Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Releasing Friday...Robert Stephen Parry's Queen Victoria and the Men who Loved Her

Victoria and the Men who Love Her: Recollections of a Journey

We are in England sometime during the early part of the 20th century. A chance encounter with a group of unusual and talented people on a train journey reveals an insight into the life and times of Queen Victoria, one of the world’s most influential and controversial monarchs.

From manipulated childhood, to passionate marriage, to unrelenting widowhood and ultimately independence, follow her story and discover the men in her life and what they meant to her.

And she to them.

A remarkable journey through an era of breathtaking invention and social change, in which the life of Victoria as princess and queen is explored through a number of short biographical sketches and fictional vignettes. A place were history merges with fantasy; fact with fiction, and knowledge with adventure.

Visit the website for a fully interactive experience, including an excerpt from the book.

eBook available for pre-order now on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Paperback (available May 24th) will be 200 pages. ISBN: 9781797616667

Read all about Robert Stephen Parry at his website.

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

#CatThursday - Giving back to the #cats

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

It has been a while since I shared a Parole de Chat video. I always enjoy them. This one is especially touching because Faireset donated 6000 Euros to SPA Rescue Center in Gennevilliers, France. Good for him, and great for the kitties!

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

#CatThursday - #Authors and #Cats (84) Yehuda Amichai

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and often hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

The second Cat Thursday of each month is Authors and Cats Thursday. Each time I will feature an author with their cat(s), pictured with a cat(s), or guest posts by cat loving authors who also (sometimes) write about cats.

Yehuda Amichai (May 3, 1924 – September 22, 2000) was an Israeli poet. Amichai is considered by many, both in Israel and internationally, as Israel's greatest modern poet. He was also one of the first to write in colloquial Hebrew.

Yehuda Amichai [was] for generations the most prominent poet in Israel, and one of the leading figures in world poetry since the mid-1960s.

(The Times, London, Oct. 2000)

He was awarded the 1957 Shlonsky Prize, the 1969 Brenner Prize, 1976 Bialik Prize, and 1982 Israel Prize. He also won international poetry prizes: 1994 – Malraux Prize: International Book Fair (France), 1995 – Macedonia`s Golden Wreath Award: International Poetry Festival, and more.

Yehuda Amichai was born in Würzburg, Germany, to an Orthodox Jewish family, and was raised speaking both Hebrew and German.

Amichai immigrated with his family at the age of 11 to Petah Tikva in Mandate Palestine in 1935, moving to Jerusalem in 1936. He attended Ma'aleh, a religious high school in Jerusalem. He was a member of the Palmach, the strike force of the Haganah, the defense force of the Jewish community in Mandate Palestine. As a young man he volunteered and fought in World War II as a member of the British Army, and in the Negev on the southern front in the Israeli War of Independence.

After discharge from the British Army in 1946, Amichai was a student at David Yellin Teachers College in Jerusalem, and became a teacher in Haifa. After the War of Independence, Amichai studied Bible and Hebrew literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Encouraged by one of his professors at Hebrew University, he published his first book of poetry, Now and in Other Days, in 1955.

In 1956, Amichai served in the Sinai War, and in 1973 he served in the Yom Kippur War. Amichai published his first novel, Not of This Time, Not of This Place, in 1963. It was about a young Israeli who was born in Germany, and after World War II, and the war of Independence in Israel, he visits his hometown in Germany, recalls his childhood, trying to make sense of the world that created the Holocaust. His second novel, Mi Yitneni Malon, about an Israeli poet living in New York, was published in 1971 while Amichai was a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He was a poet in residence at New York University in 1987. For many years he taught literature in an Israeli seminar for teachers, and at the Hebrew University to students from abroad.

Amichai was invited in 1994 by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to read from his poems at the ceremony of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.

"God has pity on kindergarten children" was one of the poems he read. This poem is inscribed on a wall in the Rabin Museum in Tel-Aviv. There are Streets on his name in cities in Israel, and also one in Wurzburg.

Amichai was married twice. First to Tamar Horn, with whom he had one son, and then to Chana Sokolov; they had one son and one daughter. His two sons were Ron and David, and his daughter was Emmanuella.

He died of cancer in 2000, at age 76. (from Goodreads)

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A Reading Life (53) What I read in April, what I'm #reading in May

I had a very successful reading month in April. I read/finished six five books (I thought it was six, but I was including Good Omens which I'm just about finished listening to on audio. Oops). I completed a four month reading challenge. I would also call it a successful participation in my Spring into Horror Readathon at Seasons of Reading. It has been a long time since I've read that many books in a month's time. Color me proud!

What I read:
Necroscope, Brian Lumley  Review
The Scapegoat, Daphne Du Maurier  Review
The King of Bones and Ashes, J.D. Horn  Review
The Twelve Caesars, Suetonius  Review
The Giver, Lois Lowry  Review 

I completed the four month challenge, Book Challenge by Erin 10.0. The next one is July through October (11.0) and I think I'll participate again. Looking forward to the new categories being announced on June 1st. Here's my completed list:

• 5 points: Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages - Orphan Train by Christina Baker Cline
• 10 points: Read a book that was made into a movie - The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier
• 10 points: Read a book that is set in Europe - The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
• 15 points: Read a book that was a Newberry Award winner (medal winner or honor book): The Giver by Lois Lowry (Winner, 1994)
• 20 points: Read a book that is a friend or family member’s favourite...or the favourite book by another participant in this challenge - Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith (one of my mom’s favorites)
• 20 points: Read a book originally published over 100 years ago - Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
• 25 points: Read a book with six words (and only six words) in the title - The King of Bones and Ashes by J.D. Horn
• 30 points: Read a book with a compass or cardinal direction in the title - Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
• 30 points: Read a book that was originally published in a different language than your own - The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius, Robert Graves (Translation)
• 35 points: Read a book that begins with the letter “N” - Necroscope by Brian Lumley

Currently Reading

The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury (my Classics Spin book)
In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great, Michael Wood
NOS4A2, Joe Hill
Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (audio-almost finished)

My continued May reading plans

Florence & Giles, John Harding
Dear Jane, Allie Cresswell (for review)
New audio book title - to be determined

On a final note, and speaking of the Classics Club, I decided to revise my list and restart my goal date. The reason? In my current living situation, many of my books are difficult to access so there were many books on the list I could not get my hands on. I decided to replace those titles mostly with classic writing books (some of them which I consider classics) and a couple of novels. One notable title, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson which I recently acquired on Kindle. Here's my new list (also found in the Classics Club tab in the menu):

Maya Angelou
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale Read in March 2017
Negotiating with the Dead

Jane Austen 
Mansfield Park

Northanger Abbey Read in March 2019

Elizabeth Berg
Escaping into the open

Ray Bradbury
Something Wicked This Way Comes Read October 2018
The Martian Chronicles
Zen and the Art of Writing

Dorothea Brande
Becoming a Writer

Anne Bronte
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall 

Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre

Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights

Julia Cameron
The Vein of Gold

Truman Capote
In Cold Blood

Cheri (with The Last of Cheri)

Wilkie Collins
The Woman in White

Daniel Defoe

Charles Dickens
David Copperfield
Great Expectations
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
Little Dorritt
A Tale of Two Cities 

Annie Dillard
The Writing Life

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Brothers Karamazov

Daphne du Maurier
My Cousin Rachel Read in April 2017

George Eliot 
The Mill on the Floss
Silas Marner

T.S. Eliot
Murder in the Cathedral

Mary Hanford Ford
The Legends of Parsifal

John Fowles
The Collector
The French Lieutenant's Woman

Anne Frank
The Diary of Anne Frank
(Changed from Updike's Rabbit, Run which was a DNF)

Bonnie Friedman
Writing Past Dark

Elizabeth Gaskell
North and South

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
The Sylph

John Gardner
The Art of Fiction
On Becoming a Novelist
On Writers and Writing

Natalie Goldberg
Thunder and Lightning
Writing Down the Bones

Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Marble Faun

Victor Hugo
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Les Miserables

Shirley Jackson
We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Henry James
The Portrait of a Lady
The Golden Bowl
The Turn of the Screw
Roderick Hudson

Ralph Keyes
The Courage to Write

Madame de Lafayette
The Princess of Cleves Read in February 2019

Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird Read in July 2018

Sheridan Le Fanu
Uncle Silas

Gaston Leroux
The Phantom of the Opera

Ursula K. Le Guin
Steering the Craft

Betsy Lerner
The Forest for the Trees

Thomas Mann

W. Somerset Maugham
The Painted Veil

Joyce Carol Oates
The Faith of a Writer

Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar

Steven Pressfield
The War of Art

Ann Radcliffe
The Mysteries of Udolpho 

Sir Walter Scott
Rob Roy

Mary Shelley
Frankenstein Read in February 2019

Twyla Tharp
The Creative Habit

Brenda Ueland
If You Want to Write

Lew Wallace

Evelyn Waugh
Brideshead Revisited

Edith Wharton
The Age of Innocence
Ethan Frome
The House of Mirth
The Writing of Fiction

Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Lady Windermere's Fan
A Woman of No Importance
An Ideal Husband

Virginia Woolf
The Virginia Woolf reader

Jane Yolen
Take Joy

What's going on in your Reading Life?

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Thursday, May 2, 2019

#CatThursday - #Cats in #Art (39) Mary Cassatt

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

Since Mother's Day is coming up in less than two weeks, I thought I would feature Mary Cassatt who was known for her mother and child scenes. Sometimes these scenes featured cats. Art scholars believe their presence in her paintings were to accentuate the idea of motherhood and domesticity...or perhaps she just liked cats. Enjoy!

Children Playing with a Cat 1908

Ellen Holding a Cat Looking Left

Sara Holding a Cat 1908

Young woman wearing a small winged hat holding a cat 1914

Robert Holding a Cat 1882

Reine Lefebvre With Blond Baby 
And Sara Holding A Cat

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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Thoughts on Lois Lowry's The Giver #Review

Warning: Potential spoilers

This is the book that will make you very thankful for everything you experience, for everything you have, in life. The pleasure, the happiness, along with the pain and suffering.

What would life be like if everyone and everything were the same? The "sameness" in The Giver means there are none of the things I love...books, pets, holidays (Christmas), individuality, solitude, and the one thing which made me sob amidst the pages...family. Yes, there are "family units," but the parents are no longer involved in the lives of their children once they are grown. So, no grandparents being able to share the love of grandchildren. I can't even fathom it. I can't imagine my parents not being present in my whole life.

The Giver makes you think about what we sacrifice for sameness. Do we want to live in a society with no color, no individual freedoms? A society free of hunger, war, pain, yes...but at what cost? Never knowing joy, or true feelings of love for a child, or a significant other. This is a Dystopian society which seems not so bad, perhaps even ideal, on the surface, but the implications are far more concerning.

Once again, I saw the film (several years back) before reading this, and once again, the book is better. In Lowry's introduction, she mentioned receiving letters/emails from people stating the book was life changing. It is that. This is a book which needs to be picked up every so often to remind us of how precious our freedoms, and the lives we lead, really are, and to hold on to them at all cost.

Book One in The Giver Quartet

Life in the community where Jonas lives is idyllic. Designated birthmothers produce new children, who is assigned to appropriate family units; one male, one female, to each. Citizens are assigned their partners and their jobs. No one thinks to ask questions. Everyone obeys. Then community is a precisely choreographed world without conflict, inequality, divorce, unemployment, injustice.. or choice.

Everyone is the same.
Except Jonas.

At the Ceremony of Twelve, the community's twelve-year-olds eagerly accept their predetermined Life Assignments. But Jonas is chosen for something special. He begins instruction in his life's work with a mysterious old man known only as The Giver. Gradually Jonas learns that power lies in feelings. But when his own power is put to the test - when he must try to save someone he loves - he may not be ready. Is it too soon? Or too late?

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

#CatThursday - The eyes have it #cats

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The wheel of fortune landed on...19 #ccspin

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

The strange and wonderful tale of man’s experiences on Mars, filled with intense images and astonishing visions. Now part of the Voyager Classics collection.

The Martian Chronicles tells the story of humanity’s repeated attempts to colonize the red planet. The first men were few. Most succumbed to a disease they called the Great Loneliness when they saw their home planet dwindle to the size of a fist. They felt they had never been born. Those few that survived found no welcome on Mars. The shape-changing Martians thought they were native lunatics and duly locked them up.

But more rockets arrived from Earth, and more, piercing the hallucinations projected by the Martians. People brought their old prejudices with them – and their desires and fantasies, tainted dreams. These were soon inhabited by the strange native beings, with their caged flowers and birds of flame.

I was thrilled when the Classics Club spin landed on #19 because this was one of the books I was hoping to get. I read this years and years ago. I was probably middle grade age. I'm not 100 percent sure of what age I was, but I do remember loving the book. I've always wanted to read it again. It's also a shorter book which is a plus right now. I'll start reading it after I finish my April reading. I should have no problem finishing by May 31st. 

I'm working on revising my Classics Club list. Many of the books on my list were added when I still lived in the apartment and my books were accessible. Now that we live with my mom, and though I do have all my books, some of them are difficult to access because of the placement of some of my shelves. So, large sections of the alphabet (my fiction books are organized by author's last name, alphabetically) are inaccessible. I'll have my updated list ready for my next Reading Life post.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Classics Club Spin 20 #ccspin

Maybe this time will be the charm...I've only completed one spin, I think. We shall see what happens this time around. I picked my 20 using Random.org.

  1. Rob Roy, Sir Walter Scott
  2. Orlando, Virginia Woolf
  3. The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
  4. The Collector, John Fowles
  5. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  6. The Mysteries of Udolpho, Ann Radcliffe
  7. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
  8. Murder in the Cathedral, T.S. Eliot
  9. Women in Love, D.H. Lawrence
  10. The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank 
  11. A Woman of No Importance, Oscar Wilde
  12. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
  13. The Sylph, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
  14. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  15. The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
  16. The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
  17. Cheri (with The Last of Cheri), Colette
  18. Roxana, Daniel Defoe
  19. The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
  20. The Painted Veil, W. Somerset Maugham

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

#CatThursday - Ever considerate #cats

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

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- See more at: http://www.techtrickhome.com/2013/02/show-comment-box-above-comments-on.html#sthash.TjHz2Px9.dpuf