Category Archives: Books

Hopscotch board drawn at the Unity Rally 2/26/17Macdonald Park, Forest Hills

Holding On To My Power: International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day 2017!

Women’s Day is not widely celebrated in the United States. However, 2017 dawned with the inauguration of an American leader who bragged that he can grab vaginas, ogle near-naked  teenage beauty pageant contestants, publicly humiliate a Miss Universe.

We have been asked to wear red in solidarity, something I probably would have done anyway. I like red tones.  But the uniform wearing of red reminds me of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Scarlet Letter, neither of which presented good lives for fertile women. Continue reading Holding On To My Power: International Women’s Day

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Returning To A Beloved Novel And Learning About Fascism

Coffee with cream in a clear demitasse cup with a fan behind itBook life comes full circle.

While book lovers all over the Internet are comparing modern times to George Orwell’s 1984, I was compelled to reread 2009’s The Return by Victoria Hislop. It’s a novel about Englishwoman Sonia, who is drawn to a cafe in Grenada, Spain. Through that, she learns much about herself and about Spain’s Civil War.

Sonia, our modern-day protagonist, leaves her stuffed-shirt husband at home to celebrate her best friend’s birthday in Spain for a few days. They book salsa classes in advance of the trip but Sonia is also drawn to flamenco. She is enraptured by some old flamenco posters at a cafe she happens upon. Miguel, the elderly cafe owner, takes a liking to Sonia, and she to him. Dance and the cafe become central to her visit. In the course of the novel it all ties together, even Miguel’s youthful involvement. Continue reading Returning To A Beloved Novel And Learning About Fascism

Fifty Shades of Greyish

The 50 Shades of Grey TrilogyI fell for the hype; I saw Fifty Shades of Grey the day after it opened.

I tried to finish the first book but I do my best reading on the subway. I have yet to finesse reading soft porn in public. It wasn’t the sex so much as it was the urge to warn Ana: “Run. Run like your life depends on it!” Probably not a smart thing to do on a train.

During the movie I made a list of women Christian Grey would probably not be interested in:

  1. Ticklish women
  2. Very tall or very short women (Think logistics)
  3. West Coast air traffic controllers
  4. Elevator repair technicians
  5. Comedians
  6. Boxers
  7. Wrestlers
  8. Lawyers
  9. Bloggers

Did I miss one?

So, on to book two and hopefully, more snark.

A Fun Summer Read

I have three criteria for recreational reading:

  1. It has to be at least a little funny.
  2. I want to like the protagonist
  3. The book’s main social value is that I can escape into it.

A Good Year For The Roses is a novel about newly divorced Londoner Molly, who inherits a bed-and-breakfast in the coastal area where she grew up. She and her three children start new country lives there, living in the aging building that Molly successfully renovates.

Along with the house, Molly inherits responsibility for her mildly deranged uncle. He and the house “staff” become her extended family and she develops a closer relationship with her mother who lives nearby. Her father and brother are selfish and manipulative but she learns how to deal with them. Since this is where she’s from, and her children are still in school, Molly is able to create a social life.

Continue reading A Fun Summer Read

I’ll Have a Shot of Vodka With A Side Of Mustard

Ah. to be so inspired by a book that I’m rummaging through the kitchen, taking pictures of seemingly random objects. I was gifted with a copy of Real Simple 869 New Uses for Old Things. I thought I was quite the creative homemaker but there was so much  didn’t know. And yet, I wondered, what to do with shot glasses when I’m not known for drinking anything  straight up, let alone gulped in one guzzle? That’s one use they didn’t cover.

Continue reading I’ll Have a Shot of Vodka With A Side Of Mustard

A Book, Its Cover and A Wonderful Bio

Handbook For An Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata And My Crazy Mother And Still Came Out Smiling (With Great Hair)

Cover of Rosie Perez's autobiography

It’s quite a title, but sums up Rosie Perez’s autobiography in a nutshell. Rosie was born of an affair her mother had and was promptly left in the care of her paternal aunt. After three years, her mother demanded Rosie back, only to dump her in “the home,” a prison-like residence run by sadistic nuns.

Her aunt was a loving, steady and joyful woman. Through her youthful ordeal, Rosie knew she was loved, especially when her father became a part of her life. However, the mother was not just crazy, but abusive and manipulative as well. This created a special hell for the kid, but that didn’t stop young Rosie from enjoying what there was to enjoy.

Continue reading A Book, Its Cover and A Wonderful Bio

Urban Bookworm, Secret Wordsmith

Reading has saved me throughout my life.

I got “hooked on phonics” in kindergarten so reading was easy to me. As a child I escaped my personal reality by diving into mysteries and sometimes, novels. I read everything: cereal boxes, road signs, anything with letters. Don’t get me wrong, I did normal things too but reading was so important that in high school, I thought I was going to be a reading teacher. It made me sad that reading was so difficult for some other kids that they didn’t get to enjoy it as I did.

Of course, I read to my child. At one point, before we all had access to the Internet, I searched the library and local book stores for Robert Louis Stevenson’s children’s poetry. I should not have been shocked that nobody had, or even knew of, such a book. I finally went to a teachers’ supply store and the saleswoman and the customers within earshot were surprised that a parent wanted to read poetry to her kid. I still have the book I bought that day.

Continue reading Urban Bookworm, Secret Wordsmith

Queens Gets Her Moment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m from New York City.

Or not, depending on who’s doing the describing

I was born in Queens, one of NYC’s five boroughs. I was moved annually, back and forth, between Queens and The Bronx, until I was in the fourth grade when we settled in Bayside, Northeast Queens. While that has a nice bucolic ring to it, the section where we lived was mostly blue-collar families squeezed into noisy garden apartments. We were sited farthest from the Little Neck Bay that we were supposedly on the side of. The wealth increased the closer you got to the water. We were way south of that. It was probably the least hip part of the City.

Continue reading Queens Gets Her Moment