Monday, October 31, 2011

Book Review

A Death in the FamilyA Death in the Family by James Agee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hardly even know what to say about this incredible book. Although about death and all the sadness for so many people, it is so profound in the way it describes so much of what is felt and said and experienced. I felt at times that I had almost written the words myself.

In the first part we get to know the man who will die and his son and their relationship. Also, that of he and his wife. The second part deals with his death and how his family is told of the news. The last part is the funeral and the feelings and thoughts especially of his two young children. Their mother is a woman of great faith and continues to look to God for his peace.

Others in the family do not hold with faith and it is so interesting to see how they each handle the ordeal.

Ironically, Mr. Agee died at a young age  and so we were not given the gift of more of his books. This was a tiring book to read, emotionally, but I recommend it for all.

View all my reviews

Grammy is a Cheap Date

 Yes, it does not take too much to make me kinda happy. Like bringing home these 3 little bits from the local antique/flea market mall. And, all for just a total of $3.49 too!!! My dear husband spied the cool red level. I hung it in that tiny little wall space between kitchen and dining room.


Much as I adore cream and black and white, I also love RED!

Little bits to remember this day  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review

Once Upon a RiverOnce Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Harrowing story with lots of violence, casual sex and heartbreak; all the stuff of life for some. I cannot say I really "liked" this book, but felt compelled by the story to read it.

Margo is a teenage girl with a mother who has left town and a father who is killed, leaving her alone and desperate to make a life for herself. Having grown up on the river and knowing how to fish and hunt, she makes plans to continue life on the river.

Her next two years involve relationships with several men, more violence and being led to care for an elderly man who is dying.

The journey her life takes is an amazing one that is hard to comprehend. The many passages about her killing and skinning animals was a bit much for me.

I read not only to learn and to be entertained, but also to better understand other personalities and human conditions. This book gives the reader a definite idea of a young, rough life with a determination to get through each day the best way she can.

View all my reviews

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book Review

The InnocentsThe Innocents by Margery Sharp

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Antoinette is an "innocent", a retarded child, left with an older woman in a small English town after her parents are forced back to New York at the beginning of World War II.

She does not speak but slowly says a very few words as she develops a closeness with her foster mother. After the war her mother arrives, to what she calls, "collect" the child. She has never understood her daughter to be retarded and in her social whirl, does not have time to consider it, believing that she can make necessary changes for her through speech therapy and psychoanalysis.

The foster mother is helpless to prevent the real mother from taking her, but circumstances intervene to change things in other ways.

A poignant, insightful look into how this topic was viewed in 1940's England.

View all my reviews

Friday, October 21, 2011

Book Review

NightwoodsNightwoods by Charles Frazier

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Intense story with a small cast of rather rough characters in North Carolina of the '60's. Luce is alone, living in a huge lakeside lodge and just trying to get through the day, when her life is forever changed by the evilness of another.

Told through each character, we see the tough resilience of Luce, the distorted mind of her brother-in-law Bud, the wisdom and concern shown by nearby neighbor, Maddie........... and Stubblefield, the man who intervenes at the right time.

Frazier has the gift of laying out the words for us like a carpet, leading us to feel emotions as we take the path along with his characters. We Feel the weather, we See the changing Fall colors of nature, we are Smitten with the fear felt by innocent people.

Not your "happily ever after" type story, but a more down to earth one that gives us hope that we can survive the bad and get through to another day.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Review

The Life All Around Me By Ellen FosterThe Life All Around Me By Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I Loved this book!

As the follow up to her first book "Ellen Foster", Gibbons continues to show us Ellen's life as a teenager. I cheered her on as she struggled to deal with her mother's death and subsequent horrid treatment by other relatives. The characters surrounding her are each experiencing their own challenges and their effect on one another is sweet and thoughtful.

In Laura she finds not only a replacement mother, but also one with great wisdom and skill at living. Ellen is quite intelligent and aspires to attend Harvard and Laura is her encourager along the way. They both find in one another what they need.

What a gift to read passages that give both laughter and a twinge of angst. It is written in the way a young mind thinks and speaks, and I had to re-read some sections to understand the meaning.

Ellen is someone you know will succeed due to her focus and motivation to make more of her life. I can only be inspired by her.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

HandSewing, Button Swap and Gluebook Pages Swap

Starting with a piece of cream wool from my stash, I hand sewed a bunch of bits and pieces of needlework in whites and creams, adding black stitching and black seam binding. Of course, I had to add some pearl buttons at the top and some very old black glass ones in a row. After all, what is a project without buttons? Unless it is a gluebook? :)  I sewed the piece onto a piece of heavy felt, adding a pocket at the top for a dowel, which I finished off with more seam binding in bows and for a hanger.

Above is my Button project made for Tami's Creative Button Swap. My swap partner was Laurie at Indulge My Shelf. I used an old book cover as the bas, added the reproduction note card behind an old photo card then used lots and lots of very old china buttons, dating from the 1880's or so. Finished it off with some great needlework edging.

I am SO EXCITED waiting on my Vintage GlueBook Swap from Mary to arrive hopefully this week! Here are my 7 pages for the swap.   (I realized after I uploaded them that they are not cropped)

Monday, October 17, 2011

OH, MY STARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

STARS on buttons are a fave of mine and here are some of my sweetest ones,although there are a few that would not be thought of as stars in the strictest sense.  I tend to be a purist, so,  for me,  that means 5 Point Stars, but in the World of Buttons, there are Stars with points numbering into the 20s.
Here you can find Glass, Steel, Brass, Tin,  plastic, Bakelite, Celluloid, Fabric, Composition, Pearl, Glass Set into Metal, Enamel and Wood.

Hope you shine like a STAR today!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Book Review

The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #13)The End by Lemony Snicket

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun to read a children's book once in awhile and this series is a very good one. After randomly choosing number 4 to read and enjoying it, I decided to read the first and last in the series of 13 to get an idea of the whole story.

Although agonizingly sad that the 3 children are orphans from the very first "unfortunate event" that causes their home to burn and their parents to perish, the author fortifies each child with abilities which make them equal to the task of continuing to persevere in the face of more and more events. Violet is superb at inventing things, Klaus is the accomplished reader and Sunny, although when young tends to specialize in biting, later becomes adept at cooking.

With evil Count Olaf as their guardian who only wants their inheritance, the children, indeed, have to overcome major obstacles on a daily basis just to stay alive.

This last book finds them washed ashore on an island with Count Olaf. They meet many strange people there with quite strange customs. Circumstances force them to use their resources to deal with it all.

What I find most appealing in these books is not only the humor employed within such devastating story lines, but also the way the author educates the reader to new words and their use, explaining meanings in a fun way. Life is indeed full of "Unfortunate Events" and banding together as family is oftentimes the best way to help us through them.

View all my reviews

Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Review

The Small HandThe Small Hand by Susan Hill

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Susan Hill has the ability to take the reader down a road, with various stops along the way, increasing the mystery of her story, but letting us come to our own conclusion at the end. Her theme of the supernatural is brought to earth through Adam, a dealer in rare books, who stumbles onto a derelict property called the White House. His experience there of feeling a small hand in his, leads him to investigate the history of the house and the fact that a small child had drowned there years earlier. He continues to feel the small hand in several other situations and is driven to great anxiety attacks.

Without giving too much away, I will say that the mystery is solved with a devastating ending that will keep me wondering at the ways that the supernatural might be used in a way to bring justice.

View all my reviews

Monday, October 10, 2011

Book Review

Passers-byPassers-by by Anthony Partridge

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reading a book published one hundred years ago, I am taken on a needed trip to a time when more proprieties were at hand and relationships more defined. Set in both England and France, not much of the plot can be spoken of or the ending themes would be spoiled.

A young beautiful girl sings on the street with a dwarf who plays a small piano. They are joined by a monkey, who holds his tray for those small coins given by those who pass by. This little scene forms the basis for mystery of how they came to be and all those who are part of their lives and much deeper mysteries.

This book was written by an author who was a master of his craft and boasted of a huge following, who also wrote under the name of E. Phillips Oppenheim. It was said at the time of 1910 that no man of his generation had so much facility of expression or so fine a power of narration. It is indeed well written and enjoyable.

View all my reviews

Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Review

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable ThingsIf Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book speaks to me so much as it is the way I often feel about things. At it's beginning, we know that something of huge import will happen in the story as we see and hear from the wide variety of people in a neighborhood. We see and hear their interaction with one another as well as hear their own thoughts. Several of the characters are dealt with more in depth by revealing happenings in their lives prior to just the one day the book entails.

Several times the writer has us on the edge, ready for an apparent scene of tragedy or turmoil, only to be relieved that it does not happen yet. His writing leads us to surmise upcoming events, all the while leaving us in suspense as to what the final outcome will bring. When the big event does occur, he brings together all the various thoughts and actions of all those we have come to know in this story.

His title reminds us that every single thing that happens each day is remarkable in it's own way and that it is our place to see each thing and make them ours by really knowing them. A bird flying high, a child at play, the street sounds, the rain, the interactions among people, all are profound in the hands of McGregor.

So many things are happening all the time all around us. We are encouraged to step out of our own circle and see those remarkable things.

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October Collage Challange

Mary Green continues to offer us fun with her monthly challenges, providing 3 images that at least some of each must be used. 

My collage shows the story of Ludmila, who has been waiting so very long to hear of her love, Ivan.   He finally appears in  a message brought by his trusty dog Igor, (a real sissy in that bonnet)  who has travailed over the snowy and icy terrain to make this delivery.  The tag on the key shows the number 360, which both Ludmila and Ivan believe to show that they have weathered the storm and come full circle in their love and understanding of one another. Her answer to him is a definite "Yes",  but she hopes he will appear in person soon and leave the dog at home.

(Ok, either start laughing or upchuck, whichever you feel right now :)  )

There is still time to participate in this challenge and you might even be chosen at random to win a little prize offered by Mary.

Book Review

Candleford GreenCandleford Green by Flora Thompson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For documenting the period of the 1890's small village life in England, this book and it's sister books are fabulous. Details of daily life, including occupations, customs and habits of the village, homes and their decor, clothing fashions and the nature of the land are all here.

Laura is a young girl from Lark Rise, who goes to the nearby town of Candleford Green to become an apprentice to the Post Mistress Dorcas Lane. Her situation there affords her access to new friends and experiences.

The books in this series are used as a base for the BBC series "Lark Rise to Candleford", but only in a very loose sense. Both stand alone to be thoroughly enjoyed.

View all my reviews

Monday, October 3, 2011

Book Review

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial ImposterThe Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter by Mark Seal

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Amazing true story of what has been called "the 1000 piece puzzle" of the life (or lives) of a man most recently known as Clark Rockefeller, ending with the kidnapping of his young daughter during a supervised visit, and his subsequent prison sentence.

Born in Germany, Christian Gerhartsreiter immigrated to the U.S. and began a series of charades, befriending those who could advance his twisted ideas of a perfect life. His persuasive ways led many to give him money and provide him with the means to ingratiate his way into their lives.

This is a story that leaves you shaking your head at the fabrications of a narcissistic man who lied his way through one alias after another, finally hitting upon the name Rockefeller as the one who could help him most.

Currently serving time for kidnapping, he now faces charges of a murder in California.

Makes you glad to be just little old "you", whoever you are. A worthy read to see inside this calculating mind.

View all my reviews


Related Posts with Thumbnails