Monthly Archives: July 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read

• Open to a random page

• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (You don’t want to ruin the book for others.)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here’s mine:

From Michael Chabon‘s Maps & Legends:

A third innovative stroke of Conan Doyle‘s was to find a new way to play the oldest trick in the book, to revise the original pretense of all adventurers, liars, and storytellers–that every word you are about to hear is true.

Holmes was not only aware of his status as a subject of Watson’s “chronicles,” he resented it, and mocked it, even as he profited by the fictional version of the very real success that the stories enjoyed . . . .

From We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

It’s 21:30. The blinds are lowered in the room to the left of mine. In the room on the right, I see my neighbor: bent over a book, his bald patch, knobbly with hummocks, and his forehead, a huge, yellow parabola.

Comments Off on Teaser Tuesday

Posted by on July 31, 2012 in classic, contemporary, non-fiction, quotation


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

What Are You Reading? Monday

 Book Journey‘s author ” love[s] being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme.  I offer a weekly contest for those who visit 10 or more of the Monday Meme participants and leave a comment telling me how many you visited.”

I’m almost finished with Madame Bovary, which I’m reading for my book club for the third time. Expect a review soon. I started We, the Russian novel that inspired George Orwell to write 1984. It’s very cool.

In nonfiction I’m reading a biography of a real life Cora Crawley from Downton Abbey. It’s American Jenny: The Remarkable Life of Lady Randolph Churchill, the American who married Lord Churchill and whose son Winston became Prime Minister.

Finally, I’m reading Beyond the Mushroom Cloud by my friend Yuki Miyamoto. It’s an excellent book that makes you rethink forgiveness, remembrance and the atomic bomb.


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Not the cover I’d use as Dana mainly wore pants

Dramatic and creative, Octavia Butler‘s Kindred pulled me in from the beginning. A post on Butler’s birthday on The Writer’s Almanac intrigued me. I’d never known of any African American sci fi writers. Science fiction isn’t a favorite of mine but I became curious.

Kindred is a time travel tale centered on Dana and her husband Kevin who get pulled out of 1976 to antebellum Maryland. At the beginning of the story, when Dana’s ancestor Rufus is in danger of drowning as a boy somehow Dana gets pulled into the past to save him for the first time. Imagine a black modern woman saving and eventually having to live on a plantation owned by her white ancestors. Dana’s permitted to work in the cookhouse and works teaching Rufus to read, but she’s not exempt from the horrors of slavery. The the story realizes all the potential for drama and insight that the premise promises.

The book isn’t heavy on the time travel and that’s to its credit. Dana and her Caucasian husband’s trips back in time allow readers to consider the injustice and cruelty of slavery afresh. The power of this novel is the characters and its veracity. I’d definitely read more of Butler’s work. I liked her style, her characters and the surprising ending, which emphasized that no one flees a culture of slavery unscathed.

Comments Off on Kindred

Posted by on July 24, 2012 in African American Lit, American Lit, contemporary, fiction


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Poem of the Week

Today, according to the Writer’s Almanac is the birthday of Petrarch, the father of the sonnet.

Here’s a sonnet Wordsworth wrote, which the almanac’s email featured:

London, 1802
Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart:
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life’s common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.


Posted by on July 23, 2012 in poetry


Tags: , , , , , ,

Theme Thursday: Face

Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly event that will be open from one Thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:

  • A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
  • Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
  • Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
  • It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)
    Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have “They kissed so gently” or “Their lips touched each other” or “The smooch was so passionate”

This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

The theme for this week is:

FACE , Features

Bronzino’s Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time


Moreland’s face in repose, in spite of this cherubic humorous character, was not without melancholy too; his flush suggesting none of its riotously healthy physique enjoyed by Bronzino’s — and, I suppose everyone else’s — Folly.

from Anthony Powell’s Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant, p. 16 part of A Dance to the Music of Time

1 Comment

Posted by on July 19, 2012 in British Lit, classic, fiction


Tags: , , ,

Teaser Tuesday

Rather late, but I’m in the mood to do this today.

Grab your current read.
Open to a random page.
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other Tuesday Teaser participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

From Octavia Butler‘s Kindred:

Carrie and Nigel named their thin, wrinkled, brown son, Jude. Nigel did a lot of strutting and happy babbling until Weylin told him to shut up and get back to work on the covered passageway he was supposed to be building to connect the house and the cookhouse.

From Anthony Powell‘s At Lady Molly’s (Dance to the Music of Time):

Since we have been undergraduates together my friendship with Quiggin, moving up and down at different seasons, could have been plotted like a temperature chart. Sometimes we seemed on fairly good terms, sometimes on fairly bad terms; never with any very concrete reason for these improvements and deteriorations.


Posted by on July 19, 2012 in African American Lit, British Lit, classic


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Paper Towns

I discovered John Green through his Vlog Brothers’ videos on You Tube. His video on The Great Gatsby led me to Bookfighters’ YouTube channel where Green’s Paper Towns was mentioned. The video convinced me to add Paper Towns to my reading list and I’m glad I did.

I did like Paper Towns, especially the last chapter, but it wasn’t as good as I expected. I think Green’s assessment of Gatsby was so trenchant that I expected Fitzgerald level writing. His writing is good and very much like his patter on Vlog Brothers. The patter that wows in a YouTube video can tire in a novel.

Paper Towns centers around Quentin, a.k.a. Q, a smart, geeky teen who’s smitten with Margo Roth Spielgelman, the dream girl next door. As kids, Q and Margo lived in each others pockets. Now in high school Margo, who sees the superficiality and fakery of life in Orlando, inhabits the social stratosphere, while Q lives on the margins with his geeky friends, Radar and Ben.

The first part of the book follows Quentin and Margo on a late night series of vengeful adventures and pranks. Margo’s pure energy and sarcasm. He’s tailing along as she exacts creative revenge from her cheating boyfriend and frenemies.

The next day, Quentin hopes he and Margo can now be friends or more than friends. At least she should acknowledge him at school. Yet part two takes readers in a different direction. Margo disappears. Since she’s over 18, the police can’t launch a search. She’s run off before and her callus parents don’t take any action, in fact they change their locks. So Quentin hunts for her picking up the esoteric, poetic clues she’s left like bread crumbs. The big question is whether she’s still alive.

If I were in a book club, my first questions to discuss would be: Do you think Margo is a narcissist? Was she worth saving? Is she a 21st century Daisy Buchanan?

Comments Off on Paper Towns

Posted by on July 8, 2012 in American Lit, contemporary, fiction, YA


Tags: , , , , , ,

Moby Dick

My online book club read Moby Dick in May and June. When I saw that on the schedule, I dreaded it. I had a high school American lit teacher who’s off-handedly said Moby Dick was a bore filled with tedious chapters about whaling trivia.

So I’d avoided the novel. Now I had to read it. Well, I could skip, but I don’t like to. So I dove in to Moby Dick and was immediately taken with the narrator Ishmael. I found him funny and loved his perspective on people, philosophy, and yes whaling.

My old teacher was right there was a lot about whaling, but by including the information I gained such an understanding of the thought and skill that goes into whaling. It made me respect whalers more (extinction of whales nowadays aside) and equipped me to appreciate the skill and bravery involved so that when the final showdown between the Pequod* and the Great White Whale occurs, I was ready.

I found there was a lot more to the story, as Moby Dick offers a glimpse into the culture and time of its writing. I loved the mix of people on the Pequod. They came from many nations, spoke different languages and prayed to different gods, yet they managed to work together towards a goal, albeit one that some disagreed with.

Moby Dick offers a Deadliest Catch of the 19th century with insights into philosophy and culture if you want that. If you don’t, it’s a well told tale, a long one, but one that kept my interest for 847 pages.

*The Pequod is boat which Ishmael, Ahab & Co. sail.


Posted by on July 2, 2012 in American Lit, classic


Tags: , , , , ,