Friday, December 23, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (The Movie)

I read the book months ago and reviewed it here. It was one of those books that grabbed me and wouldn't let go until I had read all three books in the trilogy. I like to read the book before I see the movie.

Books usually allow you to use your imagination for the details of a person's appearance. Even though Stieg Larsson left little to the imagination in portraying Lisbeth Salander with her diminuitive size, her piercings, and that graphic tattoo, in my mind she became less harsh in her appearance as the story developed. I started to see her as a frail victim of a system that treated her as disposable.

The movie on the other hand gives you this and you deal with it even as you see her softer side, the vulnerable little girl with a kick-butt attitude.

I saw Rooney Mara in an interview this week. She has dimples, and she actually blushed when Ann Curry talked about her Golden Globe nomination. Where could Rooney's portrayal of Lisbeth Salander come from? She said she had read the books, and fell in love with the character as millions of readers did.

I saw the movie today. Hubby hasn't read the book, and probably won't. While I was enthralled with Mara's performance, he was watching the time tick away. It's a loooong movie, at 158 minutes. I didn't notice the length until it got to the anti-climactic part after the Harriet story had been solved. Then I realized the movie had missed too much of the Lisbeth story that I read in the book, and the reason I kept reading through three episodes. The movie makes her a background character. I will say though that Rooney Mara made the most of her time on the screen. All the subtle looks of disgust, endearment, fear tell a lot about the girl fighting to have her life back, even without the backstory of confinement in mental institutions when she was a little girl. I suppose the screen-writer is saving that for the next installment.

I give the movie four stars.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I'm Done!


I reached my goal in NaNoWriMo. No, I didn't complete writing 50,000 words in the month of November, 2011 and I won't get a certificate for winning the challenge. I did what I set out to do, which was to complete the novel I started in NaNo2009 and NaNo2010. I reached the end of the story, and I did it before my Thanksgiving company arrived, with a few days to spare.

I will say that this time NaNoWriMo was a life-changing experience. I've never done that kind of heads-down pounding out words, most of which had something to further the plot of my story. Sometimes my characters went off in directions I had not planned for them, but they and I grew in the process. We grew so much that I changed my working title again. This one I'm not ready to reveal, but it has more grit than the first two titles I tried.

I have backed up this one, my first draft and don't intend to even look at it again until January. I have Thanksgiving and Holiday parties to get through before I'll be ready for the tearing apart and rewriting of my Nano-stuff. Wish me luck.

Healing and Freedom through these Sacred Tone Masters


Healing and Freedom through these Sacred Tone Masters by Jacqueline D. Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I first met "Jacqui" on an internet forum community called Afrochat. Since I am usually one of the older people on social networking sites, my young friends (30 - 50 year-olds) start thinking of me as "Wise." Sometimes they even ask for my advice. Anyway, Jacqueline did ask for my guidance on writing this book, without telling me exactly what the book was about. I do believe she did receive some wiser guidance than I was able to give, and she came to calling this book a mystical magical memoir.

In this book she tells of a painting she was instructed to have painted of a group of women who have influenced her life, women she calls Sacred Tone Masters. She commissioned an artist to do this painting, and she set about meeting and being photographed with the women. Many of the women are authors whose work I have read, some of the women are recording artists whose music I love, others are recording artists I was not familiar with...probably due to our age difference. In the one episode that most captured my interest, Jaqui tells of how she met Octavia Butler, and came to rely on Ms Butler's phone conversations and advice for several years until her untimely passing. Jacqui was privileged to speak at Ms. Butler's funeral.

Through the power of the music and writings of these women, Jacqui felt she gained "Healing and Freedom."







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Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Megabus Experience

The Megabus began serving "Raleigh/Durham" a few months ago. That's "Raleigh/Durham" in quotes because, quiet as it's kept, there is no city name Raleigh/Durham or even Raleigh-Durham. Raleigh-Durham is an airport. (Excuse my annoyance.)

Anyway the stop for the Megabus around here is in Durham, at the Durham Station Transportation Center which was completed in 2009. It's the hub for Durham's DATA buses (Durham Area Transit System) not to be confused with data bus ...you techies can stop groaning now. Raleigh's hub is the traffic jam at the corner of Martin and Fayetteville Streets.

I had the opportunity to be the Russian chauffeur Pikop Andropov ("pick up and drop off") from the Car Talk show this weekend. The Megabus website said the bus stop for Durham was at 275 Jackson Street across from the Durham Station Transportation Center. So I got my directions to take the Durham Freeway to the Duke Street exit and turn right on Jackson Street. The only problem was the Duke street exit was closed for construction. So I had my passenger enter the address in the GPS, after we took the Chapel Hill Street exit. I could see the Transportation Center in the distance, but I had no idea which side was on Jackson Street. The GPS lady seemed to have me going in circles until she finally said, "Turn right on Jackson Street...you have reached your destination."

I drove up and down that block hoping to see a big blue bus, even entered the Transportation Center where it said "Buses only," and asked a pedestrian, "Can you tell me where the Megabus picks up?" "Sorry, I don't know." I finally found a woman who told me, "You just passed it. It's that sign on the left with the Yellow Man on it."



Sure enough. The bus stop is a sign. You can see the Durham Transportation Center behind it, and the Ligett & Myers Tobacco Company on the hill above it. Just about that time the big blue bus turned the corner, and several other cars converged on that block to do their Pikop Andropov. My passenger crossed the street and boarded. Who rides the Megabus to/from Durham? I saw some of everybody. Some looked like they might be students at the local colleges, Duke, Chapel Hill, NC Central. The exchange happened quickly and the big blue bus was on its way in a short time.

I haven't ridden a public bus since my college days when Greyhound and Trailways ruled the road. The Megabus provides express service between a growing list of cities. The price to ride from Durham to Charlotte is $21 each way. That's cheaper than the cost of gas, and you can sleep through the traffic.

I went back today to pick up my passenger from his overnight visit. This time the Duke Street exit was open and a line had formed at the bus stop, waiting for their ride to Washington, DC.




The American Tobacco Historic district was behind me when I took the pictures of the bus stop.



The Megabus will be expanding to Atlanta on November 16 and will be offering free seats for travel between Nov. 16 and Dec. 16. The free seats will be available on departures to and from Atlanta and the 11 expansion cities. Use the promo code ATL10K when booking (subject to availability on select dates, routes).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Night Circus

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was a book club selection for my "other" book club. I didn't want to read this book..."Not another circus book (groan)." I had read Water for Elephants a few months ago, and I didn't think I was ready for another story about elephants, tigers and trains. Besides, I wanted to introduce some of my "other" friends to black authors.

But once I started reading, I realized, this is not another circus book. It's more about magic and illusion, and a contest between two old dudes. Prospero the Enchanter, and his old nemesis "The Man in the Grey Suit," begin another challenge involving Prospero's newly discovered daughter and a young man plucked out of an orphanage by the mysterious Mr. H. Neither child knows who their opponent is, and it is never said what exactly the challenge is. Some reviewers have likened Marco and Celia to Romeo and Juliet, two star-crossed lovers. On the contrary, I think of them more like Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in the old "Trading Places" movie. When Murphy and Aykroyd's characters discover how their lives have been manipulated for a contest, they get even with their old dudes. Just as in The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peetah suddenly remember who the enemy is.

The circus is the playing field, a chess game where most of the other characters are merely pawns. It's a quirky story with performers who cross the line from illusion to real magic, or is it witchcraft. And a movie is in the works. I give the book four stars.



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Monday, October 24, 2011

November is a hard month!!


Yes, I will be doing the Nano-thing again this year. NaNoWriMo. (The National Novel Writing Month)

I did it for the first time in 2009, churning out 7000 words. I thought that was pretty good for a first timer, considering that November is hard. The last two years we have done a cruise in November, and then there is Thanksgiving. Last November I wrote about 2000 more words on the same novel. That's no better than I do without Nano to prod me on. I won't volunteer to do Thanksgiving this year. Last year we had 25 family members with us for dinner. This year the cruise will be in December.

Once you sign up, Nano sends regular emails to nag you into doing that thing. Last year I deleted a bunch without reading them. I promise myself I'll do better this year. With my declining memory, I need to finish before I forget where this story is going. It's an old people's internet romance. You know...old boy meets old girl, somebody has a heart attack, somebody winds up in the hospital. Old boy loses old girl to a middle-aged guy. Old girl forgets her meds. And have you noticed this year how many stories lead to Brazil? Somehow there will be a happy ending.

I'll have to appoint a designated nagger to get me moving. Any volunteers? Can I do 1000 words for each of 20 days in November? I would have to stay away from Facebook. That would get me to the finish line.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sugar in a Shoebox

Sugar in a ShoeboxSugar in a Shoebox by Joyce McFarland

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have known Joyce McFarland since our sons were good friends in middle school. She was always a person who could light up a room with her smiles and laughter.

In her book Sugar in a Shoebox she tells stories of growing up poor in rural North Carolina in the 1950's. She was born three months prematurely to teenaged parents, then raised by her Grandmother who became Mama. She was so tiny the doctor sent her home to die. Mama had other plans for the tiny baby. She fashioned a home-made incubator out of a shoebox with a mason jar filled with hot water which she changed every hour.

That baby in a shoebox grew up in a house full of family, full of love. Even in hard times she could remember a humorous episode. At the end of each story she has a list of humorous adages.

* * *
If you get a whipping for something you didn't do, take it in stride. You more than likely deserve it for something you had already done.

What is a freak? What is a human oddity? SOMEBODY'S CHILD.

When the "saints go marching in," some of them will have switch marks on them.

And my favorite:

And on the sixth day God created bacon; let us rejoice and be glad in it.



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Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Soul to Take

My Soul to Take (African Immortals, #4)My Soul to Take by Tananarive Due

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The fourth book in Tananarive Due's African Immortals series takes us to the next generation of The Blood. Fana is the first child born to the blood of the Lalibela Colony of Immortals and must deal with the prophecy that she must join with another Blood Born of the Sanctus Cruor sect. The Sanctus Cruor sect had claimed the Blood was theirs alone.

I have read the other books in the series, and see in this one the development and maturing of Fana's parents, Jessica and Dawit, their love for her and desire to protect her from losing herself to Sanctus Cruor, forgetting her mission to heal the world with a serum made from the blood.

I was surprised to see Phoenix Smalls, a character from Joplin's Ghost in this story. But she is a perfect fit with her past of a telepathic relationship with a ghost. Fana is a fan of Phoenix's music, and it is through the music that Fana stays grounded to who she is.

The telepathic joining and mingling of the courses of Fana and Michel her intended, invaded my own night dreams, combining with visions of telepathic X-men. (I shouldn't read before bed)

Is there more for Fana to accomplish? Will Jessica and Dawit have another child? How long must we wait for the next in the series?

But I'm thinking of the child's prayer:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.


That was the point when my babies did their God Bless-ing everybody. Did Fana do that already?




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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Things they didn't teach you in American History

The Marrow of Tradition (Penguin Classics)The Marrow of Tradition by Charles W. Chesnutt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars





I consider myself fortunate to have gone to segregated schools in the Jim Crow South of the 1950's, thanks to teachers who taught us many of the things that were missing from the approved text books. The text books in the Virginia schools would have us believe that "slaves were happy and they sang a lot." And for 200 years of American History, we were missing.

When my late husband and I returned to the South in 1975 and settled in Raleigh, NC, many cities were just catching up to enforcing the Supreme Court decision that outlawed "Separate but Equal" in the public schools. Wilmington, NC had experienced what was being called a riot by 10 activists known as the Wilmington Ten. They were convicted of arson and conspiracy in 1971, and remained in jail until the case was overturned in 1980.

My husband grew up in North Carolina and had learned about Wilmington Riot of 1898 when he attended segregated schools in his home town of Fayetteville, NC. We didn't know whether it was irony or intention that placed Wilmington in the center of racial tension again.

While living in Raleigh, I gradually learned how the Raleigh News & Observer through its publisher Josephus Daniels played a role in the Riot of 1898. His white supremacist editorials fanned the flames of racist sentiment in Wilmington, leading to the overthrow of the elected city government in a city that was in 1898, two-thirds black.

On May 17, 1995, The News & Observer Publishing Company was sold , ending 101 years of Daniels family ownership. Orage Quarles, III a black man is now the President and Publisher of the Raleigh News & Observer. Finally, in 2010, under Quarles leadership, the full story of the riot led by white supremacists to end "Negro domination" in Wilmington was published here.

That's a rather long lead in to a book review. The Marrow of Tradition is Charles W. Chesnutt's account of the events that led to the massacre of the black population, the burning of the only black newspaper, and black hospital in the fictional town of Wellington, NC.

Chesnutt was born in 1858 in Cleveland Ohio to mixed-race parents who returned to their hometown of Fayetteville, NC after the Civil War. Chesnutt returned to the North in 1878 to escape the poverty and prejudice of the south.

The Marrow of Tradition captures the spirit of those times, the dialect of the uneducated, the day-to-day struggles of black people trying to make a life of their own, the hatred of the white "aristocracy," and the plotting and planning of would-be politicians to gain a toehold in the political arena.

A sad tale that is well told.



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Friday, August 26, 2011

Will you still love me...

OK, Baby Boomers, we wrote the songs.

Will you still love me tomorrow?



Will you still need me when I'm 64?



And then there's the one that hasn't been written yet:

Will you still love me when I don't know who you are?

Tinker decided one of my bookcases was falling down from overload. After he repaired it, he said I needed to get rid of some of the books to make space for the photo albums. We have photos from every vacation, cruise, roadtrip, family occasion we have had since we got married in 2002. After we went digital, we took hundreds of pictures of everything and shared them with our friends on the internet. Then we printed about 15% of them using one of the online photo services like KodakGallery or Shutterfly...whichever one is having a sale when we need one.

After I got all the albums labeled and shelved, I started wondering what we would ever do with all those prints. They're nice to have when friends come over and ask about our travels...better to look at the prints than have them go with us up to our office and look at the computer screen.

Then I thought about my dear sister Laverne. LaVerne is 85 years old and has dementia. I hesitate to use the A-word as it seems like a sentence for my future health as well.

Anyway, LaVerne and her husband Goody traveled all over the world when they were able, and now they have a collection of photo albums. When I visited with LaVerne on one of those days when she didn't remember that Goody was her husband, I pulled out one of her photo albums and she started remembering events from those trips. Then she asked, "Why is it that every time I turned around, Goody was there too?" She turned the page and said, "There he is again."

Sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Silver Sparrow

Silver SparrowSilver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A few lines from one of my favorite songs from the Temptations:


Hey Mama, is it true what they say,
that Papa never worked a day in his life?
And Mama, bad talk going around town
saying that Papa had three outside children and another wife.
And that ain't right.



That's what I always heard it called, "outside children."

Tayari Jones' novel, the first half narrated by Dana Witherspoon, begins "My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist." I always imagined a bigamist as a long distance player who married more than one woman and kept separate families in different cities. James Witherspoon is a rather ordinary man who stutters, and has his outside child with her mother Gwen who both know they are not the "legal" family, whom they can surveill at will as they all live in Atlanta.

Silver Sparrow was chosen by The Today Show as the #1 book for summer. Some critics are praising Tayari Jones as the next Toni Morrison. It's a story with many layers of interpretation. Dana who wants a real family and her half-sister Chaurisse, whom she inevitably meets, wants to be one of the popular girls with best friends. A silver girl like Dana. The story propels them to a sad ending I will continue to analyze for a long time.

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This had to be the longest R&B single ever, at seven minutes. I love the two minute intro with guitar, trumpets and strings. The ensemble piece gives each of the five singers a chance to solo.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Me and the Machine


It all started in February 2011 when I attended a Red Dress Affair sponsored by Duke Raleigh Hospital. The event featured a health fair, heart-healthy cooking demonstrations provided by Kroger, free advance lipid profile test provided by LipoScience, screenings by Duke Heart Center, healthy lunch, and presentations from Duke experts.

As the youngest of seven siblings who have various forms of cardio-vascular disease, I thought I knew it all. I manage my hypertension with medication, keep my weight down, eat healthy meals, and exercise regularly. I was just going for the fellowship with 20-some women from church, and free lunch.

Then, as I was finishing up my lunch of grilled salmon and green salad, a doctor started his presentation on sleep. He said, "I bet every time you go to the doctor you don't have any problem talking about your blood pressure, your blood sugar, your weight, and if anything hurts you talk about that too. But do you ever talk about how well you sleep?"

He asked five questions about sleep, from a slide that I didn't copy down. He said if you answered yes to any of these five questions, maybe you need to talk to your doctor about sleep apnea. I had answered yes to all five questions. I snore; I fall asleep when somebody else is driving; I have trouble staying awake when I'm driving; I fall asleep in the movies!! I fell asleep on Transformers, even with all that action and crashing and banging of machines.

My next 6-month checkup, I discussed it with my doctor. He didn't seem convinced that I have a problem, but he referred me to a neurologist for a sleep study. When I started talking to online friends about having a sleep study, over twenty people volunteered their own experiences, and it seemed that half the world has a CPAP machine. I don't have trouble falling asleep; my trouble is staying asleep. The study determined that I have mild sleep apnea...enough to benefit from having a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine.

I named him Argoyle. We've been together for two weeks now. I can't say that I get any more sleep than before, but I am getting better sleep. It's quiet enough, and the mask is unobtrusive enough that I forget I'm wearing it. I still wake up at four or five AM, but I feel refreshed.

I'll be taking Argoyle with me on a trip next week. Medicare won't pay for him unless I'm compliant, using it at least four hours per night for 30 days. Argoyle has a memory card to record my usage. So he and I will have fun going through airport security. I hope we don't make the news.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

State of Wonder

State of WonderState of Wonder by Ann Patchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Although my blog is called "Checking off the Bucket List," I don't have a list. I know when I do something extraordinary, I decide that was one. And there are some things I know will never be on my Bucket List. Going down the Amazon River is one. A few years ago, my husband and I cruised South America, starting at Valparaiso, Chile, around Cape Horn, and ending in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We had stops along that route, including Rio de Janeiro. And as close as we were to the Amazon River, the only Amazon on our lips was dot com.

I think the Amazon has been taking out its revenge on me since then. After I read John Grisham's Testament a few months ago, I thought I had learned all I ever wanted to know about the Amazon River. And now comes State of Wonder with its Lakashi tribe whose women bear children into their seventies. Dr. Annick Swenson has made it her life's work to study the elements of tribal life that make this phenomenon possible. After she presents her case to Vogel Pharmaceutical company, they fund her research with the hope of patenting a drug which will make late-life pregnancy possible for all the women who want it. (HAH!)

After Dr. Swenson has spent years with very little communication with Vogel, they send one scientist to investigate and get an update on the project. When he is reported dead, they send another pharmacologist who happens to have done a residency in obstetrics under Annick Swenson as attending physician. (Why is this sounding like my pastor's sermon this morning on the parable of the tenants, Mark 12?) Have I digressed enough?

State of Wonder is a fascinating story of love, deceit, manipulation, disease, cultural awareness...so much stuff that when I finished reading last night, my brain kept processing all the threads way past midnight, thinking about the characters I had come to care about, wondering how they could return to their lives in Minnesota after they've seen the Amazon.



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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Larry Crowne


The Movie "Larry Crowne" answers the question, "Can a man find happiness after he loses his job, his wife, his house, and can't afford to put gas in his SUV?" Of course he can, in Tom Hanks' latest movie, written, produced, and directed by Tom Hanks.

The bigger question is, when did Tom Hanks become one of the old guys? He still looks good, but he's getting a little saggy under the eyes, and doughy around the middle. Don't get me wrong, Tom Hanks is one of my favorite actors. I have seen a lot of his movies. That's saying a lot when you consider there was a time when I would refuse to watch him in anything. I absolutely hated "Bosom Buddies," which I consider the first of the all-time-worst stupid white guy shows.

He redeemed himself with "Big." He made a believer out of me with his convincing portrayal of a little kid trapped in a grown-up body. I got on a roll with Tom Hanks after that.

Larry Crowne is a "nice" feel-good movie, with a stellar supporting cast. Julia Roberts, of course. But then Hanks gives work to a bunch of my favorite black actors...an extra star for that. Cedric the Entertainer, and Taraji P. Henson are Larry's neighbors. Where did Taraji get that housewife voice? Girlfriend has so much untapped talent. And Gugu Mbatha-Raw...remember Kodjoe's wife from "Undercovers" the series that Kodjoe couldn't save. Gugu really found her element as a flaky free spirit in this one. And Pam Grier!!! Foxy Brown herself!

With the extra star that makes four stars for Larry Crowne.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Breathless

BreathlessBreathless by Dean Koontz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I love the way Dean Koontz develops characters. There are the ones he gives endearing and quirky characteristics that you can love and identify with. And there are the creepy ones that make you afraid to check under the bed. He throws in a dog to make you feel safe and sure that nothing really bad is going to happen to the good people. And there are the questionable characters. You don't know if they are a threat or if they will come to the rescue.

Breathless has all those elements. It's the characters that kept me reading. But in the end, I'm saying, "What was that all about?"

There are some authors that can weave a story that keeps you turning pages, so that in the end you say, "Oh that's what that was about." And you start processing the clues that you missed, and that story stays with you for a long time...the puzzle coming into place.

Not so with Breathless. I give it 3 stars for keeping me engaged.



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Monday, June 13, 2011

Survivor


On Saturday I participated in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure, in Raleigh. I did the 5K recreational run. The day started out with temperatures in the 70's, and the air was muggy. It was a good day. The Five Kilometers (~3 miles) turned into 6 miles when we added the walk from the Lincolnville AME Church van to the buses provided at the RBC Center, plus the walk from the drop off at the rear of Meredith College to the start of the race on Hillsborough Street...and back.

The course took us east on Hillsborough Street, then into the neighborhood north of Hillsborough. The neighbors were out on their porches or lawns, cheering us on. Many had their sprinklers turned to the street so that we could get a little bit of a cooling off. There were cheering teams at every turn, and water stations at each mile post. The Lincolnville YPD finish much ahead of us Senior citizens.

When people talk about breast cancer "survivors," they typically refer to people who have had breast cancer, have been through treatment, and are still alive to talk about it. There were many such survivors participating in the race. Some were in the competitive run, some in the recreational run, and we passed a few sitting on the porch in the neighborhood we passed.

I call myself a survivor in another sense. My mother died of breast cancer when I was twelve years old. I survived getting through life, motherless, making many decisions on my own. Some good decisions, some bad decisions, but I survived.

In those days, people talked only in whispers about cancer. It was as if you could catch it just by saying the word. Treatment was limited to radical mastectomy and radiation. We have come a long way in early detection and treatment. I ran on Saturday in memory of my mother, Georgia Gordon.

The books are not closed yet on the fundraising for Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. You can still donate by clicking here.

Where do the funds go?

• 75% of net funds are invested locally to fund education, screening and treatment programs.

• 25% of net funds are dedicated to research and finding the cure(s) for breast cancer.

• Last year, with the help of our supporters, more than 40,000 North Carolinians were directly impacted by Komen NC Triangle community health grants.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3)The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I finally finished the third and last installment of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. I finished the second book four months ago just before the big New York publisher's started the "Agency Pricing" agreement that keeps the price of e-books higher than paperback in many cases.

I had bought the first two e-books in the series for my Kindle at roughly $5 and $7 respectively, so when the last one was raised to $12.99, I balked. I decided to do my own protest by purchasing a Kobo e-book (reduced at a Borders Book Store going out of business), and getting in the queue for the e-book from the library. That was January. It took until the end of May before my number came up.

The third book is missing the element that drew me into the series in the first place. Namely Lisbeth Salander. (Spoiler alert, maybe) At the end of book two, she had been shot in the head, shoulder, hip; buried and left for dead. Then she dug her way out and in a final stroke hit her evil father in the head with an axe. My kind of girl!! But really, it's that determination, and kick-butt attitude that sucked me into reading these thrillers.

The third book begins hours later with Salander in the hospital still alive, where she remains until she can go on trial for murder of three other people and attempted murder of her father. So for half of the book, she can't kick butt. But of course I have to read on to see how she gets out of the mess.

I had gotten used to the abundance of Swedish names of people and places that were often very similar. Nieminen and Niedermann, and everybody is somebody's son or strom. And streets/roads ending with gatan, making for many seven syllable words. Hey, I studied German including a year at the University of Munich. I thought I was used to long names...and umlauts. But I was OK with it for two installments. It seemed that this final book was a convergence of all the people and places from the first two. And throw in some feminine warriors for good measure. I hated that there was no mention of Yaa Asantewaa.


In the end, I was glad it was all over and all loose ends were wrapped up. It was a good thriller with some heart-thumping moments.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

What had happened wuz...


It all started when I decided to find out why I can't connect my Kindle to my home wireless network. Not that I need to. I'm retired and sit at my PC many hours every day. If I want to shop for books, I do it from my PC and send the ebooks to my Kindle via Whispernet. No muss no fuss.

But you know how those things can nag you when they ought to work. I connected my Kobo reader with no problem, just had not been able to connect the Kindle.

Now here's the wrinkle. We have a secured network. Not only do you need the password to get in, you also have to have your MAC address included in our network access list.

The Kindle has a MAC Address just like all the other devices (iPhones, iPods, smartphones) that come visiting my house and want to use the internet. The Kobo Mac Address is in there. But I noticed something odd about the Kindle Mac Address. All the other MAC Addresses in the list start with 00:, the Kindle starts with 28: and it would not work. Entering the password is a pain in the butt using the Kindle keypad, and I tried it several times.

Today I tried something different. Instead of the starting 28, I changed it to 00. Voila!! I was in. So I could shop Amazon for books.

But you know I had to do something wild. I tried to get to Facebook from my Kindle....yep, I got in. I could see my photo in black & white. Then the thing hung up. The page just sat there. I tried shutting down, but it came back with that Facebook URL showing at the top...everywhere. I could get back in the book I was reading, but that ugly URL was hanging around at the top.

I clicked around until I found RESTART!! YAY, I was saved.

But you know one of these days, I'm going to try it again. This time I'll try Twitter since it doesn't hang up as much as Facebook does anyway. And I was so intrigued by that story from the Japanese earthquake. A young American woman who survived the earthquake, could not get a phone to work to call home. But she had her Kindle, and she Tweeted from her Kindle that she was safe and sound.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Name This Child


My current Work-in-Progress, which is a long way from completion, is in need of a name. The working title is Blaq-Kawfee.com (where friends are more than just faces on a screen.)

Synopsis:
BK is owned and operated by A1QTEE (Laura) who maintains a personal relationship with all the members of the site. Angelplaits (Angela) is QTEE's number one administrator to help keep forum topics current and interesting.

When Angela gets word that Laura has been dead for a month, she is shocked and hurt. She must tell Laura's on-again-off-again fiance, JDaniels, whom Laura banned from the site weeks ago. JDaniels flies to Las Vegas to get first-hand information on what happened. What he learns starts the network of friends from BK on a statewide and international search for the truth about QTEE.

Meanwhile Angela and her husband Bodine are scheduled for a South American cruise from Chile around Cape Horn, ending in Brazil. The day before they leave, Angela gets a call from a BK friend in New York City who has gotten a voicemail from Laura saying she's in New York on the way to Rio. And so begins the Mystery Adventure Romance.

Contest rules:

Email your idea for a title for this novel to contest[dot]one[at]sarahweathersby[dot]com. Only one entry per email. You may enter as often as you like starting today, until a winning idea is chosen.

Decision of the judge(me) is completely subjective. In the event of duplicate entries, only the first one to arrive at the contest.one email will be considered. The winner will be notified by email. And the winning entry will be posted on www.sarahweathersby.com.

The winner will receive a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate.

The winner must sign a statement relinquishing rights to the title as used by Sarah Gordon Weathersby. Sarah Gordon Weathersby reserves the right to use the title for hardcopy or electronic book or any future media based on the book.

The winner's total compensation for the title is the $25 gift certificate.

Members of the Gordon and Weathersby families are not eligible to win. (Sorry Marsha).

This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Google.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

In Memory of my mother, Georgia Gordon, who died of breast cancer in 1958


Dear Friends and Family,
I recently accepted the challenge to Inspire Hope by participating in the 2011 Komen NC Triangle Race for the Cure. This year marks the 15th Anniversary of the Race and I have committed to taking the 15th Anniversary Challenge to raise at least $300. This should be easy if only 15 of my friends and family will make a $20 donation, I will reach my goal. Won't you please help me reach my goal?

You can make a tax-deductible contribution to the Komen NC Triangle Affiliate online by clicking here and searching for my name. You can send your tax-deductible contribution to the address listed below.

Since 1997 the NC Triangle Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure has invested more than $12 million in saving lives in my community because 75 percent of the money I raise stays right here in my community. The remaining 25 percent funds national breast cancer research to develop treatments and find a cure. Komen is the only nonprofit organization working to end breast cancer at every stage, from the causes, to the cures, to the pain and anxiety of every moment in between. You can be confident that your gift will help reach more women and families with programs and services.

Whatever you can give will help it all adds up! I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.

Sincerely,
Sarah

To donate online, click on the link below and search for my name (Sarah Weathersby)

www.komennctriangle.org/komen-race-for-the-cure/donate/


To mail a donation:

Make all checks payable to:
Susan G. Komen for the Cure NC Triangle Affiliate
Please write my name in the memo field on your check so I get credit!

Mail to:
Komen NC Triangle Affiliate
133 Fayetteville Street
Suite 300
Raleigh, NC 27601

Saturday, May 7, 2011

More Than You Know

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading Rosalyn Story's Wading Home, I loved it so much that I had to read her first novel, More Than You Know. When I first saw the title, I started singing the old standard by that name, without knowing the song was a thread throughout the novel.



It's a sweet, poignant love story of a nine-year-old boy who promised never to tell where the infant came from before he delivered her to Big Mama to adopt and raise. Eighteen years later he finds that baby all grown up, and they have a happy marriage for 25 years, until he tell her the secret. She banishes him, he runs away, and we find him living homeless on the streets of New York City.

I loved the lyrical quality of this story, but not as much as I loved Wading Home. I loved the jazz music that tells it's own story as background to the plight of LJ and Olivia as the secret slowly unravels with all the threads that tore them apart and would finally bring them back together.

I give it four stars



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Purple Haze Virtual Book Tour





JA Adams is author of Chameleon, Unfinished Business, and is excited about the re-release of Purple Haze. In Purple Haze, a car accident ends the lives of a young couple and no one suspects foul play until another body surfaces leading the people of Pineview, TX to believe a killer is in their midst. Twins, Landan and Janda Colquin try to uncover the identity of the killer as a complicated haze settles between life as they envisioned and the one that they now know exists.
Today's virtual book stop will introduce you to Purple Haze.
Introduce readers to Purple Haze.
Purple Haze is a book about a journey in forgiveness and healing from grief.
Who are the main characters?
Because Purple Haze carries the storyline of several individuals simultaneously, there are 7 main characters that dip in and out throughout the novel. Principle characters are the Janda and Landan (Colquin twins), Alison (their high school friend) the Eugene and Steven (Stykes brothers), and Keith Baptise (a character from Chameleon).
Which character was the best to write? And why?
There's a tie between Janda and Alison. While Janda is somewhat mild-mannered (until that last straw that breaks the camel's back) and tries to see the good in everyone, Alison, her best friend is a take no prisoners kind of girl.
What are some of the key issues addressed in Purple Haze?
Coming to terms with grief and forgiveness is truly a spiritual journey that affects each person differently. Also, that the experience of grief is not limited to death. Sometimes we grieve the loss of a part of ourselves that we must let go in order to move forward with life or to allow God to work within us.
Links of where people can find you.
About the Book
Residents of Pineview, Texas suspect no foul play when a popular young couple dies in a car accident. However, years later, when another friend of Landan and Janda (the Colquin twins) turns up dead, the twins mull over the possibility of a killer in their midst. Fearing for their lives, can the twins and their friends figure out the identity of the killer before there is another murder? For all involved, they soon learn life is seldom played by its precedent rules as a haze between the world in which we live and the one in which we wish we did emerges.
* * * * *
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JA Adams, author of three psychological suspense novels--Chameleon, Purple Haze, and Unfinished Business--uses personal and professional experiences to bring awareness to psychological issues that affect our relationships.
Adams actively writes and volunteers with numerous organization bringing awareness to teen dating violence and women issues, as well as, advocating against intimate partner and family violence.
Adams resides in Austin, TX with her husband and children nearby. For more information visit www.jaadamsauthor.com.
For more information
Purple Haze is available in print and ebook through most online retailers and your neighborhood book stores. To learn details about locations and online purchases visit www.jaadamsauthor.com.
You can also follow your virtual book tour online at www.niapromotions.com.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mother's Day Special

For the Month of May, the Kindle version of Motherless Child - stories from a life for 99 cents.

Imagine you gave a baby up for adoption forty years ago, and after years of trying to find her, she finds you. Now come the hard questions. She's healthy, beautiful, and successful, but she wants to know why you gave her away and why you didn't marry her father. And there is also the unspoken question of "What kind of black woman gives her baby away?" How do you explain to her that giving her away was the best gift you could offer?

This is my first published work, a coming-of-age-in-the-sixties-single-black-pregnant and on the way to Germany, memoir.

Click here to go to Amazon.com

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wild time at Maho Beach

We just returned from a two-week Southern Caribbean cruise. Since the itinerary included islands we had visited before except for one, we took the opportunity to visit the beach as many days as possible and work on our tans. The first port stop was St. Martin/St. Maarten where we took a taxi to Maho Beach, also known as "Airport Beach." It's adjacent to Princess Juliana International Airport, and it is popular for people to watch the planes come in for a landing.

You can't say we weren't warned.




It's wild and crazy when the planes come in.



Sunday, April 24, 2011

The List

The ListThe List by J.A. Konrath

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This novel by J.A.Konrath was another 99 cent treasure I found by way of DailyCheapReads.com. It's available in paperback on Amazon via Amazon's CreateSpace publishing arm, and as a Kindle eBook.

He tried for a few years to get it published traditionally, but it has become quite a hit as an eBook. "It's a technothriller about a group of ten people who each have tattoos of numbers on the bottoms their feet, and don't know why. One of them, a Chicago Homicide cop named Tom Mankowski, has had one of these strange tattoos since birth. When he investigates a violent murder and discovers the victim also has a tattooed number, it sets the ball rolling for an adventure of historic proportions."

In between my more "literary" reading, I love a books that get my heart pounding. This one is a hoot. It would make a great "Buddy Adventure" movie. You know, White cop, black cop, an annoyingly funny victim who is along for the ride for his safety, and a kick-butt woman with a fierceness level somewhere between Princess Leia and Isabel Salander. Throw in a little romance, an international plot, and a bit too much gore at the end.

I loved it. 4 stars.





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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wading Home

Wading Home: A Novel of New OrleansWading Home: A Novel of New Orleans by Rosalyn Story

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I first heard of this book through one of the blogs I read (I forget which). At the time, it seemed the book wasn’t getting the attention it deserved even after being on the Essence book list. The publisher offered a free PDF download from their website during Black History month. (Did somebody say free?) After I downloaded it, I decided I wouldn’t have to fortitude and vision (old eyes) to sit at my PC and read a book. I have experimented with reading PDF’s on my Kindle and that is not something I would try for a 300-page novel. So I jumped on Amazon to see what the Kindle book might cost, and it was FREE. The best of my reading world, free and on Kindle. Today the price is back at $9.69 for the Kindle version.

The extended title is “A Novel of New Orleans.” I suppose that alone might keep some people away. We watched the Katrina flood pictures for weeks, live from CNN. As much as we cried, sent money, sent clothes, prayed, cried some more, railed at President Bush, even agreed with Kanye West, eventually we were all emotionally drained by the Katrina experience. Rather selfish of us when we had friends still living in FEMA trailers five years later. Wading Home needed to simmer a while to bring out the savor of a story woven around the tragedies of New Orleans. I put off reading it until my latest cruise and I had already finished three other books. Shame on me.

Rosalyn Story has given us the most beautifully lyrical story I have read in a long time. Her vivid descriptions of “Home,” the people living through the tragedy, the deep traditions, the old country houses steeped in love, the wildflowers and sounds of insects and creek splashing, all enrich the story of family. The way she stacks simile on top of metaphor is like having my arms filled with presents wrapped with frosted paper and bows. I was so carried away with the language that I reached the point of being filled with yet another present. I had to laugh out loud when I read “this had been the step-ball-change, one routine in the detailed choreography of their romance.” If had not had a friend who teaches tap-dancing, I would have missed that one, and I wondered how many other stunning metaphors I had missed before that one.

Beyond the writing, it’s a beautiful story. We all want a happy ending for New Orleans, so I’ll forgive that everything falls so neatly into place at the end. I give it 5 stars.




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Water for Elephants

Water for ElephantsWater for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The movie opened earlier this month, but I like to read the book first. Especially since I had already downloaded it to my Kindle. I read an interview with the author, Sara Gruen, in which tells how she got caught up in telling a story about life in a circus during the Great Depression. She said she had never had much interest in circuses before, and this novel happened as a detour from the story she intended to write.

I loved Water for Elephants. I loved the old man Jacob Jankowski (he’s 90 or 93, he forgets which) as he reflects on how he ran away from his final veterinary school exam. His parents were killed in an automobile accident and left a house in foreclosure and his father’s veterinary practice insolvent. It’s a wonderful fantasy how he ends up on a circus train, takes a job shoveling manure, and gets promoted to the circus vet. Gruen fills the story with backstage stories of hoboes and workers being cheated out of their pay and being thrown from the train. And there is Jacob's fascination with the horse trainer, and love for an abused elephant.

I hope the movie is half as good as the book. I give it 5 stars.




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Love, Honor, and Betray

Love, Honor, and BetrayLove, Honor, and Betray by Kimberla Lawson Roby

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I have read Kimberla Lawson Roby’s books before and I enjoyed her stories. I read this one because it was my book club's selection for April. The trouble with books in a series is you can be stuck with characters you don’t like for all the books to come until you decide you don’t care enough about any of them to read another installment.

Love Honor and Betray is #8 In the Curtis Black series. It contains enough backstory to fill me in on what Charlotte and Curtis have been through that I don’t want to read the next in the series. It’s a shame when an author stops telling good stories in exchange for writing what sells. And I know adultery, baby-mama drama sells well. I’m sure there will be another installment of the saga of Rev. Curtis Black, his lascivious ways, and all the drama his ever-loving wife puts herself through to get even.

But I’m not interested. I give it 2 stars.




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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kindle Apps? Who Knew?



I luurrrve my Kindle. Did I say that before? It's great for traveling, since I don't have to pack 2 - 4 books for the trip.

Sure I heard about apps for Kindle months ago, but they all looked rather clumsy. The Kindle keyboard is not something I want to use for any real typing.

Enter Kindle Notepad. My first impression was, "What do I want this for?" The folks on the Kindlecorner Yahoo group have been raving about it. So for 99 cents I decided to give it a try.

My best use so far is to replace my phone for storing lists of stuff. Sometimes I need to check a list when I don't want to have my phone on, like on a cruise.

You can run up huge international roaming charges if you're not careful when you turn your phone on. Even if you don't answer your phone and let it go to voice mail, it can cost you $2.49 per minute aboard a cruise ship. And those text messages from 62262, don't you just love him.

Back to the app. I can type my notes on the Kindle keypad (ARGGGGH) or type them on my PC (on a real keyboard) into Notepad text files and transfer them to the Kindle via USB.

There is no User Guide, but the developer has some nice How-To videos here: http://kappreview.com/2011/03/17/kindle-notepad-video/

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Testament

The TestamentThe Testament by John Grisham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I always think of John Grisham as a lawyer who hates the practice of law so much that he would rather expose the sleaze-bags who practice law than be one. When I read one of his books, I always expect to read about the worst money-grubbing lawyer tactics.

It was no surprise when I got a lot of that from The Testament. The swarm of lawyers contesting the last will and testament of a billionaire were sleazy to the point of being comic. But there was another testament. I didn't expect Grisham to get spiritual on me. One alcohol-abusing, cocaine snorting, womanizer "gets saved."

It's a good read. It almost lost me in the Brazilian Pantanal. Between the alligators, anaconda, mosquitos, and torrential rains, I wondered what it had to do with the testament, but it all worked for good. There was no murder, just a gradual unraveling of "how do we make this work."



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Monday, March 21, 2011

I'm fighting back!!


When I left the house suddenly yesterday afternoon, I told hubby I was going to buy another eReader. He looked at me like I had lost my mind. He just gave me a Kindle for my birthday in October.

What had happened wuz...Borders Books is in bankruptcy, and the stores that are closing are selling everything down to the walls for a big discount. I had just read in the Kindlecorner yahoo group that I could get a Kobo Ereader for $59.99.

Don't get me wrong, I luuurve my Kindle. But it only reads book formatted specifically for Kindle, and not the books I can get from the public library. What does that have to do with fighting back, you may ask.

Over the last month or so, the big New York publishers have entered into what they are calling "Agency Pricing" for eBooks. From my perspective, it means they don't get it, and are pricing best sellers at almost the same price as the print copy.

I started reading the Stieg Larsson books after I got my Kindle. I purchased the first in the series for $5.00, the second one I got for $7.57. Then I started watching the price on the third and final book in the series. It was $9.99, and I was expecting it to drop. Two weeks ago under the new pricing deal, it went to $11.99.

I can get it for free from the Wake County Library, but not on my Kindle. So I spent $59.99 to save $2.00. Of course that's not the only book I can get from the library. I got on the waiting list to get "The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" last night. I'm number 95. I hope I'm not out of town when my number comes up, since they give you 3 days to respond. I also signed up for 3 other books, so I can practice the download thing from the library.

The Kobo is a little clunkier than the Kindle. It got stuck a few times while I was getting it set up. I was able to copy my own book, Motherless Child - stories from a life since I created an epub version on Smashwords.com. And the Kobo comes with 100 classics already (Including Tom Sawyer with the N-word.) I won't run out of reading material for a long time. Maybe the big publishers will come to their senses eventually.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great MigrationThe Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I have one word to describe this book...Brilliant. It was my book club's selection for this month, and I feared that I wouldn't be able to finish the massive 640 pages before our club meeting. As it turns out, the 640 pages includes the Epilogue, notes on Methodology, the acknowledgements, the permissions to use passages (poems, songs, speeches) from previoously copyrighted works, and footnotes. OHHH..., the footnotes, all 446 of them.

Ms. Wilkerson started the research for this book in 1995. She commented when I saw her in Chapel Hill last month that if this book were a child, it would be dating by now. Her research included over 1200 interviews of people involved in the Great Migration of blacks escaping the Jim Crow South for better lives in the North and West. She met them in churches, meetings of civic and social clubs in the locations where people left, and the cities where they landed, in a Great Migration that started after the first World War and continued into the 1970's.

What sounds at first like a huge sociological study becomes very personal as she follows the lives of three individuals. Ida Mae Gladney was a sharecropper in Mississippi who moved to Chicago in 1937. George Starling moved from the orange groves of Florida to New York in 1945. Robert Pershing Foster, a physician, moved from Lousiana to Los Angeles in 1953. As we read about their personal reasons for leaving, Ms Wilkerson interweaves citations from Newspapers during those times to give weight to the personal stories.

At times it is not an easy read because she cites reports of lynching after lynching with all of the gruesome dtails. There were days that I just closed the book and cried. When Ida Mae met with housing discrimination in Chicago, Ms Wilkerson cites reports that gave the big picture of the reaction of European immigrants who committed violent acts rather than live in the same block with the new immigrants from the South. She also used testimony from family and friends left behind to fill in the gaps where Ida Mae, George, and Robert may not have been, or may have forgotten.

Ida Mae, George, and Robert never meet, but Ms Wilkerson pulls together the similarities and differences in their lives as they reach thier individual "Promised Land." I thought it was particulalry brilliant the way she tied in the studies from Commissions troughout history such as the reports folllowing the Chicago Riots of 1919 (Chicago Commission on Race Relations, The Negro in Chicago: A Study of Race Relations and a Race Riot), and the 1968 Report from the Kerner Commission.

When we reach the end of the book, she has been with each of those three even until death. Their lives have become so much of her family that she can't let it go until she helps usher them on to the beyond.

I tried to think how my family fits into this Great Migration. My parents didn't leave the south, but my siblings and I did. There was not the threat of lynching in Petersburg VA as there was in Mississippi following Reconstruction on through the Civil Rights Era. We didn't have the urgency to leave. My oldest sister settled in Washington DC after college; two of my brothers moved to Washington, DC after the Korean War; a third brother to New York, and a fourth to Colorado after he retired from the military. After my mother died, I went to live with a brother in Washington where I attended high school. When it came time for me to choose a college, I did not consider the HBCU's that my siblings attended; I looked North because of the possibility of better jobs when I graduated. And then I was the first to return to the South in 1975, making me a part of the reverse migration.

The Warmth of Other Suns is a book for every American. For those of us whose families lived through The Great Migration, it gives solid facts to back up the history that we knew anecdotally, or learned piecemeal in secret from teachers in segregated schools. And for those who never understood the depth and breadth of the discrimination in this country, this book is for you.



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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Oral Galvanic Effect


I had two fillings replaced in my teeth last week. My dentist took great care in making sure my upper and lower teeth came together correctly. I did the bite on the carbon paper thing several times until I felt comfortable.

On the way home, the Novocaine wore off. I bit my teeth together, and it was like an electric shock in my mouth. But if I bit firmly, there was no shock. I had other errands to run, and didn't have time to go right back to the dentist. Besides, I thought maybe the trauma in my mouth needed to settle down, and I would feel better.

When I ate dinner later, I had no pain from biting or chewing food. It was just from those bare teeth with fillings coming into place. Lucky for me that I wear a mouth guard at night so my teeth won't clench, or I would never have gotten to sleep.

I gave it a few more days before I called my dentist. No, my tooth doesn't hurt. Gums don't hurt. Not sensitive to hot or cold. It's just that electric shock thing. He told me to come in and he would adjust my bite again.

When I went in, he had me bite on that carbon paper stuff again, and I didn't get a shock with the paper between my teeth. Conclusion: Galvanic Effect. It was the metal touching metal that was sending a jolt through my mouth. It took my dentist about five minutes to grind down a couple of spots, so my mouth was fine again.

Something new every day!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Isabel Wilkerson on book tour in Chapel Hill

Isabel Wilkerson, former national correspondent and bureau chief at The New York Times and the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism, was at UNC-Chapel Hill last night to discuss her new book, "The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration."

This is not a book review, since I'm still reading the book...a massive 600 pages, part sociological study that also tells the specific stories of three people who were part of the migration. But I had to share, especially since I was privileged to be there with my BFF Yvonne who is Ms Wilkerson's first cousin.

She talked for about an hour about the nearly six million black Americans who left the South in the 20th century due to the constraints of Jim Crow laws , hoping for freedom in the cities of the northern and western United States.


Then she signed books for over one hundred people. She even signed my Kindle...sorta.


And we had a photo-op, me, Yvonne, and Yvonne's sister's friends from Durham

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Green Hornet




I like comic book superhero movies. Superman, Batman, Spider-man, Iron Man, I've enjoyed them all. I expected The Green Hornet to be another one of the rich playboy turned protector of the innocent and down-trodden, a la Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man.

What I wasn't expecting was another stupid white guy movie. I should have checked the cast list before going off with Sweetie for our afternoon's entertainment. Seth Rogen would have been a big red flag. He was the guy who "Knocked Up" Katherine Heigl. And he played the same dufus who doesn't recognize his own classist, misogynist, racist tendencies. I thought Cameron Diaz selected better movies for herself. Slapstick reached a whole new level with martial arts, big cars, big guns, explosions, and crashes through skyscrapers. All in 3D. A cheap third dimension that barely had one person standing out from the background.

Sweetie gave it two stars for the one big laugh...front wheel drive. I give it one star.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Condoleezza Rice's Memoir

Extraordinary, Ordinary PeopleExtraordinary, Ordinary People by Condoleezza Rice

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


If want to read this book for answers to those nagging questions like:

Where was the National Security Advisor on September 11, 2001? (I watched TV non-stop for days, and I never heard a statement from the NSA) You won't find it in this book.

OR

What was she thinking when no Weapons of Mass Destruction were found? You won't find it in this book.

Remember the title is, "Extraordinary, Ordinary Family: A Memoir of Family." I knew that but one can hope, can't one. By the time I read 75% of the book and Condi hadn't finished High School, I knew I wouldn't get my answers. This book is about growing up with two wonderful parents who did everything they could to prepare their child for greatness. Her mother passed away in 1985, and her father passed away three days before Christmas 2000.

We all remember the election of November 2000. So after John Rice passed away, his daughter went off to Washington to become National Security Advisor...end of story.

We do get a glimpse into the formation of certain values held by Dr. Rice, how she became a Republican, why she opposes gun control, and why she supports affirmative action. Her parents raised a feisty little girl who was allowed to speak her mind on issues of religion, politics, where she should go to school and what extra-curricular activities she should focus on. It was an upbringing that gave her the strength to stand her ground with international leaders, ask hard, and sometimes rude (by her own admission) questions.

She does allow us past her very private exterior into her life at the time she was Provost of Stanford University. When she left that job she called it the best job she had ever had. Much of her professional life during that time was widely publicized in student forums, newspaper editorials, and not subject to being stamped "Classified."

You should know that Condoleezza wrote two memoirs in the same year. The other one is entitled, "Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me" and is intended for a Young Adult audience, and was published by Delacorte Press, and imprint of Random House Children's Books.





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Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas, #1)Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A Dean Koontz eBook for $5 sounded like a good deal, and one of my friends gave this book five stars. This is the first of four in the Odd Thomas series, so it seemed like a winner.

First name "Odd," last name "Thomas." What kind of parents give a kid a name like that? We do find out. Odd Thomas sees dead people. He takes it on as his calling to save the world from the predators, creeps, satanists and other bad guys in his little world of the town of Pico Mundo.

It's a wild ride, a heart-thumping suspense-filled supernatural thriller that had me spooked, checking under the bed and in the closets at night. I give it four stars, but I don't think my heart can take another one in this series.



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Sunday, January 9, 2011

January ebook Special

For a limited time only: Motherless Child - stories from a life for $2.99.

Imagine you gave a baby up for adoption forty years ago, and after years of trying to find her, she finds you. Now come the hard questions. She's healthy, beautiful, and successful, but she wants to know why you gave her away and why you didn't marry her father. And there is also the unspoken question of "What kind of black woman gives her baby away?" How do you explain to her that giving her away was the best gift you could offer?

This is my first published work, a coming-of-age-in-the-sixties-single-black-pregnant and on the way to Germany, memoir.

Click here to go to Amazon.com

Other ebook formats are available here:

The price cut will trickle down to Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader, iPad, over time.