Tag Archives: GiveAway

Color: A Natural History of the Palette

Thoughts cbyvf Color by Victoria Finlay, Random House Trade 2004 (orig 2002), 448 pages

Satisfies the COLOR category of the What’s in a Name 8 Challenge.

“Up until then I had always believed that the world was getting better and better and more and more clever. But that day my tender theory about the Evolution of History fell on its head, and it has – for better or for worse – never been quite right ever since.”  p. 1

Wow – what a wild ride! This book is nuts.

I learned a lot and I marveled at what the author went through to gather stories to fit into this book. She wanted to find India Indigo so she went there. She wanted to find Tyrian Purple, so she went to Lebanon. She just had to see the blue Lapis Lazuli mines of Afghanistan, so off she went. Think about that last one…

She is fearless!

My only complaint might be that she really is all over the place at times and I wondered why she would mention that. (off on a tangent much?)  I had to go look up SO MANY THINGS. It is hard – she mentions this, too – it is very hard to describe colors with words.

This is a 4 slice of pie book. fourpie If you like travel books and author-involved nonfiction adventures, I recommend. If you are an artist and are curious about how artists got their colors, you must read this book.

I still have my receipt from purchasing this in 2010. Why? What prompted this book then? I have no records except the date. HOWEVER, in looking for other reviews out there in blogland, I found that Eva of A Striped Armchair was extremely enthusiastic about this book, so that is a clue. And since I seem to be on a linky-love binge, I should include Fyrefly’s discussion of another Finlay book that am now wanting to read next/soon/someday.

Colors are fascinating; this book makes me crave the colors of the entire world and makes me wonder what others really are looking at – do we see the same thing? Is the blue I see the blue you see? What color of purple do you think Cleopatra dyed her sails? And how exactly did she do it? So many mysteries.

Tyndall’s explanation of why the sky is blue is one of the best ever. Page 305.


Lots of Copley Connections for me, too.  Of course, she mentions Simon Garfield’s Mauve which I read in 2009. Or the mention of the English town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne being known for its beer exports. (I read all about that in Hops & Glory.) And then on page 384, Finlay describes a cave with a ‘millenia of snail trails’; surely those of you who read All the Light We Cannot See, recognize Marie-Laure and her hiding place?

Do you have any nonfiction books about colors to recommend? Just one more of my favorite things to learn more about, I guess. AND, I will send this book to anyone who comments and says they want it. If more than one person wants it, I will select somebody at random. Must comment before Valentines Day.





* Copley Connections are the random connections and coincidences that link books that I have read.


Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Mrs. Craddock

Thoughts mcbwsm Mrs. Craddock by W. Somerset Maugham, Penguin 1979 (orig 1902) 255 pages

My cover is different, however. Allow Esther and Oscar to present a pic of my copy:


What goodreads.com has to say:

Bertha Ley is mistress of Court Ley, a great spread of land. She marries Edward Craddock, a man beneath her station, but quite the essence of new order. A gentleman farmer, he is steady and a doer who turns Court Ley into an efficient farm. But Bertha wants passion and ardor: she gets reality.

I love that last phrase. What makes this a fun book is that Maugham uses disguised humor and interesting quips about humanity, genders, the classes, the English vs the French and yes, even passion.

Mrs. Craddock wants passion. She thinks she finds it when she woos or is wooed by – somewhat hard to tell – a fabulous hunk of a man (I was envisioning this guy:)


and gets a steadfast, entrepreneurial, too-perfect gentleman even though he comes (gasp!) from the working class. Personally, she couldn’t have married better. But she wants him to wallow away his days kissing her hands and telling her how lovely she is and how he just can’t stand to be apart from her. BORING. He would rather plow the fields, tend the flocks, hunt with his dogs and make some money the honest way – by hard work and forthright attention to important matters. He thinks she is silly. And she is!

This book reminded me of a triptych. We have three characters:  Bertha (the Mrs.) Craddock, Mr. Edward Craddock, and Bertha’s Aunt Miss Ley. Miss Ley is sharp and observant and quite interesting. Edward is TOO good. And Bertha is wearying but she has a few interesting thoughts and adventures.

The story arc (?) is a triptych of how the marriage plays out:  the romance newlywed phase, the attempts at running away and realization of reality, and third is a settling in to what it is. Not necessarily a happy book but it is not unhappily portrayed, either. OH, I go back and forth on this – maybe because I had so much to fault Bertha and her ideas on what should make her happy. Much could be said to be profoundly sad and yet, it had many amusing parts and certainly MUCH drama. It was the author’s look at the beginning of the end of the English class system, specifically the landed gentry in the last decade of the 19th century.

Finally, my favorite part was the Introduction itself, written by the author 50 years later as if the original author was dead and he had to edit the manuscript. It was funny. For example,

I omitted the rows of dots with which he sought to draw the reader’s attention to the elegance of a sentiment or the subtleties of an observation and I replace with a full stop the marks of exclamation that stood all over the page, like telegraph poles, apparently to emphasize the author’s astonishment at his own acumen.

He is aghast at how the author actually takes a step out of the story to talk to the reader; he goes on to question his youth and ego at the time he wrote it. He even claims if he had met the man, he would have taken an instant dislike.

A little observation on my part: Something bothered (intrigued?) me about how inconsequential the idea of legacy and having children was explored, or not explored. Truthfully, the descriptions of her pain of childbirth was amazing — especially for being written in 1900, or my ideas of propriety then? — but how the question of how having or not having children weighed on the marriage was barely touched on. I thought this odd.

I bookmooched this and it arrived as a copy printed by Penguin books in the late 70s. Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

Extemely daring was the publisher’s verdict in 1900. Today’s readers, though they are unlikely to share that opinion, will certainly find Somerset Maugham’s story of a woman who ‘marries beneath her’ still has the power to move and surprise. ..

Rating:  Four slice of Apple Pie since it is that season and he mentions apple pie on page 150.  fourpie

LOTS of great words and quotes, too!
Otiose, Intro – serving no practical purpose.
Emendations, Intro – make corrections and improvements to.
Transpontine, p.153 – on or from the other side of an ocean, in particular the Atlantic or on or from the other side of a bridge. “… the pathos of transpontine melodrama made him cough and blow his nose.”
Offtish, p.198 – “It’s no good scrapping with the governor, he’s got the ooftish.” (assuming WSM’s variation of OOFISH – unfriendly.)
p.194 – “Death is hideous, but life is always triumphant.”
p.196 – “Be not deceived gentle reader, no self-respecting writer cares a twopenny damn for you.”


Do you want a copy that has the Author’s Intro?

I am willing to send my copy to the first person who tells me YES YES, they would indeed like me to send them my copy of my battered, somewhat torn and yellowed paperback…  Leave a comment, I’ll find you and we can exchange deets (if I don’t already have.)


Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.

Audio GiveAway Neverwhere

UPDATED:   Contest now closed.  Kim is the winner!

I very much enjoyed listening to the author (Neil Gaiman) narrate the audio of Neverwhere!  Maybe you will, too.     To enter this giveaway, just comment and answer the following questions/fill in the blanks:

1.   My favorite person to listen to read books in this format is_________?

2.   I recommend Care and her blog readers listen to ____________ by __________.  (or if you don’t have a favorite, share a favorite/upcoming REGULAR print book that you might LIKE to listen to, regardless if current audio available or not.)

3.  One book that Care and I have both read -OR- the book that Care has read/reviewed here at Care’s Online Book Club that I most want to read is __________.  (and “I don’t have anything to fill in the blank” is an acceptable answer.  This list is accessible from the header above or click here.  Comments on the corresponding review post will give you a bonus entry.)

4.  My favorite book blogger activity is:     Read-A-Thon, BBAW, Weekly Geeks, Bloggiesta, BEA/BBC, AudioWeek. or ________ (fill in the blank, duh.)

THANK YOU!     If you give your email in the WP entry form, that is good.  If I don’t get your email address from whichever way you comment here, pls provide or your @ Tweet handle.    I will pick a winner via random number generator on THURSDAY and announce here and Twitter.   Did I mention that I am willing to send internationally?  I am.


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.

Happy Monday

I so  didn’t want to take off my cheering outfit (by the way, I once tried on my 6th grade COUGAR Cheerleader uniform while I was in college and though it was extremely tight, I was able to get it all the way on!    And I’m skinnier now than when I was in college so I suppose I should have found and worn it yesterday.   OK, I’m seriously going overboard here!)

Yesterday afternoon, I was finally able to tear myself away from the PC and was so fortunate to join a REAL LIFE ‘physical’ book discussion of Never Let Me Go  by K Ishiguro (thx Holly for driving!!) and it was a blast.   Although, not many embraced it as much as I did – some didn’t finish nor even start it, and one lady, I quote, “I hated it.”    But the discussion was really REALLY  good.   so fun…    I SOOOOO wanted to dominate the entire gathering regaling them how fun the Read-A-Thon was – I was still coming down from that high, I guess.   Holly had to endure most of my yapping during the drive into Boston and I spared the nice ladies at the book club any showings of my extreme enthusiasm.    I did push my blog as hard as I dared, though…

We chose   The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao  by Junot Diaz.   You’ve all heard of this, right?    I have but not in detail.    SO I’ll just point you here and you can read all about it from WIKI of all places.    Isn’t it thrilling when an author’s debut novel hits paydirt?!      Of course, those royalty checks and, I’m sure, advances for the next one are terrific, but the feeling of winning a Pulitzer?   I don’t know – is that like winning an Oscar?    Not being the entire book geek I want to be, please tell me – what IS the ultimate prize for a book?

OK, a few announcements.    Lisa Roe who is connecting books with the online world, will soon have new titles and has news about a worthwhile cause.   SIS BOOM BAH!   * what does that mean anyway?

and Trish at Hey, Lady has an enormous book giveaway going on.     (There’s another entry for me!)   Yea, I know I blabbed that I didn’t even want to win, but that doesn’t mean I can’t help another nice person KNOW about it so that they can win, right?   Sometimes advertising is SHARING needed knowledge.   Please visit her blog to enter:    http://trishsdiary.wordpress.com/2008/06/28/14-book-giveaway/

Have a Reading Monday!    a few more things to share:   yesterday was my highest day evah!  with 246 and someone found my blog with the search term ‘fun’.     That cheers me….

And The Winner Is!

Sorry, the title of this post might be deceiving…

AND, THE WINNER IS!…    GOING TO BE ANNOUNCED in my next post.    It’s still Thursday night as I write this.  I am not going to wait up until the stroke of midnight to close my BOOK & A LOOK! contest but will have something for you on Friday…  

I have been blogging about like a scatter-brained fly trying to eat a whole watermelon…   Wanting to meet new friends, getting caught up in multiple posts, adding to my blogroll, leaving comments, getting caught up in other contests (eek!), blahblahblah.   I’m exhausted and have exceeded my planned time allotment to complete this ‘task’.   Sigh.

But I WILL be by to visit all of you who entered my contest and I hope some of you (hey – I’m realistic…) will come by and visit with me again.   You can be an official member of my book club and I will refer to you as DEAR READER.   and OH!  If you don’t have a blog, that’s quite alright but may I recommend you GET ONE!   [Please hear/read that as if you were listening to a favorite aunt…]        I have yet to write my review of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised By Wolves (LOVED it! – see also PlanetBook’s challenge) and I’m now reading Ask Again Later by Jill A Davis (ew, not so much).   Please enjoy my review of I’jaam which I reviewed earlier today.

You are all beautiful!   Now, get enough sleep, read all you can and be kind to animals.

Love the Title of This One…

Trish has a giveaway and a great review  of the new book Did I Expect Angels?  by Kathryn Maughan.     So here’s my post so I can have double entries…   Isn’t the title intriguing?!

I wonder if I’m on a theme of death and grieving…    I enjoyed Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and recently finished Everyman by Philip Roth.      [mini-review:   what a cad…  Except that ‘cad’ isn’t the right word.   So I have to take it back.   Maybe, it’s the timing of this book and what’s going on with the Gov of NY that makes me think of a party we had in college.   My roommate had just been ‘wronged’ by a fellow and so we had a party with the theme “Men are Pigs”.   But since most of the people we knew were guys (we were in the College of Engineering), the ratio of guys to gals at the party was 6:1.    Free beer gets ’em everytime.   My point?   The main character of Everyman just coasted through and acted on his whims, failing to consider what is truly important to him.   He had no depth of character to consider the consequences of his actions…] 

Does it not seem that good books that touch on the end of life encourage a gratitude and appreciation of the LIVING of life?   A reminder to really think about what is important?   Celebrate each day now, don’t just regret what’s gone or soon will be.