Monday, June 9, 2014

The Sage Book Whisperer's SUMMER through Fall Reading List 2014


 Well.....Maybe Not just Yet(Official 6/21/14)....BUT.....

Here we go! It's that time of the choose BOOKS to Read. This year I'm going from "Classic American Literature"_both American & African-American Authors. And,a little bit of Contemporary. I'm in love with Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce Series (2009-14)_an outrageous 11 year old Sleuth. And a Classic_ Father Brown Mysteries (1911)by G.K. Chesterton.I love The Father Brown TV Series on PBS_thought I'd read Chesterton's work.I'm a big Agatha Christie Fan, so that works for me! Fun-"Who Done It" kinda stuff.So here we go...I've already started & finished some of my choices....p.s. might have to add mo'books,mo'books,mo'books...YES!

"Classics & Mysteries Reading List 2014"                                                                  ********

1.The Power of Sympathy (1791)by William Hill Brown & The Coquette (1797) by Hannah Webster Foster 

Overview_"The Power of Sympathy"_A tragic LOVE STORY,Sibling who fell in love without knowing they were related_Epistolary form of writing.

Overview_"The Coquette"_Based on the life of Eliza Whitman a woman seduced & abandoned courted by two different men,who give up on her & get married_she flirts, has illegitimate stillborn,etc.. COQUETTE : a woman who endeavors without sincere affection to gain the attention and admiration of men. We all know many in today's world!

2.Charlotte Temple (1794)  by Susanna Rowson 

Overview_"Charlotte Temple"_is a "seduction tale" which warns against listening to the voice of Love & counsels resistance_was a Best Seller during it's time 1790's.

NOTE: First American Novels_late 18th cent. & early 19th cent.

3.The Legends of Sleepy Hollow,Rip Van Winkle & Other Short Stories (1820) by Washington Irving 

4.The Ways of White People (1934) by Langston Hughes
One of the Great Harlem Renaissance Writers_1919 until the early or mid-1930.

5.I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings (1969) by Maya Angelou 

         ~In Remembrance of Maya's recent passing~
NOTE: I'm happy to say _my bid at EBAY Auction garnered me a 1st Edition Hardcover in pristine condition)

6.The Catcher in The Rye (1951) by J.D.Salinger 

 NOTE: Read this in Eng.Lit at Univ.of St.Thomas Houston in 1967...a re-read!

7. Father Brown Mysteries (1911) by G.K. Chesterton 

8.Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce Series  in order of Publication:
#1 The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie_ Read last hooked! 

#2 The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag...loved it!  

#3 A Red Herring without Mustard...OMG!!!!   

#4 I Am Half-Sick of Shadows...finished yesterday 6/8/14 good

#5 Speaking from Among the Bones ...started 6/8/14...yes that's a correct date!

#6 The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches...up next_last in Series 

I could re-read them all over! Just when you think you know WHO-DONE -IT...You will be so wrong.

I will have to Post a Follow-up on some of these Adventures...especially on #1 & #2 on the List....mmm,some contend this was Early "50 Shades of Grey"...Stuff...we shall see. Until,that time...

Saturday, May 31, 2014

"I Know Why The Caged Bird has STOPPED SINGING"

                  ~America loss a good Soul May 28,2014~

...AND,from that one sentence_"what I've learned"...has been one of the most meaningful lessons in MY Life. 

I read "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings"in the late 60's. Subsequently,her writings,essays,poems,etc have been a part of my reading list for many years.I was sadden by her demise. But realize...Ecclesiastes 3:1-15, A Time for Everything.

                 Maya as a Dancer & Singer 1951-1961 
Angelou's first album, Miss Calypso, produced in 1957, was made possible due to the popularity of her nightclub act.

                                       1st Edition..1969 
The title of the book comes from the third stanza of the poem "Sympathy" by  Paul Laurence Dunbar, an African-American poet..The "caged bird", a symbol for the chained  Slave is an image Angelou uses throughout all her writings.
                          Paul Laurence Dunbar 1872-1906

~Sympathy~ 3rd stanza
know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,
When he beats his bars and would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings –
I know why the caged bird sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the 1969 autobiography about the early years of  Writer and Poet Maya Angelou.The first in a seven-volume series, it is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma..The book begins when three-year-old Maya and her older brother are sent to Stamps,Arkansas,to live with their grandmother and ends when Maya becomes a mother at the age of 16. In the course of  Caged Bird,Maya transforms from a victim of racism with an inferiority complex into a self-possessed, dignified young woman capable of responding to prejudice.


A made-for-TV movie version of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was filmed in Vicksburg,Mississippi and aired on April 28, 1979 on CBS.Angelou and Leonora Thuna wrote the screenplay; the movie was directed by Fielder Cook. Constance Good played young Maya. Also appearing were actors Esther Rolle,Roger E.Mosley,Diahann Carroll,Ruby Dee,and Madge Sinclair.Two scenes in the movie differed from events described in the book. Angelou added a scene between Maya and Uncle Willie after the Joe Louis fight; in it, he expresses his feelings of redemption after Louis defeats a white opponent. Angelou also presents her eighth grade graduation differently in the film. In the book, Henry Reed delivers the valedictory speech and leads the Black audience in the Negro National Anthem. In the movie, Maya conducts these activities.

Of Note: Caged Bird has been on numerous "List of Censored Books".Parents and schools have objected to the book's depictions of lesbianism, premarital cohabitation, pornography, and violence. Some have been critical of its sexually explicit scenes, use of language, and irreverent religious depictions.. 

"one of the ten books most frequently banned from high school and junior high school libraries and classrooms".

With the passing of Maya_we are blessed to have her many works to reflect upon,learn from & engage our sensibilities,any time we wish! Indeed,The Caged Bird has stopped Singing_but her works Live on.

NOTE: to leave Condolences click here_

On another thought_I am grateful that we have Un-Caged Birds that sing into the Midnight Hour  & early morning here at Aaron's Hilltop Farm.But of course...they are the ubiquitous "Mockingbird"_the most vocal of all birds....especially when there is a full moon. The exact connection is not known for sure, but the moon’s reflected light is known to set other animals into “song” .Just in case,you need a reminder of how they sound....

* That reminds me of yet another great book_"To Kill A Mockingbird".Which means.....well,that's another Blog post! 

Upcoming on PBS....

              Meantime....R.I.P.~Maya Angelou~
                      She & Oprah could pass for Relatives!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Aloha! ~ My Hawaiian Luau Birthday Party 2014~

It's that "Time" of the Year...My Birthday! The actual date was May 17th...but the party was on ...May 18th! First,the venue was changed one week before_(circumstances beyond my friend's control),some of the group friends couldn't make it,the menu & decor was a quick throw together...since the party was originally planned around my girlfriend's pool....I was getting kinda sad! NEVER FEAR...where only a few "Good Friends" are gathered_there's still a PAR-TEE!

Sooooo,here's some of the happenings! We missed the other Ladies...Karen,Shelly,Amy,Bev..
BUT...we Par-Teed on!

Got the Old Farmhouse up & running for an "INDOOR Luau Party"_First things First_

Pu-Pu Platter_Ribs,Egg Rolls & Chipolte Chicken w/BBQ,Sweet&Sour & Chilpolte Sauce.
Heart of Palm Dip w/ Rosemary Crackers,Fried Pea Pods,Cheese:Parmentino~Medium Asiago~
Bruschetta Jack~ Creamy Havarti, Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Cold Slaw, Potato Salad, 
King's Hawaiian Rolls,Fresh Sliced Pineapples,
Watermelon & Cantaloupe....tooo good,I'm still full! AND_of course we uncorked...our favorite..
 AND...Jilly P. Tiki Bar Mistress made...

              "Lime in the Coconut Punch"

By this time ...with food & drink was on! of the things we learned from many ,many,many parties ago...TAKE OUR GROUP PICTURE FIRST! 

Me!...arranging the Food in my Hawaiian sweet husband gave me the flower arrangement. 
                The Three wÄ€hine (wah-hee-neh) = womEn

                                       ~Good Times~
We Wined,We Lime Punched,We Feasted on Good Foods,We Laughed,We Caught-up on News,We missed our other Friends &
on occasion we'd get up and do this....

I was inspired by a previous have a Luau!

Here's some other Birthday Parties:

Upcoming Post on yet another "Birthday Party" (2011)...

~MAHALO~for stopping by...Your Lei...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Grab a Bowl of Popcorn~SAGE BOOK WHISPERER's Movie Review~

Let's Dig right in & start with the Juicy -stuff...
This movie started really slow....when it was all over,one might need a reality check.In a nutshell:
At 84 years old (at the time the book was written)_UK's Doris Lessing a 2007 Noble Prize Winner in Literature writes a book called "The Grandmothers"(2003). 

The movie is loosely based upon the book.. yet set in Australia where two schoolgirls/best friends end up as neighbours after they get married. The marriages crumble but their friendship keeps on. Both are infatuated with one another's son, to the boys' wives dismay.

OMG!the love scenes are HOT! Now what was Doris at 84 years old thinking about?...Be's about to get Hot! 

Dame Daphne du Maurier, UK Novelist of "Rebecca"   which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1941,& the popular novel "The Birds"(Hitchcock movie)_ was later accused of  "plagiarism"for Rebecca and numerous other works.This movie is based on her secret life...her affair with Gertrude Lawrence and her attraction to Ellen Doubleday (wife of US Book Publisher).
Du Maurier explained to a trusted few her own unique slant on her sexuality: her personality, she explained, comprised two distinct people – the loving wife and mother (the side she showed to the world) and the lover (a decidedly male energy) hidden to virtually everyone and the power behind her artistic creativity. She believed the male energy fueled her creative life as a writer. ~ personal letters revealed after her death~  
Note: Elizabeth McGovern of Downton Abbey fame plays Ellen
Doubleday! Very good movie!

Up Next...
~A Royal Affair~
My goodness this was awesome if you like Period Pieces.
Scandalous,Juicy,the arranged marriage system of child brides,secret stairways,deceit,the dalliance of a dance & smile,"illegitimate child,letters from the past that haunt the next generation,etc....this movie did not disappoint! 

This 2012 Historical Drama Film is set in the 18th century, at the court of the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark,and focuses on the romance between his wife,Caroline Matilda of Great Britain and the royal physician,Johann Friedrich Struensee.

~The Affair of the Necklace~
 A 2001 American historical drama film based on what became known as the "Affair of the Diamond Necklace",an incident that helped fuel the French populace's disillusionment with the Monarchy and, among other causes, eventually led to the French Revolution... Vive la Resistance! 
There were several differences between the movie & the _ACTUAL~affair_but to see Hillary Swank as the main character in this type setting was...different! The script's historical liberties_however_ did not take away from the drama about an orphaned child's determination to reclaim her royal title and the home taken from her family when she was a child. 

Of course...
~Lee Daniel's The Butler~

Personally, this was a better movie in 2013 than the Best Picture Academy Award Winner "12 Years a Slave"! The violence associated with 12 Years A Slave movie turned me off...completely. I watched ,but "never again".I read the book instead. 
A 2013 American historical drama film directed and produced by Lee Daniels & written by Danny Strong. Loosely based on the real life of Eugene Allen who is the eyewitness of notable events of the 20th century during his 34-year tenure serving as a White House Butler.
                            Mr.Eugene Allen (1919-2010) 

Perhaps it's because I grew up during periods of time of this movie...that I enjoyed it far better than 12 Years a Slave. The storyline was awesome,the attire,the acting....& the MUSIC was off the chain good! I got up several times to dance.

A HeartBreaker...
~Albert Nobbs~

Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) is a woman living as a man in order to find work in the harsh environment of 19th-century Ireland. After living as a male for thirty years, Albert, working as a hotel waiter, is known for his extreme dedication to his job, as well as for a very introverted personality. Albert has been secretly saving all his earnings to buy a tobacco shop to gain some measure of freedom and independence.The ending is  ~heart-breaking~ !
Glenn Close...her performance was right up there with "Fatal 
Attraction~ Dangerous Liaisons~Jagged Edge,etc...Damn Good! 

Oh My,My...
~August:Osage County~
Meryl Streep,Julia Roberts,Ewan McGregor,Benedict just doesn't get any better than that! Some of my favorites all piled in together for this 2013 black comedy drama film. The layers of this film were so stacked_not one human being viewing it couldn't say_"I know someone like that" ! And for those Critics that said this was a little toooooo dark... probably because it brings back memories!

This is not your After-Funeral regular Dinner or NOT..
              Or, The famous Norman Rockwell painting...

            Not your regular Mother/Daughter Table Talk....

             Or The After-Dinner Touch Football Game....

Some mighty powerful words and emotions in this movie. YOU 

BTW...that a Damn good movie,might have to revisit that ~Tell-It-Like-It-Is-Jack! 

Last But Not Least...
~Gentleman's Agreement~
Taboo topic_ at the time (1947)....reminds me of the plight of many people discriminated against_only because they are different...still today (2014).Imagine going "undercover" to live like another race of people.... 
Interestingly, most all of Hollywood Studios were owned by Jewish Executives.Zanuck decided to make a film version when he was refused membership at the Los Angeles Country Club_they assumed his last name was Jewish! Samuel Goldwyn and other Jewish film executives approached Darryl Zanuck,asked him not to make the film for fear of stirring up trouble! They also warned that Hays Code enforcer,Joseph Breen, might not allow the film to pass the censors, as he had been known to make disparaging remarks about Jews. There was also concern that Dorothy McGuire's character's being divorced would offend the National Legion of Decency...imagine that!

 Now imagine what the CODE ENFORCERS then_ would say about TODAY'S film...Bahahaha!

Anyway...this movie and other situations at that time_led to the "Communist" scare in the late 1940's & early 1950's.This lead to the "Black List of Hollywood Actors". AND...the "House Commitee on Un-American Activities",which was empowered to investigate purported communist infiltration in America.

This was just touching the minimum list of movies I've been watching lately! Love Netflix. Wanted to share some interesting ones that YOU may have never considered to watch. So until next_  "The Sage Movie Review"...