It took several tries and several years to move past the first few chapters and jump into this book. I enjoyed Mistborn by Brian Sanderson and thoughtIt took several tries and several years to move past the first few chapters and jump into this book. I enjoyed Mistborn by Brian Sanderson and thought I'd like this as well, but the graphic fighting and descriptions in the first chapter turned me away. Then I gene it one more try and admit I really enjoyed the novel. For fantasy fans, it's long, involved, with myriad well drawn characters and interesting plot twists all set in a harsh and strange world. What more could one ask for escapist literature? My favorite character? Kaladin. ...more
Luminous novel. Although I felt that the Epilogue was not the strongest part of the novel, the rest of this story is lovely. Wound around themes suchLuminous novel. Although I felt that the Epilogue was not the strongest part of the novel, the rest of this story is lovely. Wound around themes such as the passage of time, religious faith, what it means to be literate, and especially the power of art, beauty, and music to change our lives, Bel Canto (which translates to "beautiful singing") is an enchanting view of what it means to be human under trying circumstances. Opera and classical music have been in my home once childhood and the thrill of sitting in an opera house as the orchestra warms up and the light dim is palpable delight at its best. Consequently I was surprised at how the author, who admits to only recently beginning her admiration for this art form, is able to make it sound so authentic and integral to this story. Without a retelling of the plot, I will state that the book actually reads like an opera on many levels.
Katsumi Hosokawa recalls how his life forever changed after his father took him to see Verdi's Rigoletto as a child. From that point on, "There was nothing more to want than the privilege to sit and listen." His favorite recording star is Roxane Coss, modeled on lyric soprano Renée Fleming. Pachett's descriptions are at times, exquisite: "Her voice was so pure, so light, that it opened up the ceiling and carried their petitions directly to God. It swept over them like the feathery dusting of wings, so that even the Catholics who no longer practiced their faith, and the non-Catholics who came along because there was nothing else to do, and all those who had no idea what he was saying, and the stone-cold atheists who wouldn't have cared anyway, because of her singing they all went away feeling moved, feeling comforted, feeling, perhaps, the slightest tremors of faith." 200. As Roxane exults, "who did not feel the joy in such music?"
This book contains so much to examine (references to music abound), to savor and contemplate that it has earned a spot on my bookshelf. ...more
Beautiful in its simplicity, powerful in its effect. This book, often read in high school to elicit discussion on topics such as social justice, becomBeautiful in its simplicity, powerful in its effect. This book, often read in high school to elicit discussion on topics such as social justice, becomes more powerful with time and maturity. Reminiscent of Hemingway's prose, each word is carefully chosen. ...more
My favorite novels by Kearsley are by far The Rose Garden and The Winter Sea. This one was also loosely based around the Scottish King James who was iMy favorite novels by Kearsley are by far The Rose Garden and The Winter Sea. This one was also loosely based around the Scottish King James who was in exile in Paris in the 1700s. Kearsley's writing reminds me of my favorite gothic romance writers as a teen--Mary Stewart and Daphne Du Maurier. When I want something light to read, these fit the ticket, especially as they also contain researched history.
This novel concerns a brilliant young English woman with Asperger's Syndrome who is asked to travel to Paris crack a code in an old diary. The diary, kept by a Jacobite exile (somewhere during 1688-1746), Mary Dundas, contains unexpected information about the time period as well as a grand adventure and coming of age for both women involved. ...more
In our society of personality worship, we have discounted character. Cain discusses this fascinating topic from multWhy do we not honor introversion?
In our society of personality worship, we have discounted character. Cain discusses this fascinating topic from multiple angles including politics, schooling, business, and relationships. Fascinating insights. Some chapters more informative and interesting for me than others. I'd recommend this highly....more
I wanted to find a quick to read book to share about kinesiology or muscle testing. I've used this technique for years as a simple check in vitamins oI wanted to find a quick to read book to share about kinesiology or muscle testing. I've used this technique for years as a simple check in vitamins or foods to eat. Your body and "higher self" is often the best guide to this. As our needs and body changes, this is a pretty accurate way to save yourself money and time. One of the best parts is a reminder of the state of mind we need to be in in order to listen to the spirit within. Skeptical? Read the short book and practice some of the techniques such as identifying people with negative or positive energy. ...more
Light and predictable, but still has its moments. A genre known as Regency Romance. It's best moments are the author's description of the sailing shipLight and predictable, but still has its moments. A genre known as Regency Romance. It's best moments are the author's description of the sailing ship--I looked up her blog and sure enough, she has a love for boats. I felt the heroine was a little baffling and inconsistent as she cries a lot and at other times is capable of over the top heroism. I probably would have enjoyed this much better as a younger reader....more
Deceptively simple, filled with pithy and quotable passages, this is a book so densely packed with true principles that it merits careful study and reDeceptively simple, filled with pithy and quotable passages, this is a book so densely packed with true principles that it merits careful study and rereading. Written by someone who has truly "experimented upon the word" throughout a long lifetime. A gem. ...more
When my Father died in 1991, he left behind a stash of Thomas B Costain novels. Even as a young girl, I remember looking at these books which always aWhen my Father died in 1991, he left behind a stash of Thomas B Costain novels. Even as a young girl, I remember looking at these books which always appealed to me because of their titles. This 1946 bestseller about Walter a Gurney, a young bastard son of a noble is a fascinating look back into English history in the 1200s. Costain draws on a legend of an English crusader who becomes the father of Thomas a Beckett, and an Eastern girl who only knows two words of English. Costain began the book wanting to write about three individuals: Edward I, King of England; the scientist and visionary thinker, Roger Bacon; and a Mongolian general named Bayon of the Hundred Eyes, who conquered China for Kublai Khan. While the book only deals with these three individuals in a peripheral way, and although dated due to 1940s stereotypes and writing style, this was still a fascinating, though romanticized look into the Dark Ages including changes in the feudal system of England, the advent of the longbow and discovery of gunpowder, as well as the beginning of enlightenment due to the intrepid explorers who returned from fabled Cathay....more
A Haggadah is historically read at the Passover feast by the Jewish people. This one is different. Originating in Spain in the late 1400s, the vellumA Haggadah is historically read at the Passover feast by the Jewish people. This one is different. Originating in Spain in the late 1400s, the vellum manuscript stands out because it is illustrated, and in the exquisite illuminated style created by medieval Catholic monks. How it ends up in Sarajevo in the mid 1990s is a miracle.
A very interesting read for anyone who loves book preservation, history, and historical fiction. I especially love the article Brooks wrote about this Haggadah and its history. http://geraldinebrooks.com/wp-content...
Quotations: "I like matter, fiber, the nature of the varied stuffs that go to make a book. I know the flesh and fabric of pages, the bright earths and lethal toxins of ancient pigments. Wheat paste--I can bore the pants off anyone about wheat paste." (18)
"I was so engrossed in the writing long – it could get that way, on good days, when you fall down a rabbit hole and the rest of the world disappears long – that I almost exploded when the doorbell rang." (266)
"For the first time in my life, I was tanned and sinewy. I traded in my cashmeres and silks for serviceable khakis, and one day, because I was hot and sweaty and my French twist kept falling down, I hacked of my long hair. New name, new look, new life." (346)...more
Extraordinary historical fiction piece set in the Dark Ages, about a brilliant and prodigious intellect, Joan, who hungers for an education in an ageExtraordinary historical fiction piece set in the Dark Ages, about a brilliant and prodigious intellect, Joan, who hungers for an education in an age where women were thought of as chattel and reading and writing were reserved for priests and noblemen. Knowledge is power, or as her tutor tells her, "some ideas are dangerous." Having mastered Greek, Latin, classical scholarly debate, scriptural knowledge and knowledge of medicine and healing, Joan breaks the mold of women being "incapable of reasoning." (82) The book is an argument for the existence of a female pope as we follow Joan's journey to the highest office of Christendom after the death of Leo III. In a time where education is taken for granted and few students desire to work to the limits of their abilities, this book challenges a reader to reevaluate the gift of learning. Fascinating book about ideas and a little known historical era.