The Invention of Clouds

Thoughts  The Invention of Clouds by Richard Hamblyn, Farrar Straus and Giroux 2001, 403 pages

subtitle:  How An Amateur Meteorologist Forged The Language Of The Skies

Defin’d the doubtful, fix’d its limit-line,
And named it fitly – Be the honour thine!

LOVED THIS and yet I didn’t finish it before it had to go back to the library.  *sadface* However! I’m considering buying this as a gift though I am really not sure if the intended recipient will enjoy it. I think he might? But I also have no clue what his reading tastes are. I always seem to buy him books, though and I never remember to ask if he liked ’em. We don’t talk often. Sometimes that’s the way it is with family… Or maybe just my family. We’re not of the demonstrative types.


This book was sweet, in a way. It had poetry! It really showed a sensitive side to the author, methinks. You could suppose a history book — a biography book, to be cut and dried and just-the-facts, but we must consider this guy – the subject, not the author – was  ‘discovered’ around the end of the Age of Enlightenment and kicking off the Romantic era. [Not that I’m an expert – I had to go look that up.]

So, in 1802, Luke Howard presented his nomenclature for identifying clouds. And it was GROUNDBREAKING!  WHY had no one ever figured this out before?!  astonishing! I loved this part and learning about Luke’s early years and then his being thrust into fame.

I was not so keen as to the actual cloud details and who else had done some findings or tried to piggy-back on Howard’s labels and ideas. I just had too many other books shouting at me to read and this one was too quiet.

I did attempt to flip through and skim to the end. I’m a horrible skimmer. Impatient readers cannot skim. Thus the need for skimming and then the frustration and then guilt and then the downhill fall to just giving up.

I found it fascinating that these public lectures on the wonders of science put these guys into rock star acclaim.

I loved that his grandchildren were fond of him.

I was delighted at the bit about how Mr. Howard surely must have met Miss Jane Austen – his carriage is documented as traveling the road on which her house was set. Being of similar class and stature, it would not be at all unheard of that he would stop and pay a call. But not record exists of such.

I loved loved LOVED the poetry!

Science, illuminating ray!
Fair mental beam, extend thy sway,
And shine from pole to pole!
From thy accumulated store,
O’er every mind thy riches pour,
Exacted from low desires to soar,
And dignify the soul.
                              -Sarah Hoare, 1831

and how about this, written by Goethe and based on one of Howard’s essays?

When o’er the silent bosom of the sea
The cold mist hangs like a stretch’d canopy;
And the moon, mingling there her shadowy beams,
A spirit, fashioning other spirits seems;
We feel, in moments pure and bright as this,
The joy of innocence, the thrill of bliss.
Then towering up in the darkinging mountain’s side,
And spreading as it rolls its curtains wide,
It mantles round the mid-way height, and there
It sinks in water-drops, or soars in air.

There’s more to that – he has three more stanzas…

So. If you love science or the weather, or dreamily gaze up at the clouds, or love odd little biographies of interesting dudes from the early 1800’s, and certainly if you like poetry that was written during those times, I suggest this wonderful book.

And a big thank you to Vasilly for recommending a book that helps identify clouds: The Cloud Collector’s Handbook. I’m thinking of buying that for my nieces and nephews. Here’s another one that looks enticing:  The Cloudspotter’s Guide.

Do you not love white fluffy clouds in a bright blue spring sky?


Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Poetry for February

Today is the last day of the month and that means…


Kailana has the sign in, or will?  And Lu is the other co-conspirator to make the last day of every month a celebration of poetry.

I thought about copying down a few Tennyson poems that were featured in the Byatt novella I just finished late last night, Morpho Eugenia (so good!) but. I’m not sure where I put the book. *lookingaroundroom*

THEN, I had the brilliant idea to go google for Leap Day poems but wasn’t inspired.

So, then I went and did some chores and am right now avoiding other chores and sat down to see if I could compose anything myself,with my poet-hat on. I do my best poetm-writing when I just sit and see what pops into my head.


I wish, I wish upon a star

But then wonder, can I do that?

It’s daylight, no stars in the sky at the moment,

And I’m obviously borrowing a line from someone else’s poem,

Is that stealing?

What is my wish?

World peace, I toast; I wish for cheerfulness and kindness.

I wish for easy decisions and less hassles,

Realizing immediately that my first world problems are silly.

Silliness but they are my sillinesses. My world.

Silly should be reserved for giggles and frivolity

not judging the quality of petty problems, anyway.

I wish I could find a swing and sail into the sky,

the sunny daytime starless sky.

Well?  How’d I do? Happy February Poetry Day!


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Poetry Day

Today is Poetry Day for Lu and Kelly-TheWrittenWorld-Kailana-MyReadingBooks-PseudoKiwiCanadian-@BookishNerd as just one piece of the big celebrate-poetry event they are plotting to get me to read deep things that may or may not rhyme. Clicking on the pretty blue button above will transport you to that other world.

Here’s what I came up with for today:

I baked bread.
Just today, this morning.
very exciting.
I am hoping it is sourdough.
The cookbook index
Does not list sourdough.
It is boule.
Says it sours over days.
(The batter. Batter?
In the refrigerator.)
It smells so good.
Now that it is baked.
So tempting, not to tear into it.
Must let it cool.
Be cool.
Yum, I heart fresh bread.
And I made it myself!
I’m so proud.
Could anything be more basic

Well? LOTS going on here, for such a simple poem that doesn’t rhyme. A carefree woman of middle-age who wants to try new things and get healthy – that’s the surface view. Who writes poetry about bread because she doesn’t own any poetry books that feature any poems about bread and that is what she felt compelled to talk about considering that she just crafted a loaf of homemade bread and wanted to share it with the world. But underneath, we glimpse a woman possibly unsure of what she really wants to do with her days and is easily swayed by trends – bake your own bread!write your own poems! I bet she is someone who talks too much about herself. But overall, a good person.

“The people long eagerly for two things –
Bread and circuses.”

– Juvenal (c. 60-140 A.D.)



Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

New Year Haiku

Five, seven and five
Is the meter of haiku.
Shouldn’t be so hard.

Of course, haiku is not so strict.
Point is, first and third get the same count, yes?
and then the middle row has more.

Happiness Project,
The. By a Gretchen Rubin.
Start now or wait til _____?

She has done research
on just what is this ‘Happy?’
Many quotes to share.

Court Justice Stewart
said, “I know it when I see it.”
(on what is obscene?*)
* He meant to define obscenity, but Rubin applies to happiness.

Am not really read-
ing this book. Yet. Cuz want to
start Miss Pettigrew first!
(in trend to start new year fresh with a new book…)

Happiness and feeling good;
Just what is a very cool life?
I aim to discover.

Goal is 50 books
(with a secret conniving:
will read many more.)

One goal is to move.
Move often and stretch first.
Drink lots of water.

I want to crave poetry.
I do not yet but want to.
Neon Vernac’lar.

New authors to try:
Krakauer and Mary Roach,
Perotta, O’Nan.

Susan Jane Gilman
Elliot, Miéville, Rowling,
and Mitchell and Yates.

Authors to repeat:
Atwood, Kidder, McEwan,
and DuMaurier.

Maree and I and maybe
Vasilly; Will tweet!

Haiku is not so
Difficult once you start it.
Happy, happy, joy.

Wishing my readers
a healthy happy Twenty
Twelve.  Joyful, book-filled

Thanks for helping me to make 2011 another wonderful book-blogging adventure. Looking forward to more in 2012.


Copyright © 2007-2011. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Just Kids

Thoughts  Just Kids  by Patti Smith, Ecco (imprint of HarperCollins ) 2010, 306 pages

Interviewer:   Care, how did you hear about this book?

Care:  I think I first learned of it from Amazon; in one of those emails they regularly send to tempt me to purchase books.

Interviewer:  And then you researched it or did you instantly know you wanted to read it?

Care: I saw that it was Rock Star Patti Smith’s memoir about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, the famous photographer. It’s a National Book Award winner.

Interviewer:  Are you a Patti Smith fan or a Mapplethorpe fan, or both?

Care:  Actually, all I knew about Mapplethorpe was when his controversial photographs of nude males caused such a hullabaloo a few years ago. I’m dating myself, because the controversary about whether or not his work was pornography or ‘art’ had to have been before he died in 1989 which seems a very long time ago already, but I don’t really recall when I first heard about the artist. What I admit now, is that I had no idea that he was friends with Patti Smith. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you much about Ms. Smith except that she was grunge rock & roll. I’m still not sure if that description is accurate. To me, the image of Patti Smith that popped into my head was the parody of her on SNL by Gilda Radner! That was hardly flattering. I think…  I THINK, I was both shocked that Patti Smith would write a book AND that she knew Robert Mapplethorpe AND that I was obviously ignorant about a whole slice of cutting edge culture that I now want to know more about.

Interviewer:  So you bought the book.

Care:  Not at that time. I bought it at one of the GOOB sales at Borders.

Interviewer:  And now, you have added ‘Attend a Patti Smith concert” to your Bucket List on Pinterest.

Care:  Yes. I’m fascinated by her. I admire her. I think she is incredible. She has endeared herself to me and I think experiencing her art would be a tremendous thrill. I will probably buy her Horses CD and give it to myself for Christmas.

Interviewer:  So why did you give this book only 3 stars?

Care:  Oh. You saw that, did you?  Yes, well, I don’t really recall exactly and I was hoping you wouldn’t bring that up. Let me please reiterate that a three star rating is GOOD. That I liked it. A three star rating is not something to be sorry for. Why do I have to justify this? OK, I’ll try anyway. If I had a rating scale for various categories of things I like/love/hate etc about a book, then this book hits many HIGHs and a few lows and so in average, three stars. I liked it.  (My ratings are for me.)

What I liked most was how it was a glimpse into a life I will never see. How courageous and independent and soulful Patti is. How she had fears and doubts but living true to her ideals was her utmost priority.

Current photo of Patti Smith found here on her website.

What I liked least was the ‘lack’. And even in that, I have to admire it as artistic story telling.  Most of the lacks I cite are mine which made me frustrated with myself, I suppose, but also good in that I now have lots more things to learn.  A lack of knowing a ton of names!  A lack of going in a direction I wanted to know more about.  A lack of my knowledge of New York City.  A lack of photos online when I googled ‘how did such&such hotel look then and now’, etc.

Interviewer:  and did you run to google a lot to look up stuff you didn’t know?

Care:  Yes. A LOT. I was very fascinated. I spent almost as much time online looking stuff up than I did reading this book!  And so this book could deserve 5 stars for provoking intense curiosity. Crazy things; she had an affair with Sam Shepard! the actor guy who plays admirable men in movies and is married to Jessica Lange?! WHAT?! and she bumped into Jimi Hendrix – HUH?!?!  and Grace Slick!  just amazing. The whole Warhol thing. That she bought and sold rare editions of classic books and sometimes it was lucky she found such so she could buy food to eat.

Interviewer:  But what about Mapplethorpe?

Care:  A beautiful tragic love story? They were friends — true friends and that is quite beautiful. I can’t say I am any more interested in him than I was before.  I was much more enthralled with the Patti Smith personality.

Interviewer:  Who would you recommend this book to?

Care:  Anyone who loves art and poetry. Anyone who appreciates true love stories and realizes that life sometimes sucks. Anyone who has interest in the history of rock and roll music.  Anyone who enjoys memoirs/biographies of extraordinary people.  And NewYorkCity-ophiles.

Interviewer:   In five words, describe this book.

Care:  Fascinating, passionate, endearing, heavy, surprising.

Interviewer:   Do you have any reviews elsewhere in blogland to point to?

Care:  Yes, I recommend a wonderful review by Beth Fish Reads as well as Books are My Boyfriends’ enthusiastic take on it. And there’s always Fyrefly’s awesome search engine for book bloggers reviews.

Interviewer:  Anything else you want to share?

Care:  Nope. Thank you for helping me with this post. Oh! I am counting this for a challenge; it fits the LIFE STAGE category for What’s in a Name 4.

Interviewer:  You’re most welcome. Have a nice day.


Copyright © 2007-2011. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Fearless Poetry Challenge

I’m signing up for the 2011 Fearless Poetry Challenge! x Serena, the hostess of this exciting new challenge, was my Secret Santa Giftee one year and I have always appreciated her love and passion for poetry. This year she is providing more incentive for me to dive into poetry. Frankly, when I am asked to think of a book blogger who loves poetry, Serena is at the top of the list.

Click on this button:      to learn more about the challenge and explore her blog Savvy Verse and Wit.

It’s easy!   We non-poetry-minded readers are asked to read ONLY ONE book of poems!     How could I say no?

Thusly, to announce my commitment to one collection; I hereby declare that I officially choose Neon Vernacular by  Yusef Komunyakaa.    I purchased this after being convinced by Lu of Regular Rumination that it is a must-read.     Lu is the second tremendous blogger that I think of when the topic of poetry comes up.   Jeanne of Necromancy Never Pays is another.

I have already committed to reading the Erotic Works of D.H.Lawrence which also contains a few of his poems so I’m going to have two poetry books in my reading counts this year.  Yay me!

What about you?   Read any good poems lately?


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Fizzythoughts Cheerleading Mini-Challenge

Oh I wish I were a full participator,
That is what I truly want to be-e-e
cuz if a I was a REAL readathonner,
Then everyone would come and cheer for me.

but I own a boat and we’re out being social,
And I’m catching flack for wanting to read inste-eh-Ed
I’m reading a page every so often
And logging into Twitter when I can.

I just now got yelled at…
I’m hiding from the crowd.
I am so thankful for 3G
But it’s time to run off to dinner and end this rhyme.

Oh I wish I were a REAL read a thonner
That. Is what I ‘d truly like to be e e
I’m reading Woman in White when I can
And envious of all you rea – eed – ding!!!!!!


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Read-A-Thon Oct 2010

hour 8 update – Am on page 28 of The Woman in White by WilkieCollins.


Since this is the last weekend for using the boat before we pack it up, pull it out of the water, shrinkwrap it and wistfully look forward to NEXT year,

I won’t be full-on participating in Read-A-Thon this Fall.   😦    Nope, I’ll be partying with friends at Octoberfest in Newport RI.    SO, I thought I would post this big cheer for everyone who will be setting aside time and stacks of books to read and blog and blog and cheer and read and tweet and do all that other fun stuff.


Please turn off cumbersome sign-in forms, (ie take off word verification?)   🙂     Here’s a little ditty to get you in the proper frame of mind:

The books are stacked carefully, alongside the comfy chair.

Snacks and favorite teas – at the ready; excitement is in the air.

Kids&dogs are dropped off elsewhere, spouses paid to go away,

What heavenly bliss, to sit around and only read for 24 hours this day!

DEWEY’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon


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New Books In the House

The Witch of Hebron by James Howard Kunstler – Thank you Alix!

Virginia Woolf bio by Hermione Lee – for Women Unbound Challenge – #fridayreads prize!

Neon Vernacular by Yusef Komunyakaa – Thank you, Lu, for a convincing BBAW Forgotten Treasures post) – #fridayreads prize!

D.V. autobio by Diana Vreeland – #fridayreads prize!

Bob Dylan’s CHRONICLES Volume One – for the  John Cusack Challenge (bookmooched)

How To Grill by Steven Raichlen – with encouragement from BermudaOnion, gift for my husband #fridayreads prize!

I want to especially thank @thebookmaven for giving out prizes to the Twitter “Friday Reads” participants!    If you are on Twitter on Fridays, just use the hashtag #fridayreads (and/or #fridaylistens for audio books) and you just might win a prize!   I did!!    With my Amazon gift certificate plus only a few dollars of my own, I purchased the Raichlen Grilling book, D.V., the Woolf bio and the poetry book.

Read all about Twitter’s #fridayreads here as explained at The Book Maven’s blog.


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Tis October… or “Livid With the Hue of Death”

An original poem penned (typed?  digitally created?) by yours truly on a late afternoon while wishing I could call and yap about this book to someone:

Between and betwixt
the cartwheeling leaves flee down the street at dusk
on a cruel sharp breeze.
yet bouts of calm sinisterness seem in hiding,
in waiting between breathes to inflict upon the senses.

Oh woe is me, this confusion these horrors!
of listening to the self-important ramblings and prolongations of the start of a story
that is the listening experience
of an audio book
called Frankenstein.


So.   Earlier this afternoon; it’s raining.   I’m on my way to Plymouth Mass to go to the nearest Petco dog-washing station to give Oscar a bit more scrubbing and deskunking and I’m listening in the car, right?   Are you with me?   And I’m only three quarters paying attention wondering if I probably shouldn’t have the cruise-control on since the road is wet and  it’s blowing pretty good and how to get this rambling old dude to just hurry up already about the studies of the ancient silly scholars and just tell me about the creature when my mind must have wandered off and then, I’m listening to …

“I had worked nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body.  For this I had deprived myself of rest and health.  I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.”

Um wait.  Just like that?  you study this and that and work in your lab and all the sudden you have a real live IT-thing wake up on you and you’re…    UPSET about it?


I must tell you that when I first began this audio, I had to pop out the CD and make sure I was really listening to Frankenstein.   What’s with the Russia stuff and planning a trip, and expedition to the North Pole?      I was confused.

Why is the year “Seventeen ____ (pause/blank line/dash)” on the correspondence?  Which character is narrating this?

Finally, I figured out that the sailing Captain wasn’t Frankenstein but that they picked up Mr. Frankenstein near death and certainly without chance of survival/rescue, but.

We aren’t really even told the guy is Frankenstein until further in and quite gently ‘dropped in’, in my opinion.

Actually, I’m having fun with the language – all a bit flowery and pretentious to my ears but then I’m not ‘of’ the early 1800’s.   I’m of the late 1900’s.    Groove on, dude.

Have you ever wondered about the word CREATive and the word CREATure?     Interesting, no?   no?

Help me if I begin to start talking like this:    (I almost told my husband when he called just now that)

“Yes, the rain is falling, yet at varying intensities;  I dare say it does not seem to threaten harm to our abode.  Still, do take care when embarking on your journey homeward.”

The narrator of my audio book is Jim Weiss.  He’s good; very dramatic.   He reads lots of classics.

So I play with the forward and retreat or rather the de-advance of the audio to hear what I miss and I get to:

“It was on a dreary night of November, … With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet.”

Well DON’T DO IT  if you don’t want to!!!!

And my title?    Don’t you just love the imagery “livid with the hue of death”?  Here’s the full quote on page 35 (yes, I have the book in hand right now, but not while I’m listening in the car, don’t worry.)

“Delighted and surprised, I embrace her, but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms; a shroud enveloped her form , and I saw the grave-worms crawling in the folds of flannel.”

Now if THAT isn’t a R.I.P. worthy quote, I don’t know WHAT is!

Got any creepy-crawly quotes gathered from YOUR RIP experience so far?

And so we begin the month that is October.   Dewey’s Read-a-thon is coming up! (Oct 9) Boston Book Fest is the weekend after that!  

I’m currently reading a library book Lady’s Maid by Margaret Forster which was my BBAW Forgotten Treasure but golly is it long – at 548 pages, hardback, not tiny font but small enough.     Luckily, it is just the right amount of captivating.

My September Summary is SIX books, most for RIP (4), two being for my Real Life Book Club, The Bookies.   No nonfiction.    I think my nonfiction count is down from last year.   I just ordered Hermione Lee’s Virginia Woolf which I want to read to finish up the Women Unbound Challenge, which is winding down (and miserably ignored of late) and due to end on November 30, 2010.    REMIND ME to post something over there…

I’m rather bummed that I didn’t read a Banned Book for this week’s Banned Book Week (whoa – was that redundant?) especially when my niece asked me on Facebook if I did.     Surely some idiots with too much time on their hands banned The Maltese Falcon at some point, right?  But I couldn’t find it on any list during the 10 minutes I searched.   Happy BBW if you are celebrating.

This should give anyone more than enough fodder for something to comment on.   or I’ve overwhelmed you all!    Blog at you next week…


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.