Veneration

•January 19, 2012 • 1 Comment

“A girl stood before him in midstream, alone and still, gazing out to sea. She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of a strange and beautiful seabird. Her long slender bare legs were delicate as a crane’s and pure save where an emerald trail of seaweed had fashioned itself as a sign upon her flesh. Her thighs, fuller and softhued as ivory, were bared almost to the hips where the white fringes of her drawers were like featherings of soft white down. Her slateblue skirts were kilted boldly about her waist and dovetailed behind her. Her bosom was a bird’s soft and slight, slight and soft as the breast of some darkplumaged dove. But her long fair hair was girlish: and girlish, and touched with the wonder of mortal beauty, her face.”

~ A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

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Take Them Home

•January 6, 2012 • 2 Comments

“Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.”

~ Virginia Woolf 

Longing for Childhood Bookshelves

•January 1, 2012 • 2 Comments

Every time December rolls around, I always manage to forget just how busy everything becomes. Even penning it on the planner to brace myself for the next year doesn’t help! Approaching finals, final papers, holidays…

Well, hello, dear readers, a very belated Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, or whatever else all of you celebrate this time of the year! I just hope it was filled with family, friends, and all of you stayed safe.

I’ve been wanting to share this for a while, but life has kept me away from this blog!

I’m on the look-out for potential book-finds almost constantly when I’m out shopping. Other people gravitate toward clothing; books seduce me in far more sensual whispers. The only clothing I can probably ever fully appreciate are dust jackets! I was at the local library bookstore the other day (read: weeks ago) when I stumbled on a few childhood favorites! I used to own these books once upon a time, and, somehow, they got lost in the fray of growing up.

These three books were well-read in their time, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy them all. As seen in the picture above starting in the center: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech, and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.

It means more than I could describe that all of them are in their original covers. I’ve added them to the growing pile of books that I want for safekeeping. Perhaps I might expand on the why of said collection in a future post.

For now, Happy New Year to all of you! ♥

Book Review: Stay

•December 29, 2011 • 1 Comment

I will not be giving out spoilers in this, or any other, review.

Summary: Savannah “Van” Leone has reached a breaking point in her life – her best friend is getting married and she’s to be the maid of honor. The only problem is that her best friend happens to be marrying the man Savannah has been pining after for the last seven years. Trying to be happy for the both of them is just too difficult, especially when wearing a dress the color of pumpkins. In a fit of defiance while downing vodka and Kool-Aid during a Rin Tin Tin marathon, she wakes up to find that she’s ordered a German Shepard puppy. From Slovakia. Enter Joe: an enormous, horse of a puppy that forces Van to open up her heart to his adorable antics and make changes in her life. These changes lead her to Alex, the local veterinarian, and Van thinks she can move on with her life with him until the newly-weds return. They bring with them past drama and trouble, but, this time, Van is dragging Alex down into it as well.

Review: I’ll read any book that has animals in it, no questions asked, especially if those animals happen to be dogs. They’re usually pretty cute and heart-warming stories, but this one definitely tops them all in my book (pardon the pun!). It starts out filled with light-hearted humor and the adorable antics of Joe and Van trying to get used to the extreme change anyone feels in their life when they bring a dog of any age home. The second half of the book reintroduces reality and less humor as Van tries to deal with all of the emotions and drama pressing on her from all sides: she is still not over the death of her mother three years prior and the newlyweds are suddenly thrust into her face, forcing her to confront the problems she has been continuously running from for years.

I really adored this book – not just because it was about dogs but also because it is so well-written. It never became another piece of “chick literature” or became too cliche. It would be so easy to pigeon-hole Stay as any of those two, or maybe just another book about a woman that is trying to find “the one” in her life. Admittedly, it has elements of all of these but down at its heart, where it completely and utterly succeeded in its intent, is what it’s really about: a woman getting a dog and subsequently finding herself. Van found her footing – her spine, if you will – and stopped running, stopped trying to please everyone in her life without thinking of herself even just a little.

While the book is humorous, I would not say it makes you think, and if that is what you’re looking for, Stay might not be the book for you. It’s an incredibly fast read, though; I finished it in about 2 hours waiting at the dentist’s office. It’s one of those go-to books for in between readings, perfect if you’re a reader recovering from an emotionally-trying book or wanting to get away from another page-turner that is doing its absolute best to give you a headache!

Final Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars 

We are Thus Revealed

•October 27, 2011 • 5 Comments

What do they say about you?

 What’s your favorite quotation? Personally, it’s incredibly hard for me to choose just one. I’m usually very in love with quotes having to do with freedom or taking flight.

My Own Little Corner

•October 22, 2011 • 1 Comment

Another must-have for my home.

When I say I want a nook, Barnes&Noble, I don’t mean an e-reader. Thank you very much.

Book Review: Wicked

•October 21, 2011 • 3 Comments

I will not be giving out spoilers in this, or any other, review.

Author: Gregory Maguire

Summary: Maguire revisits the world of Oz  to – as the title suggests – introduce us to the life of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. We follow her story and get the chance to meet her parents, become more familiar with the religious and political unrest of Oz, and get a background as to what made Elphaba such a wicked witch. When she grows up, the readers follow her to school: an academy geared toward science and sorcery. As Elphaba grows and matures, she begins developing a high moral sense and great courage to stand up for what she believes in. She even meets dear Dorothy at the end of the novel, and it ends similar to the movie: with the Wicked Witch dying

Review: This was the second time that I attempted to read this book. I admit, I’ve never been much of a fan of the Wizard of Oz – Dorothy was too annoying, but it was also the whole story that just did not pull me in as it should have. When I learned there was a history of the Wicked Witch of the West, I ran out to the book store, picked it up, and began reading it. Halfway through, I set it aside, unable to make it much farther. Like the movie, I just could not get into it. I picked it up once more to see if I might have any luck this time, and the experience was not as entertaining as I might have wished it to be.

Maguire tends to ramble and leaves key details and characters that seem like they would be important out of the story. At the end of this book, I came to the conclusion that I no more understood the concept of the Time Dragon or any of the religious politics or the basic ways the cities operated than I did at the beginning. Maguire’s characters, however, carried on long, verbose conversations about these topics between them without a hint of explanation. It felt like I was standing as a spectator on the outside, eavesdropping on a conversation (and missing a good deal of it)  instead of being a part of it. The question of why Elphaba is allergic to water was not answered either…

What this book does do well, however, is discussing the nature of good and evil. Maguire goes about tackling this through Elphaba. It seems from the very beginning that she’s got the entire world working against her, even her own parents. She’s born with unnaturally green skin, razor-sharp teeth that are constantly mouthing and biting on anyone that comes close, and preternatural intelligence. From the get-go, her parents are frightened of her, naming her a monster and this stigma follows her throughout her life. Even with other people’s perceptions of her, I find that Elphaba is the most complex of the characters in this story (albeit suffering from word vomit from time to time). Dorothy, on the other hand, is a sturdy little nobody from a place called Kansas that commits manslaughter the moment she arrives in Oz. She skips on throughout the story, and this bodes the question of why. Why does she mosey along almost obliviously while Elphaba works with a purpose (don’t we all try for this?) and eventually loses in the end? This where you’d have to come up with your own opinion, dear readers.

Maguire’s book is definitely not for the tentative at heart so tread with caution. In my case, I’ll keep seeing Wicked on Broadway as a firm dream on my Bucketlist!

Final Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars