Tag Archive | books

Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

I’m not into texting – in fact, I avoid mobile telephony because it’s invasive – but when I saw Jane Eyre (my favorite novel) in the title Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters, I went to my local public library to check out the book.  Here’s my review, as posted on Goodreads:

Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary CharactersTexts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters by Mallory Ortberg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Texts from Jane Eyre elicited snickers but not guffaws.

Mallory Ortberg’s knowledge about literature is impressive. I particularly liked the text conversations for Jane Eyre (my favorite novel), Wuthering Heights, and the Allegory of the Cave (514a–520a) from Plato’s Republic.

HT Claudia

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The Style Page reviews Idiot’s Guides: Everyday Makeup Secrets

Idiot's Guides: Everyday Makeup SecretsIdiot’s Guides: Everyday Makeup Secrets by Daniel Klingler

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Idiot’s Guides: Everyday Makeup Secrets devotes too much space on faking the perfect face shape (oval, with evenly proportioned features) and perfect eye shape (almond) through highlighting and contouring. It also recommends eyebrow shapes for different face shapes: I would think that the best approach is to follow the natural shape of the brow bone.

The best parts of Idiot’s Guide: Everyday Makeup Secrets are the call-out boxes, which feature many interesting hacks.

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The Style Page reviews The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery

The Blue Castle The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was into Anne of Green Gables, even before the 1985 TV series starring Megan Follows. I was 17, and a copy of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm was lying around the house, a Christmas gift from my mother’s friend. I read Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and liked it. Mom suggested that I read Anne of Green Gables. I loved it. In 1980, soon after I graduated from college, I went on my “pilgrimage” to Prince Edward Island.

I discovered The Blue Castle through Susan L.M. Goldberg on PJ Media. She wrote: if you’ve never, you must read The Blue Castle now—quickly! I’ll wait. As a fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery‘s books, I had to read The Blue Castle.

Valancy Stirling fits the archetype of the lonely, sad person living in a home where others are cold to her (think Cinderella or Harry Potter). A medical diagnosis gives her one year to live. She casts off her inhibitions, scandalizes her family, and lives life to the fullest. She even proposes marriage! Then multiple revelations upend her life in a day (I won’t disclose them – read the book). The Blue Castle has a “happily ever after” ending.

I’ve decided that a cynic is a disillusioned romantic. In reading The Blue Castle, I can momentarily believe in romance again.

PS Read the introduction by Collett Tracey after you read The Blue Castle. It contains spoilers.

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Could vegetarianism negatively impact mood? from Science of Us

According to this article, preliminary studies have found a link between a meatless diet and mental problems like depression, anxiety, and self-harm. A nutrient-deficient plant-based diet might create problems that contribute to psychological disorders.

I quit eating red meat several years ago, mostly for health reasons. After reading an article about the benefits of vegetarianism for spiritual development (!), I quick eating poultry. I seldom eat eggs, but I still include dairy in my diet. On rare occasions, I eat fish.

Depression, anxiety, and fearfulness have ruled my life for as long as I can remember. I wonder if a mostly vegetarian diet has made things worse. Blood tests have revealed that I had severe deficiencies of Vitamins B12 and D in my diet. So much for spiritual development! (When I told my nephew why I had given up poultry, he said that that was ridiculous).

I don’t plan to give up my diet, but I’ll add nutritional supplements to my diet.

22-han-kang-the-vegetarian-w245-h368

The book The Vegetarian reminds me of Margaret Arwood’s proto-feminist The Edible Woman, in which the engaged-to-be-married heroine loses her appetite for food, to the point that she can only eat noodles. After she breaks off her engagement in dramatic fashion, she suddenly becomes ravenously hungry.

“If you’re going to be a vegetarian, you have to be more thoughtful about what you eat.”

Source: ‘The Vegetarian’ and the Puzzling Link Between Diet and Mood — Science of Us

#Canada Day again


I’m taking a different tack on Canada Day this year. On Facebook, I attributed the massacre at the Pulse night club to the killer’s professions of Islamic ideology. A prominent Canadian beauty blogger subsequently ripped into me:

It’s time to examine why your country [emphasis mine] gives guns to people who are mentally unstable. Especially when the FBI knew about them, and had been following them. Who cares about whether or not it was an American who decided to use ISIS to focus his hatred? Your gov’t knew all about him, yet he could still get guns. Stop talking about Islamic hatred and start talking about why your country discriminates against the gay community, which gives people like this shooter a reason for his own hate. IT DOESN”T MATTER that he was with ISIS. The US has had 7 mass shootings this week. Get your head out of the sand.

or did she really mean to say, get my head out of my ass? 😀

It’s time to examine the ideology of your country [emphasis mine] that went to war in Muslim countries, destroyed entire countries, armed rebels and basically created ISIS. Jesus. Read a book.

I felt that her references to your country reeked of contempt for the good old United States and that she regarded me as yet another contemptible  illiterate American ignoramus.

Jesus. Read a book.

I don’t know if she had any particular books in mind, but here are some books that I’ve read:

  • The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood (in fact, I’ve seen Margaret Atwood read from her works in person)
  • Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen
  • Roughing it in the Bush by Susanna Moodie
  • The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies
  • The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy
  • The whole series of Anne of Green Gables books (six books) by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I can tell you why Anne of Windy Poplars and Anne of Ingleside are the worst books of the series. I’ve also read Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside, but these are not considered as part of the Anne canon, as they deal with Anne’s children.
  • The three books of L.M. Montgomery’s Emily series

Notice a pattern here?

Happy Canada Day.

It’s Canada Day again, and time to revisit this article Canada Day.  Happy 148th Canada!

Source: #Canada Day | The Style Page | The Style Page

Finding Mr. Righteous

Finding Mr. RighteousFinding Mr. Righteous by Lisa De Pasquale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I discovered Finding Mr. Righteous through the conservative web site PJ Media. Initially I submitted a request to Fairfax County Public Library to carry it, but there was no follow-up: strange, because I had thought that FPCL would support a local writer (Ms. De Pasquale lives in Northern Virginia). I had to wait the mandatory 6-12 months after publication to submit a request through Interlibrary Loan.

Finding Mr. Righteous is about Ms. De Pasquale’s search for God in the context of the men in her life: Chris the Atheist, Joe the Catholic, John the Evangelical, etc. I looked forward to reading this book, as I thought there would be a spiritual component to the book, but most of the book is about Ms. De Pasquale’s attachments to men who have other women in their lives and won’t commit to her. I wonder why Ms. De Pasquale didn’t go in therapy to try to break this pattern. The spiritual component comes at the end of the book when she has an epiphany about her relationships and her role in them. I won’t give away the ending: that’s for you to read.

This book dredged up my unhappy experiences with men and my feeling insecure and that no one would love me. If Ms. De Pasquale ever revises her book, I could contribute a chapter on Ali the Muslim.

Altogether, Finding Mr. Righteous is a quick read. As I said, the spiritual component comes at the end of the book, and I’m glad that I read it to the end.
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The Style Page reviews How Not to Look Old by Charla Krupp

How Not to Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times BetterHow Not to Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better by Charla Krupp

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read How Not to Look Old after reading Andrea Robinson’s Toss the Gloss. Charla Krupp’s book is more extensive, as it covers fashion in addition to make-up.

Charla Krupp begins this book by saying that looking old negatively impacts you both personally and financially. Not a very upbeat way to begin a book.

I disagree with Krupp’s aversion to nude pantyhose: I feel undressed without hosiery. Krupp also advocates shimmery pink gloss (see the back cover), something that Robinson opposes.

Krupp’s best chapter is on bra fitting. Did you know that the band should provide more support than the straps? For more tips about bra fitting, I recommend reading How to properly measure from my favorite lingerie store Trousseau.

Had I not read Kathy Shaidle’s humorous 50 is the New Crappy, I would not have known that Charla Krupp died in 2012 at age 58. She did not get to live to old age.

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