrels dug up one of our primroses yesterday. *sigh*

Oh, and did I mention that our yellow hyacinths are blooming by the front steps -- the ones we got as a gift from friends last year? They've had several blossoms -- none as grand as last year's, when the florist forced the bulbs, but I'm told that's normal.


I've started a new project, creating an audiobook for kids at school. Some of the 6th Grade teachers are using a version of the Arabian Nights in their classes, and they came to the library seeking an audio version for students who don't speak English as a first language. That way the kids could follow along with both their eyes and ears, and could strengthen their English. Well, an audio version of this exact book apparently isn't available -- so I told them I'd make one. My speaking style is plain ol' Middle American English, free of any regional accent (except when I slip in a Southernism now and then, y'all), so I make a pretty good narrator.

Last night I sat in the dining room with my computer and read the first three chapters, recording my reading using Garage Band. It's kind of fun, actually! I've never read the Arabian Nights, the stories of Scheherazade and Sinbad the Sailor. I don't remember what we read in 6th Grade, but it wasn't that. (Actually, I remember sitting in the back of the classroom and reading "Gone With the Wind," but that wasn't at the teacher's instruction!)

12 comments:

e said...

Sounds like fun...I read Little Women and A Tale of Two Cities...

Yorkshire Pudding said...

For The Arabian Nights reading you could at least have mimicked a mysterious Arabian accent! To prepare you could have listened to old footage of Colonel Gaddafi speaking English.

Marty Damon said...

The audio book is a great idea. You may have found an additional career.
When I worked briefly in TV production for the local cable company, no one clamored for me to do voiceovers, but after I retired a few years ago, I recorded the newspapers for the sight-impaired. Surprisingly challenging sometimes.

Ms. Moon said...

I once loved a book so much that I recorded it for a friend of mine. This was before audio books were widely available.
Pretty cool thing to do.

ellen abbott said...

I've never read it either. I don't even remember getting reading assignments in 6th grade though we must have.

and I love the japanese magnolias. they came and went here and I hardly noticed, sort of like the red bud trees. everything is so confused, doesn't know if it's supposed to bloom or not.

Sharon Anck said...

Those trees are gorgeous. Your photos are making me wish I was in London again. All the blooms everywhere must be wonderful to see. I've never read The Arabian Nights either but, I do remember reading Great Expectations at that age and loving it.

jenny_o said...

Those magnolias are so beautiful. And I think it's very kind and pretty neat that you are recording the audiobook. I take it Olga was a good girl and did not interrupt your recording!

Kevin Wood said...

The Arabian Nights has quite a history--there are so many versions, variations and translations that it took me forever to figure out which to read. I wanted a "one true edition" but that doesn't exist, unfortunately. I ended reading the one edited by Muhsin Mahdi and translated by Haddawy because it seemed to be held in rather high regard. Anyway, I mostly enjoyed the stories, despite their rather simple narratives (although I did have trouble keeping track of the nested stories sometimes). I got most of the way through the book, but got distracted with something else and never finished it. I'm sure I'll finish it one day, but coming off a Sherlock Holmes marathon, I needed something a bit more modern.

Red said...

The western Canadian prairie does not have magnolias. I went to a conference in Washington DC in mar., hoping to see magnolia blooms. It didn't happen. The blooms were late that year.

Kevin Wood said...

Red, actually the magnolias around the DC area were killed by a freeze this year. It was just terrible timing. Our cherries and pears also took a hit, but at least we still have some around.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/03/06/friday-nights-deep-freeze-totally-obliterated-this-years-magnolia-blossoms/

The Bug said...

So cool that you're recording an audio book! I had some shyster at church many years ago who said he'd written a children's book & thought I'd be the perfect narrator (having heard me read the lessons). I even practiced & everything, but nothing ever came of it. Not sure what his angle was...

37paddington said...

What a cool idea! Maybe you'll put the book recording on you tube so we can all enjoy it? Lovely photo.