Thursday, May 8, 2008

Long Time, No Post

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted here. I've been busy on my other blog and actually haven't done any reading since the weather got nice!

I'm going to aim for my 2-3 chapters a night, leaving the day free for errands. I did manage to go see Iron Man and really enjoyed it. Robert Downey Jr. was great in the role and I'm looking forward to seeing a movies about The Avengers (if you go see it, stick around for the end of the credits where there is a little teaser about what's coming next).

Monday, April 14, 2008

One book down...

Well, I made a conscientious effort to read at LEAST one chapter a day and I finished the Anne Perry book, Death of a Stranger. I've started on In the Name of God because it's short. I'm also going to attempt one of my already started nonfiction books tonight.

I don't want it to seem as though I'm reading JUST to get it out of the way. I enjoy it. It just seems a bit harder now to stay with more than one chapter!

Death of a Stranger was decent as far as the William Monk series goes. Perry has a style of writing that can be a bit irritating at times (she can be repetitive and tends to state the overstate the obvious) but she always describes Victorian London very well. This wasn't so much of a whodunit as it was a whydunit and Monk gets his memory back.

Happy reading to all!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Library Friday

I went to the library to look for The Book Thief . It was out so I have to wait for a loan to come in from another branch. I did, however, manage to take out 3 other books, all of them fiction. Forget about one book a month, I'd like to get back to one per week. So, my new resolution is one nonfiction per month and TRY for one fiction per week.

First up is Death of a Stranger by Anne Perry. It's part of a mystery series featuring the character of Inspector Monk. The series takes place in Victorian London and I truly enjoyed it. For whatever reason, I hadn't read any for some time. Which is probably a good thing because I've got several to catch up with and don't have to wait for the "next one".

The second is A Dead Man in Trieste. It is the first book of a mystery series also. It intrigued me because of the setting (I'm a history nut!) and I hope that it will be as good as the title makes me think it will.

The third book is In the Name of God. The main character is a young Syrian girl and the story is aimed at her struggle with Fundamentalist Islam. Of course, very topical but written by a Westerner who lived in the Middle East for many years. I am hoping that this too will be interesting.

Happy reading to everyone out there in Blogger land. I've also added Calvin and Hobbes to my blog. Along with The Farside and Herman it is one of the all-time brilliant comic strips (in my humble opinion of course).

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Books for April

I have added a few books to my Library at the right of this post. The Professor and the Madman and Misquoting Jesus are both books that I started to read and for some reason or other put on the backburner. They are both nonfiction but also are not very long. I hope to be able to finish them this month.

I also placed The Book Thief, a piece of young adult fiction that was recommended to me by MB, a fellow blogger. I have not given up on The White Castle just yet but I have found it incredibly dull. That could be because it's a translation but I think it is just not that interesting (and I'm half finished). I'll give it another go and try to get in 1/2 an hour of reading per day--very doable!


Well, here it is, the beginning of a new month. I can finally say that I have finished reading a book! How pathetic is it that I used to be able to finish a book a week and now it takes me several months! A goal that I need to revisit is that of reading at least one book a month.

In my defense, The Closing of the Western Mind was a tough read. Charles Freeman packed a lot of information into 340 pages and I admit to taking the time to read the notes at the book for many of his citations. I would recommend the book if you are someone who is interested in the history of Christianity. I think that a lot of people accept things as always having been a certain way but it all had a start somewhere. I especially found the concept of the Trinity fascinating and the struggle early church leaders had in finding a role, if you can believe it, for Jesus in Christianity. Of course, there is a lot in here about philosophy and the Greek tradition. It is interesting to see how much of it was incorporated into this new religion!

To close my rather brief review, I'll just include what the author claims the central theme of his book is: "that the Greek intellectual tradition was suppressed rather than simply faded away. My own feeling is that this is an important moment in European cultural history which has for all too long been neglected. Whether the explanations put forward in this book for the suppression are accepted or not, the reasons for the extinction of serious mathematical and scientific thinking in Europe for a thousand years surely deserve more atention than they have received."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

You Were There

I walk amongst the ruins of the Roman Forum
And wonder that they have stood the test of time;
I turn to share this with you but I'm alone.
The Colosseum is across the way, standing in its glory;
Hundreds of years have passed and yet the tourists still walk beneath
Those arches, picturing in the mind's eye the events that took place there.
I want to ask you how you feel, standing there, breathing in the history,
Wanting to share this feeling of awe that washes over me but I'm alone.
Those romantic moonlit nights along the Amalfi Coast;
Lovers walking hand in hand passing through groves of lemon trees.
I'm alone but buried deep within my heart, my mind, my soul
You are there.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

French Cinema

I got up early this morning and watched a French movie. I had read an article about body image earlier in the week and the author mentioned a French horror film, Les Yeux Sans Visage, where body image is taken to an extreme. A doctor's daughter has her face horribly disfigured in a car accident. He is obsessed with returning her to her former beauty.

His assistant searches for beautiful young women in the streets of Paris to replace his daughter's face with. Yes, rather macabre. The daughter has to wear a mask because she can't bear her reflection. Her father is a renowned surgeon and has conducted experiments on grafting. There is a rather gruesome scene where we see the doctor removing the "face" from a second victim. I won't tell too much more for fear of spoiling the story for anyone who may want to watch it.

It's a great little movie, especially since it's from 1959. I enjoyed the music score by Maurice Jarre (Dr. Zhivago). It set the mood for the film. The look of it was also tres cool! Movies from this era beat the blood and guts movies that we get now. Who doesn't remember Saturday afternoon matinees? In the Windsor/Detroit area, kids in my era grew up watching Sir Graves Ghastly on Channel 4. This movie reminded me of those Saturday afternoons.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I was doing some cleaning in the house and glanced at some of my photos from past travels. I LOVE to travel! If I could afford to, I'd go somewhere every year.

I've only gone once without family and friends and while it was a fantastic experience, there is nothing like sharing a new place with family or friends. The memories are there and when we get together we enjoy nothing more than sharing some of the experiences we had while abroad.

I've decided that along with the other topics I'd like to write about on this blog, I would add that of travels--past and those I'd like to have in the future. I don't know yet if they will follow a chronological order. I'm fortunate to have parents who are from Europe and especially a father who loved to roam the world. They instilled that wanderlust in me and a thirst to learn more about exotic and historic locations.

So, tune in to my travel stories and share any of your own if you happen to drop by. My first entries will deal with France. Adieu until then.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Poor Anne

Friday night I went out with a girlfriend for dinner and a movie. We've both got English degrees and are history nuts so we went to see "The Other Boleyn Girl". Yes, there were some liberties taken with history and sure the drama was a bit overwrought at times but overall I thought the movie was better than some critics are saying. I enjoyed both Scarlett and Natalie's performances. I think I would have liked to see another actor in the role of Henry VIII--Eric Bana just didn't do it for me.

I did a little bit of research when I got home. I know the "story" pretty well but can get mixed up with a lot of the names, details, etc. Two sites that are quite good are Tudor History and Elizabeth 1 . Take some time to look at the galleries and read a bit about what life was like for the women of these times. My next task will be to check out some biographies--if anybody out there reads this, I'd love some suggestions.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Treading on Dreams

Last night I watched a fascinating movie that I'd never heard of, Equilibrium, starring Christian Bale.

World War III has taken place and the world has fallen under the control of Father and the Tetragrammaton. The government has outlawed feelings--anger, hatred, bigotry, etc. These are the emotions that have led to wars. Citizens are forced to take Prozium (a clever uniting of Prozac and Valium) which eliminates emotions. Of course these aren't the only feelings being erased. Man loses love, joy, happiness--you get the picture. John Preston is an elite soldier whose job it is to wipe out the "Sense Offenders", citizens who feel. One day, shortly after executing his partner who has been "feeling", Preston accidentally breaks his morning dose of emotion suppressant drug and begins to feel for the first time, setting off a chain of events.

I've always been interested in stories that take place after some sort of catastrophe. How would humans react? Could they pick up the pieces and rebuild? Should they? There are always the references to 1984 and A Brave New World, both classics of the genre.

Sean Bean, who plays Bale's partner, quotes from a poem by William Butler Yeats. He is reading from a book he confiscated from a raid on a group of sense offenders. I just thought it was beautiful and wanted to share it here.

He Wished for the Cloths of Heaven

HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Love This Pic!

I came across a great piece of clip art from a fellow blogger and book lover and just had to put it on this page.

Now, I'll just have to start doing some writing and of course finish up some of my reading!
Thanks again MB--from one proud bookworm to another.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why I'm Doing This

I started my first blog a few weeks ago. It was originally intended for writing short stories, mini-essays, thoughts about things I've read, heard, seen. It has now become a page that I share with a community of people, mostly women, who are trying to make healthy lifestyle choices. These choices may be about getting more exercise, changing eating habits, losing weight--sometimes 10 pounds or 300. It's about support and getting a cyberspace version of a pat on the back.

So, I decided that I would create another blog, within this service, and do what I had originally set out to do. Whether anybody reads this or comments on it isn't important. It's more about myself finally getting back to writing.