Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Daydreams & Diaries - Black

Tim Black spends his time reading his daughter Taylor's diary, typically a no-no for a parent. He also spends much of his time daydreaming of conversations with his daughter. They chat about what they are doing, what their plans could be, and about life in general. 

Unfortunately, this is all Tim has left.

Taylor Black was diagnosed with brain cancer at seventeen and was dead by age nineteen, just a few short weeks after 9-11, 2001.

In Daydreams and Diaries, Black shares his memories, his daydreamed conversations, and Taylor's diary entries (an aspiring writer herself) as she moves through her new world of cancer treatments, illness and surviving while trying to remain a young adult with hopes for the future.

A touching and heartfelt memoir about a very normal teen whose whole life changes in one short evening and how her family responds to the unwelcome changes. A wonderful way for this writer to express his love and respect for the daughter he lost. 

This book is a bit rambling (which I guess can be understood when one is recovering from such a loss), with very short chapters that never fully develop the whole story of Taylor's life or struggle and never quite fully tug at the heart. The book seems more an opportunity to showcase Taylor's writing efforts than to share her story, which honestly I wish he had done.

More importantly for me, Black seems to have skipped the proofreader as errors are rampant. It makes the already simple manuscript a bit...well, amateurish. 

2/5- Just okay.  Choose with extreme prejudice.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday Tunes - 09/25/12

A great lyric is like a good book...

Anyone following my "other" blog (PurelyVocals) knows that we recently attended a Rockapella concert. Rockapella is one of my favorite groups, amazing a cappella with an incredible vocal percussionist. Here is one of theirs...

People Change 
Rockapella, Artist
Leonard, Scott, Writer

Didn't hear a tone, are you, hello
I never hear a tone, I guess you know
I can't remember what I called to say
I thought you might be home on Saturday

I really can't believe it's been a year
It took a little time without you here
I'm guessing you survived alone somehow
It's good that I can joke about it now

I still avoid the park at Christopher
Never wanna feel the way we were
Unless I'm in a hurry for that train
And that's the only newsstand open late

People change (people change) everyday (everyday)
Change like you (change like you)
I got all the time in the world

People cry (people cry) all the time (all the time)
Cry like me (cry like me)
We got all the time in the world

It's been so long that no one even asks
And everybody's walkin' on the grass
Grass that took a while to reappear
I'd forgotten green without you here

Christmas came and went upon this bench
Tryin' to justify what made no sense
Now the ivy's overrun the tears
But it could never hide what happened here

People change (people change) everyday (everyday)
Change like you (change like you)
I got all the time in the world

People cry (people cry) all the time (all the time)
Cry like me (cry like me)
We got all the time in the world

(Fillin' in the conversation by myself)
(Fillin' in the reason why you leave me leavin', leavin')
(Thinkin' back, the hope we had was more than mine)

(more than mine)
(more than mine)

(more than mine)
Just make it make sense to me

Maybe I'm alive beneath the snow
Maybe you're too petrified to know
I can't believe that you would tell me lies
How could I have missed that in those eyes

Maybe if I only heard your voice
I would understand you had no choice
And though I'm glad it's clear for you to see
I wish that you could make it make sense to me

People cry (people cry) all the time (all the time)
Cry like me (cry like me)
I got all the time in the world

Flowin' in and out your life (people change)
By tomorrow mornin (everyday)
Flowin' in and out my life (people change)

Ooh wa ooh, People change (people change) everyday
Ooh wa ooh, People cry (people change) all the time
People change (people change) everyday

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cabin - Ureneck

Lou Ureneck is a middle-aged man, newly divorced, and is looking to find some "coherence" in his life. He decides to get back to nature, as he always did as a child. He calls his brother, Paul, and asks him to help him build a Cabin.

Not the first home they have built, he and his brother (and his nephews and their friends) attack the year long project with differing skills and goals. While Ureneck utilizes the opportunity to reconnect with his brother (and attempts to make amends for periods in their lives when he feels he was unavailable to his brother, particularly during his mother's demise and death), his brother utilizes the time to find breathing space and clarity from a failing marriage and a need for freedom.  For both, the cabin represents an opportunity to heal from the stresses of adulthood and a difficult childhood.

Ureneck points out, "I was both making a shelter and trying to write a poem". And, though written in prose, he did  exactly that. Cabin is an ode - to the Maine countryside and it's history, to the fragility, restorative powers, and importance of nature, and to family.

A memoir written from the  heart, this is a wonderful read. Ureneck is clearly a professional and though the book at times seems ramblings and unfocused, perhaps that matches the building process itself. To better understand how, you'll just have to read the book.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday Tunes - 09/18/12

A great lyric is like a good book... 

A Little Time 
The Beautiful South, Artist
Heaton, Paul & Rotheray, David, Writers

I need a little time to think it over 

I need a little space just on my own 
I need a little time to find my freedom  
I need a little
Funny how quick the milk turns sour  

Isn't it, isn't it  
Your face has been looking like that for hours  
Hasn't it, hasn't it
Promises, promises turn to dust  

Wedding bells just turn to rust  
Trust into mistrust
I need a little room to find myself 

I need a little space to work it out  
I need a little room all alone  
I need a little

You need a little room for your big head  
Don't you, don't you  
You need a little space for a thousand beds  
Won't you, won't you
Lips that promise fear the worst  

Tongue so sharp the bubble burst  
Just into unjust
I've had a little time to find the truth  

Now I've had a little room to check what's wrong 
I've had a little time and I still love you 
I've had a little
You had a little time and you had a little fun  

Didn't you, didn't you  
While you had yours do you think I had none  
Do you, do you
The freedom that you wanted bad 

Is yours for good I hope you're glad  
Sad into unsad
I had a little time to think it over  

Had a little room to work it out 
I found a little courage to call it off 
I've had a little time
I've had a little time  

I've had a little time  
I've had a little time

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mondays - 09/17/12

This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Currently Reading:
Daydreams and Diaries (Tim Black)

Just Finished:
Cabin (Lou Ureneck)

On Deck:
Kisses for Katie (Katie Davis)...
this complementary review copy arrived on September 7th, with the note that I should try to read and publish my review by September 7th. Uh sorry...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuesday Tunes - 09/11/12

A great lyric is like a good book... in my opinion.  Do you agree?

Like countless others, I am a lover of music. But as a singer, I am much more impressed with a great lyric than I am with a terrific hook or a beautiful harmony. So, seeing as my blog is about reading (books or otherwise), I've decided to start a new meme, Tuesday Tunes. 

I'm going to share some of my favorite songs lyrics.  If I can find a link I'll provide it, so you can listen as you read. If not, I'll just provide what I consider to be some of the best lyrics out there. When possible, I will credit the writer of course.

For my first, on such a date as September 11th, only lyrics such as this will do:

It's A Hard Life Wherever You Go 
Nanci Griffith, Artist & Writer

I am a backseat driver from America
They drive to the left on Falls Road
The man at the wheel's name is Seamus
We pass a child on the corner he knows
And Seamus says, Now, what chance has that
kid got?
And I say from the back, I don't know.
He says, There's barbed wire at all of these exits . . .
And there ain't no place in Belfast for that kid
to go.

It's a hard life
It's a hard life
It's a very hard life
It's a hard life wherever you go
If we poison our children with hatred
then, the hard life is all that they'll know
And there ain't no place in (Belfast) for
these kids to go
(This world)

A cafeteria line in Chicago
The fat man in front of me
Is calling black people trash to his children
he's the only trash here I see
And I'm thinking this man wears a white hood
in the night when his children should sleep
But, they slip to their window and they see him
And they think that white hood's all they need

(repeat chorus)

I was a child in the sixties
dreams could be held through TV
With Disney, and Cronkite, and Martin Luther
Oh, I believed, I believed . . I BELIEVED
Now, I am the backseat driver from America
I am not at the wheel of control
I am guilty, I am war, . . . I am the root of all evil
Lord, and I can't drive on the left side of the road

(repeat chorus)

I welcome your thoughts and comments. 

Alice Bills - Harrington

Laura Harrington's Alice Bliss is a typical teenager. She loves her little sister, Ellie, but can barely relate to her mother. She is discovering that her best friend since childhood has a crush on her, though he may not be the only one. But more than anything, she loves her father, Matt, and spending time with him in the garden.

When Matt Bliss decides that he must go to Iraq to support his country and do his part, Alice is scared, confused, and lonely. She joins the track team, gets driving lessons from her Uncle Eddie, worries about the danger, and waits anxiously for her father's phone calls and letters. 

But Matt is hurt in action and captured by the enemy. The family must deal with the possibility that he may not return. Alice must grow up quickly. But sometimes a big part of growing up is realizing you don't have to do it alone.

This is a wonderfully written book. The characters are full and engrossing. Even Matt Bliss, though he is gone for most of the book, is a full and complete being. Definitely worth a read.

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.
It's a book thing


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesday Teaser - 09/1/12

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 


My Teaser:

"The idea had taken hold of me that I needed nothing so much as a cabin in the woods - four rough walls, a metal roof that would ping under the spring rain and a porch that looked down a wooded hillside...  I won't lie. I needed it badly." 

Cabin (Lou Ureneck) - pg. 1

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Giant George - Nasser

Dave and Christie Nasser wanted a dog.

Though Dave was much more inclined to wait until they had a home (rather than an apartment with a no-pet policy) after much consideration they decided on and brought home a Grant Dane, despite the obvious issues with hiding such a pet from nosy neighbors and unwelcoming landlords. Giant George is Dave Nasser's memoir of bringing home that adorable puppy, easily held in his wife's hand, and watching his family and the pup grow...and grow, and grow. 

In fact, George grew to almost five feet tall and several feet long. After the Guinness Book record holder for largest dog passed away, a friend suggested that perhaps they ought to put Giant George into contention for the newly open role. Not actually believing they had a chance, Dave and Christie started the process. 

After several test dates and an official Guinness visit (sadly some competitors questioned the validity of the facts),  George was awarded the esteemed role. To Dave and Christie's surprise, George became an instant celebrity with his own website, Facebook and Twitter page. He was even invited to the Oprah show and enjoyed her breakfast danish and extra sofas. But above all, he became a cherished family member.

This is a really cute animal story about the current Guinness Book record holder for largest dog and his family. I enjoyed reading about him and would suggest this book to anyone looking for a quick, easy read.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

August 2012 Recap...

August 2012 Update

The beginning of August was even busier that June and July! And the end was just a desperate effort to recover from the crazy summer! I read regularly...but seemed to get nothing accomplished.

This month I read:
Total Read: 2
Adult: 2
YA/children's: 0
Abandoned: 0

YTD - 33

Alice Bliss - Laura Harrington
Giant George - Dave Nasser



Favorite Book(s) of the Month:
Alice Bliss - a lovely book

Challenges Update:
Memorable Memoirs = 14 of 10+ - SUCCESS!!!
Support Your Local Library Challenge = 25 of 37+
Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge = 33 of 50 (2011) + 15
E-Book Reading Challenge = 2 of 5
A-Z Book Challenge 2012 = 20 of 26
What's in a Name Challenge = 5 of 6

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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Sunday Salon - 09/02/12

If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links.

A busy week for me. Glad the long weekend is here!!

Outside my window: Sitting on the newly cleaned porch. Had dinner out here, now just watching tv and enjoying the cool breeze.

I am listening to: Reruns of Mad About You (I love this show!) and night sounds (crickets).

I am reading:
Cabin by Lou Ureneck.

I am going to read: A library ebook downloaded on my brand new iPad! Not sure which though...

On the Blog: Due to several busy weeks returning our offices to useable, and then the return of students this week, and prep for classes beginning Monday...not much going on in blog-land.

Around the Book Blogosphere: Keeping up as best I can.

I am thinking: Using this blogger app is much easier on an iPad than my phone...but it's still not perfect. Really wish I could toggle to non-code writing. Also wish it would rotate and the keyboard would get bigger. But not having to turn my PC on to blog is priceless!

I am grateful for: Long weekends...and new electronics.

Around the house: Lots of work to do... I'm blogging instead.

In the kitchen: Still need to clean up after dinner.

High of the Week:
New iPad!

Low of the Week:
Being asked Friday morning to get a grant out, by Monday!

Family Matters: All is well, what more can I ask?

The coming week: Classes begin...I'm already tired!

Words of Wisdom:

Sorry, nothing...

Have a great week everyone!