Shurik’s paternal aunt, Liise Tamm, married a widower and they had a daughter Veronika.

Veronika Tamm, a cousin of Shurik sits in the highchair. Liise Tamm is on the right, her husband on the left, and her stepdaughter and stepson stand in the back.

Commentary

April 22 is Earth Day. Numerous sites on the Internet, such as www.eathday.gov, provide information, including how to volunteer. The most effective book in creating interest in and providing basic understanding of the environmental crisis for the general public has been Moment in the Sun by Robert Rienow and Leona Train Rienow, which is now out of print and needs updating. It is well  written and spells the problems, how they are interrelated, and their consequences, focusing on the danger of overpopulation.

***

Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master by Michael Sragow is the definitive biography of the man who directed Gone with the Wind - considered by many the best film ever made, The Wizard of Oz, and other top films. To quote the dust jacket, “Sragow restores the director to the pantheon of our greatest filmmakers and fills a gaping hole in Hollywood history . . .”

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Marjolein Bastin’s delightful Vera the Mouse books, presently out of print, are due for reissue. The first in this series, My Name is Vera, was published in 1985 and the mouse starred in 2000 in the animated film, Vera the Mouse: Mr. Mole’s Surprise. Vera is one of the few literary characters depicted by contemporary scrap or die cuts, Evergreen Press has also printed sheets of die cuts of Bastin’s exquisite nature scenes, Beatrix Potter’s illustrations, and reproductions of Victorian scrap. Below are samples of die cuts based on Bastin’s work available from Evergreen Press.

This Finnish puukko is similar to the knives sold at these fairs for hundreds of years. It has a Damascus steel blade.

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Shuriks Picks, April 2009


Fiction

Separate from the World by P.L. Gaus, Ohio University Press, €12.95


In this sixth book in the Ohio Amish Mystery series, history professor, Michael Branden has grown disillusioned with his job and contemplates retirement. Only he is unable to decide what then to do with his spare time. He puts off the decision when a series of events, which initially appear unrelated, come his attention: An apparent suicide by one of his students. The death of an Amish dwarf which the brother suspects is a homicide. Campus demonstrations led by a professor determined to bring back the 1960s. The kidnapping of two small Amish children. As Branden inches closer to connecting these cases, the killer plots to kill him, his wife, and a friend.


Gaus teaches courses in chemistry and in alternative cultures at College of Wooster. He provides insights into the Amish society and state of mind in this enjoyable, engrossing mystery.


Nonfiction

A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity by Bill O’Reilly, Broadway Books, $30


Yet another blockbuster for O’Reilly - it has been on the bestseller lists now for some six months, O’Reilly reflects on his personal experiences and corresponding news events. I especially enjoyed the stories from his school days, and I chuckled at comments regarding his mother’s cooking.


Some speculate that O’Reilly’s next book will be about President Barack Obama.


Children’s/YA

Winnie-the-Pooh by A,A, Milne, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard, Dutton Juvenile, $19,99, ages 9-12


The deluxe 80th Anniversary Edition, a reissue in 2006 of the popular story originally published in 1926, will please youngster and collectors.


Specialty/Small Press

Peachtree Publishers, established over thirty years ago, issues around 20 titles annually. It specializes in children and young adult fiction and nonfiction; self-help concerning health, education, and parenting; and guidebooks about the American South, including books on hiking, walking, and fishing.  They have published an interesting series of informative books for beginners about amphibians, fish, mountains, and many other topics.


Recent titles include A Tree for Emmy by Mary Ann Rodman, illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss, and Yes, I Know the Monkey Man by Dori Hillestad Butler.

Wooden beer steins (tankards) sold at fairs and elsewhere came in a great variety of shapes. Many have burnt designs.

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Ten Best Movies Ever

(non-scientific poll, alphabetic order):


Ben Hur, Charlton Heston, 1959

Braveheart, Mel Giibson, 1995

The Dark Knight, Christian Bale, Michael Cain & Heath Ledger, 2008

Gods and Generals, Stephen Lang, Jeff Daniels & Robert Duvall, 2003

Gone With the Wind, Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh & Leslie Howard, 1939

Henry V, Laurence Olivier, 1945

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen & Ian McKellen, 2003

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,  Jack Nickolson & Louise Fletcher,1975

Passion of the Christ, James Caviezel & Monica Bellucci, 2004

The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger & Bert Lahr (and the Munchkins), 1939

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