Thursday, April 29, 2021

Cat Thursday - Mischief


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.

The theme this week is inspired by the newest addition to our family, Merida. She is nine months old and quite the handful. I posted this about her on Facebook a couple of weeks ago:


Yes, she is wild and full of mischief. Less than a week now until we get her, and Mom's kittens (Merida's sisters) into the vet to be spayed. That will be a relief. 

Now, on with more mischief!







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#ThrowbackThursday (3) The Looking Glass Wars


Davida at The Chocolate Lady hosts this Throwback Thursday meme monthly and I've decided to participate. The idea is to highlight/share a previously published book review. I've been blogging since 2009, so I have a lot of reviews to revisit (even if I have slowed down in more recent years, I used to be quite a prolific reviewer).

I'm basically going in order of reviews published. I will continue in this vein unless a particular review does not spark my fancy.

This month is a revisit of my first review of an audiobook. It's nice to look back on these reviews because I can revisit books I really enjoyed. This definitely was one of them. The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor, first in a trilogy series by the same name. I love Alice in Wonderland and this series is a unique twist on the original. 

My review...

This is a newly imagined version of Alice in Wonderland. Don't be expecting the Disney fairy tale because it's far from it. If you thought the Queen of Hearts (Redd in this story) was a monster in the Disney version, wait until you get a load of Alyss' Aunt Redd. When she says off with their heads, she really means it. And the ambiguous Cheshire Cat that we remember...well this one sounds like he might have just stepped out of an X-Men movie! All the other characters are here as well, in different ways, shapes and forms. And there are a few additional characters. Alyss' parents are the Queen and King of Wonderland. And for all the feminists out there, Wonderland is a "Queendom", not a Kingdom. In this story, the Queen holds the power of the realm. So you know what that means...Alyss is next in line for the throne. It all makes for a pretty exciting story that keeps you engaged throughout. I don't know about anyone else, but when I'm listening to an audiobook, if it's not an engaging story, my mind tends to wander. My mind did not wander once as I was listening to this book. This is actually the first book in a series and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of them in the future.

What really enhanced my experience of listening to this book was the reader, Gerard Doyle. One can really tell of his experience in the theatre. He brings every character alive with their own distinct voice. The listener is never at a loss as to which character is speaking. His narration is lively and nuanced. Mr. Doyle is a first rate audiobook reader. I will be looking for further titles with him as the narrator.

I am recommending this book as a great read. Whether you read it in print or listen to the audio is your decision, but I must stress once again that this audiobook experience was highly entertaining.


Join in! Click the link to The Chocolate Lady blog for all the info on how to participate.


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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Arisa White's Who's Your Daddy - Review


I imagine writing a memoir would be incredibly difficult; even more so to write one lyrically. White has a knack for getting her story across in the most subtle and beautiful ways. 

She conveys the difficulty of a young Black girl being raised up not knowing her father, and the difficulty of other "father figures" not living up to the role. Abusing her mother. Drug addicts. A mother who says, "You raise your daughters and love your sons." Something was and is missing, she relates....love. "I am lonely." Pushing lovers away, blaming, and being told, You can't forgive me until you get inside your heart and grow."

What's missing? A father?

She does make contact with her father and, as often occurs with absent fathers, there is an egotism on his part. A sort of, 'I was never there, but I still should be the most important person to you.' She meets him in person eventually, in Guyana. She learns that he lost his father tragically when he was but 11 years old. White attributes this as a possibility of his own absence in her life...."Is his father drowning the original text of our suffering?" She also learns of his selfishness, and that he expects more from her than he ever should, considering. In the end, she asks herself if she can forgive him. I'll let you find out for yourself what she decides.

This was at times a difficult read because the sadness and loneliness are palpable in the prose and yet, it's also an inspiring story of forgiveness and finding your worth beyond who or where you come from. This story is told with both bravery and humility. A definite must-read for those who love poetry and/or memoirs. 

Synopsis:
Who's Your Daddy is a lyrical genre-bending coming-of-age tale featuring a young, queer, black Guyanese American woman who, while seeking to define her own place in the world, negotiates an estranged relationship with her father.

Advance Praise:
"...absence breeds madness, an irreconcilable relationship you know is there but can’t call it by its name..." In these crisply narrative poems, which unreel like heart-wrenching fragments of film, Arisa White not only names that gaping chasm between father and daughter, but graces it with its true and terrible face. Every little colored girl who has craved the constant of her father’s gaze will recognize this quest, which the poet undertakes with lyric that is tender and unerring.
-Patricia Smith, Incendiary Art

Arisa White channels the ear of Zora Neal Hurston, the tongue of Toni Cade Bambara, and the eye of Alice Walker in the wondrous Who’s Your Daddy. She channels Guyanese proverbs, Shango dreams, games of hide and seek, and memories of an absentee father to shape the spiritual condition. What she makes is “a maze that bobs and weaves a new style whenever there’s a demand to love.” What she gives us are archives, allegories, and wholly new songs.
-Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassins

Somewhere nearing its end, Arisa White says of Who’s Your Daddy, it’s “a portrait of absence and presence, a story, a tale, told in patchwork fashion...” This exactly says what Who’s Your Daddy is, though it doesn’t say all it takes to do justice to the mythic paradox an absent parent guarantees a child, young or grown, or what it takes to live with and undergo such birthright. There’s not only a father’s absence and presence, there’s a mother who says you raise your daughters, and love your sons, there are stepfathers, uncles, aunts, cousins, a grandmother, brothers, lovers, all of whom leave their marks and give and take love. Surrounding the whole book hovers the questions do I forgive him, and is forgiveness possible? This beautifully, honestly conceived genius of a book shook me to the core.
-Dara Wier, You Good Thing

How does a lyric memoir—a queered-up autobiographical hybrid of prose and poetry—become a real page-turner? Well, for one thing, its speaker uses her authenticity and open-heartedness to generate a rib-cracking amount of courage to look for, find, and emotionally confront a missing Guyanese father who ends up being the “unhello” of a “nevermind.” What’s so moving about this discovery is the speaker’s lyric response. It’s a shrug that’s a song that’s the speaker telling it experimentally-straight about how it feels to have “arms free of fathers.” It’s a story that’s a song that’s the speaker’s “gangster swagger” that beautifully tells of how to confront one’s relation to “a culture of deadbeats, wannabes, has-beens, what-ifs, [and] can’t-shows” without succumbing to despair. One really wants to quote Plath’s line here about “eat[ing] men like air.” Oh, I love the courage of this book. The whole “black heart” and love-strength of it. And you will too!
-Adrian Blevins, Appalachians Run Amok

A lyric anthem for the fatherless, for seekers of the places and people that made us, for the artists ready to unearth and reshape their own stories. I gulped this exquisite manual like precious medicine, a spell that made me more myself.
-Melissa Febos, Abandon Me

Collaborative, interactive, this work of poetry and memoir offers life as a recurring question. Who’s Your Daddy is a study of how power and loss work on the intimate scales of daily living and queer loving. Read this with compassion for your own defining questions and the raw texture they have left upon your heart.
-Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Dub: Finding Ceremony

Who’s Your Daddy is striking and gorgeous. “I’m born into a bracket of boys,” White writes, framing a portrait of fatherhood that shutters and aches; it enthralls. I wanted to lap it up. A reflection on family that permeates via knitted prose with deep verse—my favorite kind. White’s work is sonic, lyric, and important. I can’t wait for y’all to read this book.
-Emerson Whitney, Heaven


About the Poet:
ARISA WHITE is a Cave Canem fellow, Sarah Lawrence College alumna, an MFA graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of the poetry chapbooks Disposition for Shininess, Post Pardon, Black Pearl, Perfect on Accident, and “Fish Walking” & Other Bedtime Stories for My Wife won the inaugural Per Diem Poetry Prize. Published by Virtual Artists Collective, her debut full-length collection, Hurrah’s Nest, was a finalist for the 2013 Wheatley Book Awards, 82nd California Book Awards, and nominated for a 44th NAACP Image Awards. Her second collection, A Penny Saved, inspired by the true-life story of Polly Mitchell, was published by Willow Books, an imprint of Aquarius Press in 2012. Her latest full-length collection, You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, was published by Augury Books and nominated for the 29th Lambda Literary Awards. Most recently, Arisa co-authored, with Laura Atkins, Biddy Mason Speaks Up, a middle-grade biography in verse on the midwife and philanthropist Bridget “Biddy” Mason, which is the second book in the Fighting for Justice series. She is currently co-editing, with Miah Jeffra and Monique Mero, the anthology Home is Where You Queer Your Heart, which will be published by Foglifter Press in 2021. And forthcoming in February 2021, from Augury Books, her poetic memoir Who’s Your Daddy.



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Friday, April 23, 2021

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon - April 2021


This is the year! I have completely cleared my schedule this time. No work. No movie theater or going out to eat. Staying home and getting my read on! I have a nice batch of unhealthy snacks (yes, I'm indulging myself) and a fantastic reading stack. I just wish I wasn't such a slow reader. I know I have no hope of getting through them all, but one can dream. Right? Oh, and I'm also limiting time on social media big time. I'll be updating mostly on Instagram (or Facebook). May not even open my computer...just use my phone. 

So, here's my stack...


And here's my snacks...


Are you participating this year? If so, good luck to you. May the reading gods look on us favorably.



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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Cat Thursday - Cats in Art (44) A Miscellany


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.

I can't believe it has been a year since I've done a cats in art post! Long overdue. 


Winter: Cat on a Cushion
Date: 1909
Artist: Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen
French, born Switzerland, 1859-1923


Three cats watching fish in an aquarium
1938 - Copson, Clyde A.


Two Little Fraid Cats
1863
Currier & Ives, publ., American

The Cats’ Rendezvous
1868
Artist: Édouard Manet
French, 1832-1883


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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Classics Club Spin # 26 - The lucky number is....

11

Here's mine. I've had a couple of stops and starts with this one. Maybe this will finally be the time I get past the beginning. It's not that I'm not liking it when I'm reading. Something just always comes up and I put it aside. It's time to mark this one off my list!

What did you get?




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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Cat Thursday - Kittens...again!


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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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Classics Club Spin 26 #ccspin


I finished my last spin book which was On Becoming A Novelist by John Gardner. So, here I go again. Here's my list:

1. Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu
2. Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande
3. If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland
4. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
6. Negotiating with the Dead by Margaret Atwood
7. Emma by Jane Austen
8. Escaping into the Open by Elizabeth Berg
9. Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot
10. The Vein of Gold by Julia Cameron
11. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
12. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
13. The Legends of Parsifal by Mary Hanford Ford
14. The Collector by John Fowles
15. Writing Past Dark by Bonnie Friedman
16. Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin
17. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
18. Take Joy by Jane Yolen
19. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
20. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

What will I get?! Are you doing the spin this time?

In case you're curious about all the writing books on my list (some which may not seem to be classics to some), check out this post where I outlined restarting/revamping my list in 2019. 


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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Cat Thursday - Authors and Cats (102) Anne McCaffrey


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.

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

Having a harder time finding authors with cats images so I've decided to go back to the beginning of when I started featuring the author in their birth month and revisit authors featured in the past. 

I was even able to dig up this image of her I did not find last time I posted about her. 


Anne McCaffrey was born on April 1st, 1926, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Her parents were George Herbert McCaffrey, BA, MA PhD (Harvard), Colonel USA Army (retired), and Anne Dorothy McElroy McCaffrey, estate agent. She had two brothers: Hugh McCaffrey (deceased 1988), Major US Army, and Kevin Richard McCaffrey, still living.

Anne was educated at Stuart Hall in Staunton Virginia, Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey, and graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College, majoring in Slavonic Languages and Literatures.

Her working career included Liberty Music Shops and Helena Rubinstein (1947-1952). She married in 1950 and had three children: Alec Anthony, b. 1952, Todd, b.1956, and Georgeanne, b.1959.

Anne McCaffrey’s first story was published by Sam Moskowitz in Science Fiction + Magazine and her first novel was published by Ballantine Books in 1967. By the time the three children of her marriage were comfortably in school most of the day, she had already achieved enough success with short stories to devote full time to writing. Her first novel, Restoree, was written as a protest against the absurd and unrealistic portrayals of women in s-f novels in the 50s and early 60s. It is, however, in the handling of broader themes and the worlds of her imagination, particularly the two series The Ship Who Sang and the fourteen novels about the Dragonriders of Pern that Ms. McCaffrey’s talents as a story-teller are best displayed.

She died at the age of 85, after suffering a massive stroke on 21 November 2011.
(Goodreads)



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Thursday, April 1, 2021

#ThrowbackThursday (2) The Time Traveler's Wife


Davida at The Chocolate Lady hosts this Throwback Thursday meme monthly and I've decided to participate. The idea is to highlight/share a previously published book review. I've been blogging since 2009, so I have a lot of reviews to revisit (even if I have slowed down in more recent years, I used to be quite a prolific reviewer).

I'm basically going in order of reviews published (last month I shared the first review I published here on this blog) so this month will be the second review posted. I will continue in this vein unless a particular review does not spark my fancy. 

This month is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (review originally published on August 21, 2009). This book is one of my favorites and I'm so excited there is a series version coming to HBO. I also loved the film, though the book and film are both poignant and heartbreaking.

My review...

I am crying as I write this so let me warn you--when you read this book, you had better be prepared to cry...and to laugh...and to be amazed. How does one describe a book that so seamlessly combines science fiction, comedy, and tragedy?

Henry and Clare have a relationship that transcends time...literally. Henry is what is known as a chrono-displaced person, or CDP. There are no time machines or devices. He just disappears from one time leaving a pile of clothes behind and appears in another time completely naked. He meets Clare when she is a child and they develop a friendship that carries on every time he travels back to her time, as she is growing up. When she finally meets Henry in his present, he doesn't know who she is, but she has known him for years. It all seems very confusing here as I describe it and that's the problem. This book defies description. But I'm not saying this in a negative sense. When you actually read the book, it's not confusing and that, in itself, is the beauty of it. To explain the story further here would give too much away and I do not want to do that, dear reader.

So I will focus on the storytelling. The author has taken a difficult situation (to say the least) and made it both comic and tragic at the same time. Who in life hasn't tried to see the funny side of a grave situation? I know I have. It's human to look on the bright side and Henry and Clare have a love that withstands the obstacles because of their ability to focus on the good. In the end, it has been their love that has seen them through. As Henry says to Clare, "Our love has been the thread through the labyrinth, the net under the high-wire walker, the only real thing in this strange life of mine that I could ever trust." Their love has been the only constant in time.

It is rare for a book to really touch a person to the core. This book does just that in a way that is soul-soaring and heart-wrenching, but also manages to invoke a smile in the back of your mind.


Original post here.


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Cat Thursday - #Cats love April Fools Day


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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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Cat Thursday - Another year with Alice and Arya #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.

Alice and Arya had another birthday on February 24. Alice is now 14 and Arya is 10. They had a great birthday, as you can see. Here they are with their brothers. ❤😻




Here's to many more!!!


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