Saturday, January 6, 2018

Book Review~You Can Call Me ~Sassenach ...I'm Good with that!

I was determined to read the entire "Outlander Series" in the year of our Lord January 1,2017 to December  31,2017! That Goal was accomplished on December 29,2017...YES! 

The List :
1. OUTLANDER, (1991)
3.VOYAGER (1994)
9. GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE— which she is currently writing and researching_completion and publishing dates have not been announced yet.  

With Eight (8) Books (having approximately 900 pages each)_ I "Guesstimated" 500,000+ Words! BOY was I wrong. Got a MESSAGE from the Author Diana Gabaldon on Facebook saying the actual count...
(Diana Gabaldon Haha! Congratulations! As to your word estimate, though...THE FIERY CROSS _alone_ is 508,000 words. (General word counts are:
OUTLANDER - 300,000
VOYAGER - 380,000
WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD - not sure, but I think about 480,000)


The Author captures your mind from the beginning.You get caught up in Claire & Frank's reunion(1945)_after WWII.

..only to be shaken by a ghostly figure that breezes past Frank as "it" watches Claire in the window.A countryside field trip turns into a nightmare for Frank after Claire goes missing.Claire on the other hand has a mysterious power to hear voices and be transported through time via Ancient Stones. 
Thus,she is "A Time Traveler". Claire arrives in 1743 to meet her first husband as predicted by a Palmist_
James "Jamie" Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser ...

OMG! I fell in love instantly. For you see the Outlander Series became a movie Series (Starz) that kinda follows the content of the Books.The Author even appears in one of the Episodes.When Jamie says things like this_I just.....lose it.

Okay,I'm going to settle down.One Final word,the CASTING is PERFECTION! 

To continue,the Books take you through events in Scottish History,WARS,turmoil, 
Love & more love,Herbal Medicines,Life in the Highlands,KILTS(LOVE),LIES,Deceit, 
Brutality,Family Relations,Patriots,early Colonist in America,Historical Fiction,Mystery,Adventure,Fantasy,

The Settings are in Scotland,France,the West Indies,England & North America.This is a simple overview_there's so much more!May I suggest that you read ALL of the Books in the Order they were written.You will NOT be disappointed. The Author _Diana Gabaldon is an AWESOME Writer.... 

About to start on her Lord John Grey Series.The Series is a sequence of historical mystery novels and shorter works written by Diana Gabaldon that center on Lord John Grey,a recurring secondary character in the author's Outlander series.Secretly,a Homosexual in a time when that fact could get a noose around ones neck very quickly! Starting with Book #1...

"My Reading Chair" ....

After a ZILLION words read in 2017....2018 
let the "Gabaldon Adventures Continue". You can call me ~SASSENACH~ 

              ~Happy Reading Y'all~

Thursday, June 29, 2017

~Now is the WINTER,SPRING,SUMMER and FALL...Of Our Discontent~

   Famous Seven Words in 1592

  "Now is the winter of our discontent" 

 ~William Shakespeare~The Bard of Avon~ 

If only we could tell him those seven words are still apropos TODAY..2017! 425 years later.They were spoken by Richard III.

Richard III is a Historical play by Shakespeare,believed to have been written in approximately 1592.It depicts the Machiavellian rise to power and subsequent short reign of King Richard III of England. 

I am inclined to write about those words because of the State of the World at present.It is often said HISTORY repeats itself..of which I think is accurate. I've been a Scholar of History since my University days _it was my Minor.I came across the Classic John Steinbeck novel published in 1961..."The Winter of Our Discontent".

Goodness,that title got me thinking!Indeed, it was a good read.Knowing it's title was somewhat like those seven words Richard III uttered,I refreshed my memory on that famous play and Machiavelli "The Prince".

I am fortunate enough to have my 50 year old copy of The Prince,yellowed,spine back in bad shape,underlined with side notes,priced at 50 cents,Paperback,published by Airmont Publishing Company,copyright 1965,etc...from my 12th Grade English Class.

Now,you know my TRUTH...I'm a Bookworm for sure!Back to Richard III,Steinbeck,The Prince and 2017.Speaking or writing....

...there are many aspects all three have in common.The Darker side~Richard III~ words used to describe his conundrum includes: Bribes,Lying,finagling suspicious activities away from him,demand of Loyalty by all around him,loves winning,love of an audience,being braggadocios,creating a Court with a poisonous atmosphere,Love of outward FAME,fueling Hostility,coupled with his own personal inward toils_paint an Ophidian Laird or perhaps a..."Ophidian Lair"_

..even Darker_The Prince_ and the New Princedoms acquired by several methods: by one's own power,by the power of others,by CRIMINAL acts or extreme cruelty,or by the will of the people(But not ALL OF THE PEOPLE 2017 version).26 Chapters on how to acquire and maintain Political Power.Just a few of the characteristics of a Prince:It is better to be stingy than generous,better to be cruel than merciful,better to break promises if keeping them would be against ONE's interest,should undertake GREAT PROJECTS to enhance their reputation.

Shockingly,(not really but) there is a Dedication to Magnificent Lorenzo,son of Piero de' Medici.In almost all works of Renaissance Literature the Author declared his "Unworthiness and Praised the Patron's GREATNESS".2017,I Demand Loyalty Dammit! 

..then there's Steinbeck!The main character Ethan Allen Hawley has lost the FORTUNES of his Ancestors.At the age of thirty-six all he has left is the old Hawley Place (East Coast Bay Area),a couple of envious children and his wife,Mary's nest egg inherited from her brother_$6500.He works for an Absent Grocery store Owner_spilling his desires & guilt to the would-be-congregation of canned goods each morning.AND,he suspects the Owner is in America illegally.So,what does he resort to_ turning his Boss in to Authorities plus _BRIBES,Quick Bucks in back alleys,conniving Land Taking Art of the Deals with unsuspecting FRIENDS,abuse of Trust,plagiarism,near Theft of a Bank,in "Collusion" with City Council and his Republican Party to throw Elections....I'm NOT MAKING THIS STUFF UP...written in 1961 reflecting what was going on in the 1950's,60's & 70's_Moral Decline in Politics as Steinbeck viewed it.

Quote_"In letters to friends before and after its publication, Steinbeck stated that he wrote the novel to address the moral degeneration of American culture during the 1950s and 1960s. American criticism of his moralism started to change during the 1970s after the Watergate scandal;here is how Reloy Garcia describes his reassessment of the work when asked to update his original Study Guide to Winter: "The book I then so impetuously criticized as somewhat thin, now strikes me as a deeply penetrating study of the American condition. I did not realize, at the time, that we had a condition," and he attributes this change of heart to "our own enriched experience". ( Garcia, Reloy (1979), A Study Guide to Steinbeck (Part II), Metuchen: Scarecrow, p. 4)  

I was taken aback of the relevance of these three books when three parts(3 books)equals the WHOLE of Society in 2017 all over the World.

Very,Very Enlightening Reading....

So what's the Lesson learned from revisiting a play that's been around for 425 years,a book written 485 years ago dedicated to Magnificent Lorenzo Medici and another book based on the Morality of People & Politics in the 50's,60's &70's written 56 years ago?  

Now is Still the Winter,Spring ,Summer & Fall of Our Discontent!

BUT,I'm Hopeful...

**To read the complete Speech of Now is the Winter of Our Discontent,here's a link..

Monday, September 12, 2016

5,500+ Pages Later:Another Sage Book Whisperer's Book Review

Although,I haven't POSTED a Book Review in some time,I've been READING,Watching Movies & other "Stuff" to bring to YOU! So ...Let's Talk Books!

I've covered some ground with roughly about 5,500+ pages read with a plus beside that number ..why?_because I'm constantly READING the written word. I have this "Theory About Reading".As a child my whole Family were READERS. When a certain sector of PEOPLE were NOT given the opportunity to read,risk their limbs & lives as depicted in this movie_I feel like it is my OBLIGATION to read about something ~EVERYDAY~ 

*The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff_coupled with watching the movie of the same name_this was no Bruce Jenner-Kardashi-nized Money-Making version of a Transgender Human. It was a touching story written by Ebershoff that made me go further to find out more about this incredible and brave Human.That is why on my Fall 2016 Book List,you'll find the REAL story taken from the notes of  Lili Elbe (aka Einar Wegener and his wife Gerda Wegener,both Danish Painters).I can't wait to read "Man Into Woman:The First Sex Change by Lili Elbe. AND...explore the paintings of Gerda & Einar Wegener,since I'm an Art Lover! ~5-Star~

And the movie won Eddie Redmayne an Academy Award nomination & various other Awards..I Love his work!

*Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor _A 1944 romance novel set in 17th-century England.It was made into a film in 1947 by 20th century Fox.But of course,I saw the movie_not exactly like the Book! 

"Forever Amber tells the story of orphaned Amber St. Clare, who makes her way up through the ranks of 17th century English society by sleeping with and/or marrying successively richer and more important men, while keeping her love for the one man she could never have. The novel includes portrayals of Restoration fashion, including the introduction and popularization of tea in English coffeehouses and the homes of the fashionably rich; politics; and public disasters, including the plague and the Great Fire of London." 

Fourteen States (14) "BANNED" the book as Pornography.The FIRST was Massachusetts whose Attorney General cited:
"70 references to sexual intercourse, 39 illegitimate pregnancies, 7 abortions, and "10 descriptions of women undressing in front of men" as reasons for banning the novel " 

The Catholic Church cited it for indecency.In 1945,Australia's Minister of Customs banned it saying: "God did not give people eyes to read this Rubbish".Despite all of that_"Forever Amber" was the Best Selling Novel of the 1940's .The movie was toned down so much,I can't even remember a love scene.~4 Star~ 

*Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez .
"In the prologue, García Márquez claims the novel is the fictional representation of a legend the author was told by his grandmother as a child: of a 12-year-old girl who contracts rabies but was believed to be a 'miracle-worker', with long flowing copper hair that continues to grow after death. In this frame-story, it was only after an excavation of tombs that García Márquez is witness to the grave of a similar young girl with long red hair still attached to the skull, that he was inspired to write Of Love and Other Demons ." 

 He alludes to Love as the most terrible Demon of all...oh well...sigh! Very strange to read and follow! ~2-Star~ 

So,to continue on my quest to read several of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's works_this was my next read.

*Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. There are many themes in the book seduction,lovesickness,perversion, 

"García Márquez's main notion is that lovesickness is literally an illness,a disease comparable to cholera.At one point,the main character conflates his physical pain with his amorous pain when he vomits after eating flowers in order to imbibe the scent of his lover.Cholera as it is used in Spanish,can also denote passion or human rage and ire in its feminine form.The title is a pun: cholera as the disease, and cholera as passion, which raises the central question of the book: is love helped or hindered by extreme passion?" 

I had greatly anticipated reading this book as the movie was EXCELLENT! I wasn't disappointed. ~4-Star~ 

The movie tagline..."How Long have I Loved You? 51 years,9 Months & 4 days...that is how long I've loved You! 

*Negroland a memoir by Margo Jefferson. 

"Growing up in the 1950s, Margo Jefferson was part of Chicago's black upper class. The daughter of a prominent doctor and his socialite wife, Jefferson inhabited a world of ambition, education and sophistication — a place she calls "Negroland." She describes the social pressures of her upbringing, as well as the sense of separation that it engendered.She and other members of the black elite thought of themselves as a "Third Race, poised between the masses of Negroes and all classes of Caucasians."  

Ultimately, it was the Black Power movement that led Jefferson to question some of the tenets that she had grown up with: "Black Power was really a major challenge to the social privileges and structures of the kind of privilege that I had grown up with," she says. "That whole belief ... that you will only be able to advance if you are perfectly behaved, if you present yourself as what white people would consider an ideal of whiteness ... all of that just began to burst open."  

Jefferson says using the word ~Negro~ was in the spirit of history, in the spirit of historical exactness and irony and respect for the movement of history and the ironies it creates, and also the fact that part of our history is this series of changing names, which says so much about our fluctuating status. ..."Colored" was the term of choice some decades back, then "Negro." ... "Afra American" had a brief fling, "Afro American" in the '60s, then "Africaan," then "black," then "African-American."Noticeably left out was the N-Word..Not something People of Color called themselves at that time! REALLY! A great Read with lots of footnotes to other interesting books on the subject matter.~5~Star~ 

*Clarissa's England by Clarissa Dickson Wright. Fantastic Personal Journey of all of England through the mind's eye of Clarissa.I've always loved her quirky stories that she told on her hit British TV Cooking Show ~ The Two Fat Ladies~! Both of the Host have passed on now_but I enjoy watching my DVD of all the Seasons. 

"Clarissa Dickson Wright was an English celebrity chef, television personality, writer, businesswoman, and former BARRISTER.(She claimed to be the youngest person to be called to the Bar at the time). She was best known as one of the Two Fat Ladies,with Jennifer Paterson in the television cooking programme. She was an accredited cricket umpire and one of only two women to become a Guild Butcher."

What I loved about this book was her well traveled cornucopia of local knowledge.In the front of the book was a map which showed all 34 Counties with the Contents highlighting each County_somewhat like her Cooking Journey's where History is in full bloom...I was in a different county,on a different journey,learning about all sorts of things! Can't wait to read her Autobiography_"Spilling The Beans". Did I say she has a very,very NAUGHTY way of saying things that are Laugh out Loud Moments~What a Journey! ~5+Star~ 

*The Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa. This was some mighty fine reading! If you love the "Historical Novel" genre_this is a page turner. For my "Peruvian Birthday Celebration" in 2015,I decided to celebrate my Afro-Peruvian heritage that was shown on my DNA test. So, I researched (as always for my Global Parties) "EVERYTHING PERUVIAN". I was able to acquire a Wooden Puzzle by a Peruvian Artist,Music, the Food,& this book when I goggled Peruvian Writers. This was a GEM.The fact that my heritage also has an Irish bloodline made it even more "Special". My Birthday Party....

(Cover page of Novel)
"In 1916,The Irish Nationalist Roger Casement was hanged by the British government for treason.Casement had dedicated his extraordinary life to improving the plight of oppressed peoples around the world_especially the native populations in the Belgian Congo and the Amazon_but when he dared to draw a parallel between the injustices he witnessed in African and American colonies and those committed by the British in Northern Ireland,he became involved in a cause that led to his imprisonment and execution."  

                                 ~Sir Roger Casement~

The book was based upon Casement's meticulous notes from his Diary kept during those years spent in the Amazon ...especially the Rubber Plantations in Peru.The Scandals,the questioning of his Gender & preference for well-built tanned Native bodies,his bouts of sleeping sickness,his observations of Slavery in Peru since 1854, Mental Breakdowns,Gambling,Sex,Lies,etc.

                      Roger Casement with Putumayo Tribes people in Amazon 

However the most notable events of his resume was his first hand accounts of the systematic tortures inflicted on the Natives of Peru & the Congo by "European Commercial "concerns and the Lies told that the Natives were prospering....not unlike today!More information about the Rubber Barons & Plantations in the Amazon can be found by a search of Rubber Barons in Peru.  

For his work he attained a BRITISH KNIGHTHOOD for Humanitarian endeavors. THEN...because he liken the  Irish people's quest for freedom as a State of Slavery_he was transformed into a radical fighter for Irish Independence_collaborated with the German military,participated in the bloody "EASTER RISING" insurrection in Ireland during Easter Week ,April 1916 : he was arrested,prosecuted,and convicted for treason by the British and revelations of  history of his homosexual activities per his secret diaries,his EXECUTION was by hanging! Now on the hunt a good price for a book that was even more Autobiographical than this one called...  Peter Singleton-Gates & Maurice Girodias (1959). I simply LOVED this much so, for the History I might read it again_not often I say that! The Author of "The Dream of the Celts" Mario Vargas Llosa  won the Noble Prize in Literature in 2010 ~5+++~STAR~ 

*Last But Not Less....
*The Book Series by Diana Gabaldon called "Outlander. Of course,I have the DVDS as well!!!  I have read #1 Outlander & #2 Dragonfly in Amber. My plan is to read them all. 

Let's just say my NEW Name is Sassenach...

I can NOT do it justice here on this Book Review_it shall be forthcoming!

I am on several different "Reading Journey's"...on my Fall Reading List 2016 _M.C.Beaton's Agatha Raisin Murder Mysteries,Outlander's Series,followups to personal Autobiographers of Lili  Elbe & Roger Casement,Porgy(of Porgy & Bess),Negro History as it was called back then,etc... Enjoy,I'll be Back!