Monday, July 30, 2007
This is my first graphic novel review, and I am happy that I read it. I found out about Glacial Period from World Literature Today.
It is published by NBM Publishing in conjuction with the Louvre (yes, the one in Paris!)
In a cold future, archeologist looking for evidence of life in Euro and encounter the Louvre amidst the snow and ice.
The names of paintings and sculptures that you see are listed in the back of the novel, so you don't need a guide from the museum.
The most shocking image: a faded Mona Lisa!
Interpretations of paintings and sculptures are interesting. Angels (obese flying children) make the archeologists wonder whether early humans could levitate before or after life.
They are amazed when they see water in liquid form, all the different types of boats in the water, and people with no coats on.
In this world, there is a superdog, named Hulk, that has some genetic traits of a pig and can carbon-date artifacts and talks. He finds a way to save all the art in the Louvre.
This is an interesting view of the future. I also learned a lot about art.
Younger children could read this and fall in love with Hulk. Adults can appreciate the view of the future of mankind.
The illustrations are rather nice; it seems that the originals were done in watercolor.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
This is the main theme of this book, although there are others.
This historical novel explores the possible existence of Joan, who became a pope by pretending to be a man.
Her goal was never to be pope but just to learn. She loved reading and writing and would ask certain people to expand her knowledge, except the one person who didn't want to her to be smart, her father.
In this century and in most countries, females are encouraged to learn. These are her thoughts when she meets Aesculapius, who comes to her home to teach her brother.
Long after the voices ceased, Joan lay awake in the dark. She felt incredibly lighthearted and free, as if an oppresive weight had been lifted from her. It was not her fault that Matthew had died. Her desire to learn had not killed him, despite what her father said. Tonight, listening to Aesculapius, she had discovered that her love of knowing was not unnatural or sinful but the direct consequence of a God-given ability to reason. I think, therefore God is. In her heart, she felt the truth of it.
Aesculapicus had turned a light in her soul. Perhaps tomorrow I can speak to him, she thought. Perhaps I will have a chance to show him I can read.
In this century, we also take books for granted. We can buy them from the internet or a store. We can borrow them from a library or a friend. We can download them. However, in the days before the printing press, it was a treasure.
Later he gives Joan a book. Joan was speechless. A book for her own! Such a privilege was enjoyed only by monks and scholars of the highest rank. She opened it, looking at line after line of Aesculapius's neat unical letters and filling the pages with words of inexplicable beauty. ..
Despite being such scholar, she was also a woman who loved Gerold. Strange, the workings of the heart. Onc could go on for years, habituated to loss, reconciled to it, and and then, in a moment's unwary thought, the pain resurfaced, sharp and raw as a fresh wound.
Despite her efforts to modernize the Catholic Church, she still met resitance. Jordanes confronts Pope Joan on her idea to educate women. "Surely, you know, Holiness, that the size of a woman's brain and her uterus are inversely proportionate, therefore, the more a girl learns, the less likely she will even bear children."
Better barren of body than on mind, Joan thought dryly, though she kept the thought to herself.
In this case, Jordanes may be correct (not about the uterus, of course). The more education a woman has, the fewer children she has. Education and career cut into the reproductive years. Some European countries are offering women money to have more children.
The book group members enjoyed reading this book. They admired Joan's courage to want to learn and to apply her knowledge for bettering mankind. They liked her ability to be able to pretend to be a man for so long and not to be caught.
What could she have accomplished had she lived in this century?
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Short novels can be bought and downloaded to your cell phone in Japan. The novels can't be resold, but the plots are not too varied.
I suppose that cell phone usage costs are lower over there than in the U.S. If I did this, my cell phone bill would be astronomical.
It's interesting to see how technology is being used to advance reading.
More details on this trend here!
Monday, July 23, 2007
This is for all book lovers! You must find room for this lovely and multipurpose piece of furniture made by Nil Holger Moorman .
From the description page:
‘Hieronymus im Gehäuse’, a beach chair on the sea, a Lokomotive dining compartment - Lese+Lebe awakes pictures in us. An escape in the room, which invites you to just sit down and relax while having a cup of tea and browsing in your favourite book.
The back of the two-seater is formed by the shelf itself. On the left or right side of the backrest, a board can be folded down as a table. This makes it possible to access the shelf from both sides. Hidden under the seat are extendable footrests and drawers with a lot of space for stowing.(Ok, maybe not tea, but lemonade in the summer and coffee in the winter! If I ever got this wonderful piece, I don't need to leave my room. It can be a bed, a writing space, and bookcase.
What more do I need?)
Let's dream on!
Friday, July 20, 2007
I have two book reviews to write, but I don't feel like writing them right now.
Instead, I will tell you about an important site: First Book.
You tell them which was your first book that really got you hooked into reading! Then, you vote for a state which deserves to have books sent to them.
I will, of course, vote for Louisiana. Lots of libraries in the southern coast lost their collections either to the 'Kane or Rita in 2005.
Why should you vote for Louisiana? Well, it's an oil producing state. If you like to drive and do other activities that use gasoline, then it is in your interest to vote for LA!
I know that Maggie will vote for Mississippi, but that's ok, since her mission statement is to get everyone in Mississippi to read.
I will let you know the book I selected when I find it. There is also a cute story that I will share with you next week.
Have a nice weekend, ya'll.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Inspired by this creative Moleskin site, I decided to combine my love of haiku with my interest in color.
Using the story board notebook, these are my first efforts. If you have any suggestions for me, please feel free to comment.
From the top left, going clockwise:
- Simple collage with blue tissue paper with red yarn
- Oil pastel with watercolor edges. I tried to write with a pen and marker, but nothing worked. Maybe because I didn't fix the oil pastel? The haiku reads:
- still old water
- elephant ear
- cradles raindrops
- Novelty yarn with a watercolors of a funny looking sun and snowflake
- Oil pastel that has been sgraffittoed. (Maybe that's why the writing is fine?)
This section is from Kabbalah-A Love Story by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner.
Look at the third line and the word cloud. What a coincidence!
The journal was designed by Troy Litten! Check out his travel journal site.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
As a young Jewish lady during WWII in Holland, who wants to be a writer, finds that her life may not last as long as it should. She writes down her thoughts, which are so advanced for a 27 year old. She was well-educated and lively. I would have liked to have been her friend.
Unlike Anne Frank, she was not hidden away, but she was working during these years.
I received my latest copy of WLT - World Literature Today Magazine published by the University of Oklahoma at Norman. I love reading reviews, because I get ideas on future selections for the International Book Group of New Orleans.
This book might not make the cut, but I wish to read it anyway.
I am not a graphic novel fan, but I might become one. I am intrigued by Glacial Period by Nicolas de Cre'cy. It's the story of archaeologists in the future finding the Louvre and
speculating about mankind based on art that they see.
The Louvre is working with other graphic novelists to commission more works.
My last activity will be to work on my knitting projects.
I need to finish two scarves for the foster children.
I also found a general pattern on the Internet for a shrug. I am adapting it for my cotton yarn. I've changed needles 4 times already to find the right gauge. It's exciting, because I have to adapt and do a little design work to get this right.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The heat index was 99F at 8:45 a.m. Bleh. And it's still July. The heat sometimes causes brain freeze, so I am trying some new things to keep the cells going.
- I read a fun, fun book The Debutante Divorcee by Plum Sykes. I pretended that I was on the beach while reading it. It's about rich NYCers. All the women are rather shallow (I couldn't be their friend; I would be bored in a week!), but it's fun to read about people who don't need to worry about money. A friend read it and gave it to me. I passed it on to another friend, who is looking for a fun read.
- I got a Moleskin for doing storyboards. I am not doing that. I am painting in the squares or doing collages and write haiku in the spots. I had fun experimenting with different water colors and oil pastel sticks. I want to be featured here!
- I also did a little knitting and tried to knit something with a size 0 needle. It didn't come out like I expected, but hey, it's a trial thing, not the end product.
- I am also trying to squeeze in time to re-read The Canticle of Leibowitz by Walter Miller, Jr. It's set in post-nuclear Earth in Texarkana. I like fill in the map with the names of the current cities. There's a lot of Latin in the book, so I get to use my language skill set. It's also very pre-Vatican II Catholic, so I see a Church that is different from the one I experience today. I am considering getting a new copy of the book, since mine is falling apart.
Monday, July 09, 2007
This book has two focii: What qualities makes one English? Who is eligible for immigration to the UK?
The book interweaves both ideas throughout this highly readable tome.
First of all? How English are the English? The answer: Not Very. Even the Celts, according to new theories, come from mainland Europe, and are NOT natives!
The book also tells how many peoples came over: the Hugenots, Danes, Jews, Indians, Pakistani, Chinese, Africans, etc.
This paragraph was powerful, because it can apply to any immigrant anywhere in the world:
Few Hugenots would have called themselves immigrants. They merchants probably thought of themselves as working temporarily from the London office. the rest were waiting for civilization to return to France so that they could go home and pick up the threads of their former lives.
This is ture of a great many immigrants even today. Immigration, indeed, might be a rather grandiose, unequivocal word for what is often a difficult decision, full of hesitations, reluctant compromises. The drip-drip process of acclimilisation becomes immigration only in retrospect
For the most part, the immigrants are not so welcome to the UK. (Even though the US was founded on the ideal of making new starts, many immigrants also have a hard time being accepted, although it seems that it is more difficult in the UK.)
The immigrants in Britain start new business ventures and introduce different ideas . One example is the founding of M&S. I bought some OJ and snacks at a Marks and Spenser store in Glasgow's Central Train Station. The large chain was founded by Marks, who came from a small town in Poland. He sold notions at one penny each; no haggling at all. He later became partners with Spenser, who worked as a cashier at a clothing concern. By 1907, there were about 60 stores in northern England. Today, besides having department stores, there are small grocery stores with the M&S brand.
The take-out (take away) of food from the restaurant to your home was started by Indian restaurants.
There is some dismay in the educated immigrants when they realize that not everyone in England knows their own literature/history or even cares about it. They were also surprised to see white people do manual labor.
The changes in neighbors is also examined. For example, Jack the Ripper killed many of his victims on Brick Lane. Now, it's an East Asian neighborhood. It's even been written about in Monica Ali's novel with the same name.
Despite legislation to limit the migrations, new people keep coming. People from the former colonies are admitted, but sometimes there are severe restrictions. Also, strange questions arise.
Many Chinese and Indian people went to Africa to support the English colonies, who had never stepped foot on English soil. When the African country declared independence and expelled these people, where could they go? Should they be sent back to their ancestral country (which they had never been to), or can they select to go to the UK, since they supported an infrastructure that helped the UK in the long run?
Not everyone who was in the UK stayed. For all the immigrations, the emigration of white English people continues. Some people want other opportunities and to be in places where there is more land.
This is a important book to read. You will not only learn history from a more personal experience but also become aware of how the immigrant experience can reshape a country.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I am making good progress on my readings. I am going through the books that I bought while on vacation. I am controlling my spending binges on books. Maybe in September, I will buy some books from the Hesparus Catalog as an early Christmas present.
I have three big fall plans.
- Visit as many bookstores in New Orleans and blog about them. There is an untapped treasure here: indie bookstores (both new and used). If I am correct, the most in the South! So, I need to see how each one is different and let you know about them.
- Take the Fleurs de Lis tour. The Fore!Kids Foundation commissioned Blaine Kern (who makes most of the Mardi Gras floats) to make a sculpture. Then, the Foundation commissioned artists to paint the Fleurs de Lis. They are placed within walking distance of each other. I want to see them all before they are auctioned off. Enter the Gallery to see all the works.
- Go to museums. I have membership in one, and I can get discounts on others. I need to be fired up again.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Even if you don't agree with a lot of current happenings in the U.S., at least you can disagree.
You can also express your opinions in various manners, such as this flag by David
I will enjoy the day off by expressing my freedom to read what I want.
I need to catch up on my magazines:
- The Economist
- Reader's Digest
My best wishes to all servicemen and servicewomen all over the world. Keep safe.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
I love finding treasures, especially books on the street.
After a marathon 6 hour knitting session, I noticed a table with a sign that said "FREE BOOKS."
I parked my car, and both AS and I selected many books. Most of them were advance copies, but hey, a free book can be a great book, and I really hit the jackpot with this book.
Gilgamesh tells many stories. First all, the myth of Gilgamesh. If you don't know all the details, don't worry about it. It gets interweaven in the novel.
A second story is the Depression and WWII from unconventional places. Most of the Depression stories that I have read are from the U.S.; although it is sad, I enjoyed reading about it from an Australian farmer's perspective. Also, most of the information I have about WWII is from the European, Japanese, or US fronts; this story tells what happened in Armenia and how the people had horrible shortages.
A third story is how people from England survived in Australia as farmers after WWI. They went to Australia willingly and not on the convict ships in the 1700s. They were looking for new opportunities and received land grants. Many families survived; however, the open skies depressed Ada and the land was not kind to Frank. One daughter was happy to stay there; another one would not be.
Another story is an exploration of what family and home means and how it can change in various situations.
The main character, Edith grew up looking at the skies and the land, but she wanted more out of life. One day, her cousin from London comes to a visit and brings a friend, Aram from Armenia.
Leopold and Aram met at an archaelogical dig in Iraq. They had both travelled a lot in their youth.
However, Australia felt strange to Leopold. On his first night there, "The bush advanced. A herd of creatures seemed to be moving around the house, chewing and thudding, bumping agains the thin walls...Far away he could hear the crack of the surf. The air was cold."
Leopold, Aram, and Edith have an interesting times together. However, when they leave, she is sad. Then, she finds out she is pregnant, and feels that she must search for Aram to tell him about the child.
While in Armenia, she takes care of an elderly lady. "Asleep, it was as if she was alaready transformed into another state, withered and speckled, becoming nature, like old leaves or bark or stone...This was Edith's task, and she had discovered she was good at it. To give Tati form, bring her back into the world for one more day."
This novel won many prizes including the 2002 Age Award for Fiction and recognition for the 2004 Orange Prize Long List Nomination.
This will definately be on my list to recommend for my International Fiction Book Group.
Last week, I attended a party/lecture thing at Design within Reach, a very mod furniture store.
Ammar Eloueini designed two chairs by converting two-dimensional templates to three dimensional, life-size objects via CNC(Computer Numerically Controlled) constructions.
The first chair is Chair #71. If you look closely, the chairs are not identical. It allows for self-expression using mass production.
The second chair that I saw was the MU Chair. It's held together by zip ties(see book cover) and can be undone when you move.
The next day, I bought Eloueini's book, AEDS ConReFab (Concept, Representation, Fabrication).
It's a very inspirational; it shows the templates and pictures of other designs using CNCs. You can also see other designs on this site: ConReFa
I sometimes complain that living in New Orleans is still difficult, but little events like this show me there are people still interested in its resurrection.
I also love going into the DWR store. Besides seeing the latest in furniture design, it's a great example of building reuse. When I was a kid, the location was a grocery store, but a very dark and narrow one. Later, it became at florist. DWR did some great work with the windows and their lighting to make the place seem lighter and not the creepy store from my childhood.
I bought this lovely book at Oxfam Shopping.
(I don't like the search function these days; this has changed since I went to England on vacation in April. If you don't know the postal codes of the city you are searching, you won't get a good match. I went to this store: Oxfam Bookshop,12 Bloomsbury Street,London, WC1B 3QA,020 7 6374610.
The think that I liked about this bookstore, besides the great selection of current books, was that each patron is asked to fill out a card with comments about their favorite book. When the book comes in, the card and the book are displayed on the window. What a nice way to personalize a store!)
The novel is about two upper-class boys who totally neglected by their selfish parents. (Trophy children). They get along well with each other. When the mom leaves, and the dad starts paying more attention to his lovers than the boys, they decide to run away to London.
Their dream is to buy a tram (streetcar/trolley car) that they saw in the newspaper for 2 pounds. They have enough money to do and also buy a horse to pull the tram. A dog who loves the horse is thrown in the deal also. The tram person is very honest and gives them sound advice.
The boys have many adventures with their tram. In Cambridge, people mistake it for public transportation and pay fares. They camp out in the night in fields and live peacefully until the bombings start in WWII.
Then, they contribute in ingenious ways to civil defense activities.
At the end of the novel, you are wondering, "Could this have happened?" I know that it couldn't have happened in this day and age. First of all, if children are missing or seen loitering, they would be reported to authorities. I am not sure that anyone could just camp out like the Scrutton boys did. Plus, the horse drawn tram would have been citied for various offenses: mistreatment of animals, no license, etc. etc.
But, it was a fun read.
The reviews say that young people can read it also, and I tend to agree. But, so can adults.