BradyBooks

I love to explore other worlds, be it the past or the future. Some other loves are art, poetry, humor, rainy days, and animals especially canines.

While I'm Away

First off let me apologize for the personal post....

 

But anyway, I found out last week I have lung cancer. As you can imagine the past couple of months of trying to figure this all out and this week have been a whirlwind....

 

I have surgery tomorrow.

 

So, I am here to tell you this is why I haven't been as active as I'd like to be on here. I hope that you will continue to follow me because as soon as I'm doing better ( which should be in a couple of months) I plan on being on here more. I love this site and all the people here! And I love books, of course. I keep buying books even though I haven't read half of the ones I already have. Yes, I am a book addict and that will never change.

 

I suppose I'll see all of you on the flip side of this (hopefully).

 

Sending everyone peace and light out there.

 

 

Paint Love

I Always Loved You - Robin Oliveira

The name of this book should actually read Paint Love.  I say this because those two words are the essence of this novel and because the title now, I Always Loved You is difficult for a search engine when someone is trying to remember the title. I kept typing: I Will Always Love You, I Have Always Loved You, so forth and so on. Just kind of a side note to the publishers/editors (whoever makes the decision). Plus, I'm not sure the title gives the book justice. It makes it seem fluffy and it has more meat to it than the title suggests.

 

It tries to sell itself on the premise that it about the love story of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas. But it's really about the impressionists, and though mainly about Mary and Edgar it is also about the love story of Berthe Morisout and Eduaord. There is no evidence that I've found that Mary and Edgar were lovers ----so it's fiction. Anyway, with all that off my chest, all other elements, I loved.

 

For one, it definitely painted a picture ( probably a bad pun) of what it would be like to live as an artist in France during this time. The writer breathes much life into the characters and scene. I almost felt literally a part of it.

 

There were many elements that were of interest to me. For one, Mary feels something is missing in her work, and though I always admired Cassatt's paintings, I'd often feel the same way when admiring them. Somehow, I think maybe it is the colors used? Though, I can't trace my own hand so take what I say with a grain of salt. I'm only admitting my opinion because I found it interesting that the book revealed that the main character had the same opinion of her own work as I had had about it. I could relate to Mary in many ways so I felt incredibly bonded to her.

 

 I liked how brave they were as they pursued their passions. It is a book that made me want to rebel against every sort of monotony that society has thrown at me.

 

My best friend gave me this book for my birthday. She's incredibly insightful because it is just the book I needed at the time and I savored every minute reading it.

 

I guess for fun, name a book you've read that came into your life the exact time you needed to read it?

Stepping Out: A Review on Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf - Basil Creighton, Hermann Hesse

So, I haven'y posted any reviews lately or in awhile. I hope to change this. I'm putting this out there just so my fellow booklikers know I'd like to start being more active on here. I couldn't believe my last review was in March!

 

Anyway, I read Steppenwolf  and had so much to say about it...I actually couldn't come up with anything to say, at least coherently, but am sick of waiting for my thoughts to get their shit together ( seriously, I have had a hard time even remembering the word "the", not because of the book but because of my life lately) so here I am, with hopes I make some sense. 

 

Steppenwolf is a man named Harry Haller who believes that he is half wolf/half man. He struggles with coming to terms with the unruly wild side of himself and his tamer side. He is so torn that he often thinks about killing himself and even says he will when he reaches a certain age.

 

Hesse wrote that "Steppenwolf" is the one that was more often and more violently misunderstood than any other". After finishing the novel, I can't help but find this ironic because the character Steppenwolf, himself, seems to feel misunderstood most of the novel; misunderstood or very much alone within himself. So Steppenwolf himself misunderstands his life most of the time, and readers misunderstand the point? And they misunderstand because human nature is in essence to be a Steppenwolf? Maybe? Was Hesse trying to say that, sort of?

 

If you have read this, I'd love to hear your interpretations of this novel! There are so many different ways that readers can look at it.

 

Hesse goes on to say that some readers believe this story to be a sad one, when in actuality it is a story about healing. I thought a lot about that last part while reading this novel. I'm not sure if it is because I read what Hesse had said about it or if I came up with my own conclusions, but I believe that the book is about complete self acceptance. In order to enjoy his life, Steppenwolf must combine and accept both sides of his personality--and then and only then can he be happy and complete. I  can't help but feel that self actualization may indeed be the key to happiness--be it in the book or not.

 

Anyway, there are some things I'd like clarity on...like the purpose of Hermine? Is she part of Harry or a real person? Also, the role hallucinogens played? I don't understand why they were needed or their literary purpose?

 

Anyway, I loved loved this book. Mostly because it left so much to think about and I could spend a lifetime trying to answer my questions. I loved loner Harry, probably because I am an introvert myself. Also, Hesse's philosophical writing style appeals to me ( I think this is a big indicator of whether or not one would want to read this) and while I liked his book Siddartha, I enjoyed Steppenwolf more due to the subject. I am drawn in and captivated by the misunderstood.

 

Note: Also, I'd like to thank Brokentune for the recommendation of Steppenwolf. I don't 5 star often but this is a definite 5 star for me.  

 

 

The Last To Arrive?

I've enjoyed reading these from those I'm following and followers alike. Thought I'd share too--looks like fun:)

 

 Are you named after anyone? 

 

My middle name is a shortened version of my grandfather's name.

 

When was the last time you cried?

 

A video I saw a couple of days ago..of an artist that sees someone she hasn't seen in a very long time...and they have to sit face to face in silence...and they start to cry and then they hold hands...I sobbed.

 

Do you have kids?

 

Two sons that make my world go around and a dog that is like my child.:)

 

Do you use sarcasm a lot?

 

Not really. I always think of clever things to say way after the moment has gone. However, I cuss a lot....cussing comes to me pretty quickly.:)

 

If you were another person, would you be friends with yourself?

 

Yes. Though it takes awhile to get to know me...my better qualities are that I'm extremely loyal and non judgmental towards the people in my life.

 

Will you ever Bungee Jump?

 

Hell no.

 

Favorite Cereal?

 

Frosted Flakes, Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries. ...I love oatmeal too.

 

Favorite Smells?

 

Fresh cut oranges, Lily of the Valley, Honeysuckle, Sandalwood, puppies, The earth and air after a thunderstorm.

 

What is the first thing you notice about a person?

 

Smile

 

Eye Color?

 

Blue/grey mostly, with a few specks of green

 

Scary movie or Happy Endings?

 

Happy.

 

Summer or Winter?

 

Fall. I love the rain. I love cloudy, moody weather.

 

Computer or TV

 

I do like my Sci Fi series. My new love is Orphan Black. 

 

What is the furthest you have been from home?

 

Florida, sadly. I would love to travel more. I'd love to visit every National Park.

 

Do you have any special talents?

 

I can't walk in a straight line.

 

Where were you born?

 

Michigan

 

Hobbies?

 

Reading, Volunteering at the pet rescue, gardening, art journaling

 

Pets?

 

Conrad, my puppy love. Also, two chickens ( Violet and Bertha Mercy) that don't like me but loooove my husband.

 

Favorite Movie?

 

#1 E.T. The Extra Terrestrial ( I'm a little bit of a Spielberg junkie.)

 

But some other favorites are The Way We Were, Wuthering Heights.. the version  ( and only this version) with Tom Hardy, Jaws, The Fox and the Hound.

 

 

Siblings?

 

Nope.

 

What do you want to be when you grow up?

 

When I was little I wanted to be Eugenie Clark aka the shark lady.

I'll have to settle for myself now... I guess.:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poets born under each sign

aries: Robert Frost

The best way out is always through.

taurus: William Shakespeare

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

gemini: Walt Whitman

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

cancer: Pablo Neruda

But wait for me,
keep for me your sweetness.
I will give you too
a rose. 

leo: Charles Bukowski

attend the boxing matches, go to the racetrack,
live on luck and skill,
get alone, get alone often,
and if you can’t sleep alone
be careful of the words you speak in your sleep;
and
ask for no mercy
no miracles;

virgo: Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

libra: e.e. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

scorpio: Sylvia Plath

I wait and ache. I think I am healing.

sagittarius: Emily Dickinson

I dwell in possibility.

capricorn: Edgar Allen Poe

Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry Hope, that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the Future cries,
“On! on!“—but o'er the Past

aquarius: Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

pisces: Jack Kerouac

This transcendental Brilliance
Is the better part
(of Nothingness
I sing)

Badass Literary Moms

Enjoyed this list of badass literary moms so I thought I'd share. Click on the title above to read list :) 

Remarkable Creatures

Remarkable Creatures - Tracy Chevalier

Disclaimer: Readers of this review will be subjected to a lot of rambling and random thoughts because I have no clear idea of what I want to say about this book. Please know this about the book though: I liked it a lot. :) 

 

Someone posted a picture of items that aren't around anymore, mixed tapes, rainbow colored window blinds, Shrinky Dinks, nature being made into make believe. I felt kind of a stab in the chest at the sighting because it made me think about all the things I've left behind over the years.

 

One of the things I miss the most is an encyclopedia set my parents bought from a door to door salesman. I  poured over the dinosaur section  of the "D" encyclopedia often, memorizing all of them and their designated time period of existence. I LOVED dinosaurs my entire childhood.

 

When I went to college, I had a professor that would spend after hours showing me the college's fossil collection. When he quizzed me over the fossils, I'm sure I felt my eyes light up, but for some reason it never dawned on me as a subject to pursue throughout my life.

 

Then, somewhere along the way I forgot everything mentioned above; that is until I read Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier. While reading this novel, I felt a  certain kind of homesickness, not  a homesickness for a location, but a homesickness for interests that I had put somewhere in the dusty attic of my mind. These feelings ignited a desire to preserve who I am better; not forget myself along the way; mentally survive.

 

Anyway, Remarkable Creatures is a historical fiction novel about the real life fossil hunter, Mary Anning and her friend and supporter Elizabeth Philbot. They both lived before Darwin's contributions on Evolution Theory so you can imagine the turbulent seas these women faced. Both were women that followed their passions with an intensity and focus that I deeply admire. They were outside-the-box thinkers, way before their time, uncovering their own answers to their fossil finds. When most people were satisfied that Mary had found a deceased crocodile on the beaches of Lyme Regis, Mary and Elizabeth set out to prove that the bones were of something else entirely. 

 

The main characters are survivalists that did not adhere themselves to societal expectations so if you are looking for a Jane Austen-like novel...this is it. Maybe my favorite element of the book were the characters. I especially liked the witty comments made to the town gossipers by Miss Elizabeth. I've always been drawn to honest, no fuss types as my friends and she felt like a friend. Mary, a true survivalist ( struck by lightening as an infant and survived!) was warm and bright. I wanted to sit down to tea with them and plan a beach combing event or just sit there with them without even talking....excavate them out of the story and make them alive once more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remarkable Creatures - Tracy Chevalier
"Mary Anning leads with her eyes. That was clear even the first time we met, when she was but a girl. Her eyes are button brown and bright, and she has a fossil hunter's tendency always to be looking for something, even when on the street or in a house where there is no possibility of finding anything of interest. It makes her appear vigorous, even when she is still. I have been told by my sisters that I too glance about rather than hold a steady gaze, yet they do not mean it as a compliment as I do with Mary."
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier


Review coming soon.
Reblogged from A Reciprocal Love Affair With Books:

Kind of funny! No offense Harper Lee. I hope you find it funny too.

Wallace

Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls--One Flying Disc at a Time (Hardback) - Common - By (author) Jim Gorant

I used to walk my friend's Pitt Bull sometimes, when she was running late from work. She was about the nicest dog on the planet. A big ole' marshmallow. It always made me sad  though when other people would walk WAY around us like they were afraid she would lunge and bite, when she would have gladly rolled over for a belly rub and been happy giving them kisses. I used to tell her, while we sat in the grass after our long walks," don't worry girl, it's really their loss". And it was.

 

Ten or so years later, I started volunteering at an animal shelter that was trying to find a home for a beagle-mix and I instantly fell in love with him ( brought him home, of course). See, they had to try to adopt him out as a beagle mix because it creates less fear than if they had described him as a beagle-pitt mix. I'm not sure entirely what breed he is..but he sure does look like he might have Pitt in him...and true to Pitts he is the biggest baby ever and has enormous heart. Sometimes, I take him to a play group, and he is always trying to get the fosters out of their shell...lovingly inviting them to play. He also loves loves children and is the same way with them.

 

I know all the dog haters or whatever are probably rolling their eyeballs... They are thinking just another strayed human thinking dogs are more important than people. But no, that's not it really, I think dogs are a lot like we are. I think just like us, they have a wide arrangement of personalities and emotions.

 

Also, I think many humans don't try to understand each other, so they definitely do  not tend to  try to understand the complexity of their faithful four legged friends/family members or think about the needs of homeless dogs sitting in shelters. I think sometimes humans also tend to ignore their hearts ( those of dogs)...their boredom, their sadness, their suffering, their happiness, their favorite places, just like they tend to ignore fellow humans. Sometimes. 

 

And then there are those that really have an acute awareness...or at least try to have one ( as seen in this book)... 

 

So if I were rating this book on the compassion and the knowledge it is trying to bring forth about bully breeds or even shelter dogs in general I'd easily give it 5 stars. If I were to rate it on the hearts of Roo and Clara that saved a dog that others discriminated against...that saw his heart and worked really hard to guide Wallace into becoming such an amazing inspiration I'd give it 5 stars too. If I were to rate it on Wallace alone, I'd give it 5 stars.

 

Sadly, I didn't dig the writing style because it seemed so impersonal for such a personal story. The lack of emotion and distance bothered me. I also felt that Clara was somewhat ignored, and got the short end of the stick in this book and I found it frustrating.  I hope it is made into a movie so we can truly see this story shine or that Roo or Clara write it from their perspectives so we see right down to the heart of the story because it is a remarkable one.

 

BTW, here is a picture of my guy ( the beagle-pitt mix):

 

SPOILER ALERT!

One Door Away From Heaven

One Door Away from Heaven - Dean Koontz

The Main Characters and Synopsis

 

Micky Bellsong is looking for a future that doesn't consist of only her good looks. She wants a life of substance and purpose. She wants to believe in herself like her Aunt Geneva believes in her...but she is stuck in her painful past. She finds her purpose in a little girl named Leilani Klump.

 

Leilani, an intelligent and endearing nine year old is counting down the days until she is killed by her serial killer step-father or until she escapes, whichever comes first.

 

Then there is a little alien boy named Curtis, that is on the run from alien hunters and the government--with a Border Collie friend he has picked up on the way. He wants to help heal the world before he leaves the Earth.

 

A private investigator named Noah works to take care of a sister that as a young man he failed to protect from his more-than dysfunctional family. He's looking for redemption...

 

Somehow, Dean Koontz brings them all together in an incredible story that I couldn't put down.

 

Koontz makes reference later that he designed this book to bring light to something called Utilitarian Bioethics with which he wholeheartedly and passionately disagrees with. He says this inhumane practice seeks to harm the disabled, frail and the elderly. So, that is the underlying theme here.

 

Positives

 

I picked this book up because one of the prompts for a reading challenge was to find a book with the word "one" in it. This particular book captured me because a review said it was about shape-shifters and aliens so I thought it might be up my alley.

 

I really liked it and will probably read Koontz in the future. For one, he has the easy 'I was meant to do this' writing style that Stephen King has, and you can see how he made mass market paperback status (as I call it).

 

The characters are incredibly likeable and diverse. The serial killer in this story is not likeable but his part is written very well and you love to hate him (that's the point and it works).

 

I loved loved the two kids in this book. They were endearing and the stuff they said made me smile and broke my heart numerous times and sometimes all at once.

 

I also liked how the book is action packed and constantly moving. For a 600 something page book, it didn't seem lengthy at all and my eyes didn't glaze over from irrelevant points and words . I wanted to pick it up to read again.

 

For this type of book, I thought there were lots of thoughtful quotes strung throughout ( that I wish I had highlighted or made note of so I could share them here)

 

Negatives

 

I have only one negative....While I'm glad it ended the way it did, I was disappointed with the ending. It felt that the ending was just thrown together quickly because there were so many pages already or perhaps he wasn't sure exactly how to end it. It lacked the meaning and oomph I had expected--it felt like the characters were not present and that at the end Koontz just wanted to make his case ( when the characters were already making that case and would have done that naturally for him.)

 

Ok, so that's all I have to say. The end.

 

 

 

 

 

A Boy and a Bear

Emory's Gift - W. Bruce Cameron

My one son has a special connection with bears. So, even though I wasn't looking to purchase a book I could not resist the story line of this one. He plans on taking it to school on Monday so I had three days to finish it--and finish it I did. I had not planned on this book being my first read of the new year, but yet it was my first read. Sometimes, the unplanned are even more special than the planned. At least this is what I've noticed in my life.

 

I do think this book is special. It's extremely touching and a book that means a lot to someone that has lost someone. Though it is somewhat ( a tad) slow to start and a tad slow to end, the characters are so likable I couldn't put it down. I laughed and I cried which rates a book pretty high in my world. 

 

So what's it about?

 

Charlie Hall's mother dies and he's left with a huge void he can't fill. His father is a kind man but he has turned inward in his grief, and Charlie has a hard time communicating with him. As if his mother's death is not tragic enough, Charlie must navigate the turbulent waters of Junior High School. ( ugh-Junior High!...I swear if someone offered me a billion dollars on the condition that I'd return to the past to re-do Junior High I'd say NO WAY but that's another story!:) Poor Charlie--I felt so terrible for him and he's such an endearing little guy too. I think the worst part is that Charlie felt very much alone in the world ....until he is befriended by a Grizzly bear (which is the coolest part)! And this Grizzly bear is no ordinary bear!

 

You'll probably like this book  if you have faced some tragedy, hated Junior High and you are an animal lover.  Or you'll like it if you've made peace with unplanned changes in your life or if you just find something appealing about a boy making friends with a bear.

 

 

Sock Poppet's 2015 Read-By-the-Month Reading Challenge

Reblogged from Sock Poppet at Play:

 

I've seen quite a few people saying they have a hard time with yearly challenges and they feel like failures because they are unable to complete them. I know it can be very difficult to keep going when you see a long challenge list staring at you.

 

So . . . my challenge this year will be delivered monthly. That's right, you won't know what each month's challenge will be until about a week or so before the month starts.

 

Since people are already starting to plan their challenges and because December can be super busy for many, I will present the first month's challenge now.

 

Rules:

 

1 ~ I will list 4 book prompts each month related to a theme.

 

2 ~ Choose one prompt and read the book. (For those with more time, choose two or more prompts.)

 

3 ~ Post a link to your review/post of the book(s) you read in the group. 

 

http://booklikes.com/groups/show/255/sock-poppet-s-2015-read-by-the-month-reading-challenge

 

4 ~ Using books for multiple challenges is perfectly acceptable, but a book can only be used once within this challenge.

 

5 ~ That's it. Choose a book to read each month in 2015 and you will have completed this challenge!

 

January's Reading Challenge ~ First Things First

 

This month you will read:

 

1 ~ a book with the word "One" or "First" in the title.

 

2 ~ a book by an author who is new to you.

 

3 ~ a book that is the first in a series.

 

4 ~ your first book of the year.

 

Now see how easy that is. All you have to do is read your very first book of the year and you've completed the January part of this year's challenge.

 

Or you can push yourself a little and choose one of the other prompts. Or two or three. The decision is yours.

 

 

 

Alien Love

The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey The Infinite Sea (5th Wave) - Rick Yancey

I loved both of these books.

 

Yancy is an excellent YA writer and has won numerous awards. However, I must confess that while other 5 year old girls carried Strawberry Shortcake backpacks, I sported everything E.T: The Extra Terrestrial ( by Spielberg) and since these books are alien themed my opinion might be more biased than normal.

 

I will tell you though that you will not be bored while reading. These books are action oriented ( there are, after all, characters trying to survive and save the human race). These books,  if done right are going to make some kick ass movies. They also would make a not so shabby TV series as well ( hint, hint..tv people).

 

I hope there is a book #3 in this series soon.

 

Stay tuned....

11 Things You Didn't Know About Edgar Allan Poe by Lynn Cullen

 

 For all the Poe fans. Just thought I would share. Really enjoyed this article. Click on the title link above to read article in The Huffington Post:).

 

 

Which door

Reblogged from want a real life adventure? come to Australia we have spiders bigger than your hand. :

which door?

Currently reading

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald