Friday, May 31, 2013

One Novel, Two Readers, Different Effects


It is never any surprise that a book that affected me also has an effect on others. What always surprises me, though, is how one book can influence people so differently. My sister brought to my attention this article Composites: German Language and 'Things Fall Apart' by Jalees Rehman, M.D. In it, the author, whose family spent time in the same region where this story takes place, finds that the language of this novel that he says changed his life forever. One cannot disagree that this book is striking in its simplicity of language, which makes the story all the more poignant.

Friday, May 17, 2013

So… who is this "Chocolate Lady" of whom you speak?

I'm sure by now you'll have realized that I am "The Chocolate Lady." This particular nickname was actually not self-dubbed. (Over the years, people have called me many things. I sincerely hope that most - if not all - have been long forgotten.) For those of you interested, here is the long version of how I obtained this auspicious handle.

Way back in the mid-90s, my (then) employers decided I should be the first person they would give a home internet hook up. I had already had internet access on my work computer, and found I took to it very quickly. I already knew it was a valuable tool. But with it at home, maybe I could find something there that would help me become the famous, published poet I always wanted to be. (Yeah, sure… as if!)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Prepare to Die… Laughing

"The Princess Bride" by William Goldman


The story of "The Princess Bride" is a complex one. According to William Goldman, this is the true account of a group of people and the events that happened to them in and around the land of Florin a very long time long ago. As the account begins, we are introduced to Buttercup, a milkmaid who has the potential of being the most beautiful woman in the world. Then there’s her family’s farm boy Westley, who apparently is far from being a slouch in the looks department. We are soon introduced to Count Rugen, who is the only person that Prince Humperdinck trusts. At the onset we already understand that Buttercup will eventually rise far above her lowly station to become worthy of the man who will eventually become a king, and make her his queen. The truth is Buttercup doesn't know she is actually in love with Westley. And Westley isn’t anything better than a love-struck farm boy. As the story unfolds, these two are quickly parted and then go through a series of adventures (and misadventures) before they can finally be reunited. Along the way they encounter such interesting people as Fezzic the giant, the Spaniard master swordsman Inigo Montoya and the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Who am I to be writing book reviews?

I've never made a secret that I am mildly dyslexic. This is something that - among other things - slows down my reading. The fact that many of my teachers didn't believe I had any disability, was a bigger problem. They knew I wasn't stupid so they called me a lazy reader. Me! A lazy reader - imagine that!

While this was a handicap, especially when sitting down for tests, it also had its advantages. The most prominent of which is my love of words. I loved their sounds, their feel, their nuances and even their scents. I loved words so much that in my youth, I wanted to be a poet (after realizing that I wasn't talented enough to become an actress). I was lucky enough to be encouraged by a few teachers, and I've actually published a few of my poems (nothing special, but I did get paid for a couple of them). But writing poetry is an almost impossible career choice.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What the Dickens??

Jack Maggs by Peter Carey


Jack Maggs is a criminal - a convict shipped away from England to Australia for his crimes, who returns to his native 19th century London to contact one Henry Phipps. Henry was an orphaned boy who showed Maggs a small kindness just before his exile, and whom Maggs has been secretly financially supporting from afar. Maggs returns to England, despite personal danger, so he can finally reveal and explain himself to his "son", Phipps.

Monday, May 13, 2013

In the beginning

There comes a time in every online content writer's life when they find they need to start their own blog. This is something that I've avoided for some time now. I mean, seriously, what have I got to put on a blog that would interest anyone besides myself? And if I'm the only one reading it, then why not just put it into a 'dead tree' version? 

On the other hand - why not start a blog? It could be a good place to put up my book reviews. 

So... here goes nothing, and wish me luck!