Archive for November, 2010

We all have our favorite authors but I have found that many book bloggers are becoming favorites of mine, for a variety of reasons.  It is truly an honor to host this 56th Edition of the Book Review Blog!

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A carnival dedicated to book reviews. If you review books, please submit a post to and sign up to host, the Book Review Carnival.

To join in the fun all you need to do is submit a post.  Read on and check out all of the people who did just that.  I’ve hosted carnivals before but this is a big one!  Make sure your pot of coffee is warm — you’re going to need at least two cups.

Read Aloud … Dad presents Today’s read aloud: Manners can be fun posted at Read Aloud Dad, saying, “The title of Munro Leaf’s classic may start to ring alarm bells in children’s heads as soon as it is vocalized, but – fortunately – the electric yellow cover of the book and kid-like sketches at the same time scream “Fun, Fun, Fun!!!” I can see why the kids might freak at that title but I’ll take Dad’s word that this might be a book you want them to judge by its cover!

Zohar presents Book Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett posted at Man of la Book.  Here is one of my favorite book bloggers!  His taste in books is interesting and his readings always intrigue me, like this one does!  Dang it, Zohar, you’re going to end up being Man of la Kindle!

KerrieS presents Review: THE SKULL BENEATH THE SKIN, P.D. James – audio posted at MYSTERIES in PARADISE, saying, “The setting of a murder mystery that takes place on an island, with a very limited cast of characters, is one that has fascinated most of our great crime fiction authors. P.D. James is one of the great British crime fiction authors, so this book is a real treat.”  This review is refreshing to me.  I like the idea that what might be considered an “older” book is still on the list for being reviewed, and in some detail.  Thanks, Kerrie!

KerrieS shares another one:  Review: ANARCHY and OLD DOGS, Colin Cotterill posted at MYSTERIES in PARADISE, saying, “#4 in a crime fiction series set in Laos, centred on Dr Siri Paiboun, the 73 year old reluctant coroner in Vientiane.”  This one sounds like there may be more story than meets the eye.

Zohar presents Book Review: Kingdom Under Glass by Jay Kirk posted at Man of la BookSigh.  This one looks good too!  I’m not one to see animals killed just to mount them on the wall. I know hunters like to do such things.  I am very much into preserving the look and beauty of a magnificent animal once it’s gone, due to an accident or natural causes.  Taxidermy is a necessity in cases like that.

Jim Murdoch presents The Art of Struggle posted at The Truth About Lies, saying, “Michel Houellebecq is famous – infamous even – as a novelist. What’s not so well known outside France is his stature as a poet. His best-known work has now been translated into English and it’s clearly been a difficult task; this article talks about some of the problems. The result is intriguing. Fans of his prose will see some of the themes they are familiar with but in condensed forms and far less graphic. If people have avoided him due to his reputation this might be a good place to dip their toes in the water.”  Mr. Murdoch is another blogger who has led me to useful things and I was excited to see his name on the list of Carnival participants!

KerrieS shares yet another Review: THE BLOOD DETECTIVE, Dan Waddell posted at MYSTERIES in PARADISE, saying, “An unusual detective trio, two police officers and a geneologist, pit their wits against a serial killer who is emulating a series of murders committed in London 100 years ago. A very good crime fiction read.”

I need to read faster to keep up with you guys!

Zohar presents yet another Book Review: Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving posted at Man of la BookIn this post Zohar tells us that, “the plot revolves around Daniel becoming a writer and gives Mr. Irving the opportunity to take out his ire on “dimwitted” book reviewers and sensationalistic media, which I thought was hilarious given the context.”  That alone made me chuckle.  Sounds like another winner.

June Tree presents Generation Earn: A Guide To Spending, Investing and Giving Back (Book Review) posted at The Digerati Life, telling us something we all need to know more about — managing money!  Thank you, June, for having the patience to read it all and then share it with us!

Jim Murdoch presents The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (book review) posted at The Truth About Lies, saying, “Had ‘Catcher in the Rye’ been written in the 18th century what would it have been like? The answer is probably Goethe’s ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’ a cult classic if ever there was one and if you thought merchandising began with ‘Star Wars’ think again. This detailed essay looks at the background to the book and also the controversy following its publication and why it was banned. What kind of book would cause young men to commit suicide?”  Oooh, controversy and a banned book!  Thank you, Jim, for doing the homework on this! You know that if it was banned, we have to read it!

Zohar presents Book Review: The Templar Salvation by Raymond Khoury posted at Man of la BookI have a book by this author. I have to admit that I did buy if for the combination of its cover and title.  I haven’t read it yet though.  Typical.  This is a title that they keep talking about and I was happy to read an assessment from someone like this!

Jim Edwards presents Book Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People! posted at EverydayChristianFamily.com, saying, “Old book that deserves a revival especially among the young unprincipled.”   Ditto!  Timing couldn’t be better to resurrect more books like this! One of my mother’s favorite sayings: “That is not the way to win friends and influence people!” Am I dating myself?

KerrieS presents Review: CITY OF VEILS, Zoe Ferraris posted at MYSTERIES in PARADISE, saying, “skilfully blends a murder investigation with a commentary on Saudi culture and in particular the status of women.”  The more authors write about these things, the more it helps us understand a culture still so foreign to many of us.  Thanks for sharing this one, Kerrie!

All of this is so fascinating!  I always like to “feed” Carnival participants in my Carnivals if I can.  We’ve got a lot more to cover so we’re going to need our strength!  Chicken anyone?

Evelyn Hunter (that’s me) feeds us by sharing a Book Review: Incredibly Easy Chicken posted at Writesprite’s Blog, saying, “There was nothing else to choose from on the list. There was no category for Cook Books!”

I told you we were going to need to be fed!  We’ve got several coffee table books to examine!

Erin Lenderts presents 40 Beautiful Coffee Table Books for Foodies posted at Bachelor’s Degree Online.

Corinne Reidy presents “15 Beautiful Art Books for Your Coffee Table.”

I loved this next idea when I saw it.  As I clicked the link I kept thinking that if Shel Silverstein wasn’t on the list I was going to stop reading!  He was 2nd and 3rd on he list. Edward Lear is there.

Bridget Nicholson presents 50 Best Poetry Books for Kids posted at Bachelor’s Degree.

Dr. Seuss is missing but I guess you can’t really call that poetry.  Can you?  Thanks, Bridget.

SenoraG presents Book Review – Care for Creation by Christy Baldwin – Tribute Books Virtual Tour posted at Reading, Reading & LifeIf we start them young, maybe they will grow up wanting to protect rather than destroy.  Thank you, Senora!

Angel R. Rivera presents Booknote: Ensayo sobre la ceguera (12 Books, 12 Months Challenge, Book 1) posted at The Gypsy Librarian, saying, “Preview from the review: “All it takes is some catastrophe or apocalyptic event, and all hell will break loose. If you remember events like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, or just know some history of failed nations, you know that we are pretty much a step away from the hellish chaos.”  That’s a scary thought, Angel.  Good point!

Clark Bjorke presents A Dead Hand posted at I’ll Never Forget the Day I Read a Book!, saying, “Paul Theroux spoofs Paul Theroux in a mock murder mystery.”  Here is the host of your host!  Interesting notion — an author spoofing himself?  Sounds almost like something Hitchcock would have done.  Hmmm…   Thank you for sharing this, Mr. Bjorke, and for allowing me this opportunity!

This next blog is, for me, a case of judging the blog by its cover.  I was attracted to this blog recently because of its title.  I admit it.  So?

Jeanne presents Halfway Human posted at Necromancy Never Pays, saying, “A science fiction novel that even non-science-fiction-readers should try.”  This particular book Jeanne has shared with us sounds like a keeper for all.  I like your choice of books to relate this to, Jeanne.  Uncle Tom’s Cabin?  After reading your synopsis, I get it!  Thank you for turning us all on to this one!  Forgive me for loving your blog name so much!  Yeah, I’m sure you’re upset about that!

non fiction

Danette M. Schott presents A Regular Guy: Growing Up with Autism posted at Help! S-O-S for Parents.

Danette M. Schott presents The Adolescent Owner’s Manual posted at Help! S-O-S for Parents.

Both of these are wonderful topics, Danette, I thank you for sharing them here!

That concludes this edition.  Again, it was so wonderful to host the posts of book bloggers whom I have already come to admire and ones I have now been able to meet and discover!  You all have given me so many ideas of other things I want to share (including my opinion)!

Submit your blog article to the next edition of Book Review Blog Carnival using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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When I first read this work I fell madly in love with it.  I can’t help it; it appealed to the insufferable romantic in me!  There are several artists that have found this piece worthy of their paint brush too!  The photo below is my personal favorite because it pictures The Lady of Shalott afloat in a dragon boat, which only helps to accentuate the medieval essence of Tennyson’s piece.

The Lady of Shalott by John Atkinson Grimshaw

This cannot be called a review.  Seriously, who am I to review anything written by someone like Alfred, Lord Tennyson?  The audacity!  I think I’ll just call this a commentary instead.

Published as part of a collection of Tennyson’s poems in 1833, The Lady of Shalott has become a legend.  Did she exist?  Was she real?  I read somewhere that she was “almost” not human.   Perhaps she was spritely (sprightly)?

Only reapers, reaping early,
In among the bearded barley
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly;
Down to tower’d Camelot;
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers, ” ‘Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott.”

In that case, this commentary is right where it belongs!

I found this quote about the poem:

“Some consider ‘The Lady of Shalott’ to be representative of the dilemma that faces artists, writers, and musicians: to create work about and celebrating the world, or to enjoy the world by simply living in it.”

I can take a statement like that and run with it!   Grandiose views of the conditions of the World and exaggerations of its events — is that not what art is made of?  Don’t artists need to look at the World through slightly skewed lenses?   Doesn’t a composer of opera work to make the storyline outrageous?  Doesn’t the writer need to provide the elements of shock and awe to keep his readers reading?  I can keep running with this but I won’t.  You get my point.

Something else that caught my attention was a slight flip of the coin.  Literature likes to talk about the destructive nature of falling for a beautiful woman.  You will get no argument from me on that point.  I’ve actually seen it happen in real life.  Destructive indeed!  In contrast, Lancelot, strapping man of Arthurian legends, seems to be the downfall of women now and again!  While I will admit that men don’t seem to plan these problems, they can be just as devastating nonetheless.  In the case of The Lady of Shalott, Lancelot didn’t even know the woman The Lady!  Just an observation that Tennyson turned the table a bit on that “femme fatale” concept.

On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow’d
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
“Tirra lirra,” by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

Beauty and love can be dangerous, regardless of which sex shoots the first poisonous arrow! Love has its difficulties and can be as destructive as it is wonderful — all artists know this, be they painters, writers, singers, sculptors, etc.  Contemporary musical artist, Alicia Keys, states this quite succinctly:

Love will come find you
Just to remind you
Of who you are

Oh love
It will forsake you
Threaten to break you
Take what you got

For The Lady, it may have been the thing that actually took her life.  So great was The Lady’s desire to just set eyes on the beautiful, alluring Lancelot, that she braved the curse and it cost her dearly.

Alfred Lord Tennyson image from the blog Professor Olsen @ LargeThis is the kind of sappy schmaltz that earned Tennyson comments like the following:

“His early works were dismissed as sentimental tosh. The criticism was harsh, and Tennyson took the criticism badly, and did not publish again for ten years.”

*Gasp!*  Those heathens!  Apparently Tennyson did not like criticism but I don’t take kindly to that criticism either.   It is that same “sentimental tosh” what found him a place in my heart.

The image on the left comes from the blog of Professor Olsen who thinks enough of Tennyson to include him with his other intellectual writings.  Professor Olsen does not talk about Tennyson for the same sappy reasons that I do here; he talks about Tennyson because he found his work admirable and wanted to share a part of Tennyson’s intellect with his readers.

Come on now, Tennyson was appointed Poet Laureate replacing another historically famous poet, William Wordsworth.  Wordsworth bored me sh*tless when I was in school!  During every class I kept thinking, “next poet, please, when will we move on?”  It’s all a matter of a personal taste and preference. 

These things cross the borders of time.  We even see these things in today’s modern “trendy” culture.  Facebook always has a cute little quiz to see which character or trait matches you best.  You can find out which horror character you represent, what period in history you belong in, etc.   Recently Facebook had a quiz that you could take to see which Fairytale character you most resemble.  Ahem, what can I say?  Here was my result:

From Facebook: The Lady Of Shalott

Based on the famous poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson and the famous painting by John William Waterhous, the Lady Of Shalott tells the story of a girl who is cursed to live in a secluded tower all her life, weaving a blanket. Her only way of seeing the outside world is by looking at the reflection of the window in her mirror. But as she lays eyes on the window itself, the mirror cracks and the curse is upon her. In the end, she dies as she attempts to flee the tower. Takes place in medieval Camelot.

I guess that’s why I like it so well?  What The Lady did sounds so very much like something I might do!  Did I mention that The Lady might be a Sprite?  Ahhh how wonderful it would be to add the knights in shining armor and the dragons of yesteryear to this ethereal picture!  Did I mention that I’m an insufferable romantic?

I will offer no “grade” for this piece of literary history because I am not worthy to do so.  Suffice it enough to say that The Lady of Shalott hit all the right nerves and gets a very high recommendation from me!

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