Friday, July 6, 2018

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Catherine E. Mckinley had a deep desire to know about Indigo. It became her purpose.

"We watched the woman disappear into the bend of the road. It was unsettling. She seemed possessed, driven by some mimetic force. I was afraid that that force was also a part of me. I was also a worshiper, set wandering in an unfamiliar land."

 It seems this week I have been driven to write about my mother. It has happened more than once. Here she is again. Tapping my shoulder a reminder that she loved blue. There is the one and only photo of her where she wears a dress of blue. The photo was taken years and years ago. In the photo are my two nephews, my mother and myself.. The photo was taken in West Philadelphia. She sewed it. A light blue that now I wish to call "Indigo." I have much to learn about Indigo. It is easy to pick up on the author, Catherine E. Mckinley's, fervent love for the color. One day my son asked me my favorite color. I said, "I don't have one." I don't. Perhaps, I choose colors by mood. Today red  and tomorrow green, there is Christmas kicking in again. What is that all about? I have seen Christmas trees with all blue balls or blue and silver balls. Then, there is blue for boy babies. I had four baby boys. Not one wore blue home from the hospital. I can't believe it. In my heart, tradition is important. There must have been years where rituals lost their place in my life. For what reason, any one can guess.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Are these the types of lives we are seeing and reading about in the news today?

"The difference between life and death was information:..the greatest danger was not the river, but the desert beyond. There the temperatures were so hellish they melted stones, there was no water, and they could be preyed upon by scorpions, wildcats, and hungry real coyotes...Rattlesnakes, as well as coral, moccasin, and darting indigo snakes, came out to hunt at night, the time when the migrants set off, because the daytime heat was lethal."isabelallende

Friday, June 29, 2018

"Call it blue gold, the devil's dye, or the cloth of history" --Margo Jefferson, author of On Michael Jackson (Bloomsbury)


"Blue is one of nature's rarest colors. Indigo, a dye obtained from the tiny leaves of small parasitic shrubs that are part of the Indigofererearsa tribe, creates the bluest of blues."rosecityreader

Monday, June 25, 2018

Nigeria, Africa (Azure) A novel

"I will tell you that you could be a different kind of fishermen. Not the kind that fish at a filthy swamp like the Omi-Ala, but fishermen of the mind. Go-getters. Children who will dip their hands into rivers, seas, oceans of this life and become successful: doctors, pilots, professors, lawyers. Eh? He gazed around again. "Those are the kinds of fishermen I want to have as children."

I don't know what will happen in the lives of these four brothers. I already feel excited. My curiosity is jumping like a Jack-in-the- Box. To their father, their parents, education is very, very important. That means getting a Western education. Yes, English is spoken in the home. How amazing that the author, Chigozie Obioma, chose the number four. Four in my life has been magical and spiritual. It is a number meaning unconditional love. Love that brought happiness and freedom. It is a number that has overflowed dams of water with five, six, seven and on and on pass my knowledge but not pass my thoughts. In "The Fisherman" there are: Obembe, Ikenna, Boja and Benjamin. Brothers. Yes, tonight my mind is on siblings. The relationship they experience is one studied throughout the years, and I guess will always serve as an important model in all societies.

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

Go to Tuscany, Italy by ship or boat or just by Armchair Travel and meet the wonderful characters written about in Rhys Bowen's novel. The novel takes place during the Second World War and also in the nineteen seventies. When a father dies and is found by his daughter, Joanna asks many questions. She wonders about a brother  whom she has never met. When Joanna leaves England and lands in Italy, much about her father and the people in his life will come to light. Of course, there are the atrocities of war to live through. There are the characters the village who lead secret lives. There is also the unexpected Romance.

Rhys Bowen shares the beauty of Tuscany. Among the olive groves are the names of famous artists and their paintings which were stolen during the war, and always there is hospitality. Italian dishes are named. It is difficult not to close the book and go out to eat. Throughout the pages of the book is the bravery of the Italians and one English soldier named Hugo. War is always ugly, but love always find its way through the rubble.

I can still feel the spirit of the characters drifting around in my head. There is Cosimo, the owner of the only olive press. There is Renzo, a young man, who in only a few pages becomes a handsome lover. Then, there is Hugo, Sofia and of course Joanna. Oh, Gainsborough, the artist, leaves a deep mark in my thoughts. So, no matter how many times you have read about Tuscany, WWII or Italy it is worthwhile to travel back enjoy a meal and learn that life always carries a sunbeam of hope.

Friday, June 22, 2018

From 1944 to 1973 back and forth in time

"It was clear that he had left right after breakfast. The remains of a boiled egg, toast in the silver toast rack, an empty teacup, and a milk jug stood on the table. This I actually found reassuring. If he had been meaning to kill himself he would certainly not have had a boiled egg for breakfast first. Neither would he have left the milk out to spoil."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

All That Is Gone by Pramoedya Ananta Toer / Penguin

It's short stories. I'm in the mood. Spring is almost gone, and I'm just realizing it was here. Bird songs haven't been plentiful which reminds me of the bird on the cover. He's crying! The author is Indonesian. He is likened to Albert Camus. I like the review written by USA Today on the

"Here is an author half a world away from us whose art and humanity are both so great that we instantly feel we've known him--and he us--all our lives."

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Still reading and loving The Gardens of Kyoto by Kate Walbert

 I am really savoring the novel named and photographed below. Not far into the novel, the famous poem Ode To A Grecian Urn by John Keats is named. This morning these lines spoke to me. It is a reminder that with me always are those who have gone permanently from my life whether in death or for some other reason. God is so kind. He does not allow the full pain of death's sting to reach us. I can just close my eyes and see and hear those I've loved in the past. Definitely, they were my "bliss."

yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
Forever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

John Keats Ode To A Grecian Urn

Monday, June 18, 2018

First Chapter, First Paragraph (A Tuesday Weekly Meme)

"I had a cousin, Randall, killed on Iwo Jima. Have I told you? The last man killed on the island, they said, killed after the fighting had ceased and the rest of the soldiers had already been transported away to hospitals or to bodybags. Killed mopping up. That's what they called it. A mopping-up operation."

Why did I pick this Historical novel? It's because there aren't any facts in my head about Iwo Jima. Only the name comes to mind. Don't worry ; I'm not a warmonger. Really, I adore peace and desire it with all my heart. Peace is like a handsome man watched on the movie screen, and you can't reach him.  However, I'm one of those readers who follow the words whispered in her heart. So, after reading "A Pale View Of Hills" by Kazuo Ishiguro, my hands kept reaching for Kate Walbert's novel. Maybe it's because of the word gardens in the title. Truly, I think it's because of the personal way the first paragraph is written. It's like the narrator is really speaking to me, the reader.

I carried the book around in my mind for a few days. Then, I began to read it. Lo and behold, "The Gardens of Kyoto" speaks about a precious time in History. It is a time to always remember because my ancestors were a part of it. I don't know what to expect or not to expect in this novel. The author? I've never read one book by her. I can only cross my fingers in hopes that this story will intrigue me as certain other books have this year.

Amy Bloom, in a book review, writes "...The Gardens of Kyoto is a ghost story, a mystery, a love story." Those words make me wiggle in my seat. I love all three genres. Now, let's see if it lives up to snuff. Oh, the author, at the time when the book was published, had won a Pushcart and O.Henry Prize.

By the way, I know it's Monday and not Tuesday. I have chosen to write this one early and others early as thoughts roll through my mind. Because if I don't catch them the words or thoughts might fly away.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Book Beginnings

"The Banker's Wife by Cristina Alger"


"At London RAF Northolt airport, very few planes were cleared for takeoff. The crosswinds were strong; the downpour of sleet reduced visibility to nil."

From the first line, you're sucked into the suspenseful novel. I look forward to getting back to reading it today. Maybe "sucked in" is a poor choice of words.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Shoemaker's Daughter by Adriana Trigliani

Back and forth to Italy to New York, the rich characters in Adriana Trigliani's novel are followed through their marriages, births, and deaths. We learn to appreciate the Italians love for family and beauty in the Italian Alps. The author makes the reader comfortable while learning the Art of Shoemaking, while learning a bit about Catholicism and dressmaking and also, the culture of cuisine and music.  The thoughts in the novel do not take away from your beloved culture. The stories within The Shoemaker's Daughter add to your life story.

All of us who live on Earth seem to at one time or another live through wars and the deaths of those whom we love. Enza, a wife, and Ciro, her husband, and others live in such a way that their hardiness finds a place in our hearts. We want to live, grieve, leave and question as they so gracefully do on the mountain.

I did have a question about the Priest Gregorio. One of the main characters Ciro sees the Priest in a delicate moment that should have never taken place. Afterwards, I did not learn much about Priest Gregorio except for the fact that he received another assignment at some point in time. What I wanted to know is was that the only time that he 'sinned' during his time on the mountain? Did he come to a true repentance after that one act?

When asked to review, it is thought good to write what did you like about the book. Give something specific. I loved the relationship between Ciro and his brother, Eduardo. It is a wonderful contrast between two brothers growing up under the same circumstances and becoming totally different. I felt struck by their abiding love while away from their mother and not having a living father.

The novel runs over its cup like a Family Saga. It is hard to stop writing or talking about it. I am left with the feeling that our past is always with us. The people in that past like Selena, Enza's sister; The places in that past like San Nicola Convent are in our blood. Secondly, although death seems the greatest pain, it can not completely steal the ones we love from us. Our memories give them back to us every moment. Enza brings the realization home with three short, whispered words. The words are unforgettable. The novel "The Shoemaker's Daughter" is a gift showing why we take time to read. I am grateful to the author for sharing her way of life with me. My one regret is,well, there are too many to name.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

"...There was no rest. There was no peace to be made with death. Conversations steered around it. Some men asked their fellow soldiers to shoot them if they were left without limbs. Others vowed to turn their guns on themselves if captured. It seemed every soldier had his own ideas about how to control the outcome of war, knowing he was powerless to change what fate had in store for him."

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Quiet, liked to do crossword puzzles and...

"I realized an eternal truth: death makes people hungry. Either because they've decided to embrace life to the fullest in the wake of another's death, or maybe because they don't know what to talk about at such an event. In any case, the guests made a nice dent to the food. No one held back."

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Once Upon A Spine by Kate Carlisle

"For weeks now I'd been visiting the book almost daily. It was a little embarrassing to continually beg the bookstore owner to let me hold it, page through it, study it. I just wanted to touch it, stroke it, and once, when he wasn't looking, sniff it. But he didn't seem to mind my fixation. He's as big a book nerd as I am."

I love this series.

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Best Loved Poems Of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Caroline Kennedy

"You can tell the world what you want from it...All the changes in the world, for good or evil, were first brought about by words." Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

So many poets in one work: Langston Hughes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Shakespeare, Jean Toomer, Chang Wu - chien, Mary Austin, Elizabeth Bishop, etc.  Beautiful photos as well.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Milk! A 10,000-Year Food Fracas
 "It is sometimes claimed that ice cream was first served in Philadelphia on July 15, 1782, at the French Mission, where George Washington was an honored guest. ARC

Rain And Langston Hughes