Saturday, December 09, 2006

Clapton's Guitar

This is such a guy’s book. It’s also very journalistic, which is a style of writing I don’t usually care for. It’s good journalistic writing, but it’s still got that magazine sound to it. It’s a book I’d have never read except that it was our book club’s choice. (and I made the choices this year) That’s one of the great advantages of book clubs.

St. John is every boy who ever wanted to get up on stage and make love to a guitar, as it vibrated against his belly and down his thighs. Music is a very physical art and more than many men have poured their souls into a guitar.

The real fun of this book is that it’s about people with passions. It’s about friendship. It’s about being on the quest. It’s not my quest, mind, but the energy of their passion and their questing and the devotion the fellows end up having for each other rings a corresponding bell in my soul. After all, I just spent $$$ to go all the way to New York to knit in a hotel!

Ahh. But it was knitting. With friends. Yes. Allen St. John and I sing the same song.

Oh. And Eric Clapton has almost nothing to do with this story. He’s just the name to be dropped, like saying you rode in the same elevator with Lily Chin while you were at Stitches. Which was good, since I hadn’t heard Eric Clapton since he sang For Your Love with the Yardbirds. I’d never even heard Layla! I had to go listen to some soundclips on amazon dot com. But don’t worry. Even rock music innocents like me can feel the passion in this quest for a Wayne Henderson Guitar. And the sound clips of Wayne Henderson on A dot com were much more appealing to me. I’m a sucker for flat pick guitar. Sigh.

Monday, November 27, 2006

How's your spirit?

I am still on that same spiritual path and can't remember when I had such a wonderful time with something
so deeply internal. Let's hope I can learn a little more about blogger code along the way.

I loved loved loved this book. Not so much the first half, which is nice enough, but repetitive. I got
the message after the first 2 or 3 chapters....perhaps pages. But the second half is a list of 22 fun
ideas - games you can play with your mind, your attitude, your spirit. Perfect reasons for buying...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Like all self help books, it could have been a pamphlet, but then they couldn't have charged $19.95 for it. This was a book L had been urging me to read for a long time. I understood the concept behind it, but I'd never gotten down into the text of it before. How glad I am I did. I'm having so much fun tapping into my own power. It's a great way to focus your life, to be aware of all that is around you, so that when opportunities present themselves, which they do all the time, you immediately recognize them and act upon them - so swiftly it feels like magic!

As literature it doesn't rate more than 3 stars, but its useful nuggets make it a 5.

Still trying to get there from here. “Get where?” you ask. Oh - someplace even better than here. Someplace where the heart is singing all the time. Someplace where the intuition gets listened to when it tosses out a warning. Someplace where joy spreads out
and makes a difference. Where I spread the type of joy that makes a difference. To that place where I don’t borrow anxiety and use it to ruin perfectly splendid situations. To that place where diatribes don’t spew out of my gut about stuff that .... once
unloaded ... didn’t really matter that much to me in the first place. I want to let go of the control freak crap that whips me for living. I want to appreciate more the things I already love and let go of the stuff I hate. Nobody but me is making me pick it up in the first place. It’s going to take me to put it down.

I didn’t finish the Wayne Dyer book so I can’t really give it a rating. It’s not bad, but it wasn’t what I am looking for right now. It was too wordy and too explainey and too much background and what I’m looking for are practical steps that still enfold the spiritual underpinnings but that are fun and doable. Lynn Grabhorn, of the Excuse Me book, has a workbook too - which I purchased, used, at a good price, off of But I believe I’m going to have more fun with the Hicks book - it’s a little more positive.

When I get a chance to do it justice, I’ll do a complete comparative review of both books here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Admittedly, I was reading an older edition of this volume, but I was rather dissapointed in the annecdotes offered as interesting gossipy tidbits. I also didn't mine the entire vein. I skimmed, got bored, and put it down. Maybe next time. Maybe something else. I have some awfully good quotable volumes in the library. I'll scout about and see what I can dig up.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

Although I'd read the review and purchased this book, it was patron who actually prompted me to read it when she returned it to the library, saying “it’s a wonderful book.” How I wish I could remember who she was - because I’d love to talk to her about it. Something in her voice - some sincerity of tone - some trust I unknowingly put in her judgment - made me take it home, whereupon I promptly misplaced it, not finding it till I cleaned house on Saturday. Carying it upstairs, I peeked at page 1, sat down on the half made bed, read a chapter - and was lost.

It’s set in present day Philadelphia. It’s about a young-ish, single woman and falling in love and it has a happy ending but it doesn’t take you on a sappy journey to get you there. It’s got a kid in it who’s believable enough, it’s got a bunch of people I immediately cared about. They weren’t so crippled that making a cup of coffee would be considered mental health. They weren’t so perfect they had no room to grow. The author skillfully told the story from two points of view and put one in the first person with the other in the third. She cleverly displayed her own esoteric knowledge of classic films by endowing her heroine with the same database of actors, plot and dialogue.

Best of all, though, are the beautifully chosen words with which Ms. de los Santos swaddles every scene. Exquisite words that slip rich knowledge of Cornelia’s pajamas - and of the sort of woman who would pick such pajamas - into your consciousness so softly it’s more as if you remember that about her, rather than discover it. Lovely, friendly, chatty without being inane, painting word pictures you want to go back and linger over on page after page, this novel was pure pleasure from start to finish.

This isn’t just a book I loved reading. It’s a book I wish I had written. I picked it up on Saturday evening and read through chapter one. All day Sunday I kept putting it down to DoDootifulThings but then abandoning the housecleaning, the preparation for unexpected Monday guests, the languishing knitted projects and HeyBaby, with her almost full second bobbin, to pick it back up again. I shrugged off BD’s offer of a boat ride and a trip to town, I didn’t bother to get dressed, I carted the book from room to room and regretfully finished it just before dinner on Sunday.

I can’t remember the last time I didn’t want a book to end. Non-fiction doesn’t count, since it ends when whatever was being talked about happens - you can wear the sweater, World War II comes to an end, or your stock portfolio swells enough to allow you to take early retirement. Historical fiction doesn't count either, because it has to come to an end when all those bold kings and strong queens eventually die and their dates are carved upon tomb stones. Their personal calendars are known quantities. Unlike the life you’re living now - with it’s endless moments of waiting for the next thing, giving time an elasticity and mystery that can’t be measured, a historical novel has a structure, the fact of which is already accepted, even if it’s not yet known. But a contemporary novel with that mind bending ability to put you in a Philadelphia coffee shop, introduce you to a tee-tiny woman and her Cary Grant boyfriend and ... and make you want to stay forever - well. That has been a rare pleasure for me made all the more valuable for its very scarcity.

This is a real Wower!; chock full of good qualities. But best of them all are the pages and pages of beautiful words describing the most ordinary things - making you believe that maybe your ordinary world is just as beautiful. I believe that's the greatest of the gifts Marisa de los Santos gives you with Love Walked In.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Magician's Wife by Brian Moore

It's okay. It's a 3 star book. Our heroine, Madame Labert is the young wife (teenage bride, now with a few years beneath her corset) of a famous French magician, Henri Lambert. She's not happy in her marriage to a very wierd and much older man. You get lots of glimpses of bored/sad/frustrated housewifery a la 19th century. Boring house parties, utterly dull audiences with Napoleon III. There's a dark threatening Colonel orchestrating everything. There are scary Algerians and wise Algerians and all too human Algerians and I confess - I never read the part about Algeria. I just read the ending and it left me completely unsatisfied so I didn't bother to take the train to the last page.

Based on a true (ish) story.

And what do you know - it's going to be a movie!

Some websites if you are curious:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

In which The Queen lays out her plans

It occurred to me that I’ve recommended a goodly number of books here – proof that I actually do read – and yet I’ve not kept any record of them. The plan now is that each time I update my current reading I’ll copy the old information here. I’d like to have more than just a list of the books I’ve read. I’d like a little mnemonic to draw upon … just in case.

Expect the graphic to be fiddled with as time permits.

Good reading to you all.