Thursday, August 31, 2006
Telling the story of Jennet Stearne is a scientific treatise written in Latin, Sir Isaac Newton's "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica." As the story opens Jennet is studying science and philosophy with her beloved aunt. Her father is a noted witchfinder. Tragedy strikes when her aunt is accused of witchcraft and her father's zeal for his profession leads him to have her burned at the stake. Jennet spends the rest of her life trying to scientifically prove that demons do not exist in the rational world. Her destiny, it seems, is to end the witch trials forever. During her life she immigrates to America and interacts with a wide variety of famous personages including having a romance with no less than Ben Franklin although she always lets go of the people in her life in order to continue her quest.
The best thing about this book is that all of the events are conveyed with a slightly fantastical air to them that gives this book a slightly surreal edge.
This is one of those books that would (in the normal course of things) cause me to go out and find biographies on Newton and Franklin as well as some of the works cited during the course of the book to see where fact leaves off and supposition begins. With my current reading constraints I can't do that so I will have to rely on my memory and say that, without doing some fact checking this book seems to be quite historically accurate and even the fantastical elements have elements of truth. The author also is quite clever and plays with words in humorous and inventive ways. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it for the more adventurous among you. (Being well-read doesn't hurt either.)
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Jack and Diane by John Mellencamp
Shoulda by Hinder
Happens All The Time by Cold
Diary Of Jane by Breaking Benjamin
Murder by Powerman 5000
The First Cut Is The Deepest by Sheryl Crow
Feelin Too Damn Good by NickelbackT
he Queen And I by Gym Class Heroes
When I'm Gone (Sadie) by No Address
Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet
You by Candlebox
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
1) Egyptian pyramids - This should be no surprise since I believe I have already shared my secret desire to be Indiana Jones (or at least his sidekick). The only problem that I can see with my "after retirement" career is that the last time I was in possession of a whip it was confiscated.
2) Great Barrier Reef - Hopefully I will get there before we do it in! (see Weathermakers post)
3) England (Bath and the British Museum) - Because bunches of Regency romances are set in Bath and the British Museum feeds my archaeology obsession. Now that I am getting into gardening I wouldn't mind going to the Chelsea Garden Show. Oh, let's just say pretty much everything in England and leave it at that.
4) Dracula's castle (Transylvania) - I love vampire movies, TV shows, books, etc... I don't think we need to analyze this to deeply.
5) Loch Ness (Scotland) - Hopefully I will see Nessie.
6) Minsk - Cause I like how the word Minsk sounds.
7) Vancouver (Canada) - Supposedly a great place to see the whales.
8) Oktoberfest (Germany) - Do I have to explain?
9) Tibet - Maybe I will find myself, or maybe not.
10) Casablanca - because it's Casablanca.
and of course, India, Japan, China......
Monday, August 28, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
This is a hefty book that dragged a bit at times but overall was an interesting and entertaining read.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
I really liked this book but found it somewhat predictable and didn't think that it was complex enough to merit a Notable rating.
So unless someone reading this went over to my house and removed it for me, thank you Bailey.
Friday, August 25, 2006
DeSalvo never confessed to the Goldberg murder but Smith died insisting that he was innocent. Junger investigates all of the possible options but in the end no physical evidence exists that can prove or disprove either theory. Junger is an accomplished writer who has a gift for writing readable nonfiction. If you are at all interested in true crime this is a clear step above the usual offerings.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I don't want the rabbit to rot back there cause that's yucky but on the other hand I don't want to have to be the one to remove it. Of course, I will have to be the one to make it go away unless I can look pathetic enough to get someone else to volunteer to come over and remove it for me. I'm not holding my breath though, on second thought maybe I should.
I wonder what one does to dispose of non-alive animals. I am pretty sure that putting it in the plastic garbage can to cook for four days until trash pick-up day is a bad idea.
This is an interesting book that explores a lifelong friendship and the ways that such a friendship can change a person and a life.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
This volume feels a little uneven to me. There are some really interesting pieces in the book but also some that are a bit weak. Because this is not my specialty I have asked a couple of poetry professors to take a look and give me their feedback as well.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
This was an incredibly painful book to read and will stay with me for a long time. The characters in this novel are so tortured that it is easy to believe that they are cursed even into the afterlife.
Monday, August 21, 2006
I took the first picture after I had pulled out the range hood and spackled so it actually looked better than this in my daily life:) The second is the finished product. All I have left to do is seal it.
I wanted to get an over-the-range microwave but the salespeople keep telling me I need at least 15" between the bottom of the microwave and the top of the range. I may try to get an under counter microwave so that I can free up a little more counterspace.
See why I am so impressed with myself:)
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Saturday, August 19, 2006
The father was told to forget about the war and get on with his life so instead of dealing with the damage it caused he shut down and isolated himself from those he loved. In the process, he ended up losing the wife that he loved, alienating his children, destroying his health and dragging out his pain and grief for years.
Danielle spends years trying to understand his behavior and it's impact on her , eventually traveling to Vietnam to try to piece together the events that her father experienced. At times this was an extremely moving memoir and I got teary eyed at the end. I did have a few problems with this however. There were a few events that were never fully explained. For example, a stalker appears in Vietnam but the mystery is never explained or solved.
Friday, August 18, 2006
More striking is the fact that all three of the novel I have read lately have featured disfunctional families, although Grief was much more muted than this latest story. The father is a bigoted, angry man whose harshness is exacerbated by the fact that his wife is consumed by Catholic guilt. This was an interesting novel but is not on my best of the year list.
Tomorrow I will try to post a picture of my lovely new backsplash. I am so impressed with myself right now.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Next I am installing a backsplash in the kitchen.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
This was an interesting, spare book that provides an unusual portrait of the world of gay men in Washington D.C. however the grief of the protagonist never became real for me. Maybe this is because grief is such a personal experience or because no one can ever see another's grief in its fullness but this book did not have the emotional weight that the title suggested that it would have.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
After her parents abandoned their expatriate lifestyle to come back and run the family business, a funeral home (or fun home as it was not so affectionately referred to) Alison becomes intimately aware of the reality of death. Her father's obsession with the house, his mood swings and his forced daily contact with death is the basis for her childhood memories. In a house where each family member lived an isolated life she grows up to discover that she also has a secret. When she comes out, she is overshadowed by her father's many affairs with the young men who passed through her family's life.
In the end, she comes to terms with her sexuality and more importantly, her relationship with her father and can look at him with the start of affection and understanding. This is an exceptional graphic novel that explores complex subjects and relationships with humor and depth.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
This is one of those autobiographies with a style that I like very much. Interesting stories that if done well are interconnected to give a complete picture of a time period, a person or a profession.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
I haven't had anyone buy into this yet but I took the test and I am definitely a princess. (I get a sparkly tiara.)
Which Princess Are You?
1) Are you…
2) Do you love…
B) Having everything in order?
3) When you’re away from home, do you…
A) Miss your family?
B) Miss your pet?
C) Relish your freedom?
4) Are you…
5) When your lady-in-waiting tries to dress you,
A) Thank her kindly?
B) Order her around?
C) Tell her you would rather dress yourself?
6) Do you believe in ghosts?
A) Yes. Anything is possible.
B) No. What you can’t see doesn’t exist.
C) It doesn’t matter either way, since ghosts aren’t scary.
If the tiara fits…wear it!
If you chose mostly A’s, you are Princess Alicia.
Put on your jeweled tiara!
If you chose mostly B’s, you are Princess Gundersnap.
Don your iron tiara!
If you chose mostly C’s, you are Princess Kristen.
Show off your tiara of gold-dipped antlers!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
The Oracle: The Lost Secrets And Hidden Message Of Ancient Delphi by William J. Broad is the history of the Oracle of Delphi. For centuries it has been widely believed that there was no physical explanation for the hallucinations that the Oracle had during religious ceremonies. The quest of a geologist, De Boer, and an archaeologist, Hale, changed all that when they discovered the existence of a hallucinogenic chasm which effectively disproved all previous theories regarding the Oracles mystic qualities. What makes this book so compelling are the larger-than-life personalities who are willing to face adversity and spend a lifetime in pursuit of answers. Broad's narrative is lively and engaging and has just enough of the Indiana Jones in it to satisfy the armchair archaeologist's among us.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
This is a challenging novel that the author pulls off successfully although I have read other works with alternating voices that were more compelling to me this year.
Monday, August 07, 2006
This is not the collection of stories to read after a bad week. Technically stunning but this collection is also one that is very dark and disturbing in tone. Filled with seedy or sad characters who always have an angle or a plan or sometimes just flounder around hoping life will get better each story gets progressively darker. It is no surprise that life doesn't get better for these people. If you like a clear resolution or forward movement in your stories this will not be a satisfying collection but for those who like ambiguity and dark characters this may be the book for you.
As for me, this collection left me surprisingly unmoved apart from a vague sense of depression.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
The book explores the stresses on relationships, absence, infidelity, temptation, loss and yearning. Again, it is hard not to compare this novel to her first which was so tightly plotted and beautifully constructed that it was hard to believe that it was a first novel but I do feel like this novel could have been a bit more pulled together.
I took my new kitten to visit a friend with a cat-friendly dog. He didn't know what to think about the dog but he absolutely hated the car ride and protested very, very loudly. It is going to be a long car ride when I visit my parents 5 hours away!
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Now she has lost the "you better remember my birthday or else" threat. I am so disappointed in her.
I usually keep a list of books I want to read on amazon.com. No one ever buys me anything from my wishlist but just in case... Anyway, I looked at my current list and realized that I had several hundred books on it. At my present rate, in another year and a half (after I finished this project) I will have several thousand on my list. After a few moment of trauma I went in and deleted the whole list.
On the upside, now I can start a new list.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Another theme is that nothing is free. The protagonist will have to pay for his dream in ways he doesn't anticipate. When he was a thief there was the understanding that eventually he would pay for what he took, perhaps with his life. In the same way he will pay for having his dream. This author's award winning novel is a comedy so someday, when I get to end of my giant pile of books, I want to read it as well. I have a feeling that this is one of those novels that will stick with me a long time and I am trying to decide if I should nominate it. Any thoughts?