Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lost Horizon by James Hilton

I read this book a long time ago - in high school. It fascinated me. So, when my book club suggested reading a "classic" book, I decided to re-read it. It wasn't as spellbinding as I remembered, but it still fascinated me. 
Welcome to Shangri-La...high in the distant reaches of the Tibetan mountains where a group of worldly men and women have stumbled upon a land of mystery and matchless beauty, where life is lived in tranquil wonder, beyond the grasp of a doomed world. 

And a great secret is kept hidden.

The plane in which four very different travelers are flying is highjacked and flown with incredible skill over the mountains of Tibet and crashed on a snowy plateau. When the travelers realize they are being highjacked, they spend the flight who, why and where they are going. The pilot is injured in the crash and eventually dies, but not before telling Conway, the calmest one of the bunch, about a lamasery not far from the site. To their astonishment, a troupe of men carrying a hooded chair containing a Chinese man approached them and offered them hospitality. Considering the alternative, they accepted. After a treacherous climb, they came to the lamasery, Shangri-La, which was beside a cone-shaped mountain that seemed to glow like a Blue Moon. A beautiful valley lie below the mountain. They were treated very well. They were amazed at the facilities and the resources contained in lamasery's library. However, they were told that the next group of porters would not arrive for at least two months, so they should make themselves comfortable. Each member of the group reacted differently to that news. Conway found that he enjoyed the chance to have some new experiences. As always, there is one in the group that just wants to get out of there - Mallinson. He was definitely not open to new experiences. He is always trying to come up with a plan to leave. Conway learns the history of the lamasery and its inhabitants. It's quite an amazing history. He and the other two passengers decide to stay for a while to see what happens. Of course, Mallinson is outraged. If you think I have given the plot of the book away, think again. You'll have to read this one to find out all the secrets of Shangri-La. Lost Horizon was published as Pocket Book #1 - the first in a long line of paperback books. It has been made into two films, one in 1937 and one in 1973. There was also an attempt to make it into a Broadway musical, Shangri-La. The Shangri-La Hotels based in Singapore and other Asian cities are based and themed according to Mr. Hilton's paradise. They even give you a complementary copy of the book.

It's a good read.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

I finally finished "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling! My daughter has been after me to read the series for a couple of years now. So, I signed up for the Harry Potter challenge and I'm determined to finish the challenge! The version I finished was an audiobook. It was outstanding. Of course, I've never listened to an audiobook before, but this one was great! Jim Dale has a great accent and the way he portrays the different characters really adds to the enjoyment of listening to him. My local library has all of the audiobooks except the first one, so I decided to buy it and donate it to them when I was finished. I really liked being able to work on other things on my computer while I listened to the book. It made me feel efficient. I recommend listening to this series. It was very well done.

I've updated my reading progress, too. I feel so behind, but hopefully I will do some catching up now.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The musical is almost here!

I've been sewing, sewing, sewing for the past 6 weeks on costumes for our high school production of "Thoroughly Modern Millie." I am so sorry to have neglected this blog, but doing these costumes has been a lot of fun. My sister and I set up a sewing room in her sunroom because the light is great there and we spent nearly every day working on flapper dresses, actress dresses, and the infamous 19 black stenog jumpers. Ironically, when the director (also our church choir director) asked us to be in charge of costumes, she said there would be little or no sewing! Ha! We knew that wouldn't be true. Anyway, we scoured thrift shops and ebay for items so we didn't have to sew everything. Most of the students love their costumes - although, you know it was the '20's and women wore loose-fitting, low-waisted, shapeless dresses. These girls are used to wearing fitted clothes and showing their curves. They didn't quite get the 20's mindset. Overall though, the kids are great and wore whatever we gave them. They are working so hard. Many of them learned to tap dance for the first time and they are very convincing. They had a lot of fun painting the sets - there are so many sets - and rolling the "Speed Test" desks around on stage. They ARE the crew, so they move set pieces when they aren't on stage. One set takes 10 students to move. Full dress rehearsal is tonight. I'll take my needle and thread and safety pins and just try to stay out of the way - maybe I can even watch the show! Oh, the theatre...