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Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

books books & more books!

Posted by sailorstakewarning on March 30, 2010

my father gets the kim komando show emails everyday & sometimes forwards interesting ones to me. the other day he mentioned a kindle & why buy books when you can download them; i told him a kindle costs around $300, otherwise i’d be considering it. yesterday he forwarded me a kim komando email telling how to download kindle for PC – in other words, the kindle software for the computer so any books you download just get loaded onto your pc. ahn!

super cool – you can download it here; now this came out a few months back so forgive me for being behind the times & all…but i still think it’s cool =)

i’ve got a wishlist going in amazon’s kindle store already; the only thing though, is when i go to purchase a book, my knee-jerk reflex is to wait until i can have the book in my hands. not that i distrust amazon.com or anything like that; it just seems that books are their own beings. they’re solid, something someone composed. something i’ve taken around with me my whole life in cars, on trips, to work, to school. to not be able to just pick up a book & take it with me is something i’m not sure i want to get into. i could of course eventually purchase a real kindle, but it is an expensive electronic device & again, not something i’d feel i could take anywhere. can’t take a kindle into the bathtub. yes, i like to read in the bathtub.

so long story short, i haven’t purchased any books yet & don’t know if i will. but for those of you with fancy cell phones, there is an iphone app, etc. i may still yet start buying books online, we’ll have to see.

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“once again, i am on the rocks”

Posted by sailorstakewarning on March 23, 2010

a fun night at a friend’s house – i love to cook but it’s wonderful to have someone else cook for me occasionally!

where i’ve gotten an influx of new books lately, *squeee!* i typically like to read one or two at a time, unless something really grabs my attention. this is what happened with The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry; it was in a bag of books my mother stuck in the backseat of my car along with several national geographic magazines, an incredibly gorgeous  scarf & i think, a couple boxes of crackers. clearly i’m easy to please.

i remember that i picked it up on a snowy day, right around the time we had some really cold weather & there wasn’t much to do but lay on the couch with the heat blasting & read.

“my name is towner whitney. no, that’s not exactly true. my real first name is sophya. never believe me. i lie all the time.”

from the first sentence i knew this would be a good one. sometimes it can take a chapter or two to get into the story, but this one sucks you in, & wraps you up tight in its web. this book haunts you long after you put it down. towner’s story of herself, her twin sister lyndley, & the rest of the family she tried to escape is so engaging in a dark & ethereal way, that the reader cannot help but follow them down into their spiral of religion & chaos. brunonia barry does such a wonderful job of creating towner’s sense of distance, without coming across as having no feelings or emotions. the mysteries surrounding the people of the city & towner’s memories are as full of holes as the lace the whitney family reads, & will keep you unsure of the outcome until the end.

this is now a favorite on my shelf & one i’ll go back to, again & again. you can find information on this book at brunonia’s blog – keep an eye out for her new book, the Map of True Places – mine’s already pre-ordered!

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i invoke you, almost deadly birds of the soul;

Posted by sailorstakewarning on March 21, 2010

who, if i cried out, would hear me among the angels’ hierarchies?
& even if one of them pressed me suddenly against his heart, i would be consumed in that overwhelming existence.

for beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure,
& we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.

every angel is terrifying.

& so i hold myself back and swallow the call-note of my dark sobbing.
ah, whom can we ever turn to in our need? not angels, not humans, & already the knowing animals are aware that we are not really at home in our interpreted world.
perhaps there remains for us some tree on a hillside, which every day we can take into our vision;
there remains for us yesterday’s street & the loyalty of a habit so much at ease when it stayed with us that it moved in & never left.
oh & night: there is night, when a wind full of infinite space gnaws at our faces.
whom would it not remain for – that longed-after, mildly disillusioning presence, which the solitary heart so painfully meets.
is it any less difficult for lovers?
but they keep on using each other to hide their own fate.
don’t you know yet?
fling the emptiness out of your arms into the spaces we breathe; perhaps the birds will feel the expanded air with more passionate flying.

yes – the springtimes needed you. often a star was waiting for you to notice it…

this is just part of the first of the duino elegies, by rainer maria rilke. one of my favorite poems, translated by stephen mitchell. more passionate flying. alis volat propriis.

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happy friday & all that jazz;

Posted by sailorstakewarning on March 12, 2010

it is a gray, chill morning here in maine; but considering it’s mid march & above 30 degrees, i’ll take a little cloud-cover. when i took the dog out, we saw an awful lot of squirrels foraging. probably looking for treaures they buried before the ground froze over. dog tried to prick her ears up when she saw them, but where she’s got rottweiler in her, they just flopped there.  An early shift at work & a busy weekend ahead of me; I don’t expect to get much reading done, but I hope to sneak an hour in here or there.

****possible spoilers***

I finished The Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick last night; I found it to be a quick read but lacking in the emotion I would have expected from the storyline. Don’t get me wrong; the characters are interesting & the plot is original enough. But for all the explanations & descriptions of Catherine’s craving to give up her old life for the new & Ralph’s desires & lonliness, I feel as though I am standing in a room watching the scene play out, but literally with no conections. The revelations of Catherine’s past come too late, & her sister seems thrown in as an afterthought. Does she ever tell Ralph about Alice? Does he already know, as he already knows many things about her? We read of Antonio’s black rage towards his father, but again, his life comes across as distant as the haze he probably feels from the opium he smokes. They all feel deeply, but in such a stand-off way that the reader is held at arm’s legnth the entirety of the book.

All in all, I gave this 2 stars in my goodreads review. It was ok; not something I would pick up again to re-read, but an interesting story, nonetheless. It just came across cold, like the Wisconsin winter it was set in.

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