Friday, April 27, 2007

The Awakening

I'm currently reading "Moby Dick" and "Vanity Fair," but it hasn't been practical to tote around a 600+ page book this week. So, I've carried a book off my "Book of Great Book" TBR list. It's a very short (130 pages) novel about a woman's identity crises at the turn of the century. It's called "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin.
While on summer vacation at a beach-side resort, the married Edna becomes infatuated with Robert. This "awakens" her attitude toward her life. She slowly begins to rebel against the life society has pigeon-holed her into. She loses interest in her lukewarm marriage, her domestic responsibilities, her social obligations. In short, Edna realizes her life is not the life she wants. "The Awakening" explores the inner character of a woman who comes to want what she is missing; passion, independence, freedom.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"Exquisite" Doily

I kind of fell behind on my craft goal. Too many books lately. But last night I finished a doily. It's called "Exquisite" and is an experienced level project. Can't say I'm experienced level myself, but I must say it didn't come out half bad. The only way to get experience is to tackle the hard jobs.

I've got two more almost completed projects so I'm hoping to get another listed as done soon. I have three days off this weekend so my goal is to finish one of my two 600 page plus books and one of the crafts. Here's hoping.

I couldn't find a picture of it, but this is the book it came from. There are some beautiful doilies in this. It won't be long before I'll be trying another.

Friday, April 20, 2007

In the Heart of the Sea

"In the Heart of the Sea" by Nathaniel Philbrick.

"In the Heart of the Sea" was the 2000 National Book Award Winner for non-fiction. It is the story of the Nantucket whaleship Essex. The Essex sailed out of Nantucket August 12, 1819. A little over a year later it was rammed and sunk by a sperm whale in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The book tells the story of the crew's struggle for survival. Cast adrift in three whaleboats with only hard bread and water, the crew were under the impression that The Society Islands were inhabited by cannibals. The decision was made to sail south for 1500 miles and catch the winds that could take them to Chile. They believed they had 60 days worth of provisions and that the trip to Chile would last 60 days.

The trip was 90 days. As provisions ran out and exposure sat in, the men began to die. Finally the crew had to resort to cannibalism. The boats were unable to remain together. Out of 20 forced into the whaleboats, only 8 would survive to be picked up by ships off the coast of Chile.

Philbrick has written a book full of detail, combining stories published at the time with journals discovered more recently. I only bought the book because I want to make more of an effort to read non-fiction and I found "In the Heart of the Sea" in the discount stacks at B&N, but I found I really liked the book. It was an easy read on a subject I know absolutely nothing about. I'm going to read another of Philbrick's books..."Mayflower."

The story of the Esex was famous in the 19th century. Herman Melville used the story for the basis of "Moby Dick." So while the terminology and SOP of whaling are still fresh in my mind, I'm going to read "Moby Dick." It's on my Book of Good Books list anyway.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


USA Today is celebrating it's 25th anniversary by compiling 25 lists over the nest 25 weeks. Week #3 is th most 25 influential books of the last 25 years.

I only have two of these. "A Brief History of Time" by Steven Hawkings and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerors Stone" by JK Rowling. I had "Iacocca" at one time but I must have gotten rid of it during one of my infrequent book thinnning projects.

And a coworker had "Left Behind" in the office for about 6 weeks. I read it in two days. She never read it.

So, naturally, I've picked a couple more of them I want to read. Cold Mountain, Beloved, Fast Food Nation, The Deep End of the Ocean....OK. More than a couple. You know, if I needed more books on my TBR list, all I have to do is search my LibraryThing catalog or go through my "Book of Great Books." Why do I have to keep finding new books online?

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

The other girl is Mary Boleyn, the sister of Anne of the Thousand Days. Mary was Henry VIII's mistress and gave him two children before the Boleyn and Howard family's ambition drove them to replace Mary with Anne with the goal of making her queen. The plan was a success with disasterous results.

At age 14 Mary is already married but catches the eye of the king. After an affair lasting several years, Henry's eye wanders to Anne. But Anne holds out until Henry decides to divorce Queen Katherine and make her queen. After splitting from the Catholic Church and ridding himself of Queen Katherine the two are married. Anne's life becomes a desperate quest to conceive a son. After the birth of the future Queen Elizabeth I, Anne has a series of miscarriages and Henry begins to wander toward greener pastures.

The book dwelves into politics, romance, duty and family. Gregory brings the era to life in a way I've never pictured it. A king's court had always seemed such a romantic life to me but, after this book, I don't think so anymore. Court was treacherous. Everyone was trying to further their own agendas in a quest for royal favors. People were pawns. Life was a struggle to remain in favor. No one in the book came off as trustworthy or sympathetic. It wouldn't be a life I would have wanted.