Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Shepherd Dreamer

I am enjoying The Alchemist It is the story of Santiago from Andalusia, Spain. He is a shepherd boy who has been having the same dream and the dream has no end. After consultation with a gypsy about his dream, he begins a personal journey. On the spiritual level he seems to be on a journey to find his personal destiny and on the physical level, he is on a journey to find treasure in Egypt. I am interested at this point to find out if the physical and spiritual will connect. He is inspired to seek the treasure to woo the daughter of a merchant but in Africa he meets and falls in love with Fatima, a daughter of the desert. I am curious as to how this love story really turns out.

One key message that comes up is that when you want something, the universe conspires to help you. Along the journey Santiago meets a mysterious old king, a vendor of crystals, an English scholar who is seeking an Alchemist in Africa, and he meets the Alchemist himself. all these are persons that the universe has sent to him to help him on his personal journey. One truth Santiago learns from the Alchemist is that when one possesses great treasure within nobody believes you.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Graphic Novels

Waycross College library is moving with the times and now has a Graphic Novel Collection. Graphic novels look like comics but in a more durable binding. So far I have read the graphic version of Moby Dick and enjoyed it. Now I am tackling the Alchemist this weekend, also in graphic novel format. The Alchemist by Paul Coelho is described as a modern classic, on amazon's website, and has been translated into 71 languages since its first printing.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Buzz: Tiger Mom's Memoirs

The memoirs of Amy Chua titled, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is the book buzz of the month. She is on so many talk shows these days explaining that her book is a memoir and not a "how to parent" book. See her interview on

Is it time to write your own memoirs? Abigail Thomas on Oprah's website gives you some exercises to get you thinking and writing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Keep Libraries Open

Libraries in northeast Florida are fighting back amidst budget cuts. Keep libraries funded; keep libraries open.

Libraries are vital for frugal living. I was just making a list of the top three sites on Galileo where Georgia college students can access free video clips. All they have to do is click on the Browse by Type tab on Galileo and select Multimedia to see all available links.

The top three useful ones are:

· Films on Demand- Social Sciences, Business, Health, and Science
· C-Span Video library - politics
· Consumer Health Complete - health and nutrition information

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Straight from Julie Garwood's Mouth

Actually, it is straight from the author's email. I get mail from Julie Garwood from time to time. Her latest email was announcing that her new book title, Sizzle, would be in stores on Tuesday, January 25 in paperback. Julie wrote that in this story the protagonist, Lyra Prescott, is a film student who gets into big trouble after she inadvertently records a crime on her camera. With most people having cell phones with cameras, not me, this scenario could happen in real life.

Also, check back on her interactive website in a few weeks to learn more about her next novel, The Ideal Man, coming in August.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monster of Florence

I finished the Ape House by Sara Gruen. Although my interest lagged in the middle, I liked the resolution to the story. I would rate this whole story 3.5 out of 5 stars. I have moved on to the Monster of Florence set in Florence, Italy. Famous thriller writer, Douglas Preston is one of the writers of this non-fiction. The monster is Italy's Jack the Ripper. I am eager to read this one.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Ape House - January Book Club Selection

I am at page 236 this morning. The story is way below the standard of Water For Elephants, also by Sara Gruen. The book has drama and I am committed to the main characters, John, Amanda, and Isabel, but something is lacking in the story. What exactly I can't seem to verbalize yet.

So far John ends up covering the story of the bonobos for a tabloid when he really wants to produce writing that is Pullitzer Prize worthy. His wife wants to be a novelist but ends up in Hollywood as a script writer who bows to pressure to look like the other fake folks of Hollywood. Isabel is obsessed with getting custody of the bonobos who are put on a reality TV show by the new owner, a producer of porn, so that viewers can watch the sex acts of the animals.

Maybe what I don't like is all the minor issues going on with the main storyline that do not seem to relate to rescuing the bonobos such as, Amanda wanting a baby and John being scared, Amanda being angry with her interfering mother, John saving a man from a burning meth lab and inheriting a dog. Perhaps as I read on I will see how the issues all connect.

Read what one reviewer thought about the story.

Water For Elephants by the way is now a movie to be released in April.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Animal Rights Terrorists at the Ape House

I finally finished The Other Boleyn Girl. Towards the end I got bored with the story. I think the writer took too long to get to the beheading of Queen Anne, second wife of Henry VIII.

I moved on to The Ape House, our book club selection for discussion this Friday. I am only on page 70 bu the story so far is about some animal rights terrorists who have bombed a university's Great Ape Language Lab because of its project on bonobos. The setting for the lab is Kansas City. The main researcher, Isabel, communicates with the bonobos using sign language and she has been seriously burned and injured in the attack. The bonobos were freed and were initially hiding out in the trees and refusing to come down.

Prior to the attack Isabel had done an interview with John Thigpen, a journalist from the Philadelphia Inquirer. Already in the story there is some sexual tension between John, who is married to Amanda, and Isabel, who is secretly engaged to her work colleague, Peter. John and his colleague, Cat, have been sent back to Kansas City to follow up on the story. Cat, seems to want to undermine him and get a story on her own terms.

So far I am enjoying the storyline. There really is a place doing research on bonobos and their acquisition of language called the Great Ape Trust that the writer visited as part of the research for this book. This incidentally is the same center in Iowa where CNN's Anderson Cooper had to put on a ridiculous bunny suit to entertain some bonobo apes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Series of the Decade

The Series of the Decade, according to Book Reporter, is (drum roll) Stieg Larsson's trilogy. Yeah!

The Book of the Year is the third book in the trilogy, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I loved all three books.

Complete the survey on Book Reporter to win a book in the series.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Books To Be Read

Someone asked me yesterday, as I was looking at some magazines, if I liked to read as a child. Yeah, of course. I have always loved reading. When I was 9 years old, there was a big competition among the girls at my school, St. Andrew Prep, to see who could read the most Nancy Drew books.

Having enjoyed reading Plain Jane recently, I am now reading the historical fiction, The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory, but I have all these other books waiting to be read. I have to finish this story about Mary Boleyn, mistress of King Henry VIII, and start The Ape House by Sara Gruen for my book club meeting in two weeks time. I also have on my bedside table, to read later, the religious fiction, The Centurion's Wife ,and a non-fiction, The Monster of Florence, by thriller writer Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi.

I need two more eyes and one more brain to absorb all the books I'd love to read.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Poems and Reflections by Nicola Karesh

If you are in a meditative mood and like inspirational poetry, you may want to take a peek on at the book, Morning Glory: Poetry and Reflections , by Jamaican born Nicola Karesh. Good reviews so far from amazon readers.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Holiday Reading

Happy New Year! I did some serious holiday reading in December. Encouraged by Oprah herself (LOL), I read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens who is described as one of the grand masters of Victorian literature. This was a well written emotional story set in the time of the French Revolution about friendship and sacrifice. It was hard reading at first because the language was difficult to follow. I may continue to read Oprah's other selection, Great Expectations, but I read that book and watched the movie version years ago.

Book club member, Christine, gave us all books for Christmas. She bought lots of books at a warehouse in Savanna for giveaways. I loved my book about the 'Fishing Fleet', that is, British women going to India by ship 'to fish' for British military husbands. The book title is East of the Sun by Julia Gregson. In this book we followed the lives of three girls going to India. One already had a fiance in India, one that she hardly knew before becoming engaged. Her friend accompanied her but her intent was to fish for a husband. The third girl was their paid chaperone who was British but born in India and was on a mission to get back to her roots and make money as a writer. The chaperone was also in charge of a troubled teenager named Guy.

I also got Plain Jane by Laurien Gardner from Christine. It was about the third wife of King Henry VIII. I am just learning that Gardner is a pseudonym for a group of writers and that this is the third of a series. The other books in the series include: The Spanish Bride about Catherine of Aragon and A Lady Raised High which is about Anne Boleyn