“And what great…

10 07 2013

“And what great writers actually pass on is not so much their words, but they hand on their breath at their moments of inspiration.”

Natalie Goldberg – Writing Down the Bones


photo of the day: adventure

25 08 2009

reading notes

25 08 2009

I’ve been meaning to review my last three reads for at least a week and a half, and even though it feels like I’m on the computer most of the day, I haven’t got around to blogging at all.  Since the books aren’t fresh in my memory, I’m not going to do them the disservice of reviewing them, but instead just note my overall impressions.

First, The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine.  This is the most difficult book I’ve ever read, I think, the crimes in it so horrific, and even though there is hope in the act of writing, in the act of telling and witnessing, I found it a very difficult book to finish reading.

The next book I finished was The Taste of Sorrow.  I really enjoyed this tale of the Brontës and it confirmed for me that I relate very much to Charlotte (which I’d guessed at many years ago when I read Villette).  I felt very much with the characters and there was an immediacy to the text that really seemed to suit the story and the characters.

Finally, I finally read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.  It had been on the TBR pile much longer than I thought it had.  When I opened up the cover and discovered it had been given to me in 2002, I couldn’t believe how much time had passed.  I remember wanting to read it when it first came out, but not being sure if I was in the right head space for it, and that’s why I kept putting it off.  I found it an interesting read, and the focus different than I expected.  I’m interested to see the film adaptation when it comes out.

Next up: The Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall.

photo of the day: fireworks

26 07 2009

reviews: an incomplete revenge and among the mad

26 07 2009

Two more Maisie Dobbs finished: An Incomplete Revenge and Among the Mad.  In An Incomplete Revenge, Maisie is asked by James Compton to investigate some acts of vandalism on an estate in Kent that he is interested in purchasing.  Her assistant, Billy, is already heading to the area for the annual hop picking with his family.  What seems like a simple inquiry becomes more complicated as Maisie learns of yearly fires in the town – incidents that she ties to a family that were killed by a Zepplin raid during the war.  More of Maisie’s history is also brought out in this volume, as Winspear reveals that Maisie’s grandmother was a gypsy and Maisie reconnects with their culture during the course of her investigation.  The central mystery was very powerful, just as it was in Messanger in Truth, though to me, I felt those that were guilty were not punished sufficiently, and that made the ending a bit disappointing for me.

Among the Mad struck me as quite different from the other Maisie Dobbs novels I’ve read.  It begins with Maisie and Billy witnessing a desperate young man take his life just before Christmas.  A couple of days later, Maisie is brought into Scotland Yard because an anonymous letter threatening an attack mentions her name and they suspected that the letter is connected to the young man who took his life.  The letter writer wants something done for the soldiers who fought in WWI, those who are suffering in a society that doesn’t see or acknowledge them, and threatens to bring the type of chemical warfare seen in the trenches to 1930s London.  This volume of Winspear’s series very much focuses on shell shock and the difficulties faced by those trying to adjust after the war.  The dangers posed by those that feel themselves on the fringes of society and the dangers of chemical warfare had strong contemporary parallels.  The political elements of the novel seem more pronounced than in the earlier volumes, and the tone seems darker – fitting with the shift in society at that period and the darkening clouds of WWII.  While I think that a shift is necessary given the period Maisie is now living in, there was also quite a bit of darkness in terms of the personal lives of those close to Maisie (Billy and Doreen Beale and her friend Priscilla), and though Winspear has Maisie say that there is a peace and lightness and freedom in her now, I would have liked to have seen a bit more in the book that showed that to me.

photo of the day: somewhere over the rainbow…

23 07 2009

photo of the day: little lady

22 07 2009