It took getting half way through Strawberry Fields to even like the book a little bit. The cover blurb screams, "Hilarious!" It isn't. It isn't even mIt took getting half way through Strawberry Fields to even like the book a little bit. The cover blurb screams, "Hilarious!" It isn't. It isn't even mildly funny. Yes, I understand it is meant as dark humor. I think Poe is funny. I think Dostoevsky is funny. I enjoy dark humor. Still, not funny. Gogol's Dead Souls, of which this vaguely reminds me, is a very funny book. This is not. There is a kernel of a good story. Yet, the book as a whole is too marred by unfunny caricatures for any of the characters to seem real enough for me to become wholly involved in their story. There is a reviewer who suggests that those who are critical of the book don't know how to read literature. That we are failing to understand it in light of the context of the literary tradition from which it is derived. Bull. A book should be able to stand on its own. It's just an okay book with a chaotic plot and one and a half dimensional characters. And, the dog dialogue bit? Where was the editor. Probably won't relish chicken for a while. Nor will I relish reading another book by the author. I can't recommend this with much enthusiasm. ...more
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurstons's passionate and poetic novel, charts Janie Crawford's quest for self realization and autonomy. JaniTheir Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurstons's passionate and poetic novel, charts Janie Crawford's quest for self realization and autonomy. Janie's grandmother first marries her off to a prosperous older man so that Janie will not end up a mule to some poor man. From her experience Nanny had seem that while blacks had been emancipated, black women had not really. They became the slaves of black men - their husbands who beat them and worked them as heartily as though they were their mules. Janie who is blessed with beauty and white blood was a sought after bride by the wealthier black men. Of course this marriage is a failure, and Janie leaves him for Joe, a man set on becoming a leader. Together they head for Eatonville, Florida, the then nascent all black township which would become the country's first incorporated black township. As Joe becomes the mayor, postmaster and principle landlord of the town, Janie is set on a pedestal above the other town people. Joe restricts socializing with them since he considers them beneath her dignity, after all she is Mrs. Mayor. By Nanny's estimation, Janie has reached the pinnacle of freedom, but as she tells her friend Pheoby, because Nanny was a product of slavery she thought of freedom as freedom to work, being able to sit on the porch and watch others to work. Janie wants freedom in the form of self-realization and determination. She finds this after Joe's death. Tea Cake Woods, a lively man a good bit younger than her brings to Janie her first experience of the love she had hoped to find when she watched the bees from under a pear tree as a teenager. That love gives her the courage to strike out against convention. Preferring realities poverty with Tea Cake to wealth, she leaves Eatonville to become a migrant worker in the Everglades, "living on the muck."
Hurston's use of Ebonics makes her novel difficult at the beginning. Just as when reading A Clockwork Orange, the reader must hang in their as they work through the grammar. Though I was raised hearing Gullah, reading it is a bit harder going. I actually had to "read." By that I mean read word by word, something I have never really done. I read in chunks. After a few chapters though it was easier. Just as the author's use of shifting from 1st to 3rd person is natural for this story of self discovery, her use of Ebonics is as well. In fact, it is essential. The early effort for the reader is worth it.
I hate to say it, but MAM is just not a good writer. Clunky, pedantic, repetitive, cliched, formulaic. However, the fact that she drew me in for threeI hate to say it, but MAM is just not a good writer. Clunky, pedantic, repetitive, cliched, formulaic. However, the fact that she drew me in for three books says something in her favor. She creates characters who, despite her weakness in portraying them, are likable. You want to root for them. Generally these books are not the sort of thing I would even think if reading, but my family is from Sullivan's Island, so in the beginning that was a draw. In the previous book her evocation of the island was quite good, but by this one, it was weak. Her resolutions are very pat and unrealistic. ...more
An excellent cookbook from blogger Deb Perelman. My cookbook club has been using this collection for the last two meeting - we have one more meeting uAn excellent cookbook from blogger Deb Perelman. My cookbook club has been using this collection for the last two meeting - we have one more meeting using it. Thus, at this point I have eaten about 1/2 the recipes in the book and cooked several. Perelman's book has all the hallmarks of what for me makes a great cookbook, quality photography, easy to follow instructions, few over the top exotic ingredients, and great outcomes. That Perelman injects the book with her self-effacing, down to earth humor is an added benefit. Often chatty cookbooks irritate me, but like the Lee Bros. or David Tanis's personas, Perelman hits the right note. That is, I wouldn't mind cooking or sitting around the table with her. Some recipe highlights - brown-butter rice crispie treats, shaved asparagus pizza, chicken with grapes...There really are few duds. ...more
I do not often buy books for the use in the classroom, but this one actually had enough to make it worth the price. Great poem selection and activitieI do not often buy books for the use in the classroom, but this one actually had enough to make it worth the price. Great poem selection and activities for before reading, during the after with great corollary reading selcetions....more
I like cats. I have been trying to read more poetry. I have always loved poetry, but it is easy to forget to stop and smell the poetry. I like Fred ChI like cats. I have been trying to read more poetry. I have always loved poetry, but it is easy to forget to stop and smell the poetry. I like Fred Chappell's stories too. He is a local favorite. All that aside, I don't care much for this collection of poems which are mostly about cats, though some are about their owners. The selection is hit or miss with none hitting the excellent mark and many striking a very loud false note. ...more
Teachers are going to say, "Danza didn't even get a dose of what we deal with. One class, one year..." Danza, however, fully acknowledges that point..Teachers are going to say, "Danza didn't even get a dose of what we deal with. One class, one year..." Danza, however, fully acknowledges that point.. As a cheerleader for teachers, we would be hard pressed to find one more sincere than Tony Danza. I also applaud his guts in going back to try the road untaken. When Danza graduated college he did so with the intention of teaching history, but felt he wasn't mature enough to teach. His life took another course. Danza's book is heartfelt. He really did give teaching his all. Yeah, sure there was a TV connection, but that wasn't his draw. I think one of the things this book thoroughly illustrates is that programs like Teach for America do not prepare teachers for the realities of teaching. With more training, I think he could be a fine teacher. He has a passion for the job and his subject, literature, and a big heart. However, was a millionaire pushing 60, it's not a gig I would take. Oddly, Danza cried more in one year of teaching than I have in 15. Oh well. All and all this is a quick and interesting enough book....more
I will review this more thoroughly after trying some of the recipes. As many people have noted, this is not really as much as much breakfast for dinneI will review this more thoroughly after trying some of the recipes. As many people have noted, this is not really as much as much breakfast for dinner as using foods more often associated with breakfast (coffee, eggs, bacon...) for lunch, starters and dinner. However, I knew that going in. Several recipes have sparked my interest, but, as is always the case the proof will be in the making. ...more