This is a quick easy read from an author who's twin passions when she was growing up were writing and theater.
Heiress Caroline Dixon has managed to alienate nearly everyone in her life with her alcoholic escapades that became the fodder for tabloids and gossip hungry readers. As she tries to turn over a new leaf and start atoning for past misdeeds, she reaches out to two people who used to be in her life, a former nanny now living in Norway, and a dude ranch owner. In a series of email exchanges we learn more about the depth of Caroline's pain and how she tried to hide it. And the nanny and the cowboy share their own stories. The correspondence leads to the promise of a reunion, just in time for Christmas. And like all holiday stories worth their salt, there are unexpected revelations and redemption and forgiveness.
A lovely Christmas read from a woman the Minneapolis Star Tribune calls a national treasure.
I had to read this book as part of the Western Kentucky Literature class I'm taking. I must admit that I was not familiar with bell hooks before the class. She is currently teaching at Berea College and is a well known feminist and social activist. She has published over 30 books and numerous scholarly articles. She addresses race, class, and gender in education, art, history, and the mass media. This book is a chronicle of her girlhood memories growing up in western Kentucky, her little corner of the south. She was a strong-spirited child who does not fit in and finds comfort in solitude and the company of books. It is ultimately in the world of stories and poems that she finds home and belonging.
This is a book with emotional resonance and lyrical language. Here is a small sample from one of the chapters to show the raw honesty of what she writes: "She wants to express herself--to speak her mind. To them it is just talking back. Each time she opens her mouth she risks punishment. They punish her so often she feels they persecute her. When she learns the word scapegoat in vocabulary lesson, she is sure it accurately describes her lot in life. Her wilderness, unlike the one the goat is led into, is a wilderness of spirit. They abandon her there to get on with the fun things of life. She lies in her bed upstairs after being punished yet again. She can hear the sound of their laughter, their talk. No one hears her crying. Even though she is young she comes to understand the meaning of exile and loss. They say that she is really not a young girl but an old woman born again in a young girl's body. They do not know how to speak the old woman's language so they are afraid of her."
Though some of her writing can be a bit strident, I think she is at her best when she is talking about the personal and being passionately honest. This book will stay with you long after you have finished it. Those are the best kind.
This book is a strangely fascinating look at all things weird in the state of Kentucky. As the book jacket says, who knew My Old Kentucky Home could be so weird? Most people when they think of Kentucky probably think of the Derby and Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken. But Kentucky is so much more than that. As this book shows, the state is full of local legends and unusual sights, some supernatural, some odd, and some just plain weird. This is a brand new entry in the Weird U.S. series, and it's packed with all that great stuff you won't get anywhere else. The graphics and pictures are wonderfully displayed and this book is just pure fun to delve into shallow or deep. Check out the cave mummies found in Kentucky caves, the mysterious mounds of Wickliffe, the legend of the blue people in the bluegrass state, the strange doings at the Seelbach hotel, Murray's vampire clan, the Stanford UFO abduction, and many, many more.
This book was our November selection for the Book Club, and we had to wait almost a year to get it in the large print kits that come from the state, but I must say it was worth the wait.
I have always been enamored of elephants and think they are amazing creatures. Elephants have one of the longest lifespans in the animal kingdom and live almost as long as human beings. They are the largest land animals and use infrasound (a low sound inaudible to humans) to communicate with each other over distances of several miles. Elephants have the best sense of smell of the world's animals and the tip of an elephants trunk contains the most sensitive tissue ever studied. And elephants grieve for dead companions, something that is virtually unknown in other animals.
This book is about the world of the circus, but it is so much more than that. Sara Gruen introduces us to a world of freaks and misfits and a struggling second rate circus that is trying to stay alive in the midst of the Great Depression. She draws vivid characters into a superb plot full of gritty historical detail and concisely brings this lost world to life in her fast paced story. She manages to humanize the midgets, drunks and freaks who populate her story and even manages to give us an amazing glimpse at what it's like to grow old.
Jacob Jankowski, a veterinary student who has almost earned his degree, is suddenly orphaned, jumps onto a passing train, and finds himself hired on as the vet for the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. There he meets and falls in love with the beautiful Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, who unfortunately happenes to be married to the charismatic but darkly twisted August, the animal trainer. And then of course there is Rosie, an elephant they manage to pick up along the way from another circus that has gone under and seems untrainable until a way is discovered to reach her.
This is a beautifully written lovely and mesmerizing book. It is a compelling journey, not only into the heart of the circus, but also a book that tells us much about what animals can teach people about love.
Aron Houdini and the guillotine that once belonged to Houdini
Ghosts of Russell County was held at the Star Theater on October 23rd. Roberta Simpson Brown and her husband Lonnie Brown are usually part of the program, telling their ghostly tales. This year they were unable to participate in the program due to emergency bypass surgery that Lonnie had to undergo. Lynwood Montell (author of Ghosts Across Kentucky and Ghosts Along the Cumberland) usually participates as well, but this year had a prior commitment and was unable to take part.
So this year we had to do things a little bit different. We had several guest readers who read selections from Roberta Simpson Brown and Lynwood Montell's books. We also had Nash Black (the husband and wife writing team of Ford Nashett and Irene Black) with us and they brought along their new book Haints and treated us to a few stories from it.
Cody York reading "A Father's Faith" from Haints
Elizabeth Wright reading "The Touch" by Roberta Simpson Brown
Renee Daffron reading "Flower Girl" by Roberta Simpson Brown
Lea Turner reading "Don't Go There" by Nash Black
David Smith reading death lore from Montell's book, Ghosts Along the Cumberland
Benjamin Foster and I singing acapella version of "Oh Death"
Ford Nashett reading "Death Mines" from Haints
And then to close out the show we had a young man who bills himself as "The World's Only Living Houdini", Aron Houdini. Aron, who is a master of magic and illusion treated us to a few feats of magic and then gave a presentation with slides about his experience in the Death Tunnel at Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville.
For those of you interested in finding out more about the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, please click here. Another good site is spookedtv.com
Good books. Good times. Good stories. Good rhymes. Good beginnings. Good ends. Good people. Good friends. Good fiction. Good facts. Good adventures. Good acts. Good stories. Good rhymes. Good books. Good times.
Yeah, Reading is Sexy
A Whale for the Killing by Farley Mowat
All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen
Beach Music by Pat Conroy
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
How Now Shall We Live by Charles Colson
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Parchment of Leaves by Silas House
River of Earth by James Still
Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg
The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs
The Mitford series by Jan Karon
The Stand by Stephen King
This quote from Eudora Welty captures perfectly how I feel about books and reading
"I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them -- with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself."
Get Caught Reading
Want to find time to read? Fall in book love. Seek out the books that fire your passions. Follow your intellect and your heart. Then time will find you. ...Steve Leveen
Stop thinking this is all there is...
Realize that for every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental devastation, there are a thousand counter-balancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral.
Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel.
Realize that this is the perfect moment to change the energy of the world, to step right up and crank your personal volume; right when it all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious...there's your opening!
And, finally, believe you are part of a groundswell, a resistance, a seemingly small but actually very, very large impending karmic overhaul, a great shift, the beginning of something important and potent and unstoppable.
...Mark Morford, Newspaper Columnist and Yoga Instructor
CONAN THE LIBRARIAN
I read as if time were running out, because technically it is. As I grow older, I find I'm increasingly impatient with mediocre entertainments: I want books that will take my breath away and realign my vision...Barbara Kingsolver
Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill...Barbara Techman (Writer)
Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul...Samuel Ullman
Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order...John Adams, 2nd President of the U.S.
Every page allows me to live in the main character's thoughts and marvel at how all of us who grew up poor and female are bonded, regardless of where we were raised or who raised us. I not only feel I know this person, but I also recognize more of myself. That's just one of the great joys of reading. Insight, escape, information, knowledge, power. All that and more can come through a good book...If you're going to binge, literature is definitely the way to do it...Oprah Winfrey
"I'm of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved."
Asking a Librarian her favorite book is like asking a Mother her favorite child
So you want to become a librarian? Welcome to a vibrant and exciting profession. Click here.
The best of all things is to learn. Money can be lost or stolen. Health and strength may fail. But what you have committed to your mind, is yours forever...Louis Lamour
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture.Just get people to stop reading them. ..... Ray Bradbury
I LOVE NEIL GAIMAN
Do yourself a favor and read American Gods, Anansi Boys, Fragile Things, Smoke & Mirrors, The Graveyard Book, MirrorMask, or Good Omens
Love the Fantasy/SciFi genre
Many good authors to try, John Scalzi is one of the newer ones
Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant, interesting...Aldous Huxley
The Chronicles of Narnia are an excellent read!
I was an adult before I read these books...how sad...
BOOKS: The Other Channel
My lifelong love affair with books and reading continues unaffected by automation, computers, and all other forms of the twentieth-century gadgetry. — Books in My Life Robert DOWNS (1903- )
A room without books is like a body without a soul. .....Marcus T. Cicero
To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry. ......Gaston Bachelard
The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries. — Cosmos Carl SAGAN
The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one's devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life. — Cited in ALA Bulletin, Oct. 1954, p.475 Norman COUSINS (1915- )