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Random words, pictures and thoughts of one who always wishes to be on the mind's road to discovery!

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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Postmarl Bayou Chene--a place apart

Postmark Bayou ChenePostmark Bayou Chene by Gwen Roland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

1903 , Bayou Chene, La--an empty skiff with a dog, tethered to it and floating in the Bayou, seemingly dead, floats alongside the dock at the post office/ general store. Later that day, a letter postmarked from that PO and returned undeliverable arrives. Both of these events will set off ripples throughout the community like a stone dropped into the Bayou. Things change, mostly for good, but not, necessarily quickly enough to predict that. An interesting community of people with an interesting way of life--slow flowing sometimes, sometime rushing like the bayou with its changing water levels. With a blind heroine, aspects of life there are different than in most books. Sounds and smells the feelings of air brushing across the skin of one's face or arms are as important as the sights and tastes of the surroundings. A story of the senses as much as the people of Bayou Chene. The reader is truly submerged into the place and its people more than in most books. Just a delight,

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams

There are always places in the world where folks live and work the whole year through but that are so attractive that the more affluent came come during their most beautiful seasons, temporarily make them their own and that pack their bags and go away. The mountains in winter bring the ski chalet people, lakes in summer bring the cottage and boat people and islands in the sun bring them, too. Generation after generation they come, interact but don't MIX with the locals, sometimes pal around with the young ones, if they are attractive enough and then go away and forget it all until the next season. These seasonal folks think of the place as much theirs as that of the locals, sometimes even more theirs and in many ways lord their ownership over the ones they leave behind. And sometimes, especially among the young, romance blooms and even a true love. Both of them know that it is a summer thing but once in awhile the love is real and the romance continues although as secretly as possible. And sometimes that love leads to secrets and unhappiness and causes tragedy that ripples out through families, relationships and the years. This is such a story and it is written in such a compelling way, alternating back and forth from the earliest onset of new young love to the years after and back again. There is mystery for all the secrets are not revealed at once and the reader turns the pages rapidly hoping to find them. And like an onion or the tissue paper surrounding a shiny new toy, the author uncovers each bit, slowly, increasing the desire in the reader for the revelations. Some are euphoric, some sad, some tragic, some surprising, others inevitable but in the end, when all the pieces are out there, resolution and the hope for happiness. Read the book until the wee hours, slept a bit and woke up to finish it. Haven't done that with a book for a long time!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Title and the Back Cover Blurb Are Horribly Misleading--Nothing Furious or Even Exciting and Certainly No Heart Involved

The Heart's Invisible FuriesThe Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Only got through about half of the book--Julian and Cyril have finally had their confrontation and Cyril as usual has run away from the new situation. At least this time, no one died. If the author had spent more time developing Cyril's character and had him evolve as much as the world around him, the book may have been tolerable. Before I gave up on it, I was already bored and impatient with him. I'd much rather have had a book in which we saw what was going on with his biological mother through all the years--found out who his father was--discovered if he had any capacity to relate to anyone with normal emotional rather than sexual obsessive feelings. Julian was manically being the playboy on Daddy's dime while Cyril just wallowed in an adolescent focus on his homosexuality and need to release his sexual needs. Then there is the half-hearted effort, when not following Cyril into whatever alley, park or toilet his was going to use for his next release, to make sure we all know just how awful the Catholic Church was in condemning homosexuality and the lemmng-like following of all of its parishioners. As though this was not a universal attitude in most of the world and as if that condemnation didn't and doesn't still exist without the assistance of the pedophile priests, whose sadism results from sexual frustration. Please. I'm sure there is an audience for the book, but its heavy handedness in its treatment of the subject is not new, nor is it particularly well-expressed.

I received this review copy from Blogging for Books

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Friday, April 6, 2018

False Flag--Spycraft Term for Misrepresentation of Allegiance

False FlagFalse Flag by F.W. Rustmann Jr.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first book I've read by this author but won't be the last. Was fascinated by the methodical planning, the connections and the resources available throughout the world for covert operations. Cannot say it was heart-racing action and shoot 'em up as seen in movies and TV but rather the seemingly everyday movements of men and women who are actually organizing a rescue of a CIA operative in Bierut-over dinner and drinks, visiting with old friends, contacting people who you could easily have dealings with--such as a fishing guide in Fl or a yacht owner in Greece, who for a price will take you touring the Greek Isles. The very end of the book has some heart-racing and heart-stopping moments but by and large the action is intellectual and systemic--and dangerous and scary! It makes spycraft seem real and almost normal--that is scary, too!

This is a review of an uncorrected proof provided by Goodreads for that purpose.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Being Famous Does Certainly Help

Not My Father's SonNot My Father's Son by Alan Cumming
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Surely makes one think about how a parent's words and actions to a child can have ramifications throughout its life. No matter how successful and or famous that child becomes, if there has been trauma in childhood, he or she must address it at some point or it can consume him or her. Alan found an outlet in two ways--confrontation, in union with his brother, with the father who verbally and physically abused them and investigation of the shadowy death of his maternal grand-father. Sadly, his father was unreachable even after death but his financial legacy helped to bring closure for Alan's mother and the rest of the family in revealing the facts of his grandfather's life and death. An interesting and thought provoking read.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Love the Teacher who Wore Her Ranch Levis and Bright Red Lipstick to Class!

Levi's & Lace: Arizona Women Who Made HistoryLevi's & Lace: Arizona Women Who Made History by Jan Cleere
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Though not a wild-eyed feminist I do like to read about the women who were pioneers in our West and Southwest that have fairly recently been settled and modernized. Travelling the backroads of those areas, which are still pretty desolate and rough, makes me wonder how the women who first came here coped with the loneliness, lack of comforts, and dangers that confronted them. This book is set in Arizona and when I read about women alone or with children traveling long distances, often on foot, and making their way and impacting the lives around them I am in awe. There are high mountains, deep canyons, raging rivers ( though many have been dammed and subdued) and hot arid deserts in Arizona. Except for the cities, much of it is not very different than the land these women entered in the 19th century. Yet, they ran hotels and restaurants, taught school, nursed and doctored the sick, became lawyers and judges and started the process of taming a wild country into a territory that eventually became a State. Some of them were born there, indeed were Native American, others arrived as children with their Westward moving families and still others left Eastern cities to visit friends or relatives, fell in love with the Southwest or a man of the Southwest and never returned. All of them worked hard and thrived and most of them became beloved by those whose lives them impacted. That we all could be as strong and successful in our own lives. I will remember each one when I return to Arizona and think of them as I pass through the areas in which they worked and lived and loved and thrived.

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Monday, April 2, 2018

Alan Cumming is Funnier Than You'd Think

You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: My Life in Stories and PicturesYou Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: My Life in Stories and Pictures by Alan Cumming
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The pictures were well worth the price of the book. The anecdotes ranged from really funny, warm or raunchy. Particularly loved the cross country trip Honey since I've taken 11 of them so far with my husband. Could really relate. The Oprah-Eddie story is hilarious--I know people like Eddie--lol!
He is such a puckish fellow who has a real understanding of his singing ability--pleasant, not earth shattering--but not sure he realizes how handsome he can be at times, when he isn't grimacing or otherwise making faces. Just a fun book for the most part. Glad I read it.