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Friday, February 24, 2017

Book Review: "Cranford" by Elizabeth Gaskell - 1851-1853

This book was published in a periodical as installments, and each installment can stand on its own, but they interlink with each other.

It portrays Victorian England in a small town.  The characters are widows and spinsters with very small incomes.  The narrator is a woman who visits them and stays for protracted times.  There is very little known about the narrator.  The stories are about the elderly ladies and their customs.

It is quite funny, actually, and sad in other ways.  There isn't much of a plot, but that doesn't harm the story in the least.  The story telling is always entertaining.

Book Review: "Founding Mothers" by Cokie Roberts

I try to get a few non fiction books in my line up, and I like American history.  This was a good pick because it gives a different view of the Revolutionary period.

It is no surprise that many of the women of the time were politically engaged.  The book delves most heavily into the lives of Abigail Adams and Martha Washington, but includes many other women, too.  Some are active players, some are just defending their homes, some are supportive of their husbands and then there is Peggy Arnold--supporter of the traitor Benedict Arnold.  All of them are interesting.  I really liked this book.  It still tells of the male side of history, so we can see where the female side fit in.  The nice thing about it is that all the people felt real.  They may have been heroes, but they were human heroes.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Great Morning

The weather was terrific, again.  After I went on another somewhat successful trail ride with Ellen, I hung out with Kevin.  First, we went to see a Great Horned Owl nest he found on the parkway in Rocky River Reservation.  It is just south of Uranus on the opposite side of the street.  Just look for the gathering crowd of birdwatchers.  We were able to see the owl on her nest without binoculars, but with them, we could see her little baby, too.

Since we were close, we just had to go see the eagle's nest on Grayton Road.  They are sitting on their eggs, right now, so we couldn't see the one that was sitting inside the nest, but we saw on on a tree, very close to the nest.  I guess the eggs will hatch, soon.  We will be back.  We have known about that nest for years.

Next, we hiked at the golf course trail.  It used to be a nice bridle trail, and the first section of it still is.  Once you go up the hill, though, the erosion is just awful.  It simply would not be worth the risk to try to ride a hose through it, but it is still safe to hike.  I doubt if the park will try to fix it, again.  The trail is a dead end, so it isn't a huge loss, but it is a shame to lose any of our bridle trails.

Lastly, it was time for lunch.  Kevin and I love Burger King.  Actually, we are rather addicted.  I like my whoppers without mayo and with BBQ added.  They are healthier and tastier that way.

Then I went home to rest a bit before me dog walk.  It was a busy and fun-filled day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Book Review: “Blonde” by Joyce Carol Oates

Book Review: “Blonde” by Joyce Carol Oates

Is there any author out there that can bring a character to life better than Joyce Carol Oates?  In this highly fictionalized account of the life of Marilyn Monroe, she does just that.  The book isn’t entirely accurate, as Oates explains at the very beginning, but that doesn't matter.  It is the essence of Marilyn that is the most important part of the story.

Reading this book was much like watching the movie “Titanic.”  I knew the tragic ending from the very beginning, but in this case, I didn’t know much about the tragic life that led up to her suicide.  

This is a sad, sad story that is so well written.  It has forever changed how I view her movies and her image.

Book Review: “Mary Barton” by Elizabeth Gaskell - 1848

Book Review: “Mary Barton” by Elizabeth Gaskell - 1848

This is Elizabeth Gaskell’s first novel.  She wanted to show the poverty experienced by the working class in her town of Manchester, England.  Deftly, she describes the conflicts between labor and the owners of the cotton mill without taking sides, yet shows that the misunderstandings between the two are caused by lack of awareness and communication.

Yet, she doesn’t get bogged down in all of it.  The novel has a lot of death, just like the two previous novels I read of hers, but death seems like such an important part of life in previous centuries where medicine isn’t as advanced as today.  

The story also has romance--and even murder with a dramatic trial.

It was a great read.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Book Review: "The Job, An American Novel" by Sinclair Lewis - 1917

What was it like to go into the business world in 1917 if you were a woman?  Read this novel and find out all about it.  It wasn't as easy as it is today, of course.

There were a lot of similarities, too.  I loved the descriptions of office life.  The humdrum, sheer boredom made me want to laugh.  Sounds like my old office life.  The way the noise can make someone want to scream, the attitudes of the fellow workers and the feeling like you aren't getting anywhere.

Our protagonist, Una, learned something that I knew and never practiced.  The only way to really move up is to move on.  Employers take the status quo for granted, and if you do a good job, they are happy to keep you in that position forever.

She makes friends, networks, tries love with mixed results.

It wasn't Sinclair Lewis' best book, but it was certainly a worthwhile one for a woman who used to be in business, herself, to read.