Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tiger Babies Strike Back

VS.


Published in 2013, Tiger Babies Strike Back: How I Was Raised by a Tiger Mom but Could Not Be Turned to the Dark Side by Kim Wong Keltner is a response to the controversial 2011 book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.  I haven't read Amy Chua's book, but I've read a great deal about it, and I've also consulted Wikipedia to better understand it.  In Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, the author describes her efforts to give her children what she calls a traditional, strict “Chinese” upbringing.  In the book, she uses the term "Tiger Mother" to mean a mother of any ethnicity who's a strict disciplinarian.  According to Wikipedia, Amy Chua has stated that her book is a self-mocking memoir, rather than a manual for parents. 


My tiger baby
"I'm teaching Lucy the subtleties of listening to her own body, and her own heart."
~ Tiger Babies Strike Back, Kim Wong Keltner

Kim Wong Keltner dedicates this memoir to her daughter, Lucy.  The author sounds like a wonderful, loving mother who wants the best for her daughter and cares deeply about her child's emotional health.  In Tiger Babies Strike Back, she describes the playdates and the messes and the chaos, and she realizes the great flexibility that moms need to develop. She strives to be the best mother to her daughter, and I'm certain that she succeeds.  Remembering how difficult, emotionally unavailable, and overly competitive her family was, the author is determined to give her own daughter a different type of life, which nurtures creativity and cooperation, and fosters a healthy sense of self not bound insufferably to achievement.  I understand and respect this.

While I enjoyed reading Tiger Babies, I wanted to like this book even more than I did.  The concept is clever, the title is clever, and many of the lines are clever, but I had some issues with the book.  Although it's humorous, I'm not sure if the overall tone of this book is self-mocking in the same way as Amy Chua's book.  After reading Tiger Babies for a while, it became repetitive and somewhat tedious to me, although I enjoyed the last few chapters very much, which brought back memories of when my own children were younger.  I realize that the author would have preferred a warmer upbringing, but I felt as if she harped on that.  I agree that we should nurture our children, to show them affection and hug them.  But, I also believe that we need to push our kids a bit--they are strong and resilient--to help them reach their potentials, as students and as people.  I do think that many parents are too permissive, and that overindulging children harms them.  Loving our children means thinking about their future as well as the present.

I don't mean to sound as harsh and critical of this book as a "Tiger Mom".  I read an uncorrected proof of the book, and it's possible that had I read a final version of this memoir, I'd have enjoyed it more.  I do think Kim Wong Keltner is a talented writer, and I'd like to read other books by her. The Dim Sum of All Things and Buddha Baby appeal to me.  The titles of her books are terrific, don't you think so?


Special thanks to Trish from TLC for sending me an advance copy of this book.  For additional reviews, please visit the other stops on TLC's book tour of Tiger Babies Strike Back.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Really Random Tuesday #65: Book Winners, More Giveaways, and Turmeric Tea

I'm on a roll!  Welcome to the 65th edition of Really Random Tuesday, my third RRT post this month.

I have two book winners to announce today, traveler and dinnerbyjr.  Both have won copies of No Ocean Here, a new collection of poems by Sweta Srivastava Vikram, in either print or ebook form.  Congratulations to both of you!  While this book focuses on the plight of women in several countries and is quite serious in nature, I think you'll both relish these poignant and powerful poems.

If you didn't win this book giveaway, don't be too upset.  Why not enter my giveaway for  Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall, if you haven't already done so, and/or the other giveaways listed on the right side of my blog?  These book giveaways are a way to thank you for visiting (because I wonder, "what is the sound of one blogger blogging?").

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I'll admit that I'm a bit of a "health news junkie", and lately I've been reading a lot about the benefits of spices, including turmeric, a spice used abundantly in India, Pakistan, and the Middle East.  I often add turmeric to the pot when I'm cooking rice.  It imparts a yellow color to rice (which can be quite bright depending on how much is used).  I also love to add curry powder (which contains turmeric) to chicken and vegetarian dishes.  I became curious about making turmeric tea, and after spending a short time online "researching" recipes, I decided to try my own simple version.  To a cup of hot water (from my Keurig machine) I added a sprinkle of turmeric and some freshly squeezed lemon juice, and mixed it well.  The resulting turmeric tea was amber-colored, mild-flavored, and easy to drink.  Remember that ground spices are concentrated and potent, so you don't want to overdo it, although the many health benefits of spices are heavily touted right now.  (Even cinnamon, which I often add to my morning oatmeal, should be used in small amounts.  A little bit goes a long way.)  The book shown here, Turmeric: The Ayurvedic Spice of Life by Prashanti de Jager M.S., is on my wishlist.

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Appearing on random Tuesdays, Really Random Tuesday is a way to post odds and ends--announcements, musings, quotes, photos--any blogging and book-related matters you can think of. If you have miscellaneous book news to gather up and are inspired by this idea, "grab" the button for use on your own blog, then add your link to the "master" Mister Linky on the Really Random Tuesday page.

Thanks for reading!  Your comments are welcomed.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Question: A Guest Post by M. C. V. Egan

"Research is formalized curiosity.  It is poking and prying with a purpose."
~Nora Zeale Hurston
My guest today, M. C. V.  Egan, is the author of the book The Bridge of Deaths, which is a blend of fact and fiction, based on a real mystery.  Published in 2011, the book centers around a 1939 plane crash which took the lives of five people, including the author's grandfather, told from the perspective of a modern day couple in London researching their past lives.

Originally from Mexico City, M. C. V.  Egan is the chosen pen name for Maria Catalina Egan.  She's fluent in Spanish, French, Swedish, and English, and has also lived in various parts of the U.S., France, and Sweden.  The author's initials form the Roman numeral 1105, but her friends call her Catalina.  She said she finds inspiration for her writing (and probably other creative pursuits as well)  everywhere.  Very recently, Catalina was inspired to write this post by Kathy Leonard Czepiel's guest post, The Perspiration of Writing.

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The Question: A Guest Post by  M. C. V.  Egan

I recently attended an event for the South Florida Writer’s Network. All attendees were writers with a few spouses in supportive tow.  I was surprised in such company to encounter yet again ‘the’ question I have heard from almost everyone familiar with The Bridge of Deaths.

"How did you find the patience, persistence or determination to research for almost two decades?”

This time the question came from a man in his forties who explained that he began to research something as complicated to put together as the story of the 1939 plane crash of the G-AESY. I listened to his story and the description of incomplete files and contradictory evidence sounded very familiar.

He smiled and said, “I devoted about four years to the story and then realized that it would take at least ten more to put it all together and just walked away.  How did you manage to stick it out?”

My mouth was full of food so my husband answered, “She did try to walk away, but the story sort of followed her.”

The finished product has now become such an inherent part of my life that at some level I forget how hard I fought and tried to escape the story.  I stored safely away somewhere in my mind the curious manner in which the story always found its way back to the top of my desk.

I have come up with a clever answer or two as to how the story was so important even though I was never as obsessed as the Catalina in the book.

The truth is that the story crept itself back into my life in different ways. With perfect timing, always when I had a sort of soft spot ready to react and reopen the quest.  Some moments were movie-like as if planned by a greater force, others more mundane, but impacted me just as much.

One such moment was on one of my parent’s visits from Mexico: house guests watching a documentary on PBS on the origins of WWII or The Munich Pact.

I entered their room to kiss them goodnight, smiling, absolutely absorbed in breast feeding my one and only baby.  I was done with corpses and intrigues, I just wanted to learn how to sing lullabies, indulge in all the other sweet uplifting things that accompany a much desired and wanted baby.

Had I entered that room a minute earlier or a minute later the story would have stayed locked in the back of a closet--I entered that room at just the right moment.

I looked at the TV screen and there for the very first time I saw the Lockheed Electra G-AESY from British Airways LTD.  Whole, flying right behind Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, and there was no doubt but that I needed to dust off my research and plunge into it again.

On another occasion a good friend from Denmark was moving; to her surprise she discovered copies of Danish Newspapers from 1939 that she had neglected to send me years earlier.  Again, the moment I saw the large over stuffed manila envelope in my mailbox I almost heard the propellers of the Lockheed Electra heading my way.

In retrospect, eighteen years does not feel like an enormous amount of time to spend on something that you develop strong feelings for.  I think that strong forces nudge all of us from time to time; it is simply a matter of being receptive and responsive when we feel the nudge.

I finally finished chewing the enormous appetizer I had stuffed in my mouth and looked at the young writer and said, “It is a pity you gave up, especially today with so much information available online; perhaps you should give your story a second chance again."  He smiled, shook his head no, and moved on to mingle.

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Catalina, thank you very much for your wonderful guest post.  18 years of work on a book shows tremendous tenacity on your part!  My stepmother-in-law, Patricia Ortlieb, devoted about ten years to research and write her book on the life of Eliza Tibets, Creating an Orange Utopia, after she discovered that she was the great-great grandaughter of this pioneer.  I'm certain that the time and dedication you put into the research and writing of your book were very worthwhile, and I look forward to reading The Bridge of Deaths when my reviewing schedule becomes lighter.  Thank you for being my guest, Catalina!

Reader comments welcomed. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Really Random Tuesday #64: A Winner, a Geeky Question, and The Summer of France

Sometimes I toy with the idea of listing book winners in my blog's sidebar, but for the time being, I'll continue to announce them in these Really Random Tuesday (RRT) posts.  Welcome to edition #64!

And the randomly chosen winner is... Brian Joseph from Babbling Books, a terrific book blog I discovered a few months ago.  Congratulations, Brian! (Is it just me or do you also often type "Brain" instead of "Brian" and then need to correct your spelling?)  He's won a copy of Leave of Absence by Tanya J. Peterson, which I read and reviewed earlier this month.  If you didn't win this time, please take a look at the other book giveaways listed on the right side of my blog. 


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I have a "geeky" question for those of you who use Blogger.  Do you type up your posts in Compose or HTML mode?   I usually "compose" my posts, but switch to HTML when I need to have things in code.  It's nice to have this option.  Sometimes I want to copy code, like code for a photo or graphic, and I can get it neatly in HTML form.  And sometimes the only way I can fix spacing issues is by going to code mode, rather than compose mode.  I don't know if WordPress also offers both of these options.  And speaking of WordPress, I know some of you have switched from Blogger to WordPress and vice versa (I think).  I've never really considered changing to WordPress, because I've been on Blogger for five years, from the start of this blog, and feel as if I know it inside and out.  It usually works very well for me, except for occasional glitches.  Also, Blogger has made some positive changes fairly recently, such as offering a larger window for typing up posts (we used to have only a small rectangle for this), and it's quite user friendly.  If you use WordPress, I'm guessing it's relatively easy to use, for the most part.  I know so little about the mechanics of WordPress, but apparently it's the most popular platform for bloggers worldwide.

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Que faites-vous cet été?  Next month, I'll participate in The Summer of France book tour.  The book looks and sounds romantic, n'est-ce pas I just received my book in the mail yesterday (on Mailbox Monday), and I'm looking forward to reading it.  The author, Paulita Kincer, has traveled to France numerous times.

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Appearing on random Tuesdays, Really Random Tuesday is a way to post odds and ends--announcements, musings, quotes, photos--any blogging and book-related matters you can think of.  If you have miscellaneous book news to gather up and are inspired by this idea, "grab" the button for use on your own blog, then add your link to the "master" Mister Linky on the Really Random Tuesday page.

Your comments are welcomed.  Thanks for reading! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Margaret Fuller ~ A New American Life: Review and Giveaway

Was Margaret Fuller America's first true feminist? 

Margaret Fuller (1810 - 1850) was a writer and an advocate for women's rights, including women's education and the right to employment; she also encouraged prison reform and the emancipation of slaves in the United States. Susan B. Anthony, and other advocates for women's rights, including Virginia Woolf, were inspired and influenced by the work of Margaret Fuller.  Megan Marshall, the award-winning author of The Peabody Sisters, presents a powerful portrait of a true pioneer in the biography, Margaret Fuller: A New American Life, published in 2013.


"She insisted too that her ideas be valued as high as those of the brilliant men who were her comrades."
~ Margaret Fuller: A New American Life, Megan Marshall

Born in Cambridge, MA, Sarah Margaret Fuller Ossoli, usually known as Margaret Fuller, was the first full-time American female book reviewer in journalism, and a transcendentalist.  Home-schooled in a rigorous fashion as a child by her father, Timothy Fuller, she later attended school outside of her home, and eventually became a teacher.

"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader."
~Margaret Fuller

Highly intelligent, she was a precocious and voracious reader, and by the time she was in her 30s, she was known as the best-read person in New England.  She was confident and competent, and she didn't allow others to 'erode her enthusiastic confidence of the future'.

Starting in 1839, she began hosting "Conversations", discussions among women on various topics (the first one focused on Greek and Roman mythology), which encouraged women to communicate with each other in a candid way, and were early consciousness-raising groups for women.  She became the first editor of  Henry David Thoreau's transcendentalist journal, The Dial, in 1840, and a few years later, in 1844, she joined the staff of the New York Tribune under Horace Greeley.  Her influential work, available as a free ebook on Project Gutenberg, Woman in the Nineteenth Century, was published in 1845 (other books by Margaret Fuller are also available online).  This book is considered to be the first major feminist work in the United States.

Margaret Fuller became the first female correspondent in Europe for the Tribune, and she became involved with the Revolutions of 1848 in the Italian states.  She had a romantic relationship with a younger man, Giovanni Ossoli, and they had a child together.  Sadly, the family of three died in a shipwreck off Fire Island, New York, in 1850, when Margaret Fuller was 40 years old.

Through extensive research which included the reading of her letters, journals, and published work, Megan Marshall brings Margaret Fuller to life.  Throughout her life, Margaret Fuller was a prolific letter writer who "maintained important correspondences" with transcendental thinkers of her time, including Ralph Waldo Emerson (who I've envisioned like Thoreau, walking alone in the woods, contemplating human nature in nature).  She was friends with many intellectuals, including Emerson, Thoreau, the Peabody sisters, the Alcotts, Carlyle, and Mazzini.

If you've ever entertained the idea that people who lived in the 1800s were perhaps deeper thinkers than people today, this book will reaffirm that belief.  This biography gives Margaret Fuller an eloquent voice and presence, by using many of her written words, in quotes. The use of Margaret Fuller's own words, extracted from her letters, journals and work, allows her to tell her own story--this book is almost like an autobiography. (I believe it may be more truthful because it was largely created by the subject's exact words.)  I experienced her profound, astonishing intelligence, and vivacious, sociable personality, in an intimate fashion.  In addition to the quotes throughout the text, many of the chapter titles are quotes from Margaret Fuller's writing.

As I read this biography, I became familiar with Margaret Fuller's manner of speaking and expression of ideas, and I felt as if I were getting to know her beyond a superficial level, as is often the case when we read the personal letters of others, which are filled with thought and feeling.  I also discovered her innate, articulated need to express herself--'a mind that insisted on utterance'--and to go beyond self to help others, especially women.

"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it."
~Margaret Fuller

Margaret Fuller was truly a woman ahead of her time, who believed that women deserved to be seen as the equals of men, and that marriage should be egalitarian (or at least more egalitarian).  Margaret Fuller: A New American Life is an impressive, well-crafted biography, which features some finely-detailed pictures.  It's a brilliant choice for anyone interested in learning about the life of this remarkable writer and pioneer.

Exciting news for my readers!  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is generously offering a copy of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life as a giveaway (U.S./Canada only).

  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower.
  • For an additional chance, post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.

Enter by 5 PM PDT on Monday, June 3.  One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, June 4.  Good luck! 


Special thanks to Lisa from TLC for sending me an advance copy of this book.  For additional reviews and other features, please visit the other stops on TLC's book tour of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Really Random Tuesday #63: Book Winner, Blogiversary, and a New Giveaway

Am I having déjà vu? Please help me to congratulate petite! Petite is the lucky winner of Last Train to Omaha by Ann Whitely-Gillen.  Congratulations, petite!  Last month, I featured a guest post about writing by Ann Whitely-Gillen, and I hope to read her novel within the next few months. (Petite won a different book here a few months ago.)

Many other giveaways are listed on the right side of my blog, so please take a look before you "click away" from here.  Additionally, I have a wonderful new giveaway at the end of this post, to show my appreciation for my readers, and to help celebrate my blogiversary.




5 years!  Can you believe it?  I started this book blog in May of 2008.  Time flies when you're blogging about books!


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On International Women's Day, March 8, I posted my review of No Ocean Here, a new collection of poems by Sweta Srivastava Vikram, part of the World Voices series.  Recently, No Ocean Here ranked #6 for Asian-American poetry for Kindle sales.  One of the poems in this powerful book, Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome, is featured in an AIDS awareness film, The Dawn.  And India-based Bell Bajao, a cultural and media campaign that calls on men and boys to take a stand against domestic violence, published the same poem as part of Violence Against Women Awareness Month.  Award-winning writer Sweta Srivastava Vikram and Modern History Press are generously offering an international giveaway for two copies of No Ocean Here (US/Canada/UK: print copy or ebook; other countries: ebook).

  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower.
  • For an additional chance, post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. 

Enter by 5 PM PDT on Monday, May 27.  One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, May 28.  Good luck!

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Appearing on random Tuesdays, Really Random Tuesday is a way to post odds and ends--announcements, musings, quotes, photos--any blogging and book-related matters you can think of.  If you have miscellaneous book news to gather up and are inspired by this idea, "grab" the button for use on your own blog, then add your link to the "master" Mister Linky on the Really Random Tuesday page.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Leave of Absence: Review and Giveaway

Having read an earlier novel by Tanya J. Peterson, Losing Elizabeth, a story about a young girl with a boyfriend who becomes increasingly controlling and violent, I had a feeling that the author's new book, Leave of Absence, published in 2013, would also be intense.  I was not mistaken. In the opening chapter of Leave of Absence, Oliver Graham is about to jump off the roof of an eighteen-story building.  Having recently lost his wife and young son, Oliver is desperate and distraught, and wishes to end his life.  This is a fitting opening for a book that goes on to tackle some very difficult subjects, including serious mental health issues, murder, and infidelity.  Oliver jumps off the building, along with an officer who has grasped onto him, but they survive because there's a landing pad below.  Oliver is then transported to Airhaven Behavioral Health Center, because of his suicide attempt.

Oliver's past life with his wife, Maggie, and young son, Henry, is recounted in the book through a series of memories, dreams, nightmares, and flashbacks.  Oliver is extremely agitated, because he could not save his wife and son, who were killed at a park.  Unable to cope with his feelings about the situation, he's left his house and his job, has become homeless, and wants to die.  Oliver's inconsolable and misses his family.  He wears the same outfit every day because it was a gift from his wife, and he feels incredibly guilty about their deaths (and is blamed by his wife's mother, Nancy).  His reaction and suicide attempt may seem extreme, but given what has happened, I understand his profound despair, his "leave of absence" from life.  His terrible mental state is a direct result of the horrific events and trauma, and he needs counseling and treatment.  He's a caring man who feels awful and responsible for "not being there", for not being able to save his wife and child, and he now apologizes frequently for everything when he speaks to others. 

At Airhaven, Oliver meets another patient, thirty-year-old Penelope Baker, who is schizophrenic.  The book focuses on the friendship developing between these two main characters, Oliver and Penelope, although there are other important characters, too, like William Vaile, a talented chef.  In spite of his personal misery, Oliver reaches out to Penelope, who's suffering because of her mental illness and the way it's affected her life and those she's close to; he acknowledges that his presence and kind words help her.  Oliver tries to make her realize that she must not push away William, her fiancé, who truly loves her.

Penelope feels as if she's lost control over herself, due to schizophrenia, which has affected her for the past couple of years; she's taken a "leave of absence" from her previous life.  Her former life, which included a promising job and a future with a man who cares about her, is gone.  Afraid that her mental illness will also ruin William's life, she pushes him away, even though he's completely dedicated to her, in spite of her illness (and in spite of the efforts of his attractive new neighbor, Mariska).  Others do not understand William's steadfast loyalty to Penelope.  They tend to regard her as "crazy" or strange, and shun her; William's "friend", Rob, lacks sensitivity and makes rude and uninformed comments, and shows how people with mental illnesses may be judged, ridiculed, and berated by others.

Both Oliver and Penelope are sensitive, considerate, likable individuals who do not want to inflict pain on others.  This moving and profound story underscores the importance of mental illness to overall health, and shows that these illnesses can be managed with treatment that may include medication and counseling--and connection to others.  The friendship between Oliver and Penelope becomes increasingly important.  They spend time together at Airhaven, and begin to share their feelings and concerns with each other.  Their empathetic friendship contributes greatly to their emotional well-being.  In fact, it becomes a lifeline for both of them.  In a larger sense, it shows how genuine connection with others is a vital part of mental health. 

Leave of Absence is an absorbing story about mental illness and its ramifications, and I entered a new world in this book.  (Although I believe I'm a sensitive person, I must admit that I don't usually think about mental health, except once in a while, if I question my own strong feelings about something, particularly if they're negative, or if I wonder if someone else might be having some mental health issues.)  I've never before been "inside of the head" of a schizophrenic, and it was a fascinating experience.  Penelope hears the voice of a domineering "Eleanor Roosevelt" who's critical and mean and who pressures her to do odd things, such as eat crayons.  This character undermines Penelope's self-esteem and overall mental health, and makes her feel awful about herself.  At one point in the story, William gives Penelope Eleanor Roosevelt's autobiography, with the hope that if they learn about this woman perhaps they can also discover how to deal with her presence and "voice" more effectively, and curtail future harassment.  Oliver's depression has made him homeless and suicidal, and because he's unable to eat, the staff at Airhaven give him Ensure for sustenance.  The loss of his wife and child have left him with an insurmountable amount of remorse and guilt--even though what occurred was truly not his fault.  Although he continues to suffer emotionally, very gradually, Oliver begins to see a tenuous glimmer of hope.  I felt as if I could understand the agony that these characters were going through, and when they began to feel better, I did, too. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S.. The aim of Mental Health Awareness Month is to educate and inform people about a variety of mental illnesses, including depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, and to reduce stigmas.  This book definitely raised my own awareness of mental health, particularly in regards to depression and schizophrenia.  Although the story's fictional and dramatic, it's believable and well written, and it makes you think about the importance of mental health.  Leave of Absence is a compassionate novel which drew me in promptly and clutched my emotions and attention until the very end.

Tanya J. Peterson is graciously offering a copy of Leave of Absence as a giveaway (U.S./Canada only).

  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment. 
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower.
  • For an additional chance, post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. 

Enter by 5 PM PDT on Monday, May 20.  One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, May 21.  Good luck!



Special thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book, and for including me on her book tour.  Please visit the other stops on the Leave of Absence Virtual Book Tour for additional reviews and other features.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Amazing Amazon Giveaway

It doesn't get much better than this!  Enter to win a $150 Amazon gift card, compliments of Easy Canvas Prints!






ENTRY FORM

a Rafflecopter giveaway
You can increase your chances of winning by posting about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter, and in other ways as indicated on the entry form.  Enter by May 11 (U.S./Canada only).  Good luck!

How would you spend a $150 Amazon gift card?  Amazon has books and much more!  Comments welcomed.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday: 'D' Words

It ain't brain surgery.

But it does give your brain a little workout.  I'm talking about Wondrous Words Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Kathy from BermudaOnion's Weblog.

Today's words are brought to you by the letter 'D', and hail from my trusty 365 New Words-a-Year calendar.  Without further ado, here are my 'D' words.








1. declivity: downward inclination; descending slope

Debbie was afraid to ride her bike down the steep declivity; she feared that riding over a pebble or rock would cause her to lose her balance.

This word has the Latin word clivus in it, which means slope or hill.  Other words that contain clivus include acclivity, which means an upward slope, and proclivity, which means leaning or toward, and refers to a personal inclination or predisposition.  (I knew proclivity, but not declivity or acclivity.)


2. doch-an-dorris: a parting drink; stirrup cup

Desmond declined the doch-an-dorris because he was the designated driver.

Doch-an-dorris quite literally means "drink of the door", in Scottish Gaelic (deoch an doruis) and Irish (deoch an dorais).  The English version is stirrup cup.  I Googled "stirrup cup" and learned that it's a parting drink given to guests, especially when they are leaving on horseback (with their feet in stirrups).  It's also a drink--like port or sherry--served before a traditional foxhunt.  This term can also mean the cup that such a drink is served in.


3. dundrearies: long, flowing sideburns

Dundrearies were quite fashionable for English and American men between 1840 and 1870.

Often capitalized, this term comes from the name of Lord Dundreary, a character who wore long sideburns (called "Piccadilly weepers" in England) in the play Our American Cousin by Tom Taylor.  According to Wikipedia, Lord Dundreary is "the personification of a good-natured, brainless aristocrat".

Ed Sothern as Lord Dundreary, courtesy of Wikipedia


What new words have you recently discovered?


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Some of the books reviewed here have been provided
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