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Monday, June 25, 2012

Death's Door by James R. Benn

DEATH'S DOOR: A Billy Boyle Word War II Mystery
by James R. Benn
Well, if I cannot read a book in its entirety, I am going to start reviewing by the chapter. Yep. One paragraph about chapters because it's all I have time for between memoranda and briefs and exams. So, here goes...

James R. Benn is new to me.  This is the first book I have gotten hold of.  Chapter 1 starts at a bar in Italy where Via Appia ends. Billy was with his friend named Kaz.  Billy is worried about a girl named Diana who's been capture by the Gestapo.  I am captivated.  Benn has a way of putting words together that makes the story a quicksand ready to pull you in.  If I didn't have an exam today, I would be tempted to stay home and let it pull me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Run by Ann Patchett, Read by Jeff Harding

borrowed from elibrary via MediaOverdrive
Description from the author's website:

Since their mother's death, Tip and Teddy Doyle have been raised by their loving, possessive and ambitious father. As the former Mayor of Boston, Bernard Doyle wants to see his sons in politics, a dream the boys have never shared. But when an argument in a blinding New England snowstorm inadvertently causes an accident that involves a stranger and her child, all Bernard Doyle cares about is his ability to keep his children, all his children, safe.

Set over a period of 24 hours, Run takes us from the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard to a home for retired Catholic priests in downtown Boston. It shows us how worlds of privilege and poverty can coexist only blocks apart from one another, and how family can include people you've never even met. As in her best selling novel Bel Canto, Ann Patchett illustrates the humanity that connects disparate lives, weaving several stories into one surprising and endlessly moving narrative. Suspenseful and stunningly executed, Run is ultimately a novel about secrets, duty, responsibility, and the lengths we will go to protect our children.
My Take:

I actually downloaded this on my elibrary twice. I would listen to about 3 chapters and would lost interest. I cannot quite explained it since this is the same author who wrote Bel Canto, a book which fascinated and captivated me. Perhaps my feelings is better explained by Leah Hager Cohen's review. I just keep waiting for that something, or anything that will make me emotionally invest in a character of the story. By the time I listened to it again, and almost made it all the way through, I was still apathetic to the story. I wasn't annoyed or made or rooted to any of the characters. I am one of those readers who must feel something for anyone in the book or it is nearly impossible to finish a book. I wasn't drawn into the story by the beauty of the narrative. Sometimes, a story unfolds like a movie, and even if it's not my type of story, I would still finish it just because. This story didn't do any of these things for me. I planned to read or listen to this story one more time. When that happens, I will amend this review accordingly. As of this moment, I have to say that this wasn't a book for me.

Children Always Play

circa 2008
I have noticed that my children seem to have a happier day if they can spend part of it playing. That was one of the reasons my husband and I installed a sand pile in our back yard in addition to a huge trampoline. In the summer, I find it is tough to just let them play all the time. There is the weather factor. I want them to go out early in the morning because the Texas mosquitoes rule supreme in the afternoon. I am not even going to mention the heat. Sometimes, when they're outside, I see them digging in the yard. Other times, they plant vegetables taken from our refrigerator. I can also see that this planting results is displacements to some of my flowers. I do not mind too much.  I just find it amazing they are happy to play together no matter the circumstances. Such capacity to find joy in each others company and in anything ought to be preserved, bottled and cultivated to make sure they get to have it throughout their lives.  More than in their childhood, they need it when they're grown ups. What a great gift that would be if I were able to give my children. The gift of finding joy in everyday things and in each others company.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Skywatch Friday: Season 5, Episode 48

Bank of America Tower in downtown Dallas
aka The Green Building to me because at night, the lights are green
I don't know the name of this building, but it's across Adulfos Hotel in downtown Dallas
There's not much to see of the sky if you're standing under this tower. It has 72 floors. I'm only 5'1", so this dominates my view. This second building is a third or perhaps a fourth the size of the Bank of America tower. These pictures are taken two weeks apart...the on top, I took on June 7. More skywatch here.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Macro Monday | I Heart Marco

sticker weed flowers, they're really small, about the size of half a dime

I am not sure which comes first...the sticker or the flower
but these things sticks to your pants like crazy

My Macro Monday and I Heart Macro. I used my iPhone with olloClips to take this macro picture.   The jury is still out if I am keeping this thing...but so far, I have fun with it. Just not sure if it's worth $70 dollars to me. As my husband say, I should really have an establishing shots...but I forget.  Reviews coming up. I just finished three awesome books.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin

OverDrive book from a public library
What the book is all about from GoodReads:
Judy Lohden is your above-average sixteen-year-old—sarcastic and vulnerable, talented and uncertain, full of big dreams for a big future. With a singing voice that can shake an auditorium, she should be the star of Darcy Academy, the local performing arts high school. So why is a girl this promising hiding out in a seedy motel room on the edge of town?

The fact that the national media is on her trail after a controversy that might bring down the whole school could have something to do with it. And that scandal has something—but not everything—to do with the fact that Judy is three feet nine inches tall.

Rachel DeWoskin remembers everything about high school: the auditions (painful), the parents (hovering), the dissection projects (compelling), the friends (outcasts), the boys (crushable), and the girls (complicated), and she lays it all out with a wit and wistfulness that is half Holden Caulfield, half Lee Fiora, Prep’s ironic heroine. Big Girl Small is a scathingly funny and moving book about dreams and reality, at once light on its feet and unwaveringly serious
My Take:

This book is highly acclaimed. It has an award: ALA Alex Award (2012). I was intrigued and excited to listen to it. I downloaded it from my local e-library. Tuck it safely in my iPod nano ready to keep me company when I jog. However, about a third of the way through, I couldn't care less about the story. What happened to my anticipation and excitement, I do not know.

I think it's because I cannot relate to the protagonist. I tried. Just in case it was me not wanting to, I restarted the audio book three times. I like the first hour or so, and then my interest would fetter out. I cannot take another moment of the book. The book, however,  is structurally sound. The word flows. Is it the reader? I don't know for sure.

The feeling is akin to trying on a most expensive and beautiful designer clothing and finding out that it doesn't fit me. Like clothing analogy, some books is just not a fit. Doesn't make it less of a book. I rated this book low, just because I cannot finish it. If I ever get to the finish line and end up having different feeling, then I will write another review renouncing this one.