Sunday, March 30, 2014

Books of March

The Big Burn by Jeanette Ingold is the fascinating story of the beginning of the U.S. Forest Service, brainchild of Teddy Roosevelt, and how the great Idaho fire of 1910 influenced its growth.  Very interesting although descriptions of burn injuries were a bit hard for me to read,  (I'm a burn survivor). 

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller was a book club selection.  I usually enjoy post-apocalyptic stories but I forced myself through this one because I felt obligated.  My favorite character was the dog.  Does that tell you something?

The English Girl by Daniel Silva was recommended by a friend.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  Although it's part of a series about an Israeli spy-assassin-art restorer (yes, art restorer) and I had never read the preceding books, I had no trouble getting into the story.  Now I want to read all of Silva's books.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Quote for the Week

"Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."   Unknown

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Words I Wish Would Go Away

Are there words that sound like fingers scratching across a blackboard--words you just wish would disappear?  Here are some I'm sooo tired of:

Trending or on trend:  Have you noticed that anyone who is selling something refers to it as "trending" or "on trend."  News may be trending, too.  Is everything on trend these days?  Trend did not used to be a verb or the object of a preposition.  But that's not the problem for me.  I'm just sick of hearing this overused expression.  How about you?

Awesome:  I believe this used to mean something like "evoking awe," a word you might use when seeing the Grand Canyon or hearing soul-stiring music.  Now it's used for everything--an awesome movie, an awesome burger, an awesome pair of jeans (which are, of course, a style on trend) an awesome evening out.  Come on.  Everything can't be awesome.  That usage robs the word of its meaning and reduces it to pop culture pap.

LOL:  Yes, we don't hear it, but we do see it a lot.  Emails are filled with LOL's.  Anytime someone writes something they think is funny, they add this at the end.  Can't I figure out it's funny without their help?  If you tell a joke or a funny story, do you end it by saying, "Ha ha ha," so your listener will know to laugh?  How would that sound?
So, please, enough with the LOL.  Let me decide to laugh all by myself.

Comments, anyone?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Books of January and February

I read a lot more than usual these last two months, partly because I had a throat infection and completely lost my voice for a week (bad news for a speech pathologist) so I spent my time reading books I found in the back of a cabinet, some of which were at least 20 years old, and watching the Winter Olympics.  So here's two months worth of books:
A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve.  I'm sure, if this had been the first book she'd ever submitted, it would never have been published.  A couple joins 4 others to climb Mount Kenya with disastrous circumstances.  A book club choice--not a good choice.

The Fat Lady Sang by Robert Evans.  I read this because I wanted to know about the famous movie producer's recovery from stroke.  I learned he was an arrogant, womanizing, fast-living guy (Guy is not the word I've had chosen, but this is a family friendly blog).  Didn't learn much about his stroke but half way through I didn't care.

Informed Consent by Neil Ravin, one of the books in the back of the cabinet.  Nefarious goings on at a large hospital where research is everything, patient care not so much.  I enjoyed this one, read it in a day.

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer.  Intrigued by the national memory championship, journalist decides to improve his memory and become a champ.  Non-fiction.  Fun read, and yes, I did learn a few tricks about remembering.

One More Thing:  Stories and More Stories.  A group of short short stories?  essays?  whatever.  I read this after reading a review in the Houston Chronicle that said it would make you laugh out loud.  I read on, waiting to laugh.  Didn't happen.

The Rainmaker by John Grisham.  Not the best he's written but still enjoyable.  Story of a rookie lawyer and his troubles.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.  Having enjoyed Gone Girl, I decided to read this.  Mistake!!  One of the most disgusting books I've read in ages.  Not sure how I had the stomach to finish it.

Suspicious Heart by Linda Steinberg.  Romance written by a friend.  I loved it.  Hunky hero, spunky heroine, cute kids, sexual tension, twists and turns and, of course, a happy ending.

Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg. Friends rally around a woman dying of cancer.  I'd give it a B-.  It was just okay.

The Widows' Handbook:  Poetic Reflections on Grief and Survival edited by Jacquelin Lapidus and Lisa Menn.  Of course I had to give a shout-out to this amazing book of poems about widowhood--and not just because I have a poem in it.  The day I received my author copy I read the whole book.  If you're a widow or know a widow, look it up on Amazon.

Gosh, I sound grumpy this time. don't I?  Maybe because I was sick?  Anyway, happy reading.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

New Publication: The Widows' Handbook: Poetic Reflections on Grief and Survival

I am pleased to announce the release of The Widows' Handbook edited by Jacqueline Lapidus and Lisa Menn.  It contains selections by 87 poets, several of the Pushcart Prize winners and one a Pulitzer Prize winner.  They reflect on widowhood in all its aspects from loss and grief to memories, coping, and living new lives.  They write with anguish, tenderness, courage and humor about their experiences as the ones left behind.  The foreword is by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who is a widow herself.  I am honored to have a poem included in this marvelous collection.  Readings are scheduled around the country. You can find the book on Amazon.  If you're a widow or you know someone who is, look it up.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Another Birthday

Saturday, March 1 would have been another birthday for my late husband.  He used to tell me he was really born on February 29 because he was born in a leap year.  I wonder what he would have thought of the events between last year's birthday and this:  the government shutdown; the rollout of Obamacare (as a computer specialist he would have been horrified);  Seattle winning the Super Bowl (he couldn't have cared less); the Texans' season (ditto); Jennifer Lawrence; Justin Bieber's exploits ("Who's that?" he would have asked); our crazy winter weather; Ukraine; the Sochi Olympics; Jay Leno leaving The Tonight Show; a new Girl Scout cookie flavor.  I'm sorry he missed all these things, and I still miss him.  He was the wind beneath my wings.

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