Saturday, September 13, 2008

ok, i know i've been gone

I know I haven't added to my blog in a long time, but school is getting me. I'm teaching 5 classes, costuming Hedda Gabler, and planning CATS. By the time I get home I'm exhausted. Too exhausted to pick up my laptop. But that doesn't mean I haven't been reading.

Maggie led me to THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY. (an unfortunate title. It makes you think it is going to be one of those little frou-frou, Jimmy Chou, just lost my boyfriend, chick book-club books. But it is not.)

I think I need to go to Guernsey now, but I bet I'm not the only one. There will probably be hordes of people who want to see the place where Amelia, Kit, Eben, Dawsey, and Elizabeth lived.

If you have not read this book, you must. I will have it back to the library this week.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Am I My Brother's Editor?

I should be working on my brother's book, but I haven't blogged in so long I was afraid people would give up on me. Many things have happened since my last post. Here is a list.

1. We started school. That's like getting on a runaway train that doesn't stop until the middle of May.

2. I stopped reading a book that I didn't like. I've forgotten the name of it and I don't want to get up to look. It was all about alternative medicine.

3. I started another book, "Free Food for Millionaires." It's a goodie soap opera epic. And I'm learning a lot about Korean Americans in New York. Fun read.

4. My brother, Tim, called. He has re-written the novel that he wrote last year and didn't get many nudges about. He wants me to read the new version and edit. Easier said than done. You have to read hard. And I've read this book 3 times. It was funny the first time. So that is what I am supposed to work on instead of this post. We really want to get this book published.

5. I fell in class Friday. Tripped over a student's backpack and messed up my knee, my nose, my forehead, and my right hand. Everything is feeling better now, but I spent the weekend covered in ice packs. I've still got bruises and carpet burns, but I can walk a lot better.

6. The Olympics have been on for two weeks and required my full attention. If I hadn't watched, the USA wouldn't have won so many gold medals.

Those are all the excuses I can think of right now. So I guess I better get back to Tim's book, but the Democratic National Convention is on! Didn't Michelle do a beautiful job last night? Tonight we see Hillary. I'm still disapointed that we didn't have the chance to nominate her for president. I've had the bumper sticker on my car for almost a year and it didn't work.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Greg Iles' kind of woman, (girl)

I just read Turning Angel. And I have figured something out. You know how some male authors seem to get stuck on one look for a woman and you can tell--this is wishful thinking, baby. Like Ken Follett. All his heroines are short, muscular and have hourglass-shaped figures with dark red hair. He always makes a point to say that they do not have thin, model-like, fashionable figures.

Well, Greg Iles likes them young, honey. Really young. Compare the women in this book. The women under 18 are yummy. They are tan, muscular, "ghetto-booties," gorgeous, long-hair, and so intellectual that they are reading Paul Bowles and Anais Nin while waiting for cheerleader practice. There are some differences, some have long blond hair, some have long red hair, some have long luxurious brunette hair, but they all love the same kind of men--old-- and the same kind of sex--lots of it, in all directions, with all kinds of people, in all combinations.

Now lets look at the female characters between the ages of 18 and 60. There is always something wrong. The most common problem with these women is that they don't want enough sex. But the other problems are--they want sex with the wrong people, they have artificial boob jobs, facelifts, sun-damaged skin, droopy body parts, they spend too much money and they don't drop their entire lives to defer to their man's choice of lifestyle.

The women over 60 are ok because they are grandmothers and can babysit.

If I were Greg Ile's wife, I would be checking to see who is on his facebook page.

I think this is my last Greg Iles.
I have been told to get off my booty and update my blog. Which, if you think about it, would be very hard to do at the same time. So I am sitting down and updating my blog.

Since I have talked to you, I have taken a little week in the Ozarks, but it was so hot, we didn't do much except sit in the air conditioning. The most interesting thing that happened was a visit with Luis Rojaz, a Cuban concert pianist. He lives in a beautifully decorated home on top of a mountain that looks down on Table Rock Lake.

My friend, Camille, who also lives on top of a mountain took us to see him and I don't think we really understood what a treat this would be until we got there. Luis is 72 now and has advanced arthritis, so he has retired from teaching at the College of the Ozarks, but still has a couple of very special private students. He still has his Cuban accent even though he hasn't lived in Cuba since he was 18. He came to the States to attend Julliard and got his degrees there. He has played solo recitals at Carnegie Hall and played with symphonies everywhere. One of his best friends is Alicia de Larrocha (sp?) and that impressed me. And he was impressed that I knew who she was.

Luis has 2 Steinway grands in his dining room that are magnificent, so I told him about my new Kawai, but it does not really compare. He played a Chopin waltz for us and we toodled around on the piano together, a little Mozart, a couple of old hymns. He plays for the Christian Scientists on Wed. nights and used to play the preshows for the Lawrence Welk theatre until his arthritis got him. Luis' favorite cussword is "summamabeech" As in "he's a summamabeech."

When we come back he has promised to cook arroz con pollo and black beans for us. I can't wait for the return trip. I'm going to bring him some gospel music.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Who's read Greg Ile's? I just finished True Evil. I have lost some sleep over this one--both because I had to see what was going to happen next and because I had to think about it.

It's another one that made me say "Where does he get this stuff?" I certainly hope that what he is writing about is not anywhere on the radar because if it is, then there are some totally immoral people in the world. I guess that sounds very naive.

One thing that bothers me about Iles is his tendency to do these long narrations by the evil characters to show how they think. It's like he wants to show that he can think like a terrorist, or a serial killer, or whoever it happens to be. It tends to get long and showy.

Also--and this is a big thing with me--he never tells us what people are wearing! I need to imagine what people look like and it's hard to do when all we get is "She put the gun in her pocket." What pocket? The pocket of a Michael Kors linen jacket? or the back pocket of her jeans? or the pocket of her Macintosh? I'll stop there, you get the point. (I bought a Michael Kors linen jacket at Macy's yesterday. on sale, but still.)

I'm leaving on another vacation Thursday morning. I have to be careful what book to choose next because it will go with me. This is not a beach vacation, but a mountain vacation. Makes a difference, but not a lot. You still have to choose something that you can concentrate on when all about you are things to distract you. When I go on vacation I have to read the local papers, and the travel brochures and anything local I can find. It helps me feel a part of things.

We are going to spend a couple of days with my brother and his family so I have gathered up books to return to them. We have a little library going back and forth from Bentonville, AR to Senatobia, MS.

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's Been a Long Time

Sorry I have been so long. But I have been reading up a storm (cliche).

Since I finished my last Southern b ook, I have been reading different kinds of things. I told everyone about the Dorothy Sayers book, then I read 2 Martha
Grimes thrillers. Then another Southern book--A Dangerous Age by Ellen Gilchrist who lives in Fayetteville, AR, but was born and raised in MS.

The Gilchrist book was interesting because of its timeliness. It is the story of the women of an extended family who are very affected by both 9/ll and the Iraq war. It is one of the most evenly told stories I have read about this. You get both sides of the story and I'm not sure which side
Gilchrist would fall on.

After this was a week on the beach--Orange Beach, AL-- to be exact. The rest of the family had real beach reads--James Patterson, Nora Roberts--I had Louise Eldrich, one of my favorites. I read her latest The Plague of Doves, but I have to tell you this was not her best. She is certainly not a beach read, you have to concentrate and maybe some of this was my fault, but I was having a hard time remembering who was who and following the story. It was more a combination of short stories. If you have not read her before, I would recommend Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, and The Master Butchers Singing Club.

After I got home, I read My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picault. I warn you. Do not read this book unless you can afford to lose a night's sleep, because you will not be able to put it down. I was fascinated by this story of a family torn by the critical illness of a daughter. It will make you even more curious about stem cell research, and other important issues of the day. What is legal, what is moral, what is ethical? I can't wait for someone else to read this so I have someone to talk to.

Another book by Jodi Picault that kept me up a couple of nights was Nineteen Minutes. If I tell you what it's about you probably won't want to read it. Just try it.

What to read next???

Saturday, July 5, 2008

I just realized I didn't say a word about what I was reading. I told you about the two Martha Grimes books. they almost made me give up bacon. But not quite.

I just finished a Dorothy Sayers book yesterday. If you have not read Sayers, I envy you. You can start at the very beginning--"Gaudy Night," I think. They are all mysteries, but they are so finely written they should not even be in that category.

Sayers studied at Oxford and sometimes taught there, she was incredibly intelligent and well-educated. Sometimes I have to get out the dictionary to read her. The work of her life was a translation of Dante's "Divine Comedy," which is still the definitive translation among scholars.

Her detective is Lord Peter Wimsey, a very well-dressed, well-read, and not well-understood, second son of the Duke of Denver. Of course, murders happen around him all the time. His anamorato is Harriet Vane, who he meets when she is accused of murdering his lover. She is one of the great female characters in literature.

I think I may have talked myself into going back and reading all of these books again. It's been so long I think I would enjoy them again.

The one I just read, "Thrones, Dominations," is one that Miss Sayers abandoned sometime between '36 and '38 to work on a stage production of "Busman's Honeymoon." It was completed in the late '90's, by Jill Paton Walsh. I really can't tell where one stops and the other starts. It is typical for Sayers, less about the murder than the lives of the characters.

The BBC did a televised Peter Wimsey series quite a while ago that was shown on PBS. Dorothy Sayers died in 1957.

If you have not read Dorothy Sayers you are in for a fabulous treat. Eat up!