Friday, December 30, 2011
Rated 4 Stars
Format: Borrowed Book
This book is a quick, broad and quirky introduction to a complex issue. A friend recommended this book to me and even went so far as to loan me his copy. I like it. It's not particularly something I am prepared at this time of my life to take very seriously, but I do find the book interesting and frankly it has a lot to recommend it.
Zen from its foundation in China of the 6th Century AD, has always been more than a religion. It is an intriguing system of principles and practice designed to give each individual the experience of eternity in a split second, the knowledge of divinity in every living thing. To create a book about Zen, however, is risky. It is one thing to describe the factual history of this exotic strain of Buddhism. It’s quite another to successfully convey the crazy wisdom of the Zen masters, their zany sense of their uncanny ability to pass on the experience of enlightenment to their students. The authors of Zen For Beginners have clearly overcome these considerable risks. The books uses an engaging mix of clear, informative writing and delightful illustrations to document the story of Zen from its impact on Chinese and Japanese culture to its influence on American writers such as Japanese culture to its influence on American writers such as Ginsberg and Kerouac.
Rated 5 Stars
I am still jumping around in the series and am continuing to fill in the gaps I left in this series when I stopped reading the books in order and skipped to book 24. It's been pretty interesting skipping around. I ought to drive me nuts but somehow it's not bothering me. I guess I need to adapt Lord Peter's family motto "As My Wimsey Takes Me" But I really did want to know the back story of Venetia and Hazelmere and also how things turned out for Charlotte and Oliver. I think The Hidden Shore, #19 is going to be my next read. What a soap opera!
Venetia is on the brink of marrying Lord Hazelmere when she discovers he does not mean to allow her to continue training as a doctor. She calls the wedding off, and from being the talk of the Season becomes the scandal of the year. Estranged from family and friends, she needs all her determination to continue the fight. At Morland place George and Alfreda continue to spend on grandiose building schemes despite the threat of bankruptcy; while Henrietta's cold marriage to the ascetic Rector of Bishopthorpe brings her close to questioning her religion.
Rated 4.8 Stars
This book mainly takes place in South Carolina during the time that immediately led up to the American Civil War and during it.
It answered a lot of questions in my mind regarding the American branch of the Morland's and how Ashley and Lennie who play such large roles in future books fit into the fabric of the overall story.
I rated it down just a slight bit because I thought that Benedict was a little bit of wimp. But he was James's son after all. *shrug*
At Morland Place, Benedict's peaceful life is overset when a mysterious orphan arrives. No-one can understand why he takes this waif into the household, but the strain his arrival causes forces Benedict to take the boy to America, to join his much-missed daughter Mary. There Benedict becomes enamoured of the Southern way of life, just as bitter civil war is about to destroy it forever.
By: Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Rated 4.4 Stars
With this book it became clear what I had skipped from book 12 to book to book 25 last year. It was because of James. He is a character that I disliked to intensely that he poisoned each book in which he was a character that I couldn't stand to read it.
In this book at hour 11:59 of his life he forgives himself himself for every stupid, rotten thing he did and naturally expects everyone else, especially Heloise to go along with it. Heloise is so lame.
But James didn't play such a large role in this book as he had in the previous books and by skimming through the parts he was in I managed to enjoy the book in spite of him. The rest of it was good. Liked the battle scenes. It was bloody but not as bloody as the Richard Sharpe book was and I liked the rest of the characters.
It is 1815, and Napoleon’s escape from Elba has convulsed Europe. The Allied Army is gathered in Flanders, and where the Army is, the fashionable world must follow. So Lucy and Heloise both take their daughters to Brussels for the most exhilarating season ever, and romance flourishes in the warlike atmosphere. Rosamund must finally come to terms with her feelings for her cousin Marcus, Sophie meets an enigmatic French major who may change her future, and Heloise renews acquaintance with a former suitor. The looming shadow of battle only makes the dancers whirl more feverishly, but when the army marches out to face the might of the French at Waterloo, one question is in every heart—which of them will not come back?
Monday, December 5, 2011
Rated 4.5 Stars
This is a hard book to describe. It's not a romance but the core of the book is a love story. It's about a war but it's not just a war story. It's about the 1936 Olympics but it's not all about sports. It has spies but it's not a spy story. In other words it's twisty. I loved it.
I rated it down just a little because I felt that towards the end of the story the author started to lose his grip on the plausible. There were a couple of eye rolling moments for me but by that time I was so involved with the characters and the story that I was able to pretty much suspend my disbelief. Still . . . .
With Bliss, Remembered, the celebrated Frank Deford has produced a work of literature that ranks with the best of his many novels, including Everybody’s All American, which Sports Illustrated ranked as one of the twenty-five best sports books of all time. In Bliss, Remembered, Deford explores new territory as he tells two love stories from the perspective of a beautiful should-have-been Olympic champion named Sydney Stringfellow.
At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Sydney begins an intense love affair with a German, but the affair abruptly ends when political forces tear them apart. Back in the US, Sydney—daring, vulnerable, and memorable—is left healing her broken heart when a striking American begins to pursue her. In Deford’s tender novel, the simplicity and honesty of choices of the heart clash with a brutal time—a time when choices seemed so dire in the enveloping shadows of a changing world.