Monday, September 26, 2011

Poetry Monday

Robert Frost....good stuff.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Party Blonde and Other Social Stereotypes from the "Telegraph Magazine" by Victoria Mather, Sue Macartney-Snape

The Party Blonde and Other Social Stereotypes from the "Telegraph Magazine"

This was a fun, snarky look at some of the stereotypes you may encounter in British society. The thing is, you'll encounter them here in the States too! This book is just one in a series, and I look forward to reading the rest.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Airmail- Naomi Bulger

Airmail From Goodreads:
Reclusive old Mr. G.L. Solomon's favorite things are single malt whiskey, Steve McQueen movies, and gingersnap cookies. He hates processed cheese, washing detergent commercials, and the way the teacup rattles in the saucer when he picks it up. Solomon has become accustomed to his lonely routine in Sydney, Australia-until the day he begins sporadically receiving letters in his mailbox from a complete stranger.

On the other side of the world, Anouk is a mentally delicate young woman living in New York who insists she is being stalked by a fat woman in a pink tracksuit. When Anouk declares to Solomon that she is writing "from the Other Side," the old man breaks away from his daily grind of watching soap operas and reading Fishing World and travels to New York to find her. As he is drawn into Anouk's surreal world of stalkers and storytelling, marbles and cats, purgatory and Plato, Solomon has but one goal-to unravel the mystery before it is too late.

My take:
It's a short little book. I read it twice, hoping to pick up what I thought I had clearly missed on the first read. After the second read, I came to the conclusion that I either am too dumb to follow the author's disjointed narrative and odd metahporical imagery or the book just didn't make any sense. I'm choosing to believe the latter.

After I posted the above review on Goodreads, I received a very nice note from the author thanking me for reading her book and for giving my honest opinion, even though she was sorry I didn't like it. I tried reading it one more time and still couldn't quite get it, but I am looking forward to seeing what Ms Bulger writes next. She DOES show promise as an author, and hopefully I'll do better with her next book!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Poetry Monday

Edgar Allan Poe? Sure, why not?!?

A Dream Within A Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!

And, in parting from you now,

Thus much let me avow-

You are not wrong, who deem

That my days have been a dream;

Yet if hope has flown away

In a night, or in a day,

In a vision, or in none,

Is it therefore the less gone?

All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar

Of a surf-tormented shore,

And I hold within my hand

Grains of the golden sand-

How few! yet how they creep

Through my fingers to the deep,

While I weep- while I weep!

O God! can I not grasp

Them with a tighter clasp?

O God! can I not save

One from the pitiless wave?

Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Watch Your Head- Cory Thomas

Watch Your Head

Watch Your HeadWatch Your Head by Cory Thomas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

fairly amusing look at a boy embarking on his college life. takes shots at professors, campus dating, and the pitfalls of the roommate lottery. (how DO schools match roommates up anyway? Lord knows I had nothing in common with my first roomies...)

View all my reviews

Monday, September 12, 2011

Malled by Caitlin Kelly

Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail (Kindle Edition)

This was a VERY accurate look at what it's like to work in retail. Unless you've done it, you have no idea how physically and emotionally draining retail jobs can be. Most corporate stores are only interested in the bottom line and expect employees to work miracles with little to no training, assistance, or incentive. Customers don't ususally stop to think about the feelings of those on the other side of the counter, or make impossible demands that cannot be filled. I did it for way too many years and honestly don't miss it a bit- especially Wal-Mart at Christmas time!

Poetry Monday

Today we have Roald Dahl. Enjoy!


The most important thing we've learned,

So far as children are concerned,

Is never, NEVER, NEVER let

Them near your television set --

Or better still, just don't install

The idiotic thing at all.

In almost every house we've been,

We've watched them gaping at the screen.

They loll and slop and lounge about,

And stare until their eyes pop out.

(Last week in someone's place we saw

A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)

They sit and stare and stare and sit

Until they're hypnotised by it,

Until they're absolutely drunk

With all that shocking ghastly junk.

Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,

They don't climb out the window sill,

They never fight or kick or punch,

They leave you free to cook the lunch

And wash the dishes in the sink --

But did you ever stop to think,

To wonder just exactly what

This does to your beloved tot?










'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,

'But if we take the set away,

What shall we do to entertain

Our darling children? Please explain!'

We'll answer this by asking you,

'What used the darling ones to do?

'How used they keep themselves contented

Before this monster was invented?'

Have you forgotten? Don't you know?

We'll say it very loud and slow:

THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ,

AND READ and READ, and then proceed

To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!

One half their lives was reading books!

The nursery shelves held books galore!

Books cluttered up the nursery floor!

And in the bedroom, by the bed,

More books were waiting to be read!

Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales

Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales

And treasure isles, and distant shores

Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,

And pirates wearing purple pants,

And sailing ships and elephants,

And cannibals crouching 'round the pot,

Stirring away at something hot.

(It smells so good, what can it be?

Good gracious, it's Penelope.)

The younger ones had Beatrix Potter

With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,

And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,

And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-

Just How The Camel Got His Hump,

And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,

And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,

There's Mr. Rate and Mr. Mole-

Oh, books, what books they used to know,

Those children living long ago!

So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,

Go throw your TV set away,

And in its place you can install

A lovely bookshelf on the wall.

Then fill the shelves with lots of books,

Ignoring all the dirty looks,

The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,

And children hitting you with sticks-

Fear not, because we promise you

That, in about a week or two

Of having nothing else to do,

They'll now begin to feel the need

Of having something to read.

And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy!

You watch the slowly growing joy

That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen

They'll wonder what they'd ever seen

In that ridiculous machine,

That nauseating, foul, unclean,

Repulsive television screen!

And later, each and every kid

Will love you more for what you did.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Poetry Monday

Oops, missed a week there, didn't I? Oh, well, I'm back now, and this week we have Pablo Neruda
If You Forget Me

I want you to know

one thing.

You know how this is:

if I look

at the crystal moon, at the red branch

of the slow autumn at my window,

if I touch

near the fire

the impalpable ash

or the wrinkled body of the log,

everything carries me to you,

as if everything that exists,

aromas, light, metals,

were little boats

that sail

toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,

if little by little you stop loving me

I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly

you forget me

do not look for me,

for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,

the wind of banners

that passes through my life,

and you decide

to leave me at the shore

of the heart where I have roots,


that on that day,

at that hour,

I shall lift my arms

and my roots will set off

to seek another land.


if each day,

each hour,

you feel that you are destined for me

with implacable sweetness,

if each day a flower

climbs up to your lips to seek me,

ah my love, ah my own,

in me all that fire is repeated,

in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,

my love feeds on your love, beloved,

and as long as you live it will be in your arms

without leaving mine.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Yarn Harlot- Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter (Kindle Edition)

This book made me laugh out loud. Change the subject to Cross Stitching, and I could have written it myself. The mentions of people not understanding the fascination, building/keeping your stash, unfinished projects, overestimating how many projects you can do in a limited amount of time- all are familiar to any type of crafter.

From Goodreads: Over 50 million people in America knit. The average knitter spends between $500 and $1,700 a year on yarn, patterns, needles, and books. No longer just a fad or a hobby, knitting has advanced to a lifestyle.  (now ask me how much I've spent on cross-stitch stuff already this year. On second thought, don't. It's scary.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Are So Important in a Distracted Time by David L. Ulin

The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time (Paperback)

From Goodreads:
Reading is a revolutionary act, an act of engagement in a culture that wants us to disengage. In The Lost Art of Reading, David L. Ulin asks a number of timely questions — why is literature important? What does it offer, especially now? Blending commentary with memoir, Ulin addresses the importance of the simple act of reading in an increasingly digital culture. Reading a book, flipping through hard pages, or shuffling them on screen — it doesn’t matter. The key is the act of reading, the seriousness and depth. Ulin emphasizes the importance of reflection and pause allowed by stopping to read a book, and the focus required to let the mind run free in a world that is not one's own. Far from preaching to the choir, The Lost Art of Reading is a call to arms, or rather, pages.

My take:
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It's a fairly small volume and it had a promising beginning, but devolved into a rather dry (to me) series of quotes and passages from the works of other authors that did nothing to tell me why THIS author was feeling that reading is becoming a lost art.