Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Five Enchanted Roses" edited by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

This book marks a first for me!  It's the first time I have ever received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion of the book.  I can see how this could get addicting :-)

Five Enchanted Roses is a collection of five retellings of the fairy tale about Beauty and the Beast.  It's a follow-up to last year's Five Glass Slippers, which of course revolved around Cinderella instead.  I was especially excited to read this because I follow Hayden Wand's blog, Story Girl, and it's always such fun to read something written by a person I've had contact with.  But also nerve-wracking in a way, because I'm always a little worried that maybe I won't like what they wrote, and then how am I going to admit that to someone I only tangentially know?  However!  In this case, I need not have worried, because it turned out that Hayden's story was my favorite of the whole collection.

"Esprit de la Rose" by Kaycee Browning focuses on a young girl accidentally imprisoned on an otherworldy pirate ship.  She might be the key to saving some or all of the others trapped there, since she's innocent but they've all been sentenced there for their crimes.  It has a really swashbuckly flavor, reminiscent of some of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

"Wither" by Savannah Jezowski has a more traditional fairy tale setting, complete with a crumbling castle.  However, the beast is a guardian not just of his castle but of a portal into the underworld, which he struggles to keep closed.  The ending surprised me, in a good way.

"The Stone Curse" by Jenelle Schmidt has a beast who is friends already with the girl in question, who knew him before he was transformed.  They work together to end the enchantment that has transfigured him into a beast and her father into a statue.  This one was very sweet, with an exciting ending.

"Rosara and the Jungle King" by Dorian Tsukioka has a sleek jungle cat instead of a grotesque beast, and his relationship with Rosara is protective and friendly from the first.  There's some more adult content in this one, including an attempted rape, one that's written in pretty vague terms, so as to be unsettling but not graphic.  I liked the final solution to the beast's "problem" particularly well.

"The Wulver's Rose" by Hayden Wand is my favorite.  It's also the most straight-up retelling, which surprises me because the original fairy tale has never been one of my favorites, and I had thoroughly enjoyed the way the other four writers twisted the story into new and different shapes.  But Hayden molded both the beast and the beauty into layered, nuanced characters, both sacrificing themselves for their loved ones at different points in the story.  The addition of a daughter for the beast added special poignancy, and I found the comparison of two different father-and-daughter relationships so compelling.  This is the only story in this collection that brought me to tears, and I think this book would be worth buying for this story alone.  

If This Was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG-13 for scary images, a non-graphic rape attempt, and dangerous situations.  Teens should be fine, but it is not aimed at children.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Fellow Book Lovers

This week's topic, as set forth by The Broke and the Bookish, is Fellow Book Lovers.  (Okay, they said Book Nerds, but not everyone here is exactly nerdy.)  Here's my list, with the titles linked to my reviews where applicable:

Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables and the rest of the series by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  Anne loves to imagine she's living inside a book, which she uses to escape her pretty miserable life... until she finds a real home and real friends that are better than any story.

Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.  I'm such a sucker for couples who bond over books, and these two definitely do that!

Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.  She's a very powerful witch, and reading and remembering what she's read are Hermione's superpowers.

Juliet Ashton and Dawsey Adams from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  Another couple that bonds over books -- in fact, a book is directly responsible for them meeting in the first place.

Margaret Hale and Mr. Thornton from North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.  These two don't discuss books much, but they both love reading them and learning from them.

Mary Russell from The Beekeeper's Apprentice and the rest of the series by Laurie R. King.  If Mary hadn't had her nose stuck firmly in a book, she might not have stumbled so literally across Sherlock Holmes.  She's a scholar, spends many memorable hours in the great Bodleian Library at Oxford, and often uses book research to solve mysteries.

Nero Wolfe from the Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout.  Wolfe's appetite for books is only rivaled by his appetite for food.  I love how grumpy he gets over badly written books, but how pleased he can be by a well-written one.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Five Favorite Western Book-to-Movie Adaptations

It is Legends of Western Cinema Week, folks!  Two of my favorite blogs, A Lantern in Her Hand and Meanwhile, in Rivendell, have teamed up to bring us a week of wonderful western movie fun, which you know makes me as pleased as punch.  They promise to post all kinds of fun things on their own blogs all week, and I've got a couple of posts lined up for my more movie-oriented blog, Hamlette's Soliloquy, too.  But I thought I'd kick my contributions off with a post here about some of my favorite western movies that are based on books I have also read, and kind of how they compare in the two mediums.  (I'm doing them in alphabetical order, not order of how well I like them.)


This one is a little wonky, just because first it was a short story called "The Gift of Cochise" by Louis L'Amour, then they made it into a movie, and then L'Amour wrote a novelization of the movie script.  I've never read the short story, but I've read the novel (my review here), and it's so enjoyable.  Because it's based on the movie, it's exceedingly similar, both in plot and characterization.

Hondo is the story of Hondo Lane (John Wayne), an army scout who happens on an isolated ranch run by Mrs. Lowe (Geraldine Page), who lives there alone with her young son while her ne'er-do-well husband roams around the countryside.  There's an Indian uprising brewing, and Hondo tries to convince Mrs. Lowe to take her son to the fort until things calm down, but she refuses because she say her family and the Apache war chief Vittorio have an agreement to live in peace, and she trusts him.

This story has an unusual love story, a strong (if naive) female lead, and lots of exciting action.  I really like both book and movie!  One advantage the book has, of course, is that you learn more of what both Hondo and Mrs. Lowe are thinking, and their romance grows a little more slowly and believably as a result.

The Mark of Zorro

Johnston McCulley's seminal Zorro story was originally serialized in a pulp magazine back in 1919, with the title "The Curse of Capistrano."  Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. liked it so much he insisted on making a silent movie of it, and he changed the title to The Mark of Zorro for the film.  It was so popular that when the serialized story was collected into book form (my review here), it was published under the same title as the film.

I have not seen the Fairbanks version yet, but I've seen the Tyrone Power adaptation, and it is delicious.  Both book and movie have lots of swashbuckling action, a healthy dollop of romance, and enough thrilling heroics to keep any adventure-lover happy.  Of course, there are oodles of other Zorro adaptations, both TV shows and movies, and numerous novels, including three more by McCulley himself that I haven't read yet.


Another story that was originally serialized!  Man, I wish I'd lived back when western stories in magazines were a common thing.  The titular character in Jack Schaefer's story is a mysterious stranger who rides up to a homestead one day, befriends the family there, and winds up helping them and their neighbors fend off the intimidation tactics of a big, powerful rancher.

I like the movie better than the book, in this case, and it's largely because of the performances by Alan Ladd as Shane and Van Heflin as the homesteader.  They have an awesome friendship, and their chemistry is excellent, something that the book just can't convey quite as easily.  However, the book is really good too.

True Grit

This novel by Charles Portis is a revelation.  The dialect is amazing, the characters are fresh and original, and the plot pounds along at a gallop.  The 1969 movie, starring John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn and Kim Darby as Mattie Ross, fails to live up to the novel, in my humble and dedicated-fan-of-John-Wayne opinion.  The 2010 movie, with Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld, keeps much closer to the novel's flavor.  I actually didn't read the book until after I'd seen both versions, but even before I read it, I preferred the 2010 adaptation.

True Grit is about a young girl, Mattie Ross, who hires a grizzled and ornery Marshal to help her track down her father's killer.  And she insists on riding with him into all sorts of hazards.  In the 1969 movie, she comes across as stubborn and petulant, but in the book and 2010 film, she is intelligent, self-possessed, and as capable as an adult in almost everything.

The Virginian

Owen Wister's 1902 classic about life in the west set the standard for what we now think of as a western.  The novel is narrated by an unnamed tenderfoot, but the story focuses on Miss Molly Stark, an easterner who goes west to teach school for a large ranch.  She there encounters a man known simply as The Virginian, a sort of knightly, courtly, violent gentleman in cowboy form.  He fascinates her, she entrances him, and an unlikely romance develops oh-so-gradually while the narrator observes them.

There's a really great '60s TV show based on this book, though it changes around some of the characters (Trampas becomes The Virginian's sidekick instead of his archenemy).  And there are several movie versions, my favorite of which is a wonderful made-for-TV movie version from 2000 that stars Bill Pullman and Diane Lane that sticks close to the original story.  I wholeheartedly recommend it.

That's all for now, folks!  Please visit A Lantern in Her Hand and Meanwhile, in Rivendell for more western movie fun.  Eventually, they'll also have a link list up with all the individual posts from other participating blogs, like this one and the posts I'll be doing later this week on my Soliloquy.  And if you want to get in on the fun, it's not too late to join!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Fortunately, the Milk" by Neil Gaiman

I got Fortunately, the Milk from the library because it kept popping up on reading lists that also included A Snicker of Magic, and since Sam and I both adored that book, I thought we should give this a whirl.  I've never read one of Gaiman's books before, but I've wanted to for a while because I liked his story in A Study in Sherlock, and also, he lives in Wisconsin part of the time, and I used to live in Wisconsin, so that made me interested in him too.

Fortunately, the Milk is a tall tale told by a father who went out to get milk for breakfast and took an incredibly long time to get back, so he told his kids a fantastic story about time-travelling dinosaurs and pirates and wumpires and other funny things that kept him from getting back right away.  The book is chock full of silly illustrations by Skottie Young, which I found almost as funny as the book.  

Sam liked it pretty well too, though he only read it once, which means he didn't love it.  I liked it enough to plan on seeking out more of Gaiman's books.

If This Was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG for some mildly worrisome moments involving danger from volcanoes, wumpires, and pirates, etc.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Celebrating Diversity

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme, as set forth by The Broke and the Bookish, is "Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters."  I'm not sure if these are my "top ten," but here are ten books I've enjoyed that have diverse characters.  I've linked the titles to my reviews, as usual.

I Never Had it Made by Jackie Robinson (with Alfred Duckett) delves into Jackie Robinson's struggles as he broke the color barrier in baseball, became a successful businessman, and endeavored to live out his Christian beliefs in his home and in public.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas includes an important minor character, Haydee, who is from the Middle East.

Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King, the latest Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes adventure, takes place mainly in Japan and involves many Japanese characters.

Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock reimagines the teenage Sherlock Holmes as half-Jewish, poor and outcast, living in London's slums.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien both show how culture clashes between various races can cause conflict, but also how differences can be helpful.

My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay takes place during an American mission trip to Indonesia gone wrong and has important Indonesian characters.

Ray Bradbury - From the Dust Returned

From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury involves a family of vampires and other supernatural creatures who have adopted a human boy.

The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King features lesbian detective Kate Martinelli solving a Sherlock-Holmes-related mystery in modern-day San Francisco.

Vanishing Act by Thomas Perry is a thriller about a Native American woman who helps people disappear and begin new lives under new identities.

The No. 1 Ladies Detection Agency by Alexander McCall Smith revolves around a lady detective in Botswana.

Have you ever read any of these?  Do you purposely seek out diverse books?  I know I'm mainly interested in the characters, not what or who they are, but learning about different cultures or lifestyles can be fascinating and rewarding.

Monday, July 20, 2015

It's Mailbox Monday Again

I'm linking up with Mailbox Monday for the first time in a long time.  I've been trying not to buy so many books and movies lately, since my TBR and TBW shelves are sagging already.  But I hit a clearance sale on Barnes & Noble's website last week and did get a couple things for myself, as well as some birthday and Christmas presents for friends and family.  Here's what I got for me:

The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle has been on my TBR list for quite a while.  Isn't the cover pretty?  Of all the Pride and Prejudice pastiches that focus on Mary Bennet that I've read about, this one has gotten the most positive reviews, so I'm hopeful about it.

And Wild Western Days by Clarence E. Mulford is actually a collection of 3 full-length Hopalong Cassidy novels:  The Coming of Cassidy, Bar-20, and Hopalong Cassidy.  I've never ready any of Mulford's books, so I'm really looking forward to these!  I hear they're a lot different from the Hopalong Cassidy movies, much less light-hearted.  Interesting!

Friday, July 17, 2015

"Let's Pretend This Never Happened" (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson (aka the Bloggess)

Three reasons why you should not read this book:

  1. It's extremely profane and inappropriate.
  2. It will make you think and write in the author's style for days, and you will be unable to blog as a result for fear you will sound like a cheap knock-off.
  3. It will make you laugh so hard you cry, and you'll do that so often that your sinuses rebel and your nose is stuffed up for more than a day after you finish the book.

You're welcome.

Okay, but if you're not going to be bothered by rampant profanity and endless discussions of personal bodily parts that my children don't know exist; and if you don't mind taking a break from blogging, only to go back to it days later and discover her voice is still there and you can't resist using it just a teensy bit; and if you have a lot of Kleenexes in your house anyway, or already have a head cold and more mucous doesn't matter at this point, then... it is really funny.

Particularly Good Bits (that I promise are not inappropriate at all):

"Potty training is not a fun subject to reminisce about.  It's more like a horrible death march through a haunted forest, and the trees are made of angry bears that you're allergic to" (p. 134) (This is sadly true.)

"Women scare me enough, but bloggers can be even more frightening to deal with.  Most bloggers are emotionally unstable and are often awkward in social situations, which is why so many of us turned to blogging in the first place" (p. 171).  (This is also sadly true.)

"I started to suspect that in the past life he'd been a small and not very good pirate whose specialty was lashing himself to the mast at the most inopportune times.  I could imagine the captain giving him the same pitying but frustrated look when he came up from his nap to find that Barnaby Jones Pirate had lashed himself to the wheel of the ship because he thought he saw a cyclone, which turned out to be some birds" (p. 248).  (We had a dog exactly like that.)

"...there is joy in embracing -- rather than running screaming from -- the utter absurdity of life" (p. 308).  (I heartily agree.)

If This Was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  R.  Or possibly NC-17, except I've never seen an NC-17-rated movie, thankyouverymuch, so I wouldn't know if this really warrants that rating or not.  But seriously, don't read this book.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

This seems fairly ominous

This is the cover art of the next Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mystery by Laurie R. King, due out next year.  

Whether it means that Mary Russell gets murdered or commits murder, I have no idea.  I'm not very fond of either option.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Recently Acquired Books

As usual, this series is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week, I'm listening ten books I've recently acquired, and by "recently" I mean "since the beginning of the year."  I basically scanned my TBR shelves and pulled off ten things I could remember acquiring since Christmas :-)

Brick Shakespeare:  Comedies by John McCann, Monica Sweeney, and Becky Thomas.  Cowboy bought me the tragedies version of this as a gift a few months ago (cuz it has Hamlet in it, of course), and although I haven't finished reading that one yet, when I found this in the clearance section of Barnes & Noble's website, I pounced.  These are so funny!  But not for children -- they don't bowdlerize the stories any.  Sam is really annoyed that I won't let him read them yet, since he's obsessed with all things Legos.  One day, kiddo!

Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini.  I remember liking the Errol Flynn movie, and I always like a good pirate story!  Found this at the library's last used book sale.

Cowboy Metaphysics by Peter A. French.  I know this is gonna be fascinating, when I get to it!  All about western movies and the kinds of ethical problems they grapple with.

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell.  I recently saw the BBC miniseries (my review here), and while I know the series is based on more of Gaskell's stories than just this book, when I saw this at the used book store, I grabbed it.

Ellen by Heidi Peterson.  I've read her Tales for Little Ears, and I'm looking forward to seeing what she writes for older readers.

I, Claudia by Charity Bishop.  I haven't read any of her books yet, but I will soon remedy that!

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.  I won this in a giveaway from Reading in the Dark, and I know it's about WWII, and that's really all I know about it.

The Slaying of the Shrew by Simon Hawke.  I bought this at an estate sale, and it looks to be a whodunit with Shakespeare as the detective?  And it's part of a series?  I was intrigued.

Tolkien and C.S. Lewis:  The Gift of Friendship by Colin Duriez.  I don't even remember who recommended this to me anymore, but it looks so sweet and complex.

An Unexpected Cookbook by Chris-Rachael Oseland.  I stumbled on this on Amazon toward the end of winter, when I was still deep in the throes of Hobbit Sickness (like Dragon Sickness, only you're obsessed with the Hobbit movies, not gold), and I am so glad I bought it.  I've read a little of it already, and all the recipes here are hearty, simple fare that Hobbits might have eaten!  All made with ingredients you could have acquired in a rural world like that of the Shire.  We haven't tried any recipes yet, but I'll be sure to do so before I write up a full review on this book.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

"True Strength" by Kevin Sorbo

I wrote this review back in May when I was visiting my parents, and then I didn't post it right away because I was in the middle of the Little Women read-along, and it just got shoved so far down on my post list I forgot about it!  So here it is at last :-)

This is not a book I anticipated reading.  I've never particularly been a fan of Kevin Sorbo, though I've seen a few episodes of Hercules here and there since I have several friends who are fans.  And I recently saw Shadow on the Mesa (2013), an enjoyable made-for-TV western that features Sorbo.  I mentioned that movie to my mom, asking if she's seen it because I believe it aired on the Hallmark channel, and I know she enjoys Hallmark movies.  She did see it, and she asked if I'd read Sorbo's autobiography.  I was like, "Um, no, I'm not especially a fan."  She said, "You should read it!  I think you'd really like it.  He's a Christian, and it's all about how his faith saw him through this really awful illness."

Well, my mom probably knows my reading taste better than anyone else, so if she says I would probably like a book, I generally try it.  I tried out the ebook version on her Kindle, and was quickly hooked, much to my great surprise!  Sorbo tells his story very compellingly, and it feels very much like it was written by him, not entirely ghost-written by some professional.  I have no way of knowing if that's true, but that's the impression I got.  Several of the chapters are by other people, including his wife Sam and costars from Hercules, like Bruce Campbell and Michael Hurst.  They share their perspective on how Sorbo handled his illness and how it changed him, that sort of thing.

Basically, back in the '90s while on hiatus from filming Hercules, Kevin Sorbo suffered an aneurysm and several consequent strokes, which left him with lasting health problems.  This book is about his struggle to recover from the strokes and deal with his wobbly health, and how he finally learned to accept that his life would never go back to "normal."

Sorbo was raised a Lutheran, though he later began attending a different church with his wife.  He speaks frankly of his reliance on God during his struggles, and also how he questioned why God would allow him to become so very sick.  However, there are also a lot of obscenities in this book, mainly in the dialog, and I would not recommend it to young people as a result.  He doesn't take God's name in vain, it's all the more crass language you'd expect from Hollywood actors, etc.  

If you're a fan of Sorbo's, or enjoy reading about people dealing with major illnesses, and don't mind the rough language, you'd probably like this book.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  R for language and occasional non-graphic sexual references.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

"Middlemarch" by George Eliot

I finished reading this book a week ago, and I keep putting off blogging about it because I have so many things to say, and yet everything I want to say seems so inadequate when it comes to talking about such a massive, magnificent book.  

While it deals with many different characters who live in and around the fictitious British town of Middlemarch, the book mostly follows two idealistic young people, Dorothea Brooke and Dr. Tertius Lydgate, and what happens when they try to live out their ideals and eventually fail.

Dorothea is an orphan, and she had her sisters have been raised by their vague and nattering uncle.  She has a great yearning to do good in the world, to help in some important work.  When she meets Dr. Casaubon, a much older scholar who is trying to write a guide to all mythology, she convinces herself that marrying him will allow her to assist in his writing and do something good, useful, and important.

Dr. Lydgate moves to Middlemarch to help create an experimental hospital, where he will be able to study fevers and different ways of treating them.  He's sure this will enable him to crack many medical mysteries and make a name for himself, as well as helping so many disease-stricken people.  He soon meets vivacious Rosamond Vincy and can't stop himself from marrying her even though he had been determined not to marry anyone ever until he had a thriving medical practice established.

Both Dorothea and Lydgate marry people they barely know, filled with imaginings of how wonderful their lives will be.  Both of them have their idealistic daydreams shattered by reality.  The bulk of the novel delves into just how they react to this disillusionment.  Who will be made stronger by this, and who will be broken by it?

There are oodles of other fascinating characters in the story, of course.  My favorite -- well, tied with Dorothea for my favorite character of all -- is Will Ladislaw, Dr. Casaubon's indigent cousin.  He's an artist, sorta.  He's a writer, sorta.  He's mostly not at all sure what he wants out of life, other than to be able to talk to Dorothea and have long, deep discussions with her.  He's not so much shiftless as simply searching for his place in the world, and oh, he's so sweet and sad!

This is only the second thing I've ever read by George Eliot, but it will definitely not be the last.  I liked her writing extremely well.  As I said to Hannah not long ago, I feel like her writing has Jane Austen's biting social commentary mixed with Charles Dickens' concern for the downtrodden and with Charlotte Bronte's insight into restricted female identity.  I have Birdie to thank for getting me to read this book -- I joined her watch-along of the BBC adaptation last summer and liked the miniseries so well I had to read the book.  Took me months and months, thanks to various interruptions, but it was a happy, fulfilling journey.

If This Was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG.  Clean, but sometimes intense.

This is my 22nd book read and reviewed for The Classics Club.  Almost half way done with that challenge!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Hyped Books I've Never Read

My second foray into The Broke and the Bookish's popular link-up series!

This week it's supposed to be top ten hyped books I haven't read yet, and so I'm listing here the top ten books I feel like I ought to have read by now, but haven't.  Yet!  I've ordered them by how eager I am to read them, or how strongly I feel like I should have by now, most to least.

1.  War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
2.  Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
3.  Moby Dick by Herman Melville
4.  The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
5.  The Once and Future King by T. H.  White
6.  Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather
7.  The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
8.  The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
9.  The Odyssey by Homer
10.  Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Have you read any of these?  Are they as important as I think they are?

Monday, July 6, 2015

"The Trouble with Poetry" by Billy Collins

I've been a fan of Billy Collins' poetry for, oh, ten years or so now.  Ever since I picked up a copy of his collection Nine Horses, I think.  I saw The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems on the poetry shelf at Barnes and Noble as I was grazing there a month or two ago, and bought it on impulse because I don't read as much poetry as I used to, and I miss it.

Collins reminds me of two of my other favorite poets, Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg.  All three of them are adept at taking an moment from modern life and examining it to see what it says about the people experiencing it.  By doing so, they get me to figure out what I have in common with them and with humanity at a whole.  They prefer concrete images and ordinary words over lofty ideals and literary obfuscation.  And yet, Collins, Frost, and Sandburg all have achieved literary significance with their simplicity.

All of which is me using big words to say:  they write simple-yet-profound poems that I like.  Collins also has a wry humor that reminds me of another favorite poet, Kenneth Koch.  For instance, there's this bit from the titular poem:

"the trouble with poetry is
that it encourages the  writing of more poetry."

And this bit of advice from "The Student," gleaned from a poetry instruction book:

"When at a loss for an ending,
have some brown hens standing in the rain."

That made me laugh aloud -- haven't we all read a poem that involved such weird, dreary imagery?

Did I mention that Billy Collins was America's Poet Laureate for two terms?  Yup.  And yet, his poetry is super approachable -- I highly recommend him, especially for people who are afraid they won't "get" poetry.  Trust me, you'll get Collins.  Reading his poetry is, for me, like hearing a friend tell a little story about something they did or saw or thought about.  Conversational, interesting, and sometimes profound or sad or funny or poignant.

My favorite poems in this collection are "Monday," "Flock," "Building with Its Face Blown Off," "The Lanyard," "The Student," and "The Trouble with Poetry."  Just so you know :-)

If This Was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG for occasional mild sensuality.  Nothing nasty, nothing overt.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

"Emma" 200th Anniversary Read-Along

Lois Johnson of You, Me, and a Cup of Tea is hosting a read-along of Jane Austen's Emma starting this coming Monday, July 6.  Not sure if I'll be able to join in (if I finish Middlemarch over the weekend, I will!), but I thought I'd let y'all know about it in case you want to join her!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Soundtrack Review Guest Post

I usually announce these over on my Soliloquy blog, but today I thought I'd mention it here because I know a lot of people who read this blog are into Jane Austen.  I write guest posts about movie soundtracks for the blog J and J Productions on a pretty much weekly basis right now, and this week, I've reviewed the music in Pride & Prejudice (2005).  You can read my post here.