Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Reading

I grew up watching the 1963 Disney movie, "The Miracle of the White Stallions", the story of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna during World War II. So when we were in Vienna this spring, I just had to go see the famous white horses, the Lippazaner stallions. The Lippazaner are descendants of the horses ridden by the Moors as they rode to conquer Spain in the 7th century.   In the 16th century the Habsburgs brought the powerful, agile war horses to Austria and founded the Lippazan breed.  To this day, the horses are trained in classical dressage and perform regularly at their home at the Winter Riding School in Vienna.

When we got back from our great European adventure, we watched the Disney movie with my family, pointing out where we sat and explaining what we saw during the performance. This time at the end of the credits I noticed that the movie was based on a book called "My Dancing White Horses" by Alois Podhajsky. I had to get my hands on this book.  (With my new super awesome smart phone) I checked Amazon and eBay and found that copies of this out of print book cost a bit more than I'm willing to spend.  But the good old library came through.  I put a hold on it and another book by Colonel Podhajsky, the director of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna from 1939 to 1965.  

The other book I'm reading is also an autobiography...

The trouble with loving to read and love to stitch is that you can't really do both at the same time. Unless, of course you can find someone to read to you.  Since neither my husband nor my friends have agreed to be my personal narrator, I'm stuck with getting audio books from the library.   (I would say books on tape, but I haven't listened to a book on an actual tale since I was about 8 years old. )  Usually I download audio books from the library, which worked really well with my old mp3 player.  Since it's not an I-product, I could listen to the wma books and since it's so old (circa 2005) the security thing doesn't work and I can keep listening long after the book is due.  

But then sometimes, the book I really want to listen to isn't available for download and I have to check out the cds.  Which isn't as convenient, but is so incredibly worth it, especially when what you're listening to is David Attenborough's autobiography,  "Life on Air".

Jason and I are huge Attenborough fans. We recently watched his latest big series "Africa" and, like always, were completely blown away by the animals, the scenery, and the amazingly talented photographers.  "Life on Air", even without the visuals, is just as fun and full of crazy adventures and wacky animals stories.  And, thanks to the fact that I have to get up and put in a new CD every 74 minutes, I'm going through it a lot more slowly than the downloaded audiobooks.

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