Monday, February 27, 2012

Mailbox Monday: Tell Me A Story

Last week I received one book in the mail, Tell Me A Story: Stories From A Childhood In Old New York,  from the author, who's also an artist, Bea Gold.  It's a book of thirty-six illustrated stories about growing up in "old" NY during the 1930s and 1940s.  As a former New Yorker (who still adores NY), this book will resonate with me in terms of place, at the very least. It looks like the perfect picture book to languish with in a cozy chair or couch over the course of an afternoon or evening.

Mailbox Monday is hosted this month by Metroreader, so please stop by if you're participating. What new books graced your mailbox recently?  As always, your comments are welcomed.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Snapshot: Patricia and Meryl Streep

I would be remiss if I didn't follow up my previous post about the book Creating an Orange Utopia: Eliza Lovell Tibbets and the Birth of California's Citrus Industry by Patricia Ortlieb and Peter Economy, published in September 2011.  Patricia, my step mother-in-law, went to Washington, D.C. late last year for the de Pizan Honors event at the National Women's History Museum, and met actress Meryl Streep.  After talking to her, Patricia (resplendent in her orange-colored scarf), presented the actress with a copy of her book.  My imagination went into overdrive as soon as I saw this photo.  I could easily imagine Creating an Orange Utopia as a movie,  in which Meryl Streep would play the woman who first introduced the navel orange tree to Riverside,  spawning Southern California's lucrative citrus industry, Eliza Lovell Tibbets.  Perhaps Meryl Streep--or some other gutsy woman--could also help direct the film.  Eliza Tibbets was also an active abolitionist, spiritualist, and suffragist. We need to hear more stories about women pioneers who made important contributions!  This would be an opportunity for film makers to depict the story of a daring visionary who changed the course of Southern California's history, transforming it into a very wealthy place.  It seems ripe with possibilities to me.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce from  At Home With Books. This is the first time I'm posting a photo for this meme.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Don'ts for Husbands

In December of last year, I read and reviewed Don'ts for Wives.  Impressed by this little book, I ordered the companion book, Don'ts for Husbands, for my own sweet hubby, as a stocking stuffer (although it did not arrive in time for Christmas morning).  I liked the idea of me and my husband having these books at bedside.  Being the curious wife that I am, I also read this pocket-sized book for husbands, written by Blanche Ebbutt and published nearly a century ago, to learn what advice this author might have for them, and to garner some new insights, perhaps, as a married woman.  Is it still relevant today?  You be the judge:

Don't be careless about keeping promises made to your wife.  if you have promised to be home at seven, think twice before you go off with a friend at 6:30.

Don't shout when you are angry.  It isn't necessary to let the children or the servants know all about it.

Don't omit to bring home an occasional bunch of flowers or a few chocolates.  Your wife will value even a penny bunch of violets for your thought of her.

This book may be more valuable for husbands, but I relished it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday: Daily Words

Welcome to another edition of Wondrous Words Wednesday, an addictive, weekly meme for bonafide (I love that word) logophiles, hosted by Kathy from BermudaOnion's Weblog.  Although I have been reading books, the first two words here are from my 365 New Words-a-Year calendar, and the third is from's Word of the Day archive.

1. frowsy: musty or stale; having a slovenly or uncared-for appearance

Feeling more than a tad frowsy in her worn slippers and sweat pants,  Felicita took a quick shower and got dressed up in her finery.

A synonym for frowsy is frumpy, which is more commonly used.

2. stentorian: extremely loud

The lead actor's stentorian delivery was greatly appreciated because the microphones were not working at all the night of the play.

This word stems from the epic poem, the Iliad, in which Homer describes Stentor as a man whose voice is as loud and powerful as that of fifty men together.

3. morceau:  piece, morsel; an excerpt or passage of poetry or music (morceau de musique)

Please do not have more than a morceau or two before dinner--I don't want you to spoil your appetite for tonight's feast.

Morceau is a French word that sounds like and means the same thing as the word "morsel".  I think I'll start using it instead of the word "morsel", and see what kind of reactions, if any, I get.

What new words have you discovered recently?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lost in Romance: Guest Post

Please stop by my guest post at Lost in Fiction's special February event, Lost in Romance. Your comments there (and here!) are appreciated. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

All There Is

In this day and age, we're bombarded with negative images and ideas about the value and duration of romantic love and marriage.  With a divorce rate between forty and fifty percent in America, it's difficult to remain confident about the state of love and marriage.  I torture myself in the car on too many mornings, listening to War of the Roses, a radio show that exposes countless cheating significant others and spouses. 

Published in 2012, All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps, is a new collection of real life interviews about love and marriage, compiled and edited by Dave Isay. For those of you not familiar with StoryCorps, the basic idea is that pairs of people interview each other and have their stories recorded at special booths across the United States; some of these stories are later featured in books: Listening Is an Act of Love (2007), and Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps (2011).  Having read and reviewed "the Mom book" in May of 2011,  I was eager to read another StoryCorps book.  All There Is is the brand new StoryCorps book, filled with touching personal stories about how people met each other, fell in love, and got married.  I was moved to tears by some of these stories. The book includes a variety of love stories from people of different religions, races, ages, and sexual orientations; it depicts the real and beautiful diversity of America.  It was refreshing to read good things about love and marriage for a change.  I was inspired numerous times while reading this book, by the stories of Jane, Leroy, Cindy, and others, by the wife who became a doctor after her ten children were grown, by the husband who took to heart a list of  six rules for a successful marriage (featured on the back cover of the book),  and more generally, by love that continued to flourish despite disastrous illnesses and even death,  and by the commitment these "ordinary" people demonstrated in their marriages.

Divided into sections, the first section of All There Is is about finding love, the second part is about losing loved ones (through accidents and diseases), and the third section is entitled, "Found at Last".  Fortunately the book ends on a high note, because when it comes to love and romance, many of us prefer a happy ending.

Reading this book--right before Valentine's Day--was a terrific way to  reaffirm the importance of romantic love and marriage, in a society that often seems to be superficial, pessimistic, and  misogynistic.  These stories tell a different story.

Special thanks to Trish from TLC for sending me a copy of All There Is.  For additional reviews of this book, please visit the other stops on TLC's All There Is book blog tour.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mailbox Monday

I thought I'd get a chance to catch up on my reading, but it seems I was mistaken.  Here are the new books I received in the mail recently: Friends Like Us by Lauren Fox from Alfred A. Knopf for an upcoming discussion,  We Bury the Landscape by Kristine Ong Muslim, a collection of flash fiction inspired by various works of art, This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman from TLC for a book blog tour, and two books from local author Alan H. Friedman, Goodnight, Sweetheart and Murdering Henry James. Please stay tuned for my reviews of these books.

Mailbox Monday, the ultimate "show and tell" for book bloggers, is hosted this month by Metroreader, so be sure to stop by if you're participating. What new books arrived in your mailbox recently?  Your comments are welcomed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday: Thinking Caps

In elementary school I had a teacher who'd often tell the class that it was time to put on our thinking caps.  Have you ever heard that expression before?  As a child, after I banished the image of putting on an actual cap, those words would help me become quiet and serious and more thoughtful.  I kind of feel like I need to put on my thinking cap when I do this meme, Wondrous Words Wednesday, hosted by Kathy from BermudaOnion's Weblog.  It's one that encourages me to think a bit more deeply about words, about their meanings and origins.

Once again, these words are  from my 365 New Words-a-Year calendar. The reverse side of each calendar page includes etymology which provides additional insight into the words presented.

1. funambulism: tightrope walking; a show of mental agility

The contestant on Jeopardy astounded the judges and audience with her funambulism, and her prize money kept growing higher. 

The Latin word for "tightrope walker" is funambulus, from the Latin funis, meaning "rope", and ambulare, meaning "to walk" ; the term soon also came to mean an impressive act or feat of mental agility or skill.

2. jeunesse dorée:  young people of wealth and fashion; gilded youth

The upscale mall was crowded with jeunesse dorée, wearing skinny jeans and sipping caramel macchiatos.

Although the term originally described the "stylish young thugs" who terrorized remaining Jacobins in France after the execution of Robespierre in 1794, by the time it was adopted into English in the 1830s, it simply referred to wealthy young socialites.

3. vade mecum: a book for ready reference, such as a manual; an object regularly carried around by a person

Before personal computers became the norm, a set of encyclopedias was the vade mecum for many families.   (This sounds a bit awkward--am I using the term correctly?) These days, a cell phone seems to be a vade mecum for many people, myself included.

What etymological discoveries have you encountered recently?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Am I becoming a memeophile?  Last week, I did three memes, Mailbox Monday, Wondrous Words Wednesday, and the Book Blogger Hop.  That's a lot of memes for me to do in one week!  I won't participate in as many memes this week, but I am starting the week with Mailbox Monday, which is hosted this month by Kim from Metroreader.

Three books arrived in my mailbox recently.  I won Ros by Dee DeTarsio on Dizzy C's Little Book Blog.  Although the book I won was an eBook, the author kindly sent me a paperback copy of her book when I told her that I didn't have an eReader.  I received Whole Latte Life from the author,  Joanne DeMaio, along with a very nice, coffee-themed card, as I'll be part of the virtual tour for this novel in May (equipped with my own cup of coffee or tea).  Lastly, I purchased It by Stephen King for a steal of a price from a used book seller on Amazon (a great way to get used books in good condition), which I plan on reading for The Stephen King Project, a challenge hosted by Natalie from Coffee and a Book Chick and Kathleen from Boarding in My Forties.  Each of these books is enticing to me in a different way, and I look forward to beginning them.

What new books arrived in your mailbox recently?  Have you read any of these books?  As always, I welcome your comments.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Book Blogger Hop: New Rules

After a hiatus, the Book Blogger Hop, a fabulous BOOK PARTY, is back and better than ever!  It's a streamlined version of the Hop, with some new, simple rules.  The most important thing to remember is to enter your link in the  monthly list only once during any month.  Please visit Jennifer's blog, Crazy-for-Books, for more details and to enter your link.

The Book Blogger Hop is a fun way for book bloggers to socialize, connect with other book lovers, and discover new book blogs.  If you'd like me to hop by your blog, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday: January Words

Did the first month of 2012 fly by, or is it just me?  Even with the extra day, January seemed to go by too quickly.

Often I recycle pages from my 365 New Words-a-Year calendar, and use them to jot down lists or notes; I saved a few words from January to use for BermudaOnion's weekly meme,  Wondrous Words Wednesday.  On the reverse side of each page there's additional information about each word, and I've included some of this as well.

1. extremophile: an organism or microbe that lives under extreme environmental conditions (as in a hot spring  or ice cap)

I joked with Annie that she was an extremophile, taking red-eye flights and pushing herself to the limit with her running regime. 

Because of their ability to live in extreme conditions,  extremophiles may have a lot in common with the first organisms that appeared on Earth billions of years ago, and may give us clues about how life on earth developed.

2. nidus: a nest or breeding place; a place where something originates or develops

The abandoned shed near the transit center became a nidus for teenagers who smoked pot and drank beer after school. 

To scientists, "nidus" refers to a breeding ground as for bacteria . Although it means "nest" in Latin, the word often has negative connotations, as a source of or breeding ground for infection or undesirable opinions or habits, although variations of the word refer to homier places, such as "nidicolous", which means reared in a nest. 

3. sastruga: a wavelike ridge of hard snow formed by the wind, usually used in plural (sastrugi)

Sastruga originates from the Russian word zastruga, which means groove or small ridge, and is not widely used in English.  Sastruga is mentioned in the book The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard,  a survivor of the 1910 –1913 British Antarctic Expedition, led by Robert Falcon Scott.

What new word discoveries have you made recently?

Some of the books featured here were given to me free of charge by authors, publishers, and agents. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


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