I had a bunch of great post ideas, or so I thought, but they’ve vanished!  

So, instead, you get more ME when I was just a cute cuddly kid:    (If you want to see even more, click here.)   I’m searching for a good avatar, if you wanna know the truth…


I Broke My Arm!
I Broke My Arm!


Wow Bro!  That's A BIG Fish!
Wow Bro! That's a Big Fish!


At The Zoo
At The Zoo

(gotta love the lil red sneakers…   and that scarf!  oo la la)


September Recap

A full (and lengthy) post offering you quick (quick?!   well, I try) reviews of the last 3 books I read.  And a bit of bragging of how many books I completed this month!   SEVEN!   to make it to FIFTY so far!!  AND…  ok, that’s enough of that.


Review    The Prophet  by Khalil Gibran, 1923

So my mom finds this book rummaging through a box of who-knows-what and decides to give it back to my Aunt J since Aunt J gave it to Uncle S and Uncle S’s son “S” probably won’t want it.   Inside the cover, Aunt J has penned a bit of sentiment-ness:  ending with GNOTHI SEUTON (Greek?   I had to go look it up…) and the date 1964.    This book is OLDER than I am!  cool!   and it’s short!  I can quickly read this!  [You’ll see the theme – this was one of 3 books I’ve read after starting and not yet finishing the Rushdie book] It also has the corners eaten – presumably the work of a mouse.   No idea if this was recent or a long time ago…

Full of philosophy on love, work and oh, ya know, LIFE, it is the story of someone who is leaving an island and while waiting for the boat to take him home, the villages barrage him with a ton of questions, “Hey, what about marriage?!”  and he answers.   Then he leaves, after spouting some fascinating quotable beautiful tidbits for us to make gorgeous posters for our college dorm walls and, well, TO LIVE BY.

I’ll just point you to some of the online quotes here.   And share the ones I was inspired to write in my journal as I read this:

“Love has no other desires but to fulfill itself.”

“And what is fear of need but need itself?  Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?”

“Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral.”

“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun?  And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breathe from its restless ties, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?”

Review    Garden Spells  by Sarah Addison Allen 2007

DELIGHTFUL!   I really enjoyed this.    A light romance with magic and feel-good humor.   Two sisters from a quirky family are rejoined after one of the sisters has to flee a bad situation and the only place to ‘hide’ is home.   The older sister has her own skewed view of the past and their shared family history which gets in the way and all the adventure of getting to know each other once again, while finding and using their ‘gifts’ AND meeting a few boys just makes for a nice fun read.   

This is the kind of book that would make a great movie!   I would cast Jennifer Garner, Katherine Heigl, Chloris Leachman, and have NO clue about the male parts…

It was a breeze to get through in between my picking up and digesting Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.  (Should I just give up on this?!   I’m questioning once again why-do-I-read?   to impress others or for fun.   sigh.)

Other reviews:   here and here and here.    

Review    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie  by Muriel Spark

Unfortunately, I didn’t devour this in one sitting.   I think it needs the constant focus.    I did enjoy the tone and humor and the almost unbearable foreshadowing, if it can even be called that because it was blatant teasing ==>  Miss Brodie will be betrayed…    duntduntdunt duh…   (I recognized this same technique in Never Let Me Go / Ishiguro)     But I’m afraid I need to re-read this!   and I’m just not that kind of person.   So, I’ve got Netflix rushing me a copy of the movie starring the incredible Maggie Smith.    I’ve heard the movie is better than the book!   I love it when that happens – because it is rare, don’t you agree?

Miss Jean Brodie is an unorthodox teacher of girls who she mentors from the age of 10 on through their entire schooling even though she no longer is officially their teacher after they move up to the upper grades.   They are a ‘set’.    And Miss Jean Brodie is in her ‘prime’.    Each of the six girls have their own personalities and it is even said that they would be unlikely friends if not in this ‘set’ but the back and forth time glimpses and not knowing WHAT will happen even though we are told SOMETHING will happen, was quite riveting.   Well, it would have been if I had one day and nothing else to do.    I had to pick it up and put back down too many times…  I lost the thread and even who was who.   [SPOILER:  In fact, the betrayal was a little bit of a letdown.   Maybe by the time we get to it, we’ve had it broadcast to us too many times?   and all the smoldering sex references… and it was fascism that got her.   Huh.]

The writing was excellent and I am impressed with Muriel Sparks wit and talents as a story-teller.   She captured adolescence beautifully – the questioning and distrust of adults; the naiveté.  

I read this for the 1% Challenge and for the Lit Flicks Challenge.   I’m quite a ways behind on the 1% one and have had little success bookmooching my chosen titles.     The movie challenge will be a piece of cake.

“It was then that Miss Brodie looked beautiful and fragile, just as dark heavy Edinburgh itself could suddenly be changed into a floating city when the light was a special pearly white and fell upon one of the gracefully fashioned streets.  In the same way Miss Broder’s masterful features became clear and sweet to Sandy when viewed in the curious light of the woman’s folly, and she never felt more affection for her in her later years than when she thought upon Miss Brodie silly.” 

Weekly Geek Week NINETEEN

This week’s Geek theme idea is to start the process to publish a Weekly Geek BEST OF 2008 list.    Dewey is asking us to post our favorites of those books published this year and to think about volunteering to help her collect and tabulate the titles.

Going through my list of what I’ve read this year, I realize that I am NOT one of those people hot after the books hot off the presses, ya know?   I will have to do some more searching for ‘year published’ – I hadn’t been keeping track of that (nor pages) – but I think I’ve only read one that officially came out this year.    Happily, I liked this book very much:

The Crime Writer  by Gregg Hurwitz

So, that is my nomination for consideration.     You can read my review of this mystery here.



And…  How did I do with catch up week for Weekly Geek Week 18?   Not 100% successful, but I did do some updating, did add the buttons to my sidebar (which reminds me that I also need one for Weekly Geeks!) and I completed a few reviews.   I still have two to write and I haven’t yet looked one peep at my challenge status.    I did add a few books to my BookMooch inventory and got a bit caught up in reading other blogs.   

I am also committing to the Read-A-Thon!  but haven’t signed up officially and I’m giving serious thought to helping Dewey with her Best Of project.

Whew.   I’m off to read my book now…

Would Anyone Want…

In my weekly geek theme to catch up and clean up and do all that tying up of loose ends thing, I have been adding books to my bookmooch inventory.     It seems I have been loaning all my books to neighbors, though and my supply is thin.

THEN… I discovered a book on hand that doesn’t have an ISBN.   I have the Bantam edition published July 1957 of James Hilton’s Goodbye, Mr. Chips.   My review here.

I don’t know how to add it to bookmooch and thought it would be a fun idea to hold a giveaway.    If you would like to have your very own GOODBYE Mr. CHIPS, please leave me a comment.   I will hold this open until Oct 3 – in case someone wants it for the Read-A-Thon?     If you ARE participating in anyway for the Read-A-Thon, you get 2 extra chances to win.    I’ll verify that you are Mr.Linky’d at Dewey’s  on this post.     If you refer anyone to this blog to enter because you think they would enjoy the book AND they mention your blog, I will enter you AND them twice.     Goodness, I’m not making this too complicated, am I?

So, if you comment here (1), are helping/doing/cheering the Read-A-Thon (2), AND you send another who mentions you (2), then you can get UP TO 5 chances.     And 1 more chance per additional referrals.

One chance subtracted if you tell me you saw the movie and didn’t cry.  Just kidding!

Comment by Oct 3, midnight NYC time.

Letter to My Pen Pal Volunteers

This letter goes out to all who volunteered in this post to be a penpal to the little old ladies (I mean that very affectionately) who are learning how to use the computer, the internet, and google email.  And that darn sensitive mouse thing. 
Howdy Friends,
OK, here’s the scoop.  The lady who didn’t have anyone to email FAILED to show up in my last two sessions.    and the one who I offered a penpal too (and I really SOLD  the idea with glitter and glam, I did!!!) was too scared to say yes.    I’ll work on her – she’s a DEAR.   but they tend to think the internet is a personal attack on their finances and their IDENTITY  and I have a big sales job here, really.   They’re shy and hate to look stupid.   Which they aren’t but… you know.
I absolutely LOVE and adore all of you for volunteering – it warms my heart and seals that brokenspiritedness that happens sometimes when I hear their sad woeful stories.    I love the older generation.   I really REALLY love hanging with them and it’s fun to teach them the internet.   They are so enthusiastic, so confused, so dear, so grateful…
[Did I tell you about how I tried to help a 7 yo do a book report?   I coulda killed him.   or maybe just maimed him.  no, really.  I love kids…   But my patience was stretched beyond it’s tensile strenth.]
    Another ‘anyway’,
THANK YOU – I’ll always add my email address with whoever emails ya, IF anyone ever does?    I just realized I had a draft in my email bucket to go out to you all and thought it would be easier to do here.   You know who you are.   I appreciate you and your generosity.
         – Care

Review The Crime Writer

Review    The Crime Writer  by Gregg Hurwitz

What Dennis Lehane says about this book:  “With The Crime Writer, Gregg Hurwitz has taken a quantum leap forward in the realm of American suspense literature. A thrilling, mind-bending journey, it is also deeply humane and beautifully written. You’ll turn the final page with profound regret.”

From Gregg Hurwitz’s website.

I picked this up while at my parent’s house.   I have to say I chuckled and snorted and gasped so often that my Dad was quite concerned!    It’s a very fun read.

The protagonist wakes up to find he’s in the hospital and his waking up is greeted by an interrogation.    Seems he has killed his ex-fiance.   They found him on top of the dead body, and all.  He has no recollection of this event; he has a brain tumor.

He’s got great friends and helpful contacts to recruit as he does his own investigation as to who REALLY killed the girl.   Since he’s a crime writer, he knows how to make up a story that seems real.   He knows the cops and the forensic dudes and how the process to (CREATE and) solve a crime is SUPPOSED to happen, right?   So he writes HIS own story…  All while not pissing off the cops who want to put him away, endure the public vilification – it’s Hollywood and he’s the sensation of the day, and

OH MY GOD!  They find another dead girl!!!!!!!   Evidence all over the place pointing to our boy as the killer.   NOW HE’s A SERIAL KILLER!!! 

How will he find out who really did it before the cops/court system throws his ass in jail for life?!

It’s a great romp, a thrilling adventure, I fell for the guy and felt his fears.   Jail is scary.  He did love his fiance even if marriage wasn’t going to happen.  He didn’t know the other girl.   He’s got a big heart.   He just can’t be a killer.  Oh,  and he’s a good writer.   (The editing of ‘the story’ in the story is quite creative.  and funny.)

Gregg Hurwitz is a pretty good writer, too.

Four stars

So… if they make a movie?    cast Mark Wahlberg!  

Review The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

Review    The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter  by Carson McCullers

A very thoughtful provocative novel.     Nothing like I expected and yet I don’t know what it was I expected.    I could swear somewhere I read this was some kind of feminist yarn, but that isn’t what I got from it.   

I did get a lot of racist attitude exploration, some political theory (communism, fascism, evil-faceless capitalism), love and devotion, and one more reminder that the “good ol’ days” weren’t always good. 

Interview Style Review:

Q:  Care, why did you read this and why now?

A:  This is a book that has been on my radar for so long and it has a catchy title…   I was sitting at the bookmooch page trying to think up books to request and this POPPED into my head to search.   It was available, so I mooched it.     Chartroose has mentioned it a few times in her many posts with themes of alienation and quirky characters, so I added it to my “I’m Stalking Chartroose” Challenge that I made up. 

(I expected this book to be on that list of 1001 Books To Read Before You Die, but it isn’t.   Huh.)

Q:  So, what is it about?

A:  The book starts out following a couple of deaf mutes who live together and care for each other in a small town in the south.   Eventually, one of these guys is committed to an institution and the other is left to fend for himself.   In the course of setting a new routine and saving money for trips to visit his friend, other interesting characters befriend him as a sage, a great person who listens, and is ‘the only one who understands’.   He, however, really has no clue why these people keep visiting him and talking to him.  

SPOILERS!!    When the deaf mute discovers that the other institutionalized deaf mute has died, he realizes that there is no one left who he  can relate to, and he offs himself.    The others, a young girl whose family is too poor to give her the education in music she desires – not that she has TOLD them what she wants and needs, a political rally-er who can’t get that no one else understands how evil capitalism is, a negro doctor with strong beliefs that scare his adult children, and a lonely restaurant owner, are devastated and drift off to their own bewildered lives.    

The economy sucks, sad events occur that only cause more sadness and miscommunication and generally, that’s that.   At least that’s all I can remember.   I actually do not recall how it ends!   

Perhaps, I missed the great lesson.    Since this has been heaped with prizes and most likely talked ad nauseum in many an English Lit class, I will probably be vilified for not ‘getting it’.   It’s just a sad book.

Q:   OK, it’s a sad book.   Did you enjoy the writing style?

A:  Yes, the book is well written.  The mood and tone most definitely weigh heavy and yet, again, this isn’t a preachy book.     The reader feels the heat of summer and the cold in winter.   But it’s the despair of our own creation that leaves us most cold.  We know that something bad is going to happen and powerless to imagine how to stop it.   Human misery happens.  Shit happens.    Can we legislate against guns?   For worker’s rights?   will this help?   Yes, on some levels.   But humans being humans, we always find a way to misunderstand each other and the tragedy has to play out.   Carson McCullers nailed it.

Q:   Have ‘they’ made a movie?   Do you want to see it?

A:   Yes and yes.  I just looked up the movie made in 1968 on my fave movie database:  IMDB.     It stars Sandra Locke and Stacy Keach?  NOT my favorite actors.   But with Cicely Tyson in the role of Portia, I just might have to watch this.      Alan Arkin was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar.  (and eek!  Locke for Best Supporting?   I just can’t bear her in any of the Eastwood flicks…)  But, yes, I will netflix this (yes, Netflix can be a verb) and I will make my own conclusions…    This was also nominated for a Golden Globe Best Picture.


* note:   When I search for other reviews, I only get lists and lists and lists…   So, please if you know of a review (including your own), please comment.   AND I would love to know if you’ve seen the movie!

Uh Oh… New Books In The House

I was supposed to be pricing out stuff for our landscaping project.   I ALSO had plans to meet my tutee at Borders for English-Improvement-Tutoring-Session but she had to cancel on me.    Still, found myself somehow walking into Borders anyway.  Here’s what came home with me:  

1.  We Have Always Lived in the Castle / Shirley Jackson – rec’d by Eva and Nymeth and because I can’t say I’ve read much of this genre…

2.  The Prime of Miss Jean Broder / Muriel Sparks (the guy who offered to help me find this even though I had it in sight without him, told me ‘the movie is better’.   inter-est-ting.)  For my 1% Challenge.    And now my book to movie challenge(s).

3.  Blink / Malcolm Gladwell – thanks to rec by Bop


4.  501 MUST-SEE MOVIES – I don’t know why.   It had pretty pictures?   I just opened it to find out it was published in 2004.   Ugh.   I buy a movie review book about every 3 years…

Weekly Geek Week EIGHTEEN

It’s catch up week!   Time to dust off the challenges and see where I’m at with those.   Time to visit faves and NEW blogs and COMMENT.   Commit to finishing up reviews:  I won’t bore you with the list AGAIN but let you be surprised with what I post this week?   

and, check that schedule for October and gauge my readiness and willingness to sign up for the Read-A-Thon.

I also commit to taking the broom to the sidebar and sweep out any cobwebs and maybe spruce-up a bit with posting of awards and such.    Make sure my Past Tense page really lists all the books I’ve read and LINKS to my reviews.

Housekeeping, or ‘blog’-keeping, I guess.