Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Manley Memoirs

Stayed up late reading The Manley Memoirs by Beverley Manley until 3:00am this morning.  I was caught up in Mrs. Manley's life. that is, her rise from humble background, as people would say, to First Lady of Jamaica rubbing shoulders with Fidel as in Castro; Jimmy Carter and the usual expected political dignitaries; then to divorcee struggling to find a job; and then co-host of the very popular radio program, Breakfast Club.

I liked the humor. The anecdote about the dinner disaster involving the escargots was not only hilarious it was very revealing about the lifestyle of well-to-do Jamaicans. I liked the honesty but what made me squeamish were the bits that I thought belonged in the category of "Too Much Information". I am not accustomed to Jamaicans washing their dirty linen in public so I found some of the details of her parent's marriage distasteful. 

Overall, I enjoyed the book. She told the reader exactly who she was and how she became who she is. There was some repetition but it helped to remind me of how the various persons connected. There were occasions when I got a little confused about the timing of an event. There were some gaps in the information.  For example, she presented the charismatic Prime Minister Michael Manley as a distant father with his first three children by three ex-wives but the relationship with her own children was not clear to me.  Everyone in Jamaica knew he was a playboy and knew of his reputation of having relationships with his friends' wives so that confirmation in the book was not shocking to me.

I would have liked the more recent photographs to be in color.  The black and white photos in the book were not as sharp as those in Condoleeza Rice's book.  Yes, I checked.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Three Pines Mystery series

I am hooked on the Three Pines Mystery series by Louise Penny set in the village of Three Pines in French-speaking Canada.  I have read Still Life (book club selection in October) and Fatal Grace and am waiting for the arrival of The Cruelest Month from a library.

In Fatal Grace, the author tells us in the very first sentence who was going to be murdered.  I believe the same thing happened in Still Life, I remember for sure that the reader knew who the victim was from the first page. The characters in the series are all quirky which I love.  Three older women were introduced in this novel; Bea, Em, and Kaye. Grumpy Ruth the poet, Clara and Peter the artists, and Myrna the black retired Psychologist who owns a book store seem to be constant characters.  There is some trouble stirring with Inspector Gamache and there seems to be a traitor in his entourage so I am continuing with the series to find out more.   I am eager to know if someone is going to die in Three Pines.  I don't think this little village can stand another murder in its midst.

On another genre, I just heard about this new Sci-Fi book  on kindle by first time author, Jennifer Fales.  I am not a big Sci-Fi fan but I did enjoy  The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. I started Oryx and Crake by the same writer but could not get into it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What do we read next? Historical Fiction?

We will not meet next month. We will not choose a book for January. We are using this time to catch up on individual reading choices. Kathy wants us to consider a historical romance, Scaramouche, by Rafael Sabatini set just before the French Revolution. Sabatini's own life sounds like a novel.  Divorced from his wife, Ruth, after their son died tragically, he later married Ruth's sister-in-law, Christine.  Christine had a son that was as personable as his own son had been. He too died tragically in a plane crash right in front of Rafael's and Christine's eyes. If we choose Scaramouche, I'd like us to do A Tale of Two Cities , an historical and classic novel by Charles Dickens, set during the French Revolution. Michelle is reading The Paris Wife about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, the woman who loved him before he became a famous writer, set in the 1920s in Chicago and France.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Club Discussion - November 18th

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is our book choice this month. The setting is Afghanistan, first in the town of Herat and then Kabul. It's a love story but it's also about the harsh family life that Afghan women endure. I read it such a long time ago that I decided to read this summary to refresh my memory before our meeting next Friday. This link gives the background of the writer, who was the son of a diplomat, and also has a discussion guide.

Take a look at the very exciting movie trailer. Hosseini is also well-known for his first book, The Kite Runner. Here is that movie trailer.

Our pizzeria location closed so we are headed for Michael's Deli.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Check these links

I've been getting some really interesting links from social networking: bloggers, and twitter and facebook friends.

For those of you who dream of writing a novel, today is 11/1/11 and it's National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I found a list of book bloggers, on Joy's Book Blog, who will be participating by writing a 50,000 word novel

Here is a link I found on twitter: Infographics on reading habits, check it out. One in six readers use an e-reader or is likely to purchase one in the next 6 months. Interesting response to the question, What type of books have you read in the past year?

I got this very interesting TED Talk link from facebook featuring David Brooks, writer of The Social Animal:the Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement. Watch the video clip.

Word Cloud for My Twitter

While I am at it, I may as well do my word cloud for my twitter account. Loving Tagxedo.com.

My Word Cloud for This Blog

I found this librarian's blog, and she mentioned using Tagxedo. I am liking it. Thanks my fellow CPD23 participant.