Category Archives: blogging

In which I destroy a book…

Yeah, you read that right. It’s not that I can’t stand The Portrait of a Lady. It’s just that I was already getting rid of it, as I don’t like the edition and that I need art on my walls and refuse to make a trip to Kirkland’s to trick out my house (not that I’ll be critical if that’s your taste; it’s just not mine). So I pulled up this tutorial I found on a design blog, Living With Lindsay. I found it months ago and finally broke down and bought a glue gun.

Here’s a hint of what I’m getting at…

WARNING: If you absolutely, positively cannot stand seeing a book abused (or as I call it, repurposed for artistic reasons), please stop reading now. Go pick up one of your books from its plastic sleeve and lovingly turn the pages with white gloves on your sanitized hands.

I started out with this:

Old copy of The Portrait of a Lady? Check. Twelve-inch wreath? Check. High-temp glue gun with glue sticks? Check. Burnt fingers? Double check.

Really, the process is quite simple. You rip the pages out of the book. *gasp!* Then flip the wreath to the back side to begin gluing. (If you don’t do this, the wreath won’t have much dimension. After ripping the pages you curl them in different ways, S shapes, cones, you name it. Just try not to give the pages hard edges. In the tutorial I linked, Lindsay actually paints the edges of her pages. My book is old, so I went with the slight discoloration already on them. Then you glue them. I just layered and layered and layered some more.

It took me about an hour and a half to get the wreath fairly full, and after taking the photos, I noticed some bare spots when the flash hit the wreath. Once you are pleased with how it looks, you can either put a small loop of ribbon (as Lindsay does) or a length of ribbons, so it shows slightly above the wreath. I didn’t think ahead and only had black ribbon (which I like but is too dark for the room). I will switch it out with a dove grey grosgrain ribbon when I get the chance:

After that, just hang it! Of course, I don’t yet know exactly where I want this one, so I put it where I have a bare wall above the bed in my front bedroom/office. Excuse the unfinished look – I am saving up to make a headboard for the bed. Hope you like the finished product. It was a fun project, and I love art with a story or that I’ve made myself. Plus, I can’t stop staring at it. Beautiful, if I do say so myself:

As I am typing, I’m looking at the wall and thinking two more smaller wreaths would be perfect. Hm. Another project. What is it about fall that seems so conducive to projects? Anyone else feel that way? Have you ever created art from books or other household items?

I’d love to see – add a pic to your comment if you have.

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You were right about romance novels; I was wrong (sort of)

Dear Sommer, bestest friend in the www (whole wide world):

I know I can be a joykill. When you talk about your new issue of Romance Digest (is that the title?) and all the new romance novels coming out, I know you can practically hear the gagging in my mind as I envision old-school romance bodice-rippers and lovely euphemisms like “sheathe his sword.” Oh yeah, I went there. You know the ones I mean:

Now I don’t plan on picking up any titles like this any time soon. Can you imagine?! I read all over the place. Would men walk up and, thinking I’m game, rip my low-cut corset that barely covers my breasts off me? Can’t take that chance.

However, I know not ALL romance novels are like this – and hell, every once in a while? Why not? This particular cover made me think of a Friends episode where Joey finds a copy of such a book under Rachel’s pillow and follows her around asking to warm coffee up on her red-hot loins.

A couple weekends ago, I read/listened to three romance novels: Something Blue by Emily Giffin, Vision in White and Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts. And whaddyaknow? I loved them. In fact, I won’t tell you how in between my Vicodin-induced nap because of my poor hurt shoulder, I read like a maniac. Or that I took one of them to a football game, only to get laughed at by the security guard when he checked my bag.

I also won’t tell you how reading these books has spawned a desire to read more of these books in the future. Because that would be like sort of admitting I was wrong, and I wasn’t wrong. They were fun to read. They were engaging. Might have even made me wish I owned a diamond. Just a little one. And maybe a Prada bag. I may have even dreamed in Tiffany blue…

But. (Of course there has to be a ‘but’ – we’re best friends. You should know me well enough by now). As addictive as these books were, there were parts of each that drove me insane.

Darcy Rhone in Something Blue made me want to slap a baby (no, not your baby. I love that sweet baby girl). Ok, so maybe I shouldn’t say it made me want to slap a baby. That’s rude. And violent. Darcy, though, was rude. Maybe not violent but certainly rude. Chick sleeps with her fiance’s best friend, gets pregnant, and is then furious when she discovers her best friend and fiance have been bumping uglies. (I swear I’ve heard that somewhere… probably in a book). Plus, she lies to everyone about the circumstances of her breakup and leaves everyone behind to mooch off her writer friend in London (all while shopping daily and not paying a dime of rent). Even though she has some sort of near-religious conversion; well, not at all religious, her friend straight up tells her she’s rude and self absorbed… even then, I couldn’t get past disliking her strongly.

Nora Roberts, at least, handles her characters a bit better. They are likable. You feel as though you know them. She also writes a lot of series, and I like series. The books can be a bit hard to believe (four friends grow up, each perfect for one-fourth of a wedding-planning business: a photographer, pastry chef, florist, and bossy bitch-I mean-planner. Really?) But I liked them. In fact, they brought me back to my college days when I read Nora Roberts after my mom would pass them on to me. No wonder I was obsessed with Martha Stewart Weddings and kept a scrapbook of nice wedding invitations, floral arrangements, and magazine rip-outs of dresses. I was the target audience for Nora. She was brainwashing me, and I was all in, veil, strappy satin off-white shoes, and all.

The biggest problems I found with Ms. Nora Roberts’ books were the tie-ins. The florist is a true romantic, with a wonderful family, parents celebrating an anniversary. She falls in love with Jack, a commitment-phobe, and when he walks into a room, her smile “blooms.” Subtle hint, there, right? Blooms – like a flower – like a florist – like EMMA, our main character. That got old fast.

The other issue is Roberts really works to write independent female characters who are only really independent when faced with a man ordering them around. Then – Miss Independent, Miss Self Sufficient – the character battles with her lover, telling him in no uncertain terms, she won’t be ordered around. Almost every main character was like that. I just finished listening to the audiobook of Red Lily, another of her novels. Same thing. It’s not that I think these types of women don’t exist; I just wish romance novelists would include different types of women.

Ah well.

In the long run, I’m pleased I picked up so many romance novels this month. Of course, that may have been why I consumed more chocolate this month than in the last 6 combined. Let’s not even talk about how many Oreos have been eaten in this house.

And I guess that’s the best part of romance novels; they are pure girlish fun. Candlelight dinners. Suites at the Waldorf Astoria. Champagne. Chocolate. More champagne. Kisses that make your knees weak. I can handle that. In fact, I may pick up a few more at the library tomorrow evening. I blame you – 100%.

Now, when are we going to go catch the newest chick flick? I’m waiting. You get a babysitter – I’ll stuff the Junior Mints in my bag.

jenn

___________________________________________________________________

Any other romance readers out there? Any must-have titles? Why do you like romance novels? Or why do you hate them?


My Life as a Book 2010

Ah, life. Ah, books. Put them together, and it’s one hell of a ride. One of my favorite quotes (anonymous) is: Those who say they have only one life to live have never opened a book. How true is that? Pop Culture Nerd, inspired by another book blogger, took that to heart, creating some sentences that must be finished with the title of a book read in the past year. A bookish Mad Libs? Are you kidding me? I’m game.

Lance Letscher: i can jump

In school I was: The Book Thief (Zusak)

Ok, maybe not really, but wouldn’t that be sort-of cool, in a non-criminal kind of way? No?

People might be surprised I’m: The Undomestic Goddess (Kinsella)

Hm. ‘Surprised’ may be the wrong word. Except others tell me my house looks clean. I am just a bit OCD about it. My baseboards are always dirty. Gah!

I will never be: Careless in Red (George)

‘Never’ is a really strong word.

My fantasy job is: Daughter of Fortune (Allende)

Too late for that? What about daughter-in-law of fortune? I jest.

At the end of a long day I need: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Bradley)

A gal’s gotta eat. And this gal craves sweets 24/7.

I hate it when: Wednesday’s Child (Robinson) [is] Interr’d with Their Bones (Carrell)

Yeah, I cheated. Get over it.

Wish I had: A Dedicated Man (Robinson)

Only not too dedicated. I like my alone time. A lot. So, I wish I had a partially dedicated man. On Tuesdays and Thursdays. With a bottle of wine. And chocolate.

My family reunions are: What Came Before He Shot Her (George)

No, really.

At a party you’d find me with: The Brothers Karamazov (Dostoevsky)

What? Alexei’s a bit too dedicated… But that other one, what’s his name? No, not the maybe-murderer. Ivan or Vanya (why can’t I have two first names?). He sounded hot.

I’ve never been to: Persepolis (Satrapi)

It’s a place. Persia. I’ve never been to it. It doesn’t exist anymore. Yadda yadda yadda.

A happy day includes: Three Cocktails (Wickham)

Although to be honest, two would probably work just as well.

Motto I live by: Push (Sapphire)

Read the book.

On my bucket list: The Known World (Jones)

Every little bit of it. Now I just need funding.

In my next life, I want to be: The Brightest Star in the Sky (Keyes)

No, not Paris Hilton though I’m sure you can see her bling from miles away. Brightest star. As in the sun. My momma always told me to aim high…


Where are the editors, or Why all the damn similes?

Note: I do not use red pen on student papers as I have found red ink makes them feel they did worse than they actually did. Like employees given pink slips, students are immediately on the defensive.

Pop Culture Nerd and I had a brief exchange on Twitter last night wherein we discussed our picky astute observations regarding grammar-ly matters. (Yes, I totally made up “grammar-ly” so as not to sound incredibly high-handed). I was bemoaning the overuse of similes, she, adverbs, i.e. he demanded forcefully. You see, when you read as much as I do (and as much as most book bloggers do), certain trends begin to stand out. PCN has a great post up about the tics that bug her the most.

Today, I want to go into a full-fledged rant on the simile. Similes are great. “A comparison using ‘like’ or ‘as.'” Excellent. Fourth graders often employ similes in poetry. Adults, however, tend to have a greater grasp of the English language and should not need to rely as heavily on them for description. Notice, I use the word should in that last sentence. Unfortunately, everything I read lately seems to have an overabundance of the darn things. The one that stands out the most: They folded into the booth “like two spoons in cake batter.” Ugh. I get it; they were tired or comfortable or whatever. I really didn’t need the foodie image. Really. Now I’ll tell you, this came from Adriana Trigiani’s book Rococco, but I’m not picking on her alone. This afternoon, while teaching a class, we were discussing paragraph organization, and here’s a quote directly from the textbook: “… the line of thought in paragraph B swerves about like a car without a steering wheel.” I honestly had to pause to let that one take effect. Like moths to a flame, writers seem to be drawn to similes, and if even the textbook uses these (in my opinion) ridiculous analogies, who am I to complain?

My academic background is in English and technical writing and editing, so these choices get my back up. Once or twice, I guess they’re ok. Any more than that, and the writing is lazy. The opening to Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits is one of my favorite, so let’s look at it in all of its simile-free glory:

Barrabas came to us by sea, the child Clara wrote in her delicate calligraphy …. Barrabas arrived on a Holy Thursday. He was in a despicable cage, caked with his own excrement and urine, and had the lost look of a hapless, utterly defenseless prisoner; but the regal carriage of his head and the size of his frame bespoke the legendary giant he would become.

How different would that phrase ring if we changed it:

Barrabas came to us be sea, the child Clara wrote in her delicate calligraphy like filigreed gold …. Barrabas arrived on a Holy Thursday. He was in a despicable cage, caked with his own excrement and urine, and had the lost look of a hapless, utterly defenseless prisoner like the image of Jesus walking to Golgotha. Like a king, the regal carriage of his head and the size of his frame bespoke the legendary giant he would become.

Like a fly in the ointment, Allende’s lovely passage is, well, less lovely. The imagery and the symbolism in the real excerpt are certainly there (interpret as you wish), but if you make it explicit, the words lose their impact. No more interpretation. Less beauty.

So why are authors still doing it? In PCN’s post comments, many blame the writer, and yes, the writer should be held accountable. However, as an editor (in name only, not career), I cringe to think that a professional editor lets manuscripts slide from her desk with these sorts of stylistic choices. The job of an editor is to take what the author created and make it better – grammatically and stylistically. One of my categories on this blog is “where are the editors,” and I’ve started using the tag whenever appropriate. I mean, I get it: Writers tend to use similar words and word phrases and may not always pick up on them. Editors should.

Stay tuned for more “Where are the editors?” posts…


Picky Boy’s Review of Winter’s Bone

Picky Boy in New York City here! Thanks to Picky Girl for asking me to jump in and contribute a post here and there this summer.

There has always been a reverence in my filmlover heart for independent film. When I saw Jim Sheridan’s In America, I experienced my first involuntary standing ovation in a movie theater. I still gush over Junebug (starring Amy Adams) & rave about Lonergan’s You Can Count on Me as though it came out this year.

Before you read on, let it be known…let it resound from the New York City rooftops: I love independent film.

So when I heard whispers of a small film receiving accolades and awards (It won the 2010 Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, for goodness sakes!), I knew I had to see the movie. I called a couple friends, hopped on the 1 train to Lincoln Center and bought a ticket for Winter’s Bone.

If you are one of those people who can’t get enough of a monochromatic color scheme or if watching boots traipse through a leafy forest for roughly 20% of a film really does it for you…then by all means, see this film. I, for one, wish I could turn back the clock, take that $13 (ridiculous, I know) and redistribute it for a plate of General Tso’s chicken across the street at Ollie’s…ah, well. Choices.

Winter’s Bone, based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell, centers around a 17-year-old girl named Ree Dolly (played by newcomer Jennifer Lawrence) on a backwoods odyssey trying to find her meth-cookin’ deadbeat father. If you’re a clinically-depressed individual without the will to live amidst the civilized and you’re looking for a place to summer but the Hamptons seems a bit too trendy or Fire Island just isn’t your style…try the Ozarks. Director Debra Granik paints a picture of possibly the worst place to reside in America. I’m pretty sure the zip code is just some fingernail scratches and a blood smear.

From the opening shot of two children jumping on a trampoline in a yard peppered with old toys and rusty farm equipment to the horrific climax, Winter’s Bone is saturated with an unrelenting bleakness that left me exhausted, not impressed…frustrated, not empathetic.

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone

For a film steeped in grit and extremely realistic subject matter (Yes, Virginia, there is a real Underground Meth-lab Circuit), it somehow came across as dramatic and borderline ridiculous. Some of the language was laughable and contrived. Though the motley crew of sallow-cheeked haggard people Ree visits during her search are undeniably and horrifyingly accurate;  even they seem to be playing dress up in an ill-fitting Mafia-like subculture. I am not that familiar with meth but if no teeth, a severe cheek implosion and an unexplainable craving for Mountain Dew is a result…I say Thanks, but No Thanks. (What drug makes you crave Sunkist and Haribo Gummie Bears?…because I must be doing a lot of it right now.)

A notable performance in the film is Dale Dickey’s intense portrayal of Merab. She aptly straddles the line of affectionate matron and crazy, Deliverance-esque monster as the wife of the meth circuit ‘boss’, Thump (who looks more like a leather daddy, decked out in leather and chains, than an intimidating Don of Meth).

Side Note: How has PETA not focused their crosshairs on this one yet?! There is a scene where you literally watch someone tear a squirrel apart. Tear it. Apart.

If you’re a positive review chaser, then you’ll probably end up seeing Winter’s Bone. But in my humble Picky Boy opinion, this film evokes a big lateral shake of the head and a slight shoulder shrug. I left the movie theater that night in need of a real pick-me-up, so I picked up some ice cream and popped in The Shining.


Blah Blah Blog

Wow. I am sure you are tired of reading this, but I have been so so busy. Teaching ESL and developmental writing has worn me out, especially at the pace of a summer session (19 class days), and I have mostly been watching Arrested Development (absolutely hilarious) and finishing up a Ruth Rendell novel, End in Tears. It was my first venture into the world of Inspector Wexford, and I must say, it wasn’t the most enjoyable jaunt. The story seemed to drag; I didn’t really care who the murderer was. Plus, the writing was really awkward. There were many times when I had to re-read a sentence to ascertain the meaning.

That said, I read two phenomenal books last week and continue thinking about them this week. I haven’t reviewed Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, although the post is begun. I am not sure if it was the audio format or the material itself, but I am having a difficult time completing my review.

Tomorrow, my developmental writing students have to take a timed essay test (college policy, not mine), so I will be bringing one of my library books along for company. I hope it is not the sort of test where I am expected to watch them the entire time. A. They are adults. B. I am an adult. and C. I WILL GO INSANE. I cannot stand having absolutely nothing to do. Yet, the first sentence I wrote in this post seems to be complaining of the very opposite. Oh well. You were warned I am picky.

Now I’m off to choose a library book. I’ll keep you posted…


I have a confession…. I’ve been cheating.

Yes, it’s true. As much as I love to read, and as much as I love reading blogs about books, I really really love good DIY design. You see, design used to be relegated to stiff, wealthy women with bouffant hairdos and lots of jewelry, but in this day and age, anyone can design. I love it. Since I was in high school, perusing through Martha Stewart’s Living (my wonderful mom bought me a subscription for my birthday), I would pull pages out of magazines and stash them away for the day I had my own space. I have a binder full of these pages, separated by decor, gardening, recipes, things-I-must-have-someday-when-I-have-money, and gift ideas.

Living in apartments, I would hunt for pieces for that place I knew would be mine someday. Lo and behold, here I am, one year and four months into homeownership, and I am a design blog junkie. In the mornings – that is, before summer school began – I would wake up and bleary-eyed, sit at the computer for my daily dose of design. Design blogs, for me, don’t even require words (unless to share where and how much an item is). I click and drool. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been too busy even to look at design blogs, but last night I sat here for quite some time, clicking through and catching up on what I missed.

What? you may say. This is supposed to be a book blog. Well, yes, and the book part is coming, but I appreciate beauty in many forms, and making a lovely space for me to enjoy reading or just sitting and petting my dog is pretty darn important to me. Enter domino: The Book of Decorating. For those in the know, domino was a fabulous design magazine published from 2005 until last year. Their style was laidback, mostly affordable, and just darn great. I like eclectic, and that’s what domino offered me. Bye bye, hunter green and lots of brass. So long sailboats and themed rooms. When interior design became something for the masses, something truly amazing happened. Vintage came back. Boho chic arrived on scene. Dumpster diving and flea market finds are now all the rage. Etsy is a huge phenomenon. So when domino came out with the book and I saw it at anthropologie, it was the perfect marriage. The cover is absolutely lovely:

More importantly, the inside is full of incredible photos and tips. Each section is broken up by room type and features large spaces, small spaces, trouble spots, etc. There is a decorators’ handbook, which discusses window treatments and upholstery, answering all sorts of questions, such as “Should I hang my curtains above my beautifully-trimmed windows or below?” Yes, this is actually something I never considered but needed to know when hanging curtains. They also discuss rugs – sizes, types, locations. In the very back is what they term “the big black book,” a source for finding the best decorating resources all over the states.

I love this book oh so much. It sits on my coffee table in the living room, but I regularly pick it up for inspiration. I am now to the point in my home that mostly everything is decorated but needs finishing touches. Hopefully, the money I earn from teaching these killer summer sessions will pay off, and I can go back to finding some great pieces and finishing projects I have wanted to start for months. In the meantime, I will “flip through the pages” for you and show you some of my favorite domino rooms. And, to the creators of domino, thank you; maybe when the recession is over you’ll make a comeback? Pretty please?

As for my favorite design sites, here are a few of my favorites based on style, economics (i.e. can I ever afford it?), quantity of projects/photos, and tone of writing. You’d be surprised how many design bloggers come across as snooty or whose designs are just not really that great. Here are the best I’ve found so far:

Young House Love

Centsational Girl

The Lettered Cottage

Green Your Decor

La Dolce Vita

Isabella & Max Rooms


Week in Review

Teaching two classes in a summer session is not for the faint of heart. I’m extremely grateful for the work, but the pace is really difficult. If it were a course I had taught before (or in the last year or so), it wouldn’t be as difficult, but each night is full of prep work for the next morning. I am teaching an Intermediate ESL Reading course from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. I then rush off to the gym – or home if I need extra prep time for my second class – and head to a city about half an hour away to teach Developmental Writing from 12 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Ah, the life of an adjunct.

Teaching ESL is tiring but so rewarding. I have four students: one from Ukraine, two from Saudi Arabia, and one from Iran. Each has a degree from his or her own country and is here to learn English and gain an additional degree in the States. These students are so incredibly eager to learn; in fact, some days, I don’t look up until it’s already 9:30 – past the end of class. One in particular loves to talk about slang. He’s already asked me about the phrases my bad and shotgun and even taught me one: mean mug (giving a mean face, if you’re slang illiterate like I am). However, teaching this course is also exhausting. I have to be conscious of every single word I use as my students’ vocabulary is good but still limited. We have a great book with units that teach a bit of grammar, vocabulary and culture in each lesson. That said, there is still a lot that I have to come up with on my own. Plus, the students have questions outside of the lessons. Try explaining the word certainly to a non-native speaker. I can sense their frustration at times, and I am sure they can sense mine. I have always heard English is a very difficult language to learn, and partly, I think it is because we have so many words like certainly that are not necessary but do assist the language. And don’t get me started on how many times I have to say: “Well, that is an exception.” Grrr.

Developmental Writing is a course for students who are not yet able to matriculate into the regular writing courses offered. Almost every student has some sort of learning problem. On top of that, I am dealing with years of incorrect instruction. Ever heard anyone say “Put a comma where you pause”? Yeah, I want to roll that person in poison ivy. (I know. I’m so violent.) Each student is capable of writing a complete sentence, but the writing is littered with fragments, misspellings, and incorrect verbs. It is overwhelming to try to correct that in 19 days, and frankly, I am appalled that the course is being offered in a summer session.

So, dear reader, this picky girl has not had much time to read this June. I come home really exhausted, but this week, I have manages to read the final two books in the Stieg Larsson trilogy and thoroughly enjoyed them. I will try to wrap up my thoughts and write something coherent in a couple of days. I was not sure if I would be able to read the last two as the first really, really scared me (I stayed up all night with a shovel next to my bed). A Facebook friend asked why I was so frightened by it, and I think I would have to say it was the torture/sexual torture aspect of it. I cannot watch Law & Order: SVU either. There is something about that kind of evil that sticks with me. It’s odd because I love mysteries and really do not scare easily when reading. I am glad to say that The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest were not only not scary but very enjoyable. I wish Larsson were still alive to finish the 10 books he had originally planned.

The rest of this week included:

  • making black bean soup (delish)
  • exercising in a Zumba class at the gym (fun!)
  • watching Extract, a Mike Judge film (also creator of Office Space)
  • walking the dog
  • napping
  • trying to find energy to blog

This evening, I was planning to go with my Wine Night girlfriends to Kemah (near Houston, Texas) for a special Wine Night on the water. One of the girls’ fathers owns a boat and property on the water and was planning to take us out to enjoy fireworks and wine. Unfortunately, I strained a muscle in my low back this morning and won’t make it. So now, I’m debating on what book to start next. Happy reading to all, and happy weekend!


A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam

It’s not often I venture from the tried and true. I’m an American lit girl. I’ll stray for a good mystery, and I’ve always loved British lit, but I’m an American reader through and through. I’m fascinated by novels of race and identity, and the collective consciousness of American writers intrigues me. However, I’m also very open minded as a reader. (Yes, you can be open minded and picky – I promise… I know you were thinking it.) The world of book blogging has made me consciously consider my reading choices, and for that, I am very grateful. I don’t mean that I run out and pick up the book about which everyone is blogging. Far from it. I would much rather find my own rewarding reads. The library makes that a possibility for me. I know some bloggers are making a concerted effort not to spend money on books for very valid and personal reasons. My reason is necessity. This past year, after quitting a lucrative but miserable job to teach as a university adjunct instructor (a choice I don’t regret in the least), life has been difficult financially. So the library enables me to make adventurous choices in my reading.

A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam was an adventurous choice for me. Set in Dhaka, East Pakistan (Bangladesh) and in the 1970s, the surroundings were completely foreign to me. I love to travel, but have never visited this region of the world. The novel opens with the words: “Dear Husband, I lost our children today.” No, the children have not died, and no, they are not simply lost in the colorful markets of Bangladesh. Rehana Haque, widow, has been declared unfit to raise her children because she has little money and took her children out of school to see Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor. She grieves, and in grieving, her brother and sister-in-law make a play to raise the children on their own across all of India in Lahore, West Pakistan. This event shakes Rehana deeply and forever alters her life even though she is able to get her children back. As grown children, Sohail and Maya are headstrong, enthusiastic, convicted citizens who want a better life and a better country. When her son decides to join in fighting, he leaves and cannot stop him, “not just so she would have Sohail’s confidence, but because she could not blame anyone but herself for making him so fine, so ready to take charge. This was who she had hoped he would become, even if she had never imagined that her son, or the world, would come to this.” Rehana worries her children will be lost to her once again when internal and external conflicts threaten their existence.

A tale of love, loss, heartbreak, war, and sacrifice, A Golden Age is full of humanity and the lengths to which a mother can and will go in the fight for her children.


Carrie Bradshaw is a real you-know-what.

Sorry, dear reader, for my absolute lack of posts this week. I’ll be back next week. I have been prepping for the start of summer school at the university. I have been reading, but it’s been textbook reading, and I figured you guys may not be too interested in what I thought of those books.

This weekend has been busy busy: salsa dancing in Houston Friday, errands and shopping in Houston on Saturday, a dear friend’s housewarming brunch this morning and a viewing of Sex and the City 2 this evening. My thoughts are succinct: Carrie Bradshaw is a real so-and-so, and wow! those are some over-the-top outfits. I may have more thoughts later, but that’s it for now.

Sweet dreams, and happy reading!