Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye, 2012 . . . Hello 2013!

It is 5:40pm, CST. 

I am in my warm apartment, watching the BBC miniseries Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. So, here we are at the end of another year. 

2012, for the most part, has been a year of changes, periods of growth, moments of sadness and moments of happiness with much laughter. Tonight, I plan to ring in the new year with a neat glass of Czech plum brandy, or Slivovitz, and many films of various genres. 
I also plan to ring in the new year wishing the One Who Matters a Happy New Year and that I shall see him soon at Shadowcon.

To all my friends and loved ones who will be ringing in the new year tonight, I wish you a very Happy New Year!

Let's see what 2013 will bring!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Goth Comes to the Memphis Ornamental Metal Museum

I decided to visit the Memphis Ornamental Metal Museum the day before Christmas Eve, simply for the sake that I love this place! Where else can you go that has not only some of the coolest metal sculptures both inside the buildings and outside, but also offers a lovely view of the Mississippi River? Of course, I never need a reason to visit this place; I just show up and enjoy the metal delights. One of their current exhibits is Gothic Jewelry: Sinister Pleasures, showing now until 17 February 2013.

 I had to see this exhibit with my own eyes and I’m glad that I did. For those of you who enjoy the Goth subculture or who like the macabre every now and then, this exhibit is for you. There were many jewelry pieces made of various items ranging from metal to bones crafted into clawed rings, straight razor necklaces, brooches worn with only the finest black clothing and other pieces. If you visit the exhibit, be sure to pick up a copy of this exhibition catalogue to read more information about the pieces and their creators. A BIG thumbs up to the Metal Museum for providing this darkly beautiful exhibit!

Photo of the Day

Taken at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art (Japanese Garden) in Nashville, TN.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The New Yorker and Me: A Love/Hate Story

I love reading The New Yorker. Seeing that magazine in my mailbox brings me great joy mingled with anticipation as I wonder what subjects will be covered. I read the magazine in order to connect with like-minded people and to be up to date on the latest in politics, current events, literature, music, the theatre and the news of the eclectic. Reading The New Yorker is like wearing a button that says “Hey! I read The New Yorker and I love it!” 

This sayeth the reader. 

Now, let me tell you why I DON’T like The New Yorker. As much as I love receiving my issues in the mail, they do tend to pile up unread in my apartment when I least expect it. I mean, it’s not my fault that I sometimes prefer the company of a certain fry cook sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea. It’s not my fault that I also like to travel to a fantasy world while armed with massive weapons, cool looking armour and very long and pointed ears. I soak in intellectual substance with great glee, yet even I have my limits as to how much I can take. Whenever I feel myself possibly overdosing on the intellectual stimulation, I threaten my piles of The New Yorker with canceling my subscription, only to take a couple of hours from my usual busy night to read my back issues with a sigh. All is then restored to a nice balance. 

However, there was one time in which I did cancel my subscription and told him (I like to think of The New Yorker as a guy like those professors at Oxford who wear tweed no matter the season and who also laugh at your jokes, even if they’re not funny) that we needed to see other people. He was upset yet told me that he would think of me always in a fond way. He didn’t put up a struggle to my leaving him. I walked away and did not look back, fearful that he would see my tears. Several weeks later, I visited one of the bookstores in town and saw him engaging in stimulating conversations with TIME and Newsweek. He saw me walk up to him and glance at his colourful cover, and then proceeded to take a peek at some of the articles inside. I looked at the book reviews and actually sighed when I skimmed through the article about the history of tea cozies, (as far as I know, The New Yorker has NEVER written an article about tea cozies!) I felt him smile at me, only to turn to a frown as I closed him and walked away. I returned home without him and tried my best to get over seeing him. I knew I was stronger than that. I had to be. Days turned into weeks as I visited other bookstores and saw him with different covers and a ready smile on his face just for me. And still, I would take a peek at his articles of the week, smile and ask how he was doing, then politely close the magazine and walk away empty handed. As each week passed, the pain lessened for me, yet little did I realize that he had a trick up his sleeve, the ace in the hole that would bring me back to him. And, his trick did work. 

One day in a different bookstore, I walked in and saw him with a new cover, of course, and a smile that seemed to be different than before. I smiled back and peeked through his pages, only to stop in shock as I pulled him wide open. There before me was a sample of the new novel by Ian McEwan, one of my favourite novelists. I glanced at the cover then back at the segment. Curse him, I thought; he knew my weakness. 30 minutes later, he was in apartment. Nothing further needed to be said. A week later, I renewed my subscription. 

So, here I am at the end of my subscription again, for they only last a year. And, although it has been a good couple of months, the feelings of doubt have begun to creep in. Yet, he informed me that no matter what or where my tastes lay for the day, The New Yorker would always be there for me. Whenever I felt the need to be around a sponge, the citizens of Azeroth, my loving and caring boyfriend or even my twisted imagination, he would be there with a glossy cover and articles that would last for a long time. 

Well, New Yorker, this looks like the continuation of a beautiful friendship. Here’s my money!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Biblio Love - Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

Colour me impressed; Ian McEwan's new novel Sweet Tooth is a HIT! I just finished the novel and all I can say is that I am glad to have read the book. This is England in the 1970s: a time filled with thoughts of the Cold War, Afghanistan and rising cries of the under appreciated. In the middle of it all is Serena Frome (rhymes with plume), our narrator and unlikely heroine, who becomes an employee for MI5 and is soon involved in a plot to hire intellectuals and authors for an organization under the code name SWEET TOOTH. Yet, when she is faced with a turning point in her life, i.e., author T.H. Haley, she is suddenly caught in a web of lies, love, politics, and literature. If you are a fan of McEwan's work or just love a good novel sprinkled with romance, all things British and a hint of espionage, then Sweet Tooth is for you. Thank you, Mr. McEwan, for writing a darling of a novel.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Quote from Swann's Way by Marcel Proust

And since the dream of a woman who would love me was always present in my mind, during those summers that dream was impregnated with the coolness of the running waters; and whichever woman I conjured up, clusters of violet and reddish flowers would rise immediately on either side of her like complementary colours.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chanterelles in November

Ever since I learned that mushrooms were not icky things but rather delicious and tantalizing pieces of Heaven, I have slowly made my way through the world of Fungus. First, I conquered the White Mushroom (not too hard to do!), followed by Portobello (yummy!), then Shiitake (YAY!) and Oyster (chewy) and now . . . . Chanterelles. So it was just my luck when, while walking through a Whole Foods grocery store, that I stumbled upon a lovelry bunch of chanterelles! Actually, I need to back up a bit: my obsession with chanterelles came from watching the film La Ceremonie. In one of the scenes, the two main female characters enjoyed freshly picked chanterelles that had been cooked in butter and garlic along with French bread. While I watched the women eating those golden little mushrooms, I knew I had to try them. Back to present: After purchasing a few of them ($29.99 a POUND!), I brought them home with glee, knowing that I was going to cook them soon. Well, soon turned into today. I cooked my little beauties with onions, garlic and olive oil and they smelled delightful!
Once cooked, I added the mixture to wild rice, sat down and bit down on a piece of chanterelle. The first thought I had was - CREAMY. Yes, apparently, mushrooms can be creamy. I chewed thoughtfully, swallowed, and then dumped the rest of the concoction onto my plate. I can now add chanterelles to my list of YEA BABY!

Beret Review - The Brilliance of Tiffany at the Brooks

What better way to spend a Saturday or Sunday than to spend it at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art! I always enjoy visiting the art museum whenever I need a "quick creative fix" or when I need a moment of peace and quiet. My latest visit to the Brooks, however, included the viewing of their latest exhibit: The Brilliance of Tiffany! From now until 13 January 2013, one can view several Tiffany lamps, silverware and other decorative arts pieces, plus view the process of making a Tiffany lamp as well as read a little history about Louis Comfort Tiffany!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Biblio Love - The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch

Newly retired and failed author Bradley Pearson wants nothing more than to sit down in a country home and write the book of his life. However, that is clearly out of the question as his best friend Arnold Baffin, wife Rachael and daughter Julian, his ex-wife Christian and brother Francis and his sister Priscilla and ex-husband Roger have other plans for him: their own mishandled and distorted lives. Welcome to The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch. As we travel along with Bradley, we watch him juggle his many affairs with friends and family members, not to mention a little love affair that turns out bigger than expected, at least on his side. As one reads this tightly and well written novel, one can not help but feel sorry for Bradley (Brad) and how he wants to be left alone. And yet, we also see that the more he wants to be left alone, the more he actually craves companionship in whatever form it comes in. Filled with quirky British humour, devastating moments and a few surprises at the end, The Black Prince is a novel that refuses to go quietly into the night, as well it shouldn't.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Biblio Love - Blind Date by Jerzy Kosinski

Every so often, I come across a book that has me saying things like, "wow", "what the?" and "really?" Blind Date by Jerzy Kosinski is one of those books. In this slim yet intriguing, engaging and well written novel we meet George Levanter: world traveler, investor of everything under the sun, lover of many women, sociopath, sometimes liar and manipulator and an all around guy of survival mentality. We learn of his many adventures all over the world, his somewhat detached relationships with women and his love of skiing. We also learn that he was his mother's lover for many years, raped a young girl when he attended camp as a teenager and survived horrible atrocities while still managing to come out on top. Jerzy Kosinski, author of such books Being There and The Painted Bird, does not leave anything to the imagination when it comes to Levanter's life and escapades. We must be ready for anything when it comes to Levanter, just like going on a blind date.

Random Photo

Numi Tea's Orange Spice White Tea is heaven in a cup.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Beret Time - Celebration/Festen

This review comes literally seconds after watching the film The Celebration/Festen by director Thomas Vinterberg. . . . WOW! What a film! While watching more films to expand my eccentric horizons, I come across a film every so often that lingers in my mind hours and days after I have watched it. The Celebration/Festen is one of those films. Helge is turning 60 and everyone has been invited to the birthday celebration: his eldest son, Christian, who currently lives in France; his daughter, Helene, a worldly anthropologist and Michael, a rowdy, loud and arrogant son who is a horrible father and husband. The places have been set, the food has been prepared and yet a party can't be a party unless fireworks are involved. Thanks to Christian and his dead twin Linda, the birthday celebration will be anything but a "celebration". The acting was superb and well done while the camera's jerky movements gave the viewer an up close and very personal look at what happens when family lies are brought out to the light of day. This film is in Danish and some English with English subtitles yet hopefully that will not deter anyone from watching this raw film. Thumbs way up!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Biblio Love - The Unicorn by Iris Murdoch

Being a fan of Iris Murdoch's work, I knew that I would enjoy The Unicorn. However, I did not plan to read the book in one sitting and want more once I read the final paragraph twice. This novel goes beyond the normal criteria for Gothic storytelling, as only Iris Murdoch can do. The tale is this: Sweet and naive Marian travels to Gaze Castle to act as a governess/ educator for Hannah, the young occupant of Gaze. Yet, all is not what it appears to be, for the inhabitants of Gaze are trapped in the dark "magick" that holds them as prisoners. If you like a good British Gothic novel, read The Unicorn. You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beret Time - Last Year at Marienbad

Last Year at Marienbad is the epitome of French New Wave Cinema as well as one of the most confusing and enigmatic movies I have ever watched. And that's a good thing. The core story is this: a young man sees a woman at a luxurious hotel and tells her that he remembers her from last year, in which they were involved in a passionate love affair. She does not recognize the man nor does she remember any affair taking place. However, as the movies progresses, the viewers are left to wonder: did the affair actually take place, or was it all an illusion? As the man continues to tell the woman of what they did last year, the scenes travel in a loop, to which the possible future is displayed or perhaps it is the past or perhaps it never even happened. Is the woman denying what happened, or does she not remember? Each scene unfolds into dreamlike visions that are left open to interpretation; no one is right or wrong but simply IS. As I watched the film, I was rooted to my couch, waiting to see what would happen next while the organ music that played throughout the film added a level of creepiness that I found quite disturbing. Long hallways covered in shadows, ornate designed walls with mirrors to reflect the soul or perhaps remove it. Trees in the garden cast no reflection; are they part of the dream? Secrets are disclosed when everyone stops moving to wait for the next lie to be told. When the film "ended", I knew I had to have this movie in my collection. This film deserves to be watched over and over with a fresh and open mind. I will state, however, that this film is not for just anyone. The watcher must not arrive with any preconceived notions, nor must they expect for something to "happen" quickly. This film is one to remember from "last year". Quite the surreal experience.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Biblio Love - Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

Lucky Jim is a hilarious tale of a young man and his exploits to keep his job in the History Department at a university in Great Britain while juggling several women and their relationships to him and engaging in verbal spars with arrogant artist Bertrand Welch, son of eccentric Professor Welch. This is a classic that deserves to be read over and over again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jim Buchman: Amazing Sculptor at Dixon

During my lunch break today, I decided to attend Dixon Gallery and Gardens' Munch and Learn and listen to sculptor Jim Buchman. Not only did I learn about the art of sculpting but also the mind of quite a creative soul. During his presentation, he showed photos of his tools, machinery and various sources of inspiration. As I listened to his presentation, I thought about my own creativity and how imagination is quite powerful. Thanks to Mr. Buchman's experiences in life and his exposure to the world, we are able to see the results in stone and concrete.
As I walked around the silent entities after the presentation, I enjoyed staring at the textures displayed, the colours exposed and hidden messages that were left to us to decipher. What made him create circles in one and swirls in another? What could Buchman see in his tower of concrete and stone that we could not?
At one point, the sun sent beams down on the statues, giving them a glow that seemed to go deep within and bring out every fleck and grain that demanded to be seen and revealed.
I especially liked the above photo because it looks to be unfinished or that perhaps Buchman did not feel like completing it, yet it was accidentally on purpose (he ran out of concrete). To me, however, it felt right that it was left unfinished with pipe exposed. Art was never supposed to be "clean" or "sanitized". Jim Buchman's enigmatic sculptures will be at the Dixon until the 2nd of December. If you find yourself in the Memphis area soon, do yourself a favour and visit! One last thing: Jim Buchman is an awesome person - I actually got his autograph in my journal!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Review: The Casual Vacancy - Middlemarch for the 21st Century

When I had heard that J.K. Rowling would have a new book out for adults, I actually drooled. The Creator of Harry Potter would be giving us a new book and world to play around in, only that there would be no magick involved. Once copies of The Casual Vacancy arrived at the library, I grabbed a copy and began my journey to the small British town of Pagford. What a ride! Barry Fairbrother has died, leaving quite a hole, a la It's a Wonderful Life, in Pagford. Yet more importantly, his death creates a casual vacancy (a deliberate vacancy of a position due to death or other situations) in the Parish Council. Now the fun begins: all is not what it appears to be in Pagford; lies are told, truths are revealed, knives are stabbed in many a back and secrets unfold through websites, whispers and outbursts. Everyone in the town is connected to one another in some form or fashion and when one link disintegrates (Fairbrother's death), then nothing is sacred or the same ever again. J.K. Rowling has done it again with The Casual Vacancy; she tells a story like no one else and will keep you guessing and turning pages until the very end. As I read the hefty novel, I found myself comparing it to another British novel that revolved around a fictional town and its inhabitants: Middlemarch by George Eliot. As Middlemarch is the background for British way of way during the 1800s, so is The Casual Vacancy for the 21st century. Instead of Dr. Lydgate handling the fever epidemic, we have social worker Kay handling the rising population of heroin users in "the Fields". As we watch Fred Vincy express his love for sensible Mary Garth in Middlemarch, we watch Andrew Price, or Pizza Face as called by his mean tempered and abusive father Simon, come to grips with his "crush" for Gaia, daughter of Kay in The Casual Vacancy. So many other similarities and yet each novel holds their own weight and merit within the realms of literature. So many characters and yet only J.K. Rowling could handle them with not only her usual flourish of writing but also with a wide range of emotions that make you WANT to give a damn about them. If you liked/loved Harry Potter, you will simply adore The Casual Vacancy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Biblio Love - Invisible by Paul Auster

It had been too long since I last read anything by Paul Auster; thankfully, my library has several of his books. Invisible tells the story of Adam Walker, a young poetry student from Columbia University and his relationship with professor Rudolf Born and his girlfriend Margot after meeting them at a party. Although the setting is initially set in 1967, the actions, faces and emotions can easily be seen in today's world. One act of violence changes everyone's world, forcing them to be naked and vulnerable under the scrutinizing human eye. To be invisible means to forget and to never look back on regrets and foolish decisions. Yet, how can one be "invisible" when there is so much at stake?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Biblio Love - 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

What starts off as a simple inquiry regarding a search for books becomes a deep friendship between Helene Hanff of New York City and Frank Doel of Marks and Company Booksellers on 84, Charing Cross Road in London. A truly delightful, although too short, book that can be read over and over with the same level of intellect, wit and a belief in the power of books between two countries.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


I'm sitting at my computer, listening to Japanese Traditional music, French pop and everything in between as I pound out a new story, one that has been bugging me for a while. Inspired by some of my obsessions, this story will be about a werewolf who visits a teahouse and the woman who owns it. I'm not really sure where this will go but I am having way too much fun writing it! Details will come as I figure them out myself. Happy Writing!

Words of Wisdom

Friday, August 24, 2012

First Lines - Children of the Albatross by Anais Nin

"Stepping off the bus at Montmarte Djuna arrived in the center of the ambulant Fair and precisely at the moment when she set her right foot down on the cobblestones the music of the merry-go-round was unleashed from its mechanical box and she felt the whole scene, her mood, her body, transformed by its gaiety exactly as in her childhood her life in a heavy nightmare to freedom by her winning of a dance scholarship."

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Book Review - The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Whenever I want to escape from the silliness of the world and dive into serious and pondering matters, I always turn to a Russian novel. Ever since I read Crime and Punishment several years ago, I have been mesmerized by the force of words used by the Russians in how they overcome every struggle that they face. And sometimes, I will also face a novel that causes me to question, leaving me with doubt that also satisfies me. That is what Dostoyevsky’s novel The Double was all about. The crux of the story is about a forgettable man named Golyadkin who discovers that he has a doppelganger, one that is not only just like him but eventually takes over his seemingly boring life, leading him down a dark road that leads to a conclusion that is both terrifying and yet necessary. Although The Double is a short novel, Dostoyevsky does not disappoint in asking these questions: Who am I? Am I truly me? What is Man capable of accomplishing and destroying all in one breath? The story, of course, does not answer these questions yet merely toys with them and later adds more questions to question the first set. The Double left me with a puzzled look on my face and yet I felt grateful that I was able to witness one man’s fall from grace handled literally well.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

All About The Goth Librarian

Just for fun, I thought I'd make a list of random bits of things you may or may not have known about Kimberly B. Richardson, also known as the Goth Librarian. Ready? Let's go! - born in Columbus, GA yet proudly calls Memphis, TN her home - has a weakness for kittens, puppies and baby sloths - discovered that she has Irish blood - first apartment was truly haunted - has a morbid fear of "escargot" - Halloween is her favourite holiday - the B. does not stand for anything; her mother thought that her name was long enough - once stepped inside of a true fairy ring and hasn't been the same since - is a junior mycologist (studies mushrooms) - is a junior lepidopterist (studies butterflies and moths) - wanted to be either a paleontologist or an archaeologist when she was little - is an only child - her car is named Malachai - a piece of her soul does live in New Orleans and she gets to visit it from time to time - actually laughed all the way through the movie House of 1000 Corpses - sniffs books before purchasing them - once saw a coyote standing in her parking lot of her first apartment - is badly addicted to cherries, so much so that she will make herself sick while eating them - all of her female characters in her stories and books are based off her personalities - her favourite flower is the orchid - loves Spring and Autumn - fell in love with her male character in her upcoming novel, The Decembrists - once told a werewolf that she had a crush on him - thinks author Ian McEwan is the God of Literature - was initiated into the Goth scene by way of the movie Fright Night - met Dacre Stoker, living relative of Bram Stoker - loves to watch clouds drift by in the sky. And finally, she is me. Thank you.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Poem of the Night - Hysteria by T.S. Eliot

As she laughed I was aware of becoming involved in her laughter and being part of it, until her teeth were only accidental stars with a talent for squad-drill. I was drawn in by short gasps, inhaled at each momentary recovery, lost finally in the dark caverns of her throat, bruised by the ripple of unseen muscles. An elderly waiter with trembling hands was hurriedly spreading a pink and white checked cloth over the rusty green iron table, saying: "If the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden, if the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden ..." I decided that if the shaking of her breasts could be stopped, some of the fragments of the afternoon might be collected, and I concentrated my attention with careful subtlety to this end.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Book Review - The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

I know I am reading a great book if I am able to "see" myself in said location with said characters. That, to me, is a sign of a great storyteller who has quite a grip on what they have presented to the rest of the world. The Snow Leopard was that kind of book and so much more. Peter Matthiessen and his friend, the zoologist George Schaller (known as GS) travel to the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal in search of Zen enlightenment, bahral, 'blue sheep' and the elusive snow leopard. What I read was a several month account of two men, several guides and a combined ordeal of truth, Nature, peace, danger and knowledge that remained buried in my brain for days afterward. Before I go any further, I do have to mention this story. In May of this year, I visited Nashville, TN with my family. While we were out and about, my mother took me to Franklin, TN and specifically, Landmark Booksellers. Since my mother is painfully aware that I am quite the bibliophile, my level of foaming at the mouth was not too bad. Once we reached the parking lot next to the bookstore, my mother told me to have a good time and she would take a nap in the car. Now was my chance. I walked into the store, looked around and fell in love. I did notice, however, that there were signs regarding their discount books and their location. Having walked within the entire place twice, I marched up to the counter and politely asked about these discount books. The owner, a really nice guy, informed me that I had to "follow him", of which I did because, well, he was going to show me more books. We walked outside while having a lovely chat about me being from Memphis, as he led me to a small house located behind the bookstore. He then unlocked the door and opened and I nearly died. In front of me were rooms of books stacked from the floor to the ceiling. I also noticed that there was no air conditioner, a fact that would be my downfall much later. In any case, the gentleman told me where everything was, bid me to have fun and to close the door once done and soon, I was alone. With thousands of books. Here are several of the photos I took of the place:
I scrambled to find books while trying hard not to either fall down or die of heat exhaustion. Even now, while I think about that moment, it brings a smile to my face. So, why did I mention that story, you may ask? For the simple reason that my copy of The Snow Leopard was one of the books purchased during that moment of biblio-glory. However, once I finally decided to read the book, I realized that the first thirteen pages were missing. I, therefore, located a copy of the book at one of the libraries in Memphis, made copies of the pages and stuck them in my copy. I also have plans to laminate the dust jacket and place it on a wall in my apartment. Yes, I have it that bad for books. The Snow Leopard is a wonderful book that showed how a man overcame much in order to trek out on such a journey. This is an excellent book for a person who enjoys a good story, anything regarding travel or any book regarding enlightenment. I did spend some time reading comments made about this book on Amazon and was shocked to find that a lot of people did not like the "religious" aspect of the book, i.e., the Zen moments Peter experienced and felt the need to write down. All they wanted was a travel book and that was that. However, we all have our journeys to make, be they around the world or just to the end of your city. Once you have made the journey, what then? What will you do with yourself now that the journey is over? What did you learn during the journey? Although Peter did not see a snow leopard, the journey was much better than the actual goals. And that, to me, makes all the difference in the world.

Book Review - The Martian Women by Tyree Campbell

Tyree Campbell, the mastermind behind Sam's Dot Publishing, has done it again! If you are looking for a straight up science fiction story written well that leaves you wanting more, The Martian Women does not fail to satisfy. Meet Teresa "Traci" Minerva Timberlake, a woman that does not know the meaning of "can't". Thanks to discovering a secret to further space travel, she is sent to court in the hopes of suppressing such information for other humans living on Mars. Yet, thanks to being a fifth generation Martian woman, her deceased relatives' history on the Red Planet proves that blood is truly thicker than water or even a rocky planet. Campbell's writing is paced well while the story is fleshed out just enough so as to keep the interest level high. Once you reach the end, you will probably want to read it all over again. Sam's Dot Publishing is known for their novellas, magazines and novels of many genres, making sure that the reader will be up for many hours while steadily turning pages. I have read several of their titles plus featured my work in their magazines and they do not fail to disappoint me and my hunger for a great story to read. If you happen to attend a sci-fi convention in which Sam's Dot Publishing is listed as a vendor, stop by the table and pick up a copy of The Martian Women or any of their other titles. Also, tell Tyree that Viridian Girl says hi.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Quote - Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence

"And it seemed she was like the sea, nothing but dark waves rising and heaving, heaving with a great swell, so that slowly her whole darkness was in motion, and she was ocean rolling its dark, dumb mass. Oh, and far down inside her the deeps parted and rolled asunder, in long, far-travelling billows, and ever, at the quick of her, the depths parted and rolled asunder, from the centre of soft plunging, as the plunger went deeper and deeper, touching lower, and she was deeper and deeper and deeper disclosed, and heavier the billows of her rolled away to some shore, uncovering her, and closer and closer plunged the palpable unknown, and further and further rolled the waves of herself away from herself, leaving her, till suddenly, in a soft, shuddering convulsion, the quick of all her plasm was touched, she knew herself touched, the consummation was upon her, and she was gone. She was gone, she was out, and she was born a woman."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Review - The Green Shore by Natalie Bakopoulos

One cool thing about being a bibliophile is that I will make the time to attend a book signing that interests me, no matter the length of the trip. I recently traveled to Oxford, MS to attend a book signing at Square Books for what seemed to be an interesting novel as well as author. I had the pleasure of meeting Natalie Bakopoulos, author of the novel The Green Shore, a book that I think everyone should read. The backdrop is Athens, Greece during the 1967 military coup d'etat, with special attention to one particular family: Eleni, a widowed physician, her brother Mihalis who is an eccentric poet and Eleni's children Anna, the youngest, Sophie, the eldest and her son Taki. Each member of the family responds to the unfolding events in their own way and yet each action overlaps with everyone else, thereby creating a story that is rich with history, love, betrayal and awareness. Mrs. Bakopoulos writes with such a delicate flair that I could smell the fresh oranges being squeezed for juice, see the pamphlets calling the people to action and hear the sounds of Greeks weeping and laughing all at once. This is a novel of family and of choices and I savoured every word with an intense desire to not only know more about the characters but to also read about such a period in Greece's history. In short, read this novel. You will not regret it.

Book Review - Price of Admission by Sylvia Shults

I had the pleasure of meeting Sylvia Shults at Fandom Fest in Louisville, KY this past weekend. Actually, after meeting her publisher, David M.Youngquist, I knew I had to pick up a copy of her book at their table. I read Price of Admission during the course of one day and the only problem I had with it was that I read it too quickly. Price of Admission tells the story of Jessica Taylor, a young woman spinning her wheels in Life, who suddenly travels back in time thanks to a haunted house and meets, literally, the man of her dreams. Max is handsome, intelligent, a grand musician...and an immortal. I will not spoil the results of said mixture, yet I will say that thanks to Mrs. Shults' writing, the novel was a joy and a delight to read. I especially loved how she explained the immortality held by Max; the origins were very unique and well handled without it being completely unbelievable. When I feel as though I am with the characters in their current predicament, no matter how exciting or boring, I know that I am reading a well written book. Price of Admission is just that: a well written and enjoyable book that leaves me wanting more. Thankfully, after telling Sylvia how much I loved her book, she informed me that there will be a sequel, of which I look forward to. If you would like to know more about this awesome novel, please click on the link: Dark Continents Press

Monday, June 18, 2012

Shelby Farms Excursion

Shelby Farms was and always will be a place of refuge for me. Thankfully, it is located on the same street as my humble and artistic abode with only a 25 minute drive separating us. I decided to visit Shelby Farms this past Sunday so as to also completely break in my new hiking shoes (which now feel so much better!). Once I reached the park and slowed my driving down to 20 MPH, I belatedly realized that the area had several spots for lovers of the art of fishing, such as myself. I grumbled good naturedly then drove on to locate the perfect parking spot. Five minutes later, I gave up on such an idea and just found one that was open. Once I got out of my car Malachai, my mood quickly changed as I found one of the bike trails and set off. Cool breezes helped with the walk while my head darted this way and that, trying to take it all in. Suddenly, I discovered a small pond filled with lily pads and small animals that kept jumping in and out of the water. I had to get photos. After leaving the lily pad pond, I found patches of elderberry blooms as well as what looked to be black and red raspberries growing on either side of the trail. My eye also caught several moths and butterflies as well as my fungus friends; the day, so far, had proven to be quite filled with all sorts of natural eye candy. After walking up and down several hills, I decided to change course and head towards my parked car that was next to one of the large lakes possibly filled with fish just waiting to be caught, stared at and thrown back into their watery home. Of course, since I did not have my fishing gear with me, I merely walked by the lake and later behind it as I discovered several hilly trails just waiting for my boots to tread upon. I had finally found my secluded trails, of which did not stay secluded for long; several children whose parents were on the banks of the lake were walking through the paths rather loudly. I turned around and went another route, one that had less traffic and more scenery. Finally, after happily getting lost twice, I discovered a bench with a view of the lake (see above photo) and I knew that this would be my spot of momentary rest as well as a place to scribble down some notes. In our day to day lives, we spend so much time getting from one spot to the next that we sometimes fail to take a breath, relax and have a good cup of tea while reading a book. We simply fail to just breathe. When I sat down on that bench and began writing in my journal, I was breathing and it felt good. Being outdoors is a wonderful way to reconnect with not only the outside world, but also within ourselves. Once I finished writing what I wanted to remember, I packed up and set off once more. As I walked along, I noticed that the roots of the trees surrounding me looked very bulbous and strange, like misshapen tentacles. I pulled out my camera and took photos of these roots because I knew that describing them to someone would not do them justice: After walking, taking photos, sweating and just smiling like a goof ball for two hours, I finally decided to make the trip back to my humble and artistic abode. I hopped in my car and drove off, enjoying the air conditioner and listening to music while my eyes continued to take in my surroundings. Next time, though, I WILL bring my fishing gear!