Thursday, November 13, 2008

Month of the Souls

If we are really true, I guess all twelve months count as souls to be added to the list of our deceased. Last week we lost another good author and I think director too. Michael Crichton.
He wrote COMA-JURASSIC PARK- and a lot of other books that at some point dealt with the theme of science in our society and where men are taking it. He received his medical licence but writing took over. He is the author who made science easy to read and left me worried of what was possible with medicine and bioethics in the wrong hands. He was young in his early 60's;
young to me since I'm in my 50's. It is sad to see authors leave us since they are hard to come by. Just like George Simenon was for sociological police stories. I was so hooked on this books just after high school. He not only gave you the crime, the criminal but also the why, the real
deep down reason for the persons to take their last step to loosing their freedom forever.
Not like Sherlock Holmes (the character) who gave you the why and how without ever you, the reader knowing the details until Holmes let you know at the end in his apartments before he startes to play the violin or smoke his opium.
As readers we learn things from books some are neat and useful others aren't but we really are what we read. Reading fills in the gaps that are left behind in our lives. Reading adds spice to our lives and make life more interesting, so we too can be cops or criminals without leaving our armchair. So we say thank you to our GOD for giving us good authors and pray they live nice long healthy lives!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Leaves are falling!

This year is flying past me. Is it just me or is getting old makes my days grow shorter and the hours seem to have less minuets than before? My worries are getting less but I consider that all those sayings that I've heard for years are finally kicking in; like LET GO-LET GOD or LEAVE IT AT GOD'S FEET or the prayer of saying constantly JESUS I TRUST IN YOU is finally producing fruit in my heart or have I placed a pair of rose colored glasses instead of my bi-focal ones?
Whatever the reason, I find that I start looking for interesting biographical books. I read lives of saints but ones like Loretta Young (if you know who she was?), saints or sinners a life that someone or the same person deems that it should be known to others, would seem worth the time to read it I suppose. With that I guess I give to understand that mine is very boring, and I guess it is very true only I have to add that I thank GOD that my life is a very blessed one.
I have a book I purchased a while ago on Alice Roosevelt, another on Dorothy L. Sayers and on
Edith Stein (who I think is now blessed in the Catholic Church). Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen are great to read at this time of year.
More men books come to mind like THE GRUNT PADRE and PRIEST BLOCK 25487.
Why is it that autumn is related to thinking more diligently on life and our way of almost crossing into another new year?
The good thing is that we have Christmas to buffer between thinking of souls and starting a new year. The Christ Child is there to help us cross over and start (like a child) into a new year full of promises and hopes.
As you see my thoughts are very sobering today and I'll sit down and write of bright and happy books on another day that is not cloudy like today. Poems and mysteries are so much more fun on days like today. Did Agatha Christie ever write an autobiography?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

History made mandatory!

Last day of another month! Time is the reason we stress out! Who needs messages and drugs all we need is extra hours to feel better!
Enough on personal life, what can be done to better the human race is a good thought.
Making history mandatory not just a little twice a week course can be an answer. Starting in the 5Th grade (when we as kids begin to feel we know it all). If we can teach the children (who God willing will become adults) that history will repeat itself unless we can do things differently. Bad history can be avoided. First have the books written with truth in every sentence. Next as the children grow older have them read books like CITIZEN SOLDIERS by Stephen Ambrose. Don't have them read too much before 1900 since we have had since then so many wars to cover. NIGHT by E. Wiesel, or PRIEST BLOCK25487 by Jean Bernard, just that one war (WWII) will serve to teach them how everyone suffered. Albert Spear's SPANDAU DIARIES or a woman's view like BERLIN DIARIES by Marie Vassiltchikov. Fiction to understand the stress on human nature like Nevil Shute's A TOWN CALL ALICE or ORDEAL. The list is endless, but if we see where we as a society went wrong then we can avoid repeating the same again and again. Voices in books are written by those who lived it we do we insist on committing the same errors?

Friday, August 1, 2008

This is a hot one!

Summer,where did July go to, if you see it let me know, I am short one full month. Life is making a time-traveler out of me, but I don't go anywhere, I just stand still and loose days and weeks in a flash.As I came to finally sit down and think that the days are getting really hot all over our country, my mind went to good books I've read dealing with sunny days and heart warming stories.Three came quickly to mind. The first is HOTEL PASTIS by Peter Mayle, who wrote A YEAR IN PROVANCE; this one has a little mystery but it does have a lot of French country life in it.But the ambiance is truly French.
EXTRA VIRGIN, is yes about olives and their oil. This is a nice simple story of two London friends (at least I think they're British), who end up buying an old but could be made profitable house and land. It is in a little village called San Pietro, in the area of Liguria in Italy.The author is Anne Hawes.
The last book is UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN by Frances Mayes. No the book is nothing like the movie that came out come years ago. The book though is about a couple who give up the 'rat race' and become part of a small community in the Tuscany part of Italy. This book truly reminded me the most of the 12 years I spent in my home town in Mexico, as a mother of two soon to be teenagers.
We are all "travelers" in this world and these books just focus on things that could happen when we try to fit into other cultures, you see things from another prospective.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Good Authors Give Us Good Movies

I have been meaning to look and see what else has Amy Tan's written. After seeing the movie THE JOY LUCK CLUB, I looked her up. Actually that's always been a good tip for finding new authors. If you like a movie then check to see if it has been based on a book. Sometimes they are and that gives you a name to look up in the library catalogue.
Getting back to Tan, I did try to read one or two but my all time favorite is THE BONE SETTERS DAUGHTER. This book really had that special touch that has you intrigue and reading until the late hours when your eyes feel like they are on a paper plate!
Then came the autobiographical THE OPPOSITE OF FATE, which was great for me because I loved the JLC movie and the Bonesetters Daughter book so this book tied them up nicely to see what they meant in her life.

It's the same with some other writers like Leon Uris and two of his books MILA 18 and TOPAZ did he not also write EXODUS ? They all sort of tell us how life was;both in world politics and the characters of these stories, in the 40's up to the 60's.
And these where also made into great movies. But good authors sometimes don't make their way on to the big screen, like George Simenon, maybe because the few that were made didn't give us that deep study on the workings of the human mind, which books give you, the slow turns and time to get the point before the actual act or crime is committed?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I just had to take time to see when was it that I actually wrote instead of thinking of this little blog, and I was shocked that it has been this long. I started to wonder if real time has black holes, like they say that exist in the milky way galaxy or just out there?

I was watching the French Open, which is the only thing I like that is French. It is sad that God gave them so many saints and pilgrimage sites and beautiful cathedrals and I can go on and on, and yet, I feel they are a sad society. You know what, there should be an -international - website where we can see the top selling books (fiction and nonfiction) from each of the countries that are members of the U.N.. That way we could see where the thinking of a nation is going. O.K. I guess I wouldn't want to find out that cartoons or moviestar magazines were the top of our country's list.

But watching top tennis being played and the rich tradition and high regards for its players is great to see. I compare it to reading a very good 600 page book (which takes just as long as the days for this tournament to occure).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Nothing is more changing that Life itself.

It is so true that we are all in God's hand. We can and really should make plans if only in an outline form, but as they say nothing is written in cement.
But to tell you the truth illnesses are at times also useful to have people leave you in peace to READ! I had just that kind of month so I really did get some reading in. But I get mad with myself for being anxious to read two authors I have in mind and their books are not yet out.
One of those authors is Daniel Silva, the other is Charles Todd. I guess I should remember that I also felt that way about Lawrence Sanders back in the late 1970's and 1980's until he started to write the dumb series with all those horse racing terms with the Florida background. Then there was James Patterson who was good until now when he can't write without someone filling all his stories (I wonder if he still lives?). Anne Perry is another good author but her stories are better explained on film-or the BBC crime shows. I wonder if age has anything to do with the style we like, I guess age gets into all our life's activities, but now I am able to understand and keep all of Agatha Christies' characters in her stories straight! Maybe one day I'll be able to do a Rubik Cube or whatever it was called, I'm just lucky I can park the car with the tiers all facing forward!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Philosophy Made Fun

I had to take time to let you know that if someone is looking for something light and funny, O.K. not ha-ha funny but the type of reading that makes your mind smile, I have a suggestion. It is the series ( one of them) that A. McCall Smith writes; 44 Scotland Street has a very highbrow cuteness to it. I was never good at reading philosophy books except to help my daughter get through an idea when she was at college. Which just means that I do understand the smart remarks but I also miss one or two points now and then in a story. I like this type of series which include a lot of characters but done in such a way that you can easily follow them in their different situations from book to book. I looked up the bio-info. on McCall Smith and found out he really is a very accomplish professor of law but has a degree in ethics and other very human studies. I am always surprised at the amount of information that is in Wikipedia (just remember it is not an exact information place). Your mind will thank you, I know a puzzle is better, but you won't lose any small piece !

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

O.K. this is a confession, I guess. As I get older I have found that audio-books are great.
You can be "reading" as you care for your 4 yr.old granddaughter or cooking or even just doing your ordinary things around your house. And if you fall asleep or get too busy to remember what happen you can go back and re-hear it. The public library has a great number of books on cassettes but now more and more on Cd's. Biographies and other non-fiction books are available.
But I still feel guilty because just the act of picking up a book is in my mind what Japanese think of their tea ritual. Am I normal? But I guess I'm at the point of life where books provide the stimuli for hope in humans. Religion is my daily bread but books in all it's forms are the spice or 'butter' on the bread. I remember as a pre-teen reading books on saints, they all (or almost all)
read constantly. When I walk into any office, when I see books or even better books on shelves it is a sure bet that the person is someone who is interesting, here I'll admit I may not end up liking this person, but that doesn't mean he or she would not be interesting.
So if you haven't tried audio-books you'll enjoy them; they read word for word the author's words and there are some really great readers. Books because of them I love authors!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

On my last posting I forgot to mention that Charles Todd-the mother and son cooperation, are Americans living in different states but their policeman is a Scotland Yard detective!
I got hooked on British stories when I started reading Ruth Rendell, she is good but like Stephen King, she gets gloomier as she writes more, so in order to save my sanity I stuck to stories where the bad guys get caught. Still I think it is easier to see the 'whole picture' from a distance. As travel becomes more common and necessary, seeing crime elsewhere is easier to stay focus on the story and not worry on our national crime rate. Besides for some reason American writers use a lot of foul language. O.K. it is necessary at times put it hurts the eyes!
Well I just wanted to clear some points , happy reading.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Life is really going fast, can it be that as we get older, time starts to shrink?

I'm trying to ween myself from television, which isn't too hard since there are really few good programs. PBS is still the best around and here in Chicago we have 3 stations to pick from.

I take advantage to see those English productions of the Jane Austen's novels, which for some reason I find so long-winded to read. But on the opposite end of my reading skills I find Shakespearean plays fun and very witty if you just read them slowly enough. The BBC also does a great job with the Elizabeth George (American) mysteries. They are great police stories but easy to understand, I guess bad is the same everywhere.

They are also doing Kathy Reich's books on the forensic doctor, but to tell you the truth the
books are better, and more serious than the TV version.

I wonder if they (the TV people) will ever try to do the post-WWI detective stories by Charles Todd. Actually this is the first time that I heard that a mother and son were the writers in this very good and interesting series. Yes it is British but it still very good.

Now comes the American writer Daniel Silva, I could almost bet money on the fact that one of his books will turn up one of these days, as a quick moving movie. He has a great way of explaining some of the intricate issues with Israel, an easy read. I could go on and on.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A true book friend has died.

It is a sad day Anthony Minghella has died. He was only 54 yrs. old, young!
He is the director of such books as "The Talented Mr. Ripley" "The English Patient"
and "Cold Mountain". If you ever get to see those added information at the end of the
DVDs there is a good amount of information on all that the directors do to stay true to the
books they are in trusted to bring to film.
Mr. Minghella was an incredible director who soaked in as much matter surrounding
the story he was working on. Not just the book, but the time and customs of the era
when the story takes place. When possible he worked with the authors to stay as true
as possible to what the author meant.
I had been looking for my list of books of Alexander McCall Smith and his variety of topics.
And to find out he (Minghella) had just finished one of those good books really made me
even more sad. God bless his soul for all he did to make so many readers happy.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cold Mountain-movie-book

Have you ever seen a movie that you really like? I have found several, the last one was the
movie Cold Mountain (2003). I had seen the book years before but never tried to read it.
Somehow I saw a bit of it on t.v. and decided to see it all. I did find it to be very well done and Kidman was good in this one, but Renee Zellweger glowed in it. Once I fall for a movie I go to the library catalog and see if there is a book for this or in the titles at the end of the movie they will state if it was based on a book or just the words- written by- big clues!
The book was good but after reading it I realized that Minghella (the director) did even a better job in condensing it and giving the viewer the essence of the book without the long, long journey.
Then there are times I like a book, like Gone With the Wind and find that the movie only skimmed the top, there were so many smaller stories left out in the movie version, I was so
surprised that it won so many Oscars. I kept telling my mom, if you love the movie read the book! Mom is not a reader, and I feel sorry people like mom, who miss out on so much more to these stories.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sister Wendy's Book on Prayer

This book is not a mystery but a treasure I found, almost by accident. We had chosen it at our laddies book club mostly because we've seen her on T.V. and is a good critic on art.
But she has written a book easy to understand and simple to follow or to see how easy it really is to feel comfortable with the way we each choose to communicate we Our Lord.

If you find yourself wondering like most of us at one point or other "am I doing it right?",
this book will help a lot.
This blog is the inspiration of one of the sisters (Daughter's of St. Paul community) who know how much of a reader I am. And my interest in sharing some of what I have gleamed from my journey in life with books or my book journeys or my love of books ; if you love books you know what I mean.

I think I have been reaching for a book to read (in contrast to being given an assigned book)
since I was 10 yrs. old. In high school, I worried my mother who thought she had raised a spinster, she would practically chase me from my room, untill I met my future husband in junior year and then I was watched well untill I married.

Luckily I married someone who also likes books. At times I think is was the 'link' that kept us together these 37 years and God's blessing of course.

Mysteries are for some time now my passion when I don't see anything interesting.