July 3, 2015

Cinemascope: Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids

Cinemascope is a regular blog post where I will share with you movies and TV shows I think are worth watching.



Released in 2014.


Plot line: A tribute to the resiliency of childhood and the restorative power of art, BORN INTO BROTHELS is a portrait of several unforgettable children who live in Calcutta's red light district, where there mothers work as prostitutes. Spurred by the kids' facination with her camera, Zana Briski, a New-York-based photographer living in the brothels and documenting life there, decides to teach them photography. As they begin to look at and record their world through new eyes, the kids, who society refused to recognize, awaken for the first time to their own talents and sense of worth. Filmmakers Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski capture the way in which beauty can be found even the seemingly bleakest and most helpless of places, and how art and education can empower children to transform their lives.

This is the second time I've watched this documentary. What I really love about it is that we hear the children's stories in their own words. Delightful and heartbreaking, this one continues to stay with me.

You can see the trailer here, or watch the entire documentary here. If you have yet to see it, this is a movie worth watching.

June 30, 2015

Journal pages

I've decided to simplify my journal and art supplies for the summer. You can see a video of my current kit here.


Something I love to do in my journals is create a page using all the daily ephemera that accumulates in my life. These bricolage pages are easy to do, and wonderfully capture a place and time


The page above was inspired by Amy Davis. I'm not one for fashion illustration, but really like her work, and wanted to try on her style. The pic shows the supplies I used. Since I was home, I added some markers in to the mix.


Added some text and called it done. So fun. As always, click on images to view larger.

June 29, 2015

Recent Reads

72. Just So Happens
This graphic novel has wonderful sketchy watercolory (yes I just made up that word) art, and is quite lovely to look at. The story/plot however is so thin as to be almost transparent (pun intended). The questions asked are universal ones, especially for those of us who left home and now live in a country different from the one we were born and raised in. Yumiko was born in Japan, but now lives in London. Happily by all accounts, but when she learns of her father's death, she returns for the funeral, and is struck by the rituals of life in her birth country. 

This story disappointingly does not explore deeply any of the various themes it could have, so while I really liked the art, this is not a book I'd recommend. Rating: 2 stars.


73. The People in the Trees
This book was my book club selection for the month. I started out reading the ebook, but found it difficult to get into the story as I did not like the point of view of the main character, and had a hard time looking out through his eyes. So I switched over to the audiobook, and people, if you are going to read this book, I would highly recommend the audio. The one I listened to had three narrators - Arthur Morey, William Roberts, Erin Yuen, and they are so, so good. I found that unlike reading the ebook, having the book read to me created the separation I needed to appreciate the novel.

I love first contact stories, and if you do too, add this one to your reading pile. If you are a fan of this genre, then you already know there there are moral and ethical dilemmas galore awaiting you, but this story ups the ante in so many ways.

To say that the main character is unlikable would be the understatement of year, but I think a huge part of this story works, because of that. The author is wonderfully skilled, and I so appreciated (though did not necessarily enjoy) the journey she took me on. She sets up moral/ethical quandaries, and once you get as comfortable as you can get, she ups the ante. Are you comfortable now? Repeat. How about now? Is there a moral line you will not cross? I gotta tell you I've spent many tough hours in very dark tunnels with only a little flashlight, and I cannot think of the last time a book did that to me.

I heard the author describe this book as "science in fiction" as opposed to science fiction, and I could not agree more. There is an authenticity to this novel that is hard to put into words. Using footnotes, real science and history all helped to create the illusion that I was reading an actual adventurer's log as opposed to a novel. And this is her debut novel? Cannot wait to read her new one.

The book club members were mixed in their reviews of the book, but it sure sparked a fascinating and lively discussion. This is not an easy story in any sense of the word, but is well worth a read. The only reason it did not get five stars is because at no point in the story did I enjoy myself. But I might reconsider and add the extra star after several more days spent in sunlight. Rating: 4 stars.


74. Flight Volume One (Flight #1)
First you need to know that while I'm a huge fan of the graphic novel, I am neither a fan of short stories nor anthologies, and that is what this book is. A collection of graphic stories. I did not know that going in. Mea culpa. 

The stories are all about flight in one way or another, and while I quite liked the art, many of the stories in this collection were really weak. That being said, there is wide variety of stories and artistic styles, and for that reason alone it might make sense to grab a library copy and give it a look-see. 

I've got the next book in the series waiting for me, and will report back if I like it better. Rating: 2 stars.

June 28, 2015

June was a happy pride one indeed

June draws to a close, and with the recent SCOTUS ruling, it has been a happy one indeed. Here is a lovely video to celebrate. #ProudToLove



If the embedded video not work, click here.

June 26, 2015

LoveWins

"It is so ordered."




Huge, huge day of celebration today.

Here is how Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored today’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States, closed his opinion.
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered. "



Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: 2015 Wellesley College Commencement Speaker (Video)

This woman. She is a goddess in my pantheon.



If the embedded video does not work, click here.

June 25, 2015

Cinemascope: Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens

Cinemascope is a regular blog post where I will share with you movies and TV shows I think are worth watching.



Released in 2007.


Plot line: This film traces the artistic self-realization of Annie Leibovitz, from childhood through the death of her beloved friend, Susan Sontag, and includes snippets of Leibovitz's last visual memories of Sontag. The film traces the arc of her photographic life, her aspirations to artistry, and the trajectory of her career through phases that included the tumultuous sixties in Berkeley, CA., touring with the Rolling Stones, a mentorship by Hunter S. Thompson, and, later, capturing the last candid moments of John Lennon's life with Yoko Ono. It closes with her reflections on life, children, and the the wake of her relationship with Sontag. The archival material presented here is invaluable for framing an understanding of this immeasurably influential visual artist.

I stumbled upon this PBS American Masters documentary the other day. If you are even remotely interested in photography or creative art, give this biography a try. I love Annie Leibovitz's work. Yes, there is a lot of celebrity work, but her creative genius is undeniable.

You can see the movie trailer here. If you have yet to see it, this is a movie worth watching.

June 23, 2015

Journal pages

I've decided to simplify my journal and art supplies for the summer. You can see a video of my current kit here.


Getting back into sketching after a hiatus, and I can tell that my muscles need work. I liked this guy's hair - and yes he does look like he's had a bit too much sun.



Opus was down on the boat for a visit, and we had unexpected a unexpected fireworks display in the North End. Both of these sketches were done on the boat with pen and watercolors. As always, click on images to view larger.

June 22, 2015

Recent Reads

68. Re-Gifters
Jen Dik Seong, known as Dixie to her friends, well really friend (singular), is a first generation Korean American girl, who has a black belt in Hapkido - an ancient marital art. She has her first major crush, and this has left her not only distracted, but she has lost her Ki. Will she find it again?

This graphic novel targeted at the teen reader is a lovely exploration of first loves, friendship, and the struggle to figure out who you are. The black, white and grey illustrations are fun, and I especially liked that the story explores themes of immigrant culture, money, positive female friendships, and how we often find what we are looking for in unexpected places. The story line is a little predictable for the adult reader, but I loved that this was a very girl positive book. Isn't it about time we had more of that? Rating: 4 stars.


69. My Pen
This picture book for young kids is filled with wonderfully detailed drawings, but I was not drawn (pun intended) into the text on the pages. Ah well. Rating: 2 stars.

70. The Love Bunglers (Love and Rockets)
Let me start by saying that I've spent zero time reading the Love and Rockets books that this graphic novel draws upon, and I have little doubt that it affected my reading. Even though I had no idea who these characters were going in, I was still sucked into the story. A tale of family secrets, and the havoc that they cause in the lives of everyone concerned. I liked that the tale was told from various points of view, but all centered around Maggie. There were a couple of wordless pages that I was totally lost during - I assume that it was me. The art is really good, and evokes the right mood for this story. I'm now curious about the Love and Rockets series and plan to read them as well. Rating: 3 stars.

71. Fall of Kings (Troy #3)
This, the final book in the Troy Trilogy is a rollicking good ride. The author died before completing this one, so his wife took over, and while I can tell where the transition happened, I enjoyed every moment of this story.

The authors change some of the "facts" of the story, but I was OK with it. I particularly liked how the death of Hektor was done in this version (that should not be a spoiler people). Since that was one of the tough parts of the story for me (never mind the hundreds of thousands of deaths!), I appreciated this touch. Pages before the battle between Hektor and Achilles, I found myself slowing way down, as I did not want to get to that scene. There are tie-ins with some other myths that I also found interesting - the plagues of Egypt in particular. The ending was a little too happily-ever-after for my tastes - but after all those battles and death, I guess a little happy isn't too much to ask for.

The epic saga and the age of heroes draws to a close in this book. There are acts of bravery and courage, betrayal and cowardice, insanity and beauty, love and loss. Those Greeks sure knew how to capture the essence of the human condition. So good. Rating: 4 stars.

June 20, 2015

CY365 | May Done | June Update

Are you playing along with the CY365 project? You can read more about what I'm doing here.

Here is another week of 2015 Captured.



150/365 - 053015 #Memento #cy365
In case you did not already know it, I love all things nautical. These huge anchors are impressive, and it is quite fun to watch little kids use them as slides. #charlestownnavyyard #sailingseason #anchor #onmywalktoday


151/365 - 053115 #RainyDay #cy365
We've had so little rain that I'd almost forgotten the lovely sound it makes. An added bonus is that much of the pollen is getting cleared out of the air. #onmywalktoday saw puddles with pollen slicks. #pollenbegone #puddles


152/365 - 060115 #CurrentlyReading #cy365
Listening to Shadow Divers by #RobertKurson on my long walks.#bookstagram #summerreads #audiobook #ReadingOnTheBoat


153/365 - 060215 #JuneFires #cy365
June starts off cold enough for fleece clothing and evening fires. #whathappenedtospring


154/365 - 060315 #Radiant #cy365
Attended the local middle school's Spring Concert this evening. The approximately 240 students ranged from 5th to 8th grade. My nephew Luke plays both the clarinet and alto sax, and he rocked it. #lovethiskid #thiskidlovesjazz #proudauntie

155/365 - 060415 #TripPlanning #cy365
Family members will be gathering in a month, so time for some trip planning. #Fodor's #Frommer's #bookstagram #currentlyreading #GrandCanyon #Vegas #travel #summerreads #librarybooks


156/365 - 060515 #SummerBBQ #cy365
Fired up the new Weber for an easy summer meal: salad, bbq beef with sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions, and bbq pinapple. #delish #foodie

As always, click on photos to view larger. You can also follow along with daily updates on my Instagram and Flickr accounts.

June 18, 2015

Cinemascope: Kill the Messenger

Cinemascope is a regular blog post where I will share with you movies and TV shows I think are worth watching.



Released in 2014.

Plot line: Based on the True story of Journalist Gary Webb. The film takes place in the mid 1990s, when Webb uncovered the CIA's past role in importing huge amounts of cocaine into the U.S. that was aggressively sold in ghettos across the country to raise money for the Nicaraguan Contras rebel army. Despite enormous pressure not to, Webb chose to pursue the story and went public with his evidence, publishing the series "Dark Alliance". As a result he experienced a vicious smear campaign fueled by the CIA. At that point Webb found himself defending his integrity, his family, and his life.

A movie made squarely for a thinking adult audience. I knew nothing about this man and this story, and was both fascinated and horrified as the story unfolded. 

You can see the movie trailer here. If you have yet to see it, this a movie worth watching.

June 17, 2015

Gillian Anderson's self-portrait (Video)

Have you seen this? 

Actor Gillian Anderson analyses her reflection while looking down the lens of the camera and drawing her self-portrait on an iPad. Through this intimate process she reveals her thoughts about her perception of her own beauty, her insecurities and how fame has affected her.



If the embedded video does not work, click here.

June 16, 2015

Journal pages

I've decided to simplify my journal and art supplies for the summer. You can see a video of my current kit here.


We spend as much time on the boat during the summer months as possible, and I wanted to have a portable kit that could I could easily travel around with.


These are the first two pages of my new Strathmore journal. Yes, I dived in and started right on the first page. Both pages were done on the boat using pen and watercolors. As always click on images to view larger.

June 15, 2015

Recent Reads

65. Roller Girl
This graphic novel targeted at the middle school reader is a wonderful story about the complexity of friendships, and the grit to go after your dreams.

Twelve year old Astrid is smitten when she attends a Roller Derby event, and decides to sign up for derby camp. Turns out her best friend Nicole plans to attend dance camp instead. Astrid has to negotiate new challenges, face her fears, and negotiate some tough stuff. This is a fun and fast read that explores some complex themes, and would make a great gift for tween girls.
  Rating: 4 stars.


66. Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2: Generation Why
This volume collections Ms. Marvel #6-11.

Our Pakistani-American super heroine is getting more comfortable with her powers, but that doesn't mean that all is going smoothly on the home front. I really like the exploration of the struggle Kamala has being her bad-ass self, while trying to be the good girl her family expects her to be. In this installment, the Inventor has a nefarious plan. Will he succeed? While I was not really enamored with him, I did like how Kamala goes all fan girly upon meeting Wolverine, and though I am not a dog person, I loved Lockjaw.

This continues to be a fun series and I look forward to seeing what (mis)adventures our girl gets into next. Rating: 3 stars.


67. Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral
My thoughts about a quarter way through: I suddenly feel underdressed without a couple of guns slung on my hips.

My Dad is a huge fan of Westerns, so as kids we watched every one at least a handful of times. I grew up knowing all about the gunfight at the O.K. Corral - though I could not have found Arizona on a map, and had to look up the word corral. 

It is often said that history is the tale told by the victors; well, sometimes it can be the tale told due to a very persistent wife. This historical fiction is a tale many of us heard as kids - the one about Wyatt Earp, the super-hero style lawman, and the events leading up to that fateful battle, when only the good remained standing. Well, the facts do not exactly match the mythology, and it was interesting to read some of the back story of the Earp brothers, Doc Holliday, and the various women in their lives. 

I am fascinated by the subject matter, but I did not find the book as compelling a read as I expected when I first started it. Many of the characters important to the story play key roles in the book, but I often found them a little too thinly sketched, and interchangeable. The plot itself drags in the middle of the book, and the last several chapters were rather strange, though important to telling (emphasis on that word) about how the mythology was spun. It also turns out that I was more fascinated by the women in this story, and would love to read a book about them. Still, I look forward to meeting the author this weekend at Booktopia, Vermont, and discussing this famous American story. Rating: 3 stars.

June 13, 2015

CY365 | May Update

Are you playing along with the CY365 project? You can read more about what I'm doing here.

Here is another week of 2015 Captured.



143/365 - 052315 #Open #cy365
An open blank page is full of possibilities. Spent a little time sketching after breakfast this morning. #ArtOnTheBoat #art #sketches #artsupplies #sketchbook #draw #watercolorpencils #waterbrush #strathmore


144/365 - 052415 #Evoked #cy365
Our summer home always evokes a smile. I love #sailingseason in #Boston. #boats #sailing #BostonHarbor #nofilter


145/365 - 052615 #Devoted #cy365
One of the really cool things about the Navy Yard is the devotion that the sailors have for these old vessels. #boats #sailingseason #charlestownnavyyard #onmywalktoday


146/354 - 052615 #Finished #cy365
Just need to add some text and the date, and my #sketch for today will be finished. Inspired by #AmyDavis. #artsupplies #sketchbook #strathmore #watercolor #markers #drawing #artjournal


147/365 - 052715 #Arid #cy365
All the rain clouds seem to disintegrate before they get to us, and we really need the rain. The chipmunks are playing in the drizzles from the garden hose. Saw this lovely window box #onmywalktoday. #flowers #urbangarden #nature


148/365 - 052815 #RightNow #cy365
Much cooler down on the water, and it is quite fun watching the fog bank roll in over #Boston. #boats #BostonHarbor #sailingseason


149/364 - 052915 #Twilight #cy365
There is something magical about twilight on the water. Love my summer hood. #sailingseason #BostonHarbor #boats #onmywalktoday #courageoussailingclub

As always, click on photos to view larger. You can also follow along with daily updates on my Instagram and Flickr accounts.

June 11, 2015

Cinemascope: The Missing (Season 1)

Cinemascope is a regular blog post where I will share with you movies and TV shows I think are worth watching.



Released in 2014.

Plot line: When Tony and Emily Hughes travel to France with their 5-year-old son Oliver, their family holiday turns into a nightmare when Oliver disappears into the crowd of a busy French street.

This eight episode BBC/Starz mini-series follows the aftermath of a child's abduction. The story unfolds wonderfully, and things we know in present day are slowly revealed with flashbacks. I especially loved how the show weaves in the backstory of various characters seamlessly into the narrative. 

You can see the Season 1 trailer here. If you have yet to see it, this is TV worth watching.

June 9, 2015

My Favorite Things: OnBeing Podcast

My Favorite Things is a regular blog post where I will share with you something that currently delights me.




Plot line: On Being with Krista Tippett takes up the big questions with scientists and theologians, artists and teachers — some you know and others you'll love to meet. Each week a new discovery about the immensity of our lives.

I love listening to podcasts, and this one is an old favorite of mine. The show releases both an edited and unedited version of the interviews, and I tend to listen to both - I pick which one depending on the guest. 

Early this week I finished listening to the unedited version of the one with Pico Iyer: The Art of Stillness. I tell you it felt like a long, cold drink after months in the desert for my being. Another unedited episode I listened to recently was the one with Mary Oliver: Listening to the WorldIt  nourishes me in countless ways to listen to and connect with some of the great thinkers and teachers of our time.

You can get more information and the downloads here. If you have not already listened to it, this is a podcast worth listening to. 

June 8, 2015

Recent Reads

61. Good as Lily
This Young Adult graphic novel is a fun and fast read, and I especially liked that the story focused on a Korean-American girl and her story.

Something strange happened to Grace Kwon on her eighteenth birthday. She runs into (literally) herself at three different ages - specifically at ages six, twenty nine, and seventy. Her life is complicated enough, what with applying to colleges, and trying to save a school play, and now she has to deal with her past and her present selves colliding as well.

Take a moment and think about what would happen if your past and present selves met today. There are so many avenues and themes that this story could have explored, and I was disappointed that it did not delve into any of them. Yes, it is a YA book, but surely teens can deal with more complex themes than this book portrayed no? The black and white illustrations are sketchy and effective. So while not a book I loved, it was refreshing to encounter some diversity in this genre. Rating: 3 stars.


62. Sandrine's Case
This was my book club selection this month, and I am clearly the wrong audience for it. If it had not been for book club, I would have bailed on it about 25 or so pages in.

Sandrine is dead, and her husband is on trial for her murder. But I'm not sure I'd classify this one as a mystery, or even a crime story. It is more an exploration of a long term term relationship, what the people in it know and do not know, and whether any of our relationships could withstand the scrutiny of a trial. 

I have many complaints about the writing, the lack of character development, the lack of emotional credibility, the unclear motivations of the characters, and the sheer tedium of reading a story I cared not one whit about. However, having read to the end, I did find some nuggets that added an extra star to my rating of this book. Rating: 2 stars.


63. Yo, Miss: A Graphic Look At High School
Education is a subject near and dear to my heart, and as a person who taught for a couple of years in an urban school system, I know that whether a student succeeds or not has as much to do with what happens outside the classroom as within it. 

This is graphic memoir of a long time teacher at Wildcat Academy - a school in New York City where students are all considered at-risk, and are given their very last chance at graduating with a high school diploma. I liked the honesty of this book. The author takes an unflinching look at her students, their environments, and the education system, without giving herself a halo or wings. The black and white illustrations work well, though I did have a tough time telling some of the kids apart. 

As a society, the education of kids affects us all, and every parent should feel comfortable having their kids attend any school. If we do not, we might ask ourselves why that is. I'd highly recommend this book to parents, teachers, and anyone interested in education. Rating: 4 stars.


64. The Fifth Gospel
Murder, mystery, Vatican shenanigans, the Shroud of Turin - all of these should be right up my alley, but after 100 pages, I could care less and am bored. So bailing on this one. Oh well. Rating: 1 star.

June 7, 2015

My 2015 Summer Art Journal Kit (Video)

A short video about my current kit. I've trimmed down my supplies for the summer so as to make it as portable as possible.



If the embedded video does not work, click here.

June 6, 2015

CY365 | May Update

Are you playing along with the CY365 project? You can read more about what I'm doing here.

Here is another week of 2015 Captured.



136/365 - 051615 #LitUp #cy365
The Easter cactus in our home is a late bloomer, but the blossoms sure light up the room. #nature #flowers


137/365 - 051715 #Distance #cy365
Postcards are one of my fave ways to stay in touch with dear ones near and far. It's a fun way to let them know that I'm thinking of them. #usps #snailmail


138/365 - 051815 #Empty #cy365
When, oh when, will school be out for the summer? #playground


139/365 - 051915 #RoomToMove #cy365
The street sweeper was by this morning, and I was quite delighted with the patterns left on the clean roads. #onmywalktoday


140/365 - 052015 #Chores #cy365
Some days the flowers I stop and smell are at Trader Joe's. #natureindoors #flowers


141/365 - 052115 #Serenity #cy365
The serenity and solitude of early morning walks are one of my fave things. #flowers #nature #onmywalktoday


142/365 - 052215 #Solo #cy365
#OldIronsides is dry docked for some work, and with her masts unstepped she looks like she's had a bad haircut. #ussconstitution #Boston #boats #sailingseason #sailing #onmywalktoday

As always, click on photos to view larger. You can also follow along with daily updates on my Instagram and Flickr accounts.

June 4, 2015

Cinemascope: The Fall (Season 2)

Cinemascope is a regular blog post where I will share with you movies and TV shows I think are worth watching.



Released in 2014.

Plot line: A psychological thriller that examines the lives of two hunters. One is a serial killer who stalks his victims in and around Belfast and the other is a talented Detective Superintendent from the MET who is brought in to catch him.

This is a BBC/Netflix Original Series, and I for one was delighted when Season 2 was released. Gillian Anderson carries this show. And that scene between her and Archie Panjabi makes the entire season worth watching. 

You can see the Season 2 trailer here. If you have yet to see it, this is TV worth watching.

June 2, 2015

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Word Crimes (Video)

This just makes me happy.



If the embedded video not work, click here.

June 1, 2015

Recent Reads

58. Sweetland
This is an example of a book where the GoodReads summary gives away important plot points, so I'm glad that I did not read it before cracking the book open.

Here is book blurb that contains no spoilers: The town of Sweetland clings to the shore of a remote island off the craggy coast of Newfoundland, where its eccentric inhabitants have lived for twelve generations. For a tight-knit community dependent on the declining fishing industry, the island's erosion has finally come to a head with the local government offering each islander a generous resettlement package to vacate and move to the mainland. But to receive the package, everyone must leave.

This book got on my radar because the author will attend Booktopia Vermont this year. The title of the book refers to both an island and a character. Think of this story as domestic fiction set on a remote island, amidst hardscrabble lands and people. The plot hinges around the point that everyone must leave, and of course there are some hold outs, the most notable being the main character Moses Sweetland. The story is told in present time with flashbacks to multiple timelines interspersed through out the book, each of which helps to flesh out the characters and their stories quite effectively.

If you are looking for a thriller or fast paced story, look elsewhere. This story is a meditation on life, loss, family, and home. The plot took a turn I did not expect, and I was interested to see if things would pan out as I suspected or not. The writing is good, I enjoyed all the boat and outdoor scenes, and I was intrigued enough to read to the end. That being said, I enjoyed the first half of the story much more than the second. This is the first book I've read by the author and it will not be my last. Rating: 3 stars.


59. Thessaly: Witch for Hire
So there is this ghost, and he is in love with a witch. I guess that would make it a paranormal romance. Or does that label only apply if one of the parties is human? Labels can be so confusing. 

Sandman readers might recall first meeting Thessaly in one of the early books. She is the oldest, most powerful witch around, and the last of her kind. Oh, and she likes to keep a low profile. It does not help that this ghost is in love with her, and you just know that things are not going to be low key when he is around. 

This graphic novel is a fun, fast read, and while it does not have the depth and nuance of the Sandman books, I liked it. Rating: 3 stars.


60. Shield of Thunder (Troy #2)
This is book #2 in the Troy Trilogy, and while it was not as fantastic as the first book, it was still a fun read.

We meet some new characters: Piria, a runaway priestess nursing a terrible secret, Kalliades, a warrior with a legendary sword, and Banokles who will carve his own legend in the battles to come. While I liked these new characters, I did not find them as interesting as the original cast of characters, who still play a part in this book, though not as much as I'd have liked. There are some interesting twists and turns that I enjoyed, but this book is about war. It has started and no-one on the Great Green is safe. Alliances are formed and broken, people behave honorably or are betrayed by trusted allies. Lots and lots of people die.

The saga continues with beautiful men and strong women, and Hektor and Achilles enter stage left. How is it that I had not read before that Achilles had a lesbian sister? As for Hektor's secret shame - did not see that coming. 

This book suffers from the typical middle book slump, and the first half is better than the second. I already have the final book on its way to me, and I've read that the author died while writing it, so am curious to see how his wife finished it. And yes, I know how this story ends, and am already bracing myself for dark days ahead. Rating: 3 stars.

May 30, 2015

CY365 | May Update

Are you playing along with the CY365 project? You can read more about what I'm doing here.

Here is another week of 2015 Captured.


128/365 - 050915 #TuckedIn #cy365
Brekkie is one of my fave meals of the day, and I tuck into a veggie egg scramble most mornings. #delish #foodie


130/365 - 051015 #HappyMothersDay #cy365
Wishing my #Mom and all Moms a day filled with hugs, laughter and love. #momsoftheworld


131/365 - 051215 #Foot #cy365
Picked a foot or so of #librarybooks today. #bookstagram #timetoread


132/365 - 051215 #InNature #cy365
Love that the bleeding hearts are out in the garden. #lovelies #nature


133/365 - 051315 #Tasty #cy365
Dinner tonight consisted of home made empanadas and a salad. Delighted that we have #delish leftovers. #yummy #foodie


134/365 - 051415 #Cherished #cy365
Time alone with some magazines and a soy chai tea latte. #bliss #timefortea


135/365 - 051515 #Intensity #cy365
One of my fave things about Spring is the sheer intensity and range of greens that pop up. #nature #onmywalktoday

As always, click on photos to view larger. You can also follow along with daily updates on my Instagram and Flickr accounts.

May 26, 2015

Recent Reads

55. Pink
Book blurb: Yumi moonlights as a call girl because her day job doesn't pay enough for her to feed Croc, her voracious pet. Haru, an aspiring novelist who has nothing to say, sleeps with a woman his mother's age not just for the money but to work on his "power of observation." When Yumi's step-mother turns out to be Haru's sugar mommy, it's time for - new shenanigans.

I honestly am not sure how I feel about this oh so strange Japanese graphic novel. I was intrigued to read something by the author, who is women's comics legend, and her imagination is a bizarre land indeed. The pet Croc, is indeed a crocodile for a starters! The book comes with an Ages 18+ warning in bold letters. The sex is explict, and many of the themes would certainly not be appropriate for young readers. At no time did I feel I could relate to any of these characters, or what they were going through, but there is something about this story that sucked me in. I am sure that there are things lost in translation, but this is a story that I will think about for a while to come. Rating: 3 stars.

56. The World of PostSecret

I always have fun reading these collections of postcards mailed in to the author. Each postcard shares a secret. Some I could totally relate to, others not so much. I did not love this one as much as the earlier collections. What I enjoy about these books is the window into the sheer variety and commonality of humanity on the planet. And that makes me happy. Rating: 3 stars.

57. Shovel Ready

I was drawn to this book by the premise: Spademan used to be a garbage man. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed, and before the city became a bombed-out shell of its former self. Now he's a hitman. In a New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to "tap into" a sophisticated virtual reality for months at a time and those left to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets.

I really enjoyed this gritty, dark, violent, often funny sci-fi noir novel. I listened to the audiobook wonderfully narrated by Arthur Morey, whose gravelly voice was pitch perfect for this story. There's a hitman, or four, there's a damsel-in-distress, there are theological musings, and a critique of people who spend all their time in a virtual reality. A fast paced thriller with nuggets like this one: You'll leave a trail of trash on this Earth that will far exceed anything of worth you leave behind. For every ounce of heirloom, you leave a ton of landfill.
It will not be for everyone, but if you like this kind of story, I'd highly recommend this one on audio. Rating: 4 stars. 

May 23, 2015

CY365 | May Update

Are you playing along with the CY365 project? You can read more about what I'm doing here.

Here is another week of 2015 Captured.



122/365 - 050215 #IndependentBookstoreDay #cy365
So many books. So little time. #bookstagram #northshirebookstore #Manchester #vermont #booktopiavt #selfie


123/365 - 050315 - #Surrounded #cy365
There are few things more fun than being surrounded by bookish friends in a bookstore. #booktopiavt #bookstagram #northshirebookstore #Manchester #vermont


124/365 - 050415 #Pause #cy365
Spring has finally sprung! Paused several times on my walk to admire the blooms. #nature #flowers


125/365 - 050515 #WhereIStand #cy365
It is prom season, and I was at #TheOtherWomanTavern looking down at incredibly self-conscious high school seniors at #ThePerfectWifeRestaurant. #OhTheyAreSoYoung #Manchester #vermont


126/365 - 050615 #SpringCelebration #cy365
We had a yummy Sukiyaki dinner at home tonight to celebrate warmer days. #foodie


127/365 - 050715 #ThursdayCrossword #cy365
So love the #latimes daily #crossword #puzzle. Thursday is when it starts to hurt my brain. #shortyz


128/365 - 050815 #MoveAround #cy365
Am delighted to have the clothes migration done. Winter stuff stored away, summer stuff out. Just looking at flip flops makes me happy.

As always, click on photos to view larger. You can also follow along with daily updates on my Instagram and Flickr accounts.

May 21, 2015

Cinemascope: Brain Games (Season 1)

Cinemascope is a regular blog post where I will share with you movies and TV shows I think are worth watching.



Released in 2011.

Plot line: National Geographic's groundbreaking three-part series provides a fascinating window into the inner workings of the brain as never before. Through interactive experiments and tricks, Brain Games reveals how our brains create the illusion of a seamless reality. As these revealing experiments provide a unique view into our brains, the world's leading experts explain how and why these tests work. Brain Games explores cutting-edge science to examine real people with extraordinary brains, revealing new discoveries about attention, sensory perception and memory.

This one simply blew me away. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

You can see the Season 1 episodes for free online. If you have yet to see it, this is TV worth watching.