“Megan’s Way” ~ A Novel of Eternal Love, Friendship, Death & Dying by Melissa Foster

Book Notes

“Megan’s Way is a fine and fascinating read that many will find hope in.” Midwest Book Review

The Megan’s Way film will be entered in the Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, South By Southwest Festival (SXSW In Austin Texas), Amsterdam Film Festival, as well as New York, LA , and Miami (just to name a few). This is a “Fest-Best” type of film and expected to make a major impact on festivals world wide.

My Review:

I first want to share with my readers the personal perspective I bring to this review of “Megan’s Way.” Some 29 years ago I was widowed as a young woman with three children under the ages of 9. My precious young husband died of melanoma that had metastasized to major organs: we had several months to prepare for his death. This came after the original cancer of 11 years in the first year of our marriage. So, I’m someone well acquainted with cancer’s toll on a person and those who love them. I read this book with that intimate awareness.

Melissa Foster has given us a true-to-life rendering of the process of dying. From the earliest stages of the person’s acknowledgement of impending death, to their release of loved ones, their body and spirit; to the angst and responses of those who live with and love them, Ms Foster paints a portrait of the struggles and survivals. She understands the pain of those left behind and the awareness of those who have to do the leaving.

 Through her very beautiful and tender portrayals, we come to know Megan and her intimate friends as if they were family. We get a clear and close up understanding of Megan’s loving and tumultuous relationship with her teen aged daughter, Olivia. And, we are given unique insights into Megan’s personality, thoughts, fears and death and dying processes from her own perspective, as well as from the perspectives of her friends and daughter. Ms Foster is spot on in her every detail of this experience with death, in my experience. 

I found Melissa’s writing, however, to be somewhat stilted in her efforts to get across all the points of the process, and then the major theme of the choices we have about our own death and dying. There is something lost in the flow of a story as the book progresses when it starts to be overtaken by a series of details on these numerous processes and points of dying, rather than having it more balanced within a storyline. This, however, does not take very much from the book or enjoyment of it in total, since I think it’s worthy on many other levels.

While Megan considers her options of ceasing any other chemo or “prolonging” measures, and as she also contemplates the virtues of taking into her own hands the method and timing of her death, we are allowed to witness her conflicts. This option to choose is one that many come face-to-face with. Ms Foster gives us a balanced and open view of a woman who looks boldly into the face of death, weighs her options and takes into loving consideration the daughter she will leave behind.

The complexity of “Megan’s Way” made this novel one that I loved reading. Certainly, it rang true to me in so many ways. It also touched my heart with its attempts to bring readers into a center of meaning and choices that will be an evitability in most of our lives.

The intertwined tale of friends and surrogate family lends itself to be a realistic possibility in light of the “secrets” that people tend to hold close in relationships. While one is living, the secret is easily kept and the “family” can pretend to overlook and rationalize…but once a foundational/pivotal person is going to be removed–the structure that holds it all together is jeopardized and must be delicately “readjusted.” This is an element I’m also familiar with, personally, and one I thought Ms Foster handled elegantly.

I recommend your choosing to read “Megan’s Way” before it’s made into the movie for the Sundance Film Festival. It’s going to have a great impact! And, it’s a very enjoyable read on the order of a Jodi Picoult novel.

Strongly urge you to read more about Melissa Foster and her outreach programs, her book “Chasing Amanda,” her soon to be released book, and her social community for women called “The Women’s Nest.”


4.5 stars from TheBookishDame

Books I’m Anxious To Read Before 2011

I simply cannot believe we’re fast approaching a new year and I’m way behind in all the books I wanted to read this year!!   Now I have to make a list of those I want to finish before January 1st, 2011:

1)   The Iron Duke  by Maljean Brook

2)   The Widower’s Tale     by    Julia Glass

3)   Mothers & Other Liars   by   Amy Bourret

4)   Dark Origins ~ Level 26      by   Anthony E. Zuiker with Duane Swierczynski  (NEW! Access digital cyber-bridge videos..immersive storytelling experience)

5)  Look Again      by   Lisa Scottoline

6)   Adam and Eve        by   Naslan

7)   The Windup Girl      by   Paol Bacigalupi     (a steampunk novel….Hugo & Nebula prize winner for 2010)

8)   33 AD by David McAfee

  *I’ve begun this great book and will soon be writing my review on it.  It’s a fantastic Vampire novel with a bizzare twist that’s not to be missed!  David was kind enough to send a copy to me with a personal note.   I’ve been slightly afraid to read this book, though…        You’ll see why when you search for it!!!

See  www.amazon.com    for link to these books above……

There are several more that I’ve started and need to finish quickly, but the above are the ones I simply have to read before it’s too late! 

Let me know what’s on your “Before the New Year List.”     I’ll be busy making my “Books I Have to Read This Winter List!”

Your Very Bookish Dame

Snakewoman of Little Egypt Review

<a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7980890-snakewoman-of-little-egypt” style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img alt=”Snakewoman of Little Egypt” border=”0″ src=”http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1279844559m/7980890.jpg” /></a><a href=”Snakewoman” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7980890-snakewoman-of-little-egypt”>Snakewoman”>http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7980890-snakewoman-of-little-egypt”>Snakewoman of Little Egypt</a> by <a href=”Robert” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2119.Robert_Hellenga”>Robert”>http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2119.Robert_Hellenga”>Robert Hellenga</a><br/>
My rating: <a href=”5″ _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/127953979″>5″>http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/127953979″>5 of 5 stars

“Snakewoman of Little Egypt,” is an intelligent, witty, engaging and oddly twisted tale of love, adventure, education and life’s defining moments.  It’s a book written with no apologies for it’s use of vocabulary and substance, and I love it for that alone, if nothing else!    Professor Robert Hellenga, the author, is an author of several other novels, which I will be reading just as quickly as I can get my hands on them.

Let me depart for a moment just to comment that so much of today’s popular literature is “dumbed down” and lacking the intellectual element we need in our continuing walk toward self-improvement. So often authors tell a great tale, but either lack sophistication themselves, or think they need to leave out intellectual “meat” to keep their fan base.  I not only enjoyed this story and the substance of “Snakewoman…,” but I actually learned something in the bargain.  All that being of great value to me!  I treasure the book, the experience and the education.

Flawless in it’s writing and character development, this book brings us immediately into the singular lives of its main characters: Jackson, an anthropologist with Lyme Disease who seems inclined to accept his disabilities and loneliness; and Willa Fern/Sunny, a feisty convict who shot her snakehandling husband and brings her, “I don’t need any man to take care of me,” attitude with her from prison. 

 There are anthropologists, pentacostals, assorted adolescent-acting professors, killers, preachers, students, spritualists, African tribes and adventurers:  all, in this fantastic mix of humorous, serious and amazing novel!

I’m not saying I’ve finished it, because I’m just pacing myself slowing through the last 50 pages.  Does it really have to end??  This is one of those books that you wish would go on and on.  All I can say is that if you’ve ever wondered about what happens inside those deep country churches with “signs following,”  you better run fast and find this book!   I loved it.

Highly recommend to everyone!!  There’s something here for all of you….    Your Bookish Dame

Audiobooks Reviewed

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read/listen for a couple of very busy days making my jewelry for an up-coming show.  I adored the story of Alice and Mr. Dodgson.  It was a bit creepy in the pediphile-ish way that had to be addressed, and yet, there was the beautiful outcome of our beloved book, “Alice in Wonderland,” to compensate us for the hint of childlove that he displayed.  I have to say that the author handled the situation with great taste and respect in that she only touched on the subject and gave us to think of it as a mutual “infatuation” as if these two were magnets drawn to each other from a source unknown and unfamiliar to both of them.   

Alice’s story is absorbing as it moves from the little girl to the vamp, to the college blooming genius and lover of “kings and princes” of a sort, to the ends of her days.   I was simply entralled and loved this book.  I would read it in full hardback, if  I hadn’t listened to it!     Highly recommended, not just to “…Wonderland,” fans.  It’s much more than a book about a book.

Not being one to waste your time on books that are horrendous, I want to recommend this one to you without reservation.  This is a young author who’s lived a lifetime of sadness and triumph.  She shares her memoir without apology or attempt at sympathies.    What an amazing child who’s grown into a young woman. 

  Her story about the life of a neglected child, taken up by the “system,” kept from her mother and placed from one foster home to another before she is finally adopted is both chilling and educational.   I cringed, I cried, I laughed and I was so angry I could have punched someone in the face!!!     Don’t read this unless you want to really know how it FEELS to be a victim of our Child Protective Services.     Gladly,  Ashley finds an adoptive family in the end and comes out of the whole thing fighting for her rights and the rights of the other children she knew and loved.     This is a memorable and important book which all of my friends should read.  It’s also a good audiobook to listen to.

It has been a very long time since I’ve given V. I. Warshawski a try in one of my favorite genre.    Last time I read a Sara Paretsky novel about V. I., it left me wanting more.    Not this time!     I loved this book.   The narrator was great, which made the book wonderful as a great escape novel.   Covering everything from a homeless mother and children, to women who serve such homeless victims, to abused children of the wealthy and powerful, to international scams and intrigue….this was a much better written novel than I experienced in the past.    Now, I have to read a few of the newer V. I.’s to catch up!!!

   The Bookish Dame does not tolerate bad narrators; however, I have to say.  I wanted to love this “Three Cups of Tea,” but found the narrator grinding on my last nerve….so had to forego it before it completely turned me off reading the book!   I have it in paperback and will have to go there for the good read.  Many friends have recommended it, so I know it must be better than the narrator was letting on….with his very stuffy rendering.  Ahhhummmm.

I’ve downloaded some new audiobooks for this coming week as I work on my jewelry:

“Room,”  by Emma Donogough

“Adam and Eve,”  by Sener Jeta Naslund

“Breaking Dawn,” by Stephanie Meyers.     :]

And, that’s a good start for the week since I have a stackful of books to finish reading before my online library deadline, as well.

Happy reading and listening, dear friends and readers.  Please leave me a comment with your own blog addresses so I can visit you, as well.   I’m looking for good blogs about books and I know you have them!!

Yours,     The Bookish Dame

Bookish Fall Trend?

It seems I’m in a rather warped slant of mind since a particular bookish theme is drawing my attention these days.  I can’t seem to get enough of the subject, and I think it all started with the following book:

“13 1/2,” by Nevada Barr :   This, as I understand from other reviews, is a book unlike her regular mysteries, and it’s a doozie!  A story about a couple of brothers, one who murdered his parents, is put into an asylum, prison and is dubbed, “Butcher Boy.”  And, his brother who was wounded but not murdered at the same event.  The novel delves into the psychology of children who murder family, the mind-sets of psychologists and patients and just the very warped mind of a psycopath.  Without giving you all the twists and turns of this horrifically fantastic novel, let me say that it’s a read that will not soon leave your mind.  It’s a book that takes you up and won’t let go until you’re at the last pages.   Ms Barr reminds us specifically to think of Scott Peterson and others who are cold-blooded sociopaths.  She is obviously interested in this type of person and her book closely tracks that kind of killer.   I highly recommend this book for those who love Jeffrey Deaver and other such authors.

So, once my mind was set that way, I found this book interesting:  “Still Missing,” by Chevy Stevens.   This is a novel about a young woman who is abducted by a psychopath and kept locked away in a cabin hideaway for over a year.  His psychopathology takes on a life of its own, and she tries to learn all she can about him and the reasons for his behaviors so she can escape.   A frightening story of blood and sacrifice, murder and psychiatric treatment, this is such an unusual and engrossing read that I’ve been up 2 nights finishing it!   I’ve been a bookworm all my life, and I have to say I’ve never read anything quite like this book.   It’s amazing.

A book recommended by my daughter, and one I’m dying to read along these lines is:   “Up From The Blue: A Novel,” by Susan Henderson.   I haven’t read any more than a review on this one, but it’s gotten high marks as a story about the relationship between a young girl and her mother who goes missing from their military home of the 1950’s.   Having been a military brat, myself, this sounds interesting and familiar to me, as the girl and her brother (who is made to salute the father, for instance), struggle to grow up in a strange and stressfully militaristic home.   Something in all this harkens back to the “cabin capture” of  “Still Missing” to me.  The idea that you’re held captive for a time, trying to out-psych your “captor” and hoping for the day you can escape into freedom.

Well, your Bookish Dame has given you 3 books to worry and wonder about in the same general reading area.  So, now let me talk about another fabulous book I highly recommend.

“The Lotus Eaters,” by Tatjana Soli.   This is a fabulous novel about a young woman journalist in the final days of the Vietnam war in Saigon.  Beautifully and richly written about the culture, the war torn area and the people of Vietnam, it is also a book that brings you quickly into the internal life of the young woman and her love interest, a Vietnamese man.   As they make their way to evacuating the city for the final time, the book takes us through her struggles as a photojournalist–the sights, the competition, the loves of her life;  her heart-wrenching struggles for survival; and her mixed emotions about leaving Vietnam.   This is a book and subject I never thought I would enjoy.  I grew up during the Vietnam War, and I wasn’t fond of the way it took away friends of mine and absorbed news and trends for years….  It seemed to suck up the fresh air around us as a college student in Europe.   But, after some 30 years, I was compelled to pick this book up….and I’m glad I did.   It’s very good!

For more book reviews and suggestions given by my friends and me, visit us on Goodreads.com

Goodreads is a great place to meet new friends, hear of great new books to read, meet and discuss authors, and many other topics.  Can’t say enough good things about it.

I hope you’ll come back.  Until we meet again, I remain,

Your Bookish Dame

Bookish Dame turns 60 and talks Readers


It's good to be bookish!

Ahhh, it’s been a long and fruitful 55 years of reading and stacking beloved books in my arms, around myself,  on my tables, in my bed, on my bookcases, and in my dreams, etc….   Now, with the new age of darling “readers,”  I’m enjoying just another way to love my books and to carry them with me in stacks and multiples.   Yes, I’m a Kindle-lover….as you know, my Kindle – Miss Stella – is one that practically never leaves my side.

I have to say, it’s also a sheer wonder to be able to have Amazon.com give us their free online reader and the option to have our ebooks sent to it so we can read from our laptops when we’d like to.  I love the size of text I can get there, and that I can store even more books, don’t you know!  :P    ‘though I believe you have to have a Kindle or two to be able to access this option.

The best new find I’ve made this year has to be the ability to download ebooks free from my public library and other libraries across the Nation onto my laptop.  I’m so thrilled to have this new (to me) resource for the latest ebooks and audio books without charge.  What a treasure trove.   The downside to this is that Amazon does not include this feature on our Kindles at this time.  Rats! 

Barnes & Noble,  allows one to download their  online reader and actually purchase B&N ebooks, and get free samples of books; and, one does not have to own a Nook reader to do this.  The Nook is fast becoming the “new girl in school” with its capacity to purchase ebooks, to download audio books, and to download books for free from local and national libraries.  In addition, it offers its own awesome, designer covers  to carry it in (I love the Kate Spade cover, myself).  Those nookish babies seem to have it all.   The Nook’s audio book option comes in handy for getting those free audios from libraries, as well.  Sigh….   It makes one think of having a sister for Miss Stella.  Maybe we could call her Newella…I wouldn’t want to call her Cinderella, just because her inventors gave her a name that’s used and abused in a nookie-ish way.  :[     Until we had this new library access, the step-sister of readers, The Nook, was just a shadow of her sister, Kindle!   ;0

We can’t move on without discussing the Sony Reader, can we?  I don’t know much about this one.  I hear it’s quite similar to the Nook.  Can somebody give it a rating in comments here?    My  son gave my daughter one for Christmas, and she’s just getting around to using it.  Those who have formerly lacked the cash to purchase ebooks on Kindle and other readers, now have that library downloading option which Sony also enjoys….so this has made a difference in peoples’ lives.   I think we’ll see more of this  Reader out there very soon.   

My only question is this— if Dell and Apple can make their computers and laptops in such yummy colors, why can’t the eReaders make theirs appealing in this way, too?    Are you listening Amazon????

Now, finally, let me get to my Book List for the early Summer. 

In the category of Vampirish Books I have the following lined up for Summer reading:

Halfway to the Grave;   At Grave’s EndDestined for an Early Grave;  and One Foot in the Grave:  Night Huntress Novels  by Jeaniene Frost    These novels tell the story of a young woman who is half human and half vampire….she hunts vampires for a living with her lover, Bones, who is a vampire hunter, himself.  Go figure.  I love the first book, so far.

Skin Trade; Bullet; and Burnt Offerings:  by  Laurell K. Hamilton     This really should go into a sex and the vampire/werewolf/masochistic/sado/hunter/shape shifter/nuvo- syfy/ mystery category.   Get my drift?  ( That’s a ’60’s saying, Children)

SyFy, Psychic Mystery/Thrillers of a Strange Nature:     Through Violet Eyes  by Stephen Woodworth   There is a series of these books about the Violet Eyed people which I’m anxious to get through.  The violet eyed ones have the capacity to channel dead people and are used by the Gov’t to hunt killers and such.   Great reads by a good author.

Novels of the Straight and Narrow Sort:    “Rush Home Road”  by Lori Lansens    She also wrote “The Girls,” which I very strongly recommend to my bloggish readers!  It’s a fabulous novel about conjoined twin girls growing up.  Thus, anything Lori writes is on my reading list.  This “Rush Home…” has gotten great reviews from my daughter and friends.

“Lion’s Gate” and “Lion”  by Nelson DeMille    Nelson the Great    Nelson the Man Writer…..I love Nelson.  I hope there’s not a lonely, illiterate soul out there who hasn’t read a Nelson DeMille book.  If so, please start with “Charm School.”    Please don’t tell anyone if you haven’t read any of his books, yet.  It will be scandalous.

A Novel of Unusual Taste:  Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.    All I can say about this one is go quickly….I can’t think of a more urgent word at the moment….just rush…to a library website and download this book.   It is so fabulous, so funny and so avant garde that you’ll stay home from work to read it.   Be quick about it….OMG, you’re going to love me for this recommendation.   I was laughing through the whole thing!   It’s a sort of humor with a skeleton attached that you’ll die for.   Does that make sense?   You’ll just have to see for yourself.

City of God, a Novel of Passion and Wonder in Old New York, by Beverly Swerling.   And I quote the LA Times here, “A whopping saga…whose every strange chapter–teeming with bizarre medicine, slave uprisings, executions, thriving brothels, and occasional cannibalistic Indians–brings forth shocks of recognition.”       I don’t know about you, but I don’t seem to ” recognize”  any of those things just about now; however, I’m willing and hell-bent for leather to find out about them!!!

Books I Need To Read and/or ReRead for My Continuing Education:     “Tree of Smoke,”  a National Book Award Winner, by Denis Johnson;     “Matterhorn:  A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Malantes;   Columbine by Dave Cullen;  “To The Lighthouse,”  by Virginia Woolf

Classics:    “The Tenant of Windfell Hall,”  by Anne Bronte;    Selected Stories by Edith Wharton

So, that’s my Summer Reading list at this time.  You know I’m adding as I go along and not listing things, I’m sure.  I have my little M&M chocolate peanut sins like the J.R. Ward Brotherhood vampires to keep me warm, and others like it.   And, I love the ocassional Georgette Heyer or the like, Regency romances with a touch of mystery to loosen things up a bit around here.    Also,  who can resist anything new from the greatest forensic and women detective authors like Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs and Karin Slaughter?

I have to go now….have to watch the new episode of  “True Blood,” that I’ve recorded for tonight.  Can’t wait to see what Sookie Stackhouse is up to. 

Tell me all about your new reads and what you think of mine….and vampires….and Sookie….and Edith Wharton, etc.    I’m listening.

Your Bookish Dame

60th Birthday

You're only as old as your library card!

Runaway Books and Lost Bookish Friends!

I’ve been away most of the last 4 months, so I’m sure I’ve chased off my readers and blogging bookish friends! Come back, I pray!!!  Where I’ve been is a long and boring story, so let me get right to the books.

Here’s a list of the latest ones I’ve been reading, and some that are finding their way into my bedside stacks:

Mrs. Lincoln  by Catherine Clinton – a very readable and interesting insight into America’s true First Lady

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith – what a writer Mr. G-S is!  I was nearly believing this story and had to catch myself several times!  If you’re going to read any of these type of classics to monsterish books, please do yourself a favor and try this excellent writer.  He also wrote:  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Kitchen House-  Katharine     :  OMGosh!  If you haven’t read this book, go quickly to your nearest bookstore or get on your Kindle and buy it!  I’d never say this unless I meant it…and coming from me, a die-hard Southerner, you can take it as gospel – this is the best book I’ve read about slavery and the connections of white and black Southerners since  Gone With the Wind.   This is a must read this year…I’m telling you.  The author isn’t from the South, so I’m sure she had to have been led by the spirits of the land to have written this with such insight and knowledge.

Look Me in  the Eye- John Elder Robison:  Mr. Robison is the brother of Augusten Burroughs whom you may recognize as the author of Running With Scissors.  This book tells his story of a life with Asperger’s syndrome.  My daughter works privately with a child with Asperger’s and I’ve been so curious about what it means to have this syndrome having heard that the founder of Microsoft, possibly Einstein, and other extraordinary men of history are thought to have it.  John Elder brings us along his childhood into adulthood in such a fascinating way that I soon forgot that I was thinking like he was and experiencing a sort of aggitation at his writing…until it dawned on me that I was experiencing the actual ways it felt to be and deal with Asperger’s people!    This is one of the most interesting books of this genre I’ve read.

Secrets of Eden- Chris Bojalian-  Well, what can I say except that this was a light-weight book for Chris.  It was a good idea that didn’t quite make it.  Had very little impact and ended with a “pffftt” instead of a bang.  I don’t know…it’s a paperback buy at best.  A poolside, beachy book that you care if it gets wet.  This is the story of a priest in a small New England town who gets himself embroiled in the life and death of a lady parrishner.  The lady ends up being killed by her abusive husband.  I won’t give away the story…..   :]

The Boundless Deep- by Kate Brallier:   I’ve just started this really fascinating book about a young woman who has dreams of whaling and an old lover….  She wonders if it’s reincarnation…Some of the story takes place in Nantucket so far.   I love this sort of gothic, mysterious, whaling, story….

The Forgotten Garden- by Kate Morton:  This is a book I’ve just started.  What drew me to it was the cover review which offered, “A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913.  She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book–a beautiful volume of fairy tales.”

The Story Sisters- by Alice Hoffman:  Alice Hoffman is one of our best authors of this generation for her genre.  I’ve been reading her books and loving them since the 1970’s….and she never fails to please.  This book was another of her best.  The story sisters are three magical, mysterious sisters who divide their time between the US and Paris.  They have their own “twin-type” language and a “world” created in the finest detail that they spend hushed moments in for  hours.  The older two sisters have an ominous secret that they share, but we only get hints of until the end of the book.  Here, though, we are introduced to the most beautiful and interesting girls, their amazing grandmamere, neighbors and animals.  Ms. Hoffman is known for her human stories with just a pinch of the magical, and this book is a “hold it to you chest,” and love it book.  You might remember her for “Practical Magic” which they made into the movie starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock.    Everyone,  go read this book this Summer.

The Swan Thieves- by Elizabeth Kostova:  There were lots of  mixed reviews on this book.  Mostly people who had read “The Historian,” were disappointed in Ms. K’s second attempt.  I wasn’t at all dis-appointed.  I thought this story of an apparently deranged man slashing a famous painting in a museum, and the psychiatrist who tried to help him by solving the mysterious intricacies of his life and past was a great read.  I’d give this book a strong 4 on a scale of 5.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood- by J. R. Ward:   I’m completely hooked on these Blood Brothers as many of my reading friends are.  Sigh…..  If you haven’t tried one, all I can say is you’re missing out on something……  :]

Roses- by Leila Meacham:  Thoroughly enjoyed this book as a no brainer, easy to read, old fashioned historical, and generational novel with a mysterious twist.   I came to really like and enjoy the characters.  This is a good book.

Waiting to Read:     Jane Slayre,  another Brotherhood book,  Cutting for StoneThe Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Postmistress, Hunger Games

Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to write reviews, but I hope I’ve given you some ideas on books to take a look at in the next weeks.  When you comment, please be sure to leave me some suggestions of books you’ve liked, as well.  I’m really interested in your books, too!!

Thanks for stopping by,

Your Bookish Dame

Continue reading

Latest Reads January 19, 2010

I’m already picking up and reading things off my list because I unfortunately left my Kindle Stella in Las Vegas when I was visiting my son week before last.  We had a great visit…and I got to see my darling little grandson, Jack, who is about 2 1/2 yrs. old. 

Anyway, without my Kindle and the latest downloads of books, I was forced to forage among my own unread books and came up with these:

“Blackbird”    by   Jennifer Lauck        

 This memoir was even more striking and absolutely absorbing than any I had ever read.  The horrors of Jennifer’s childhood are startling and so astonishing, one wonders how she had the inner strength to endure and survive.  I loved this book and highly recommend it to all of my bookish friends.  It’s a book that will stay with you a very long time.   I’m trying to find her sequel now, which Barnes & Noble didn’t have last night….  On a quest… !

“Glass Castles,”  by Jeanette Walls   

I’ve just started this memoir again.  I think I had read the beginning of it some time ago and put it down.  Anyway, it’s the continuation of “Half Broke Horses,” and it’s another relentlessly good page-turner.  I can hardly put it down to go to bed at night!   Even if you haven’t read, “Half Broke…,”  do yourself a favor and get this book in paperback.  You can always read to prequel later….  It’s sooo good.

I’m continuing my reading on, “..Swans.”   Another wonderful book.  For those of my friends who listen to audible books while you stitch, this can only be great that way, too.  But, readers, you’ll really love curling up with this one.  Right now I’m on a section where the psychiatrist visits the home of our psychotic artist to interview his exwife….  very interesting!!!    I’m telling you..this is a gooood  book!

When shopping at Barnes & Noble and Books a Million:     I wasn’t planning on new books, but there was a big sale….

3 of these and 1 free–someone I haven’t read and thought was interesting in our vampire hunting genre: Kim Harrison, a new author for me.   We’ll have to see how these go….

“White Witch, Black Curse”        “A Fistful of Charms”     “The Outlaw Demon Wails”    “For A Few Demons More”

And a few more Laurell K. Hamilton:  “Blood Noir”   “Harlequin”    and  “Narcissus in Chains”

So goes your Bookish Dame.   I love your comments and appreciate hearing from you with your current reads and lists and your blogs.  So, please let me know who  you are!

Thanks for visiting me…   Deb


End of 2009 and off to 2010 good start!

The last book of 2009 I read was:  

I had this one in my stash for a while, never finding enough inertia to get reading it.  What I found when I finally did, around Thanksgiving, was an amazing story about women of all shapes and morality, and vision.  About the 60’s and Civil Rights…which tapped the dampened fires of my memories when I was a college student and watching, learning and protesting ….    I loved “The Help,” and though it wasn’t written in the same caliber of an author such as Joyce Carol Oates, it was well written and a novel I won’t forget over the years.   Highly recommended

A surprise of a new author for the end of 2009:

Well, I was foraging…. A guest at my dd’s house in the South, and out of books, no car, and very little time.  Here’s what I found in her stacks that I hadn’t already read.   It was a little shocking to “Grammie,”  but I soon found that I kept going back to the sizzling little thing.  I felt like the kids’ vampirish, gothic groups were allowing me a peek inside.  Soon, I loved it and wanted more stories like it.  Grammie is now hooked on Laurell K. Hamilton.   Go for it, friends….you’re gonna have a strong feeling one way or another!  :]   This is an Anita Blake series novel.


Here’s another LKH novel series about her faery protagonist, Meredith Gentry.  What’s not to love about this series and her characters here, as well.  Here is another series I just have to recommend to you…especially my stitching friends, as quick reads, but very entertaining books.  I’m glad I found Ms. Hamilton on a fluke.


What I’m reading now:

Thoroughly enjoying this memoir/novel about Jeannette Walls’ matriarcial ancestors.  The reading is like sitting with your great grandmother before a fire in dead of winter.  This book is one to keep forever on your shelves so your granddaughter can read it someday.  Not a book that takes forever to read, but this in no way distracts from a poignant and beautiful story of women and their rights to a life of their own.   Recommend to everyone!

Okay!!  Here it is, sneaking into my otherwise very literary reading list!  I can’t say stay away from LKH, because I can’t tell you to stay away from chocolate.  :]   Pull up a comfy pillow and quilt and just imagine….


What can I say?   One’s white chocolate, and the other’s dark chocolate!!!



   I just started this one last night.  It intrigued me because it’s about a man who tried to destroy a famous painting, was captured and was referred to a psychiatrist for treatment.  In the first few chapters, I’ve found it mesmerizing.  Of course, being and loving artists…this was made for me….and I’m always up for a disturbed, mysterious person who needs psychotherapy!!!  :P


Books that look Promising to me in 2010:

A story about the real Alice of “Alice In Wonderland.”  Not keeping to the exact truths of a biography, this is a novel written to intrigue us.  I’m going to buy it one way or another!






This one is about two women in the Victorian era who live outside the norm for women of the time.  They collect fossills and shells.  It is a historical novel, and one that looked interesting to me, by an author we can count on to bring the goods.  Her “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” says it all.





Anne Tyler’s works were a “must read,” for all ladies who lived in Wellesley, MA, when I was a youngish mother there!  LOL  Her novels are so real, and she speaks so true to our hearts.  It’s been a long time since I’ve picked up one of her books.  This one is calling me back to her.  A wandering husband…with a strange disease and those who live with him.





I’m a fan of Bohjalian.  Though he sometimes confuses me when he assumes we’re following his stream of consciousness on the occasion…and I’m a little slow on the uptake! :]

I really thought this book sounded so interesting.  A preacher and his wife have issues that will shock their town.  Hmmm  Don’t you always love to catch the “least likely to fail,” in a subterfuge?




This is supposed to be a huge, historical novel not so much about the fires but about the aftermath and its affects on a woman.  I love a great big, long paged novel sometimes.  I think this is my choice this year….   Love, mystery, loss and redemption here I come!





Oh, right.  Well, we’ve allowed our darling Jane Austen to be picked and pawed at long enough….why not my precious and favorite Bronte sisters!?   I’m still going to read it, no matter how bastardized the stories get because who can ever get enough of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne?  And, Branwell, God rest his black little heart.  Barbara are you listening to me? :]





Speaking of feminist novels and “voices.”  We were, weren’t we?   I’m a huge follower of Gail Godwin.  She’s a gentle voice of women and has been for decades.  If we listen, we’ll hear the out cries of wounded hearts, the courage of those who go through it all and come out the other side, and we’ll get to know those women who’ve always mattered in our lives.  Ms. Godwin is a special writter.  I look forward to enjoying her new book about girls reliving their lives in a Catholic boarding school.

A new author and protagonist for me….  I’m told we need to read the first book called, “Old Filth,” to completely enjoy this one.  You’ll have to go read the reviews on this one on Amazon.com.   It just sounded like something I might like on a whim.  Mystery in a British sort of way….


And, last for the timebeing, “..Roses.”  I’ve purchased this novel on my Kindle/Stella.  I love the cover, don’t you?  I like that it’s a big, family saga.  I feel as if it’s not a year complete without my reading a big family saga.  This is my choice early in the year.  It follows a family in Texas.  I just want to spend hours absorbed….   :]


So looking forward to hearing from all of you and finding out what  your choices are for the early year.   Please let me know if you’re reading any of my choices, too.

Good luck!   Your Bookish Dame

New Kindle Additions!

 I’m embarrassed that I’ve been away such a long time.  What was I thinking!?  At the least, dear bookish friends, let me tell you of my latest downloads to “Stella,” my Kindle.

I have to stop here first to say that I’m regretting that I didn’t purchase these top two in hardback because I have collected these authors’ (my favorites) books for years.   But, since my children don’t seem to be the least bit interested in my first editions….I’m slowing down on that end.  [I'm still thinking of buying the Joyce Carol Oates in Hdbk!]

So, here are the new Stella buys:

Little Bird of Heaven            by   Joyce Carol Oates

Angel Time: The Songs of the Seraphim   by   Anne Rice

206 Bones    by  Kathy Reichs

Beautiful Lies   by  Lisa Unger

The Children’s Book   by A.S. Byatt

Framley Parsonage    by  Anthony Trollope

Homer & Langley:  A Novel   by  E.L.  Doctorow

Last Night in Twisted River:  A Novel    by   John Irving

Vampire Darcy’s Desire:  A Pride and Prejudice Adaptation by Regina Jeffers

I’ve read,  “Angel Time…,”  “Vampire Darcy’s Desire….,”  and  “Beautiful Lies,”  all of which I recommend for different reasons.   Anne Rice is always a revelation, and in this new book you may take that literally!  While she can get solidly preachy, at least we have the entertainment of an interesting story and her return to descriptions like interior and exterior architecture, history, books, music and arts.  That’s something I’ve always loved about her.   She’s not quite “there,” for her Lestat and Mayfair Witches readers, but she’s coming along.  I felt she was very autobiographical in this book….we have a sheerly veiled story of her personal, early life and her new reconversion to Catholicism.   I would recommend it to you with a 3 rating.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for her next book.

“Vampire Darcy’s Desire…” is just an absolutely “teatime” read.  It’s fun and quick and delightful.  See my face glimmering with glee in the glow of a dim light!   :]  Nice thought, but very bad for the eyes!

I’m a new fan of Lisa Unger.  A Kindleine friend mentioned her to me at the Clubhouse Pool recently, and I bit and bought.  “Beautiful Lies,” is a good book!  I like the style of writing, the story and the pace of Unger’s book.  Her’s is not a Patricia Cornwell or Kathy Reichs type of mystery/murder, but it is similar to the writing of Jodi Picoult.    I would recommend her to anyone who just wants a good mystery that’s not light reading or dumbied out.   There’s enough substance in her to keep us interested.  And, I’m going to read more of her books.

I’ve just started “…Little Bird of Heaven,” so I haven’t much to say at this point, except can we ever have a bad review of Ms. Oates?   When I have one of her new books in my sweaty palms, feeling the electric zing through my innards, and the quake of smile and giggles going through me….all I can do is grab a soda, snuggle down with my quilt and put up the “Do Not Disturb” sign.    It would shock me beyond belief to know that there are readers/friends of mine who have never read Ms. Oates.   If you’re there….don’t tell….your literary ignorance would be too humiliating.   Just run to the bookstore and grab several of her books quickly and quietly.  It will restore you sanity and literacy.

Books not on my Kindle but being read nevertheless, are:  

 “The Year of the Flood, ”  by Margaret Atwood

Passionate Search:  A Life of Charlotte Bronte    by  Margaret Crompton

Girl in a Blue Dress:  A Novel Inspired By The Life and Marriage of Charles Dickens      by  Gaynor  Arnold

My reviews are preliminary since I haven’t finished each of them, but here they are:

Margaret Atwoods, “…Flood,” is fascinating and habit-forming.  Like Toni Morrison, Ms Atwood has this tendency these past few years of writing in a sort of free form- flow of conscientiousness  (can’t remember the literary word) manner such as James Joyce is accredited for inventing.  Though she does make more sense.  And, her book does begin to make sense about 1/2 the way through!  :P    Her chapters skip back and forth through time which makes getting too involved with the characters nearly impossible.  Is this a ploy?  Hmmm    Maybe she’s trying to give us the feel of disjointed, isolated, anxiety ridden, non-intimacy of the dystopian culture she’s writing about.    This is a very important book for lots of reasons.   I can see it being on the college (possibly HS reading list) lists.    Sooner or later, you’ll have to read it.

“Girl in a Blue Dress,”   is so charming and interesting.  It’s hard to put down.  For Dickens lovers such as I am, you’ll just be finding another way to day dream about him and his life and surroundings.  And for those of us who love those time period pieces,  you’ll have so much fun with this book.   So what if it’s not all true.   It’s a sort of “Crimson and the Rose, ” book.  It’s easy to enjoy thoroughly.

“Passionate Search…Charlotte Bronte,”  is one of the very best biographies I’ve ever read about her.  It’s probably out-of-print.  I found it in an old book store in Key West this Summer.   Just a slim little volume, it’s packed with wonderful information about the Bronte children, Charlotte and her school friends.  I particularly love this author’s sharing descriptions of her.   I’ve always thought Charlotte was lovely, but it seems, she thought she was ugly because one of her early school companions told her so.    This is a wonderful book.

Please come by again!

Your Bookish Dame,        Deborah

And see my blog, too:    http://lavenroseramblings.blogspot.com

Please come again.  I promise to be a more faithful Bookish Dame.