Friday, August 17, 2012

The Golden Tulip, The Elegance of the Hedgehog and Much More

I am so excited it is the weekend! I just want to relax, and sleep in or at least sit in my bed later than normal and read. Then perhaps I will do a little baking and that is it! I am tired from this past week. 

 Although I have been busy these last few weeks, I did manage to read five great books and watch a few excellent movies.

Book List:

I have decided not to write a review of each book for two reasons, the first because I loved them all, otherwise I would not have recommended them. Second, according to my sister, I give too much away and I don't want to ruin these books for you. 

I will say this, if you wish to know about being a female painter in the time of Vermeer or Rembrandt than you would enjoy the Golden Tulip. If you like Mozart and the story of his life and that of his family, with a little mystery thrown in, than Night Music is for you. If you are a big fan or Virginia Woolf and the celebrated White Garden of Sissinghurst Castle than you would enjoy The White Garden. If perhaps you are interested in Paris, and the everyday life of the rich, with the secret life of an incredibly well read concierge thrown in the mix than you would love The Elegance of the Hedgehog. And last but not least, The Bird Sisters,  the story of two elderly sisters and the enduring power of sisterhood, hope, sacrifice and small town America. 

As for movies, if you have not already seen it, The Light in Her Eyes is documentary shot right before the uprising in Syria. It tells the story of Houda al-Habash, who became a Muslim preacher at the age of 17. Houda al-Habash founded a Qur'an school for girls in Damascus, 30 years ago. Her goal is to teach women about Islam by memorizing the Qur'an so that they are educated about their rights as women and within their culture and religion. Her thinking and teaching goes against conservative male clerics but she persists because she believes that women can be both educated, lead modern lives and have more rights while still following the traditional teachings of the Qur'an. 

 I found this documentary to be eye opening, no pun intended. I think that there are so many misconceptions about Islam and this documentary shows that the women of the Middle East would like to be educated, they would like to have more rights, and that they are not just following along behind their men like lemurs.

I also watched The Hedgehog a movie made based on the book, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, which I mentioned above. I loved this movie! It is interesting, amusing and thought provoking. There are mixed reviews but I do not really care about that, I think it was entertaining. Now, I will tell you that the book is definitely more in depth and complex, and frankly sophisticated.  But this is a movie sometimes some of those complexities are lost in translation. 

I hope that you enjoy a wonderful weekend and perhaps find a quite moment to sit with a cup of tea and a good book! Whatever you do, enjoy!

If you have read any of these books or do read them or would like to have a few of them too read, please leave me a comment and send me your address via email. I would be more than happy to continue the tradition of The Brown Paper Book Club started by Jeanne at Collage of Life.


  1. Dear friend...I take all of your recommendations to heart, and always add them to my reading list! Every one of those books sounds like a little gem...
    Looks like you have a delicious weekend ahead!
    We just saw the Rembrandt special exhibit at the Art Institute, and the "Golden Tulip" sounds especially intriguing right now...
    Enjoy, dear Elizabeth!
    - Irina

  2. Fabulous post Elizabeth! So glad you enjoyed Elegamce of the Hedgehog. It is one of those books you have to sit and absorb. Once you do.. A curious world unfolds. I enjoyed The Golden Tulip as well. All your suggestions are spot on and right up my alley. I am reading Foreign Affair by Alison Lurie, a previous Pulitzer Prize Winner. Like you, I have managed to read a few books lately. Such a great feeling to be reading again!
    Thrilled you are passing on The Brown Paper Book Club idea. I will post about that again.'s been too long.
    Thanks for the mention... Sending you hugs and best wishes for a lovely weeklend. :)
    Jeanne xx

  3. Why have I not had the luxury of reading all that I wanted to this summer? Maybe it's the Etsy thing....but I long to read POETRY and my lucky you are to have these at your side!!!

  4. Elizabeth, You weekend sounds wonderful. We all need time to recharge our batteries. The book suggestions sound wonderful. I can't tell you how many times I have picked up "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" and walked around with it only to set it back down and leave with something else.

    I enjoyed your post. Have a restful weekend.

  5. Elizabeth, what a great post! You have let me know about some intriguing books, especially the Golden Tulip and the White Summer. Have a great weekend!

  6. Just found your blog--love it. Really enjoyed the Elegance of the Hedgehog but didn't know about the movie. I will check out your other recommendations.

  7. Elizabeth, thank you so much for sharing. I am adding these fantastic titles to my lists. The white garden and The elegance of the hedgehog sound like just what I'd enjoy to end the summer.


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