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Showing posts from 2014

Poetry Wednesay: When the Year Grows Old

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When the Year Grows Old
I cannot but remember
  When the year grows old—
October—November—
  How she disliked the cold! She used to watch the swallows
  Go down across the sky,
And turn from the window
  With a little sharp sigh. And often when the brown leaves
  Were brittle on the ground,
And the wind in the chimney
  Made a melancholy sound, She had a look about her
  That I wish I could forget—
The look of a scared thing
  Sitting in a net! Oh, beautiful at nightfall
  The soft spitting snow!
And beautiful the bare boughs
  Rubbing to and fro! But the roaring of the fire,
  And the warmth of fur,
And the boiling of the kettle
  Were beautiful to her! I cannot but remember
  When the year grows old—
October—November—
  How she disliked the cold!
- by Edna St. Vincent Millay courtesy poets.org

Polar Book Club Selection: The Winter's Tale

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Winter is the perfect time to bundle up, grab a cuppa and climb into a good book. Who's with me?

Let's form the Polar Book Club!

The 2015 Polar Book Club selection is Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin.

Here is a description from Helprin's website:

Set in New York at the beginning and the end of the twentieth century, Winter´s Tale unfolds with such great narrative force and beauty that a reader can feel that its world is more real than his own. Standing alone on the page before the book begins are the words, I have been to another world, and come back. Listen to me. In that world, both winter and the city of New York (old and new) have the strength and character of protagonists, and the protagonists themselves move as if in a vivid dream. Though immensely complicated, the story is centered upon Peter Lake, a turn-of-the-century Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young heiress whom he encounters in robbing her house, and who eventually will die young and in his arm…

Poetry for the Holidays: When Giving Is All We Have

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When Giving Is All We Have Alberto Ríos, 1952                                               One river gives
                                              Its journey to the next.


We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.

We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.

We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it—

Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.

Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,
But we read this book, anyway, over and again:

Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand,
Mine to yours, yours to mine.

You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.
Together we are simple green. You gave me

What you did not have, and I gave you
What I had to give—together, we made

Something greater from the difference.
— by Alberto Ríos
Courtesy poets.org

Summer Clubbers Come Clean — Just in Time for Winter!

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So, did you read a lot this summer? I know of a few readers who did, and it will earn them a book of their own!

One of the most enjoyable parts of the summer reading club is coming up with new books to read. I invited my buds to join the club for summer reading, and two readers took me up on it.

Both Karen and Stacy  tantalized me with their amazing reading lists. I think I found a few more tomes to add to my (growing) "to be read" list and was pleased to see an unexpected name among the authors. (Oh, there were more than a few favorites in there, too. I know how to pick them — friends and books.)

Karen read the following, for a total of 20 tomes:
The Bone Chamber, Robin BurcellMisery, Stephen KingComing Home, Mariah StewartDesperation, Stephen KingFeels Like Family, Sherryl WoodsThe Sign of the Beaver, Elizabeth George SpearEscape from Andersonville, Gene Hackman and Daniel LenihanThe MacGregors-Alan Grant, Nora RobertsThe Walking Dead:Rise of the Governor, Robert Kirkman a…

Poetry Wednesday: November

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November

This is the treacherous month when autumn days
With summer’s voice come bearing summer’s gifts.
Beguiled, the pale down-trodden aster lifts
Her head and blooms again. The soft, warm haze
Makes moist once more the sere and dusty ways,
And, creeping through where dead leaves lie in drifts,
The violet returns. Snow noiseless sifts
Ere night, an icy shroud, which morning’s rays
Will idly shine upon and slowly melt,
Too late to bid the violet live again.
The treachery, at last, too late, is plain;
Bare are the places where the sweet flowers dwelt.
What joy sufficient hath November felt? What profit from the violet’s day of pain?
- Helen Hunt Jackson courtesy poets.org

All Hallows Poem: Requiescat

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On All Hallow's Eve, I gave this poem to every trick-or-treater who came to my door, as well as every one who walked within bounding distance of me.







Requiescat




        Tread lightly, she is near
        Under the snow,
        Speak gently, she can hear
        The daisies grow.

        All her bright golden hair
        Tarnished with rust,
        She that was young and fair
        Fallen to dust.

        Lily-like, white as snow,
        She hardly knew
        She was a woman, so
        Sweetly she grew.

        Coffin-board, heavy stone,
        Lie on her breast,
        I vex my heart alone,
        She is at rest.

        Peace, peace, she cannot hear
        Lyre or sonnet,
        All my life’s buried here,
        Heap earth upon it.

        — Oscar Wilde

Poetry Wednesday: Autumn Returns

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Autumn Returns
A day in mourning falls from the bells
like a trembling cloth of vague life,
it's a color, a dream
of cherries sunk into the earth,
it's a tail of smoke that arrives without rest
to change the color of the water and the kisses.
I don't know if you understand me: When night
        approaches
from the heights, when the solitary poet
at the window hears the steed of autumn running
and the leaves of trampled fear rustling in his arteries,
there is something over the sky, like the tongue
of thick oxen, something in the doubt of the sky and
        the atmosphere.
Things return to their place:
the indispensable lawyer, hands, oil,
the bottles,
all the signs of life: beds, above all,
are full of bloody liquid,
people deposit their confidences in sordid ears,
assassins descend stairs,
but it's not that, it's the old gallop,
the horse of old autumn who trembles and endures.
The horse of old autumn has a red beard
and the foam of fear covers his cheeks
and th…

Summer Reading Falls to Autumn

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It's official: the days are growing shorter, the air is crisp and the equinox set our eggs on end. Summer is over and autumn has begun.

For those of us Book Lovers who enjoy summer reading, the turn of the season is bittersweet, but not unwelcome: sometimes it's hard to stay indoors and curl up with a book while the sun shines!

This summer was not too hot (which limited my reading) and was filled with a few adventures, including the very special wedding of a very special couple and a new feline addition to the family (different events, of course — my new son-in-law Kenny is charming, but not in the least bit feline) (I think). However, there always is time to read, even if it's into the middle of the night. (Daylight is not a welcome force the following morning, I tell you what.)

As part of the 2014 Summer Reading Club, I read 33 books:
A Red Herring Without MustardSecond Glance Centuries of JuneA Room With A Zoo The InterestingsBats at the BallgameOuroboros OuzoExtent Demon K…

Classic Novels: Can You See Them With Fresh Eyes?

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As noted previously in this blog, my friend Carole and I have decided to read Weighty Books. After eight months of such reading, I have to wonder if I can read them with as fresh an eye as I would have in my undergraduate days.

I ask this question after finishing Tobacco Road, a relentless story of loss and more loss. Jeeter is beaten down by life and The Man. The last time he tried to farm his land, the rich folk of Augusta stole from him more than his entire profit: it took his desire for success. He would never win, no matter how hard he worked, so it made entire sense that he did not get up off the porch for much.

However, the characters of Tobacco Road were relentless sinners. Holy cow, by God and by Jesus, they were a wicked lot. I don't use those words lightly, but they fit in this case. Even characters who were supposed to be the most spiritually uplifted were fantastically immoral, even by Tobacco Road standards. The ending was as relentless and beaten-down as the rest o…

Summer Reading: How's it Going?

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How's your summer reading going?


Now, although some people have a very limited idea of what constitutes "summer reading," From One Book Lover are very inclusive. When it comes to reading, our ideas of "summer" allow for such reading to continue until the autumnal equinox, or the closest weekend to the equinox.

Therefore, reading for this summer reading club continues through Sunday, September 28.

What is the Summer Reading Club? It's an excuse to read and share with your community. Those who join the club just have to send me their reading list — then, by the end of September, send me a list of books they actually read.

The winner is the one who read the most books — and that reader wins a book From One Book Lover.

Now, this Book Lover goes a step further. I donate three new books to my local library and contribute $5 per book to a local non-profit organization near and dear to my heart, Main Street Child Development Center. (Please note: these types…

Gone Reading — See You Soon!

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If you'll excust me, I'm going to go bury my nose in a book.

Summer reading is all-consuming — especially if I want to be prepared for the Fall for the Book Festival September 11-18.

For the record, it's not too late to join the Summer Reading Club...

See you in the autumn!

World War One — An Explanation Everyone Can Follow

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courtesy MetaPicture.

Book Signings and My Bookish Heart (Or, I Have to Buy What?)

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I enjoy reading, buying books and meeting authors. You would think these activities are compatible with the mission of bookstores. However, in recent times, I've found the act of buying a book has cost me author opportunities.

In January, Ransom Riggs released the second MissPeregrine book, which I consumed promptly. The author was coming to a Barnes & Noble bookstore near me soon after the book was released, so I finished the book early (to avoid Spoilers some people just can't resist). I brought my stack of Riggs books with me in case he was signing.
When I arrived, a B&N employee informed me that only books purchased that day at B&N would be signed. No exceptions. He was  polite, but firm. After I finished listening to Riggs speak, I left the bookstore with a heavy heart. I didn't want to be duplicitous and buy a book I would later return (which someone suggested). I had read my copy, purchased from a different bookseller, and I was being punished.
Booksellers …

Independence Day and Morgan Freeman

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Have you really ever pondered the words of the Declaration of Independence? What do they really mean?

Let Morgan Freeman and some of Hollywood's finest take you on a tour of that risky, volatile document that changed not just our country, but the world.


Poetry Wednesday: Famous Blue Raincoat

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Famous Blue Raincoat
It's four in the morning, the end of December
I'm writing you now just to see if you're better
New York is cold, but I like where I'm living
There's music on Clinton Street all through the evening.
I hear that you're building your little house deep in the desert
You're living for nothing now, I hope you're keeping some kind of record. 
Yes, and Jane came by with a lock of your hair
She said that you gave it to her
That night that you planned to go clear
Did you ever go clear?
Ah, the last time we saw you you looked so much older
Your famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulder
You'd been to the station to meet every train
And you came home without Lili Marlene
And you treated my woman to a flake of your life
And when she came back she was nobody's wife.
Well I see you there with the rose in your teeth
One more thin gypsy thief
Well I see Jane's awake --
She sends her regards.
And what can I tell you my brot…

Poetry Wednesday: My Yoko Ono Moment

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My Yoko Ono Moment
for Nick Twemlow

It’s annoying
how much
junk mail
comes through
the slot
& accumulates
at the foot
of the stairs
mostly menus
from restaurants
in the neighborhood
endlessly
coming through
the slot
despite the sign
we put on the door:No Advertisements
No Solicitors

One night
I scoop up the whole pile
on my way out
(as I do periodically)
& dump it
in the trash can
on the corner
of West Broadway & Spring
just as Yoko Ono
happens to be strolling
through SoHo
with a male companion
She watches me
toss the menus
then turns to her friend
& says, “I guess
no one reads those.”
by David Trinidadcourtesy poets.org 

Re-Thinking the 'E'

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Amidst the heat of summer and the heft of books being carried in the summer heat, now is a good time to ponder the e-book.

I used to think of my e-book reader (Kindle, for those keeping score at home) as a tool I kept for convenience and desperation. I am a Print Girl, now and forever.

But as I considered how to find new homes for my already-read books, I had to wonder: why remain married to print for every book?

I'm not keen on the control Amazon has over my reader and its contents. Sure, I can get a refund, but if Amazon can put a book on my reader, it can take it off. (And has, for other readers in the past.)

I prefer my e-books inexpensive. Right now I'm considering an e-copy of my favorite Marge Piercy poetry book, but it's more than a couple of bucks. I realize that some older books haven't yet gone "e," but the absurd price of an e-book astounds me. Maybe I don't know enough about the process of e-publishing, but I also can't imagin…

Review: Year of No Sugar

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Eve O. Schaub would like you to know that She and Her Family Survived a Year Of Limited Sugar Consumption. But they're okay now.

Schaub was inspired by the research and lifestyle changes of Robert Lustig, a professor at University of California, San Francisco, who convinced her in a 90-minute video that sugar was poison. She did her own research, found resources, and in turn convinced her family to spend a year not adding fructose to their diets. (Her children are in elementary school, so she made exceptions.) At the end of the year, everyone was relieved and the experiment was over.

She blogged about it, and she turned her blog posts into a book titled Year of No Sugar: A Memoir. I'm sure her blog was fine, but the posts didn't succeed in creating a successful, readable memoir.

I didn't enjoy the book for a number of reasons.

As a memoir, Year of No Sugar was written in too casual a tone. The language was chatty, the vocabulary colloquial, the humor forced. In smaller…

Summer Book Club Reading List, Take One

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Without further ado, here's what my Reading Wish List for the summer, in no particular order:









A Discovery of Witches trilogyTobacco RoadWildThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and ClayThe Sixth ExtinctionDivergent trilogy Map of the SkyPeyton PlaceThe Gods of ManhattanGolem and the JinniBellman and BlackTrue GritThe Hangman's DaughterNOS4A2And the Mountain EchoedShadowfeverThe GoldfinchThe Lowland11/22/63I am MalalaEverything ChangesFar From the TreeDangerous Women168 Hours in a DayThe Decameron The Heptameron The Gun SellerThe Weed that Strings the Hangman's BagThe Eye of Zoltar Lost CatBellman and BlackThe Fault in Our StarsCloud Atlas The Mysterious Benedict SocietyA Penny Vincenzi novelThe Family FangArcadiaCrooked Letter, Crooked LetterPoisoner's HandbookWinter's Tale
Oh, good heavens, that's an ambitious list of 44 books, and it doesn't include most of what has collected on my nightstand recently. I may not get to all of them between Memorial Day an…

Summer Reading is Coming: Are You Ready?

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Now is the time to start thinking about summer reading — and the Summer Reading Club!

Oh, I'm sure you have been pondering your bookish possibilities, sorting the stacks in your head when you look at your shelves (or those in your local library). However, now it's time to get serious.

Some books cry out to be read in the sunshine. Others are more subtle, encouraging you consider the possibilities.

Some you've been saving for this very purpose. Maybe it's a trilogy that the author finally finished (or has announced the publication date of the final book in the series). You knew it would be in July, so you planned your Independence Day weekend accordingly.

There's the one that is set in winter. You tried to start it last December, but the chill was too biting. Skip the parka, bask in the sun.

Some books are safe only in the sunshine. (Yes, that one.)

So, start stacking them up: we have less than a week before the frenzy begins.

If you own them already, find…

Poetry Wednesday: Translator’s Confession, 3 a.m.

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Translator’s Confession, 3 a.m.

Dear C, I dropped
your sentence in hot water. I talked to the boil. I said Here
is my thumb for you to burn.
Here is the soft heart of my hand and my arm and
the nape of my wreck.
I said vapor, just take me. I’m done burning
with these pages. Being invisible doesn’t mean a person
won’t blister, doesn’t mean
the blisters won’t fill with pockets of water
or when lanced the rawest flesh
won’t emerge. First the word then the murky leak
begins—what another mind may scrape against
but never skin.

By Idra Novey Courtesy poets.org

About this Poem: