Pawnography! “License to Pawn” by Rick Harrison

Quite often my sweet husband takes a nosedive into the unknown and takes up with a new adventure/obsession with something “strange.” I found this serendipitous oddity a very attractive characteristic when we first met (I know…red flag??), and frankly, it’s had its ups and downs on my last nerve over the years. All in all; however, there’s never a dull moment with Anthony if you just sit back and brace yourself.

The show is mind-boggling. As I sit in my little apple green recliner writing reviews while DH watches “his” shows, I’m wont to look up once in a while to see what’s going on.

Against my better judgement, sometimes I’m captured by the absurdities of men: Men in the greater outdoors hunting with lots of equipment (guns, bows & steel tipped arrows, whistles, bright florescent suits, misshapen, weird hats & assorted other “gear”), excavating big mountains with equipment they don’t know how to maneuver & in icy weather, clambering about and becoming lost without food in crumbling old caves with their teen aged daughters, panning for gold in muddy streams and gleefully coming up with minute particles which value is less than the cost of the pan, or pulling up by hand man-eating fish in mosquito infested jungles… Recently, I’ve been pulled in by pawn shops on the Tube! Ugh! This wars against every bone in my WASPish, DAR body, and would disgrace my family.  It’s really tantamount to watching a strip show!

Primary among such shows is Rick Harrison’s straight from Las Vegas “Pawn Stars.” Pawn Stars is a fabulous program! I love it, and it’s become my latest dirty little secret…now out in the open! We’ve agreed it’s the only pawn show we’ll watch.

Rick is an intelligent, witty and well-informed guy who actually makes wise choices about some seriously fabulous items brought to his shop. The experts Rick brings in to evaluate some of the items are so learned they add a dimension of knowledge and intelligence that rivals experts I’ve seen and heard from auction houses and museums in Boston. A couple of them are experienced in museum collections and authentic documents of early America and England…so interesting to hear and watch. I have learned a good deal from Rick, his dad and these experts.

One of the most fetching (did I use that word?) and hilarious things about the show is Chumly, Rick’s doofus nephew. Chum is a complete novice at pawn, and life, it seems. He has no idea what’s “good” and what’s “fake,” what are stolen goods, what’s trash and what’s treasure. He is a guy whose life is chockful of accidents and mishaps; i.e., nearly everything he touches falls apart, breaks down, or costs the shop money. In fact, Chum nearly costs his grandad more money than the shop brings in on some days! In the latest episode, Chumly test flies a valuable, antique kite and snags it on a highwire electrical tower…you flew it–you can’t get it down–you bought it! And, poor Chum is always shocked by these manifistations of Murphy’s Law in his life.

Chumly is the fall guy for the show, and makes it all worthwhile to watch…just for the hilarity of it. Rick’s dad is also sooo funny as he glumly and stoically mumbles his way through all the trials and troubles of the shop and Chum. And, Big Hoss, Rick’s son, who is assigned to watch over and teach Chum, as well as to be the Ass’t Mgr., lumbers along making a couple of wise choices on the way, but mostly watching Chumly mess up and telling on him. Honestly, Chum is the best comedic character on tv.

All this to give you some kind of intro. into Rick Harrison’s new book “License To Pawn” which I wholeheartedly recommend for your sweethearts and you when you want a different ride on the wild side.

“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.”

http://www.melissafoster.com/


4.5 stars from TheBookishDame

Jodi Picoult’s New Novel, “Sing Me Home” Live Video and Release!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jodi Picoult’s “Sing You Home” Live Interview!!! March 1, 2011 Release

Jodi Picoult releases her 17th novel and all we can do is wait in line to be the first ones to grab a copy!  On March 7th, at her Opening Reception in New York City, Jodi will be answering questions about “Sing You Home,” and I’ll have the live video on this blog.  So exciting for me to be a part of it.  I was thrilled to get an actual invitation to the event, itself, but travelling isn’t possible for me, so I’m left to use this method of communication instead.  I love Jodi and Simon & Schuster!!!
If you link to http://www.simonandschuster.com/ you will see some pre-publication video by Ms Picoult with regard to “Sing You Home,” and her personal connection to the story. One of her sons is gay and through him the family has been introduced to unique experiences.  The family is fiercely supportive of who this young man is.
After having read some of the book at this point, (I was given a pre-publication copy of it….so grateful!) I’ve found it in the best tradition of Jodi Picoult’s writing.  Just makes one want to stay up 24/7 reading.  She’s written this one from a perspective of her own heart, however, which gives it a certain depth of feeling that I believe we’ll find unique.  I have a feeling this book will be one her fans will rank as her best to date.
Along with her novel, Ms Picoult has collaborated with her dear friend, Ellen Wilber, to create a companion soundtrack!  How unique in the industry…or, as I quote another author friend of mine…”the brave new world of publishing” is upon us.  This beautiful recording, which Ms Wilber performs and has written the music for, and for which Jodi has written lyrics, is an accompaniment for each of the chapters of “Sing You Home.”  I’m distracted by singing when I read, so I’ve opted to listen after I’ve read a chapter.  It will be interesting to see how you feel about this, and how it’s used by readers in general.
As a sneak preview, I would like to give you the publisher’s synopsis of the novel:
In the aftermath of a series of personal tragedies, Zoe throws herself into her career as a music therapist.  When an unexpected friendship slowly blossoms into love, she plans for a new life, but to her shock and inevitable rage, some people–even those she loves and trusts most–don’t want that to happen.
Sing You Home is about identity, love, marriage, and parenthood.  It’s about people wanting to do the right thing for the greater good, even as they work to fulfill their own personal desires and dreams.  And it’s about what happens when the outside world brutallly calls into question the very thing closest to our hearts:  family.”
 
 
I will be posting my full review of  “Sing You Home” in a few days.  I hope you’ll come back on the evening of March 7th, at 7PM to watch the live video with me!
*On another note~ I’ve failed to keep current on my blog reviews due to a nasty bout with a pneumonia virus.  I’m better and hoping to catch up this week!  Thanks for checking in with me.
 
 
Please leave me your comments.  I so appreciate hearing from you!  And, please check in as a “follower,” which is also so important for me.  It’s nice to know you’re out there!  Thank you for stopping by,
 
 
Your Bookish Dame,     Deborah

Snakewoman of Little Egypt

A new read for me, and one I’m dying to get into.  I’m trying to keep my eyes open long enough to read through the first quater of the book.  My day has been so busy and I want so much to get immersed in this very interesting tale of  a young woman ex-con recently a member of a snake-handling congregation, and a anthropology professor with homesickness for the Africa where he left a lover and illegitmate daughter he’s never known. 

As the very fickle finger of fate brings these two together, there’s a tale to be told…complete with the woes of living the hardscrabble life of a brokendown farm, strange bedfellows and a groundhog or two thrown in for good meausre.

I for one want to know more about that snakehandling cultand the reason why the recently released from prison girl shot her nogood preacher husband!     More from your Bookish Dame on this book  when I finish it! 

Still Missing

<a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7159515-still-missing” style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img alt=”Still Missing” border=”0″ src=”http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1260468195m/7159515.jpg” /></a><a href=”Still” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7159515-still-missing”>Still”>http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7159515-still-missing”>Still Missing</a> by <a href=”Chevy” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3163298.Chevy_Stevens”>Chevy”>http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3163298.Chevy_Stevens”>Chevy Stevens</a><br/>
My rating: <a href=”5″ _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/122545769″>5″>http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/122545769″>5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
I’m just sick that I inadvertently erased my new review!!!  Anyway, having finished this book about a young woman who was abducted and held hostage for more than a year by a psychopath, I have to tell all!
<br/>What an impact this writer has, and will have, should she choose (and I hope she does) to write more. She’s an amazing writer with lots to say and a very unique way of saying it. I was just blown away by several things in this work.
<br/>
<br/>First: The storyline is a fairly familiar one, but Ms. Stevens handles it in an absorbing fashion. We are so intricately taken into the mind of the psychopath and are made detectives and discoverers along with her protagonist.  I was able to completely envision the sterile environment she was held in, and the horrific things that were done to her.  Shivering!!!
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<br/>Secondly:  Ms. Stevens does something that I don’t remember ever having experienced in quite such a manner before.  She has the young woman tell her story completely from the perspective of relating it to her psychiatrist. We don’t know who the doctor is, we have no idea what the office really is like, we don’t have a sense of time or place about her getting to this psychiatrist.  She works the story and the resolution out through this doctor, and through police detectives.
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<br/>Third:  Strong and “tell it like it is” monologuing. Strong characters.  Lots of wisdom and angst.  Understanding about what really matters and what love truly is.  A sense of what we might be capable of that we think we could never do.
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<br/>This is a really great novel. One of the few I’ve read that conveys the psychology and feelings of the main character so thoroughly.  I loved it.
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<a href=”View” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/268108-deborah”>View”>http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/268108-deborah”>View all my reviews</a>

Good Read: The Second Virgin Birth

<a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2899982.The_Second_Virgin_Birth” style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img alt=”The Second Virgin Birth” border=”0″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51twYDfrn7L._SX106_.jpg” /></a><a href=”The” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2899982.The_Second_Virgin_Birth”>The”>http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2899982.The_Second_Virgin_Birth”>The Second Virgin Birth</a> by <a href=”Tommy” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1255912.Tommy_Taylor”>Tommy”>http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1255912.Tommy_Taylor”>Tommy Taylor</a><br/>
My rating: <a href=”4″ _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/122776274″>4″>http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/122776274″>4 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />

This book tells a fantastic, very fast-paced story of the what-ifs of the cloning of Jesus Christ.  I’ll say this: I simply could not put it down for the few minutes it would have taken me to go get a cup of coffee at 5AM, after having stayed up all night reading it!!

The story is compelling and so well-conveyed that it’s nearly believeable. Descriptions of forensic DNA testing, cloning and the fortress-like business establishment of one of the primary characters show close research.

At this point, I cannot give it a 5 star rating only because there are so many editorial glitches. But, this, I believe is the result of it being a first time novel, and will be missing in its sequel which is due out next year.

I’m only halfway through this book…I love the characters…and I want to know what happens to them. 

Get this book.  You will not be sorry you did.  It will rank along with the best of Dan Brown’s works.  I highly recommend it!!

<a href=”View” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/268108-deborah”>View”>http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/268108-deborah”>View all my reviews</a>

Update:   October 18, 2010        I’m still giving this very inventive, imaginative book a 4 star rating.   While the premise and much of the storyline was compelling, I found the grammar and misspellings distracting.  However, I have to quantify that comment by saying that I have a double major in Fine Arts and English Lit., so it may just be me!!!  Certainly, it’s a story and a book that moves along so fast that these minor things do not take much away from it.  :]    

I wasn’t happy with the Kindle version.  Sometimes Kindle just doesn’t get its timing right in the separation of chapters and that’s annoying to me.  I would purchase it as a paperback from one of the discount houses that Amazon lists if I had it to do over again.

All in all, I continue to recommend this book to my friends and followers with slight reservations as mentioned above.   It’s a story that Tommy will be continuing in sequel, and which I know will have the improvements that were lacking in this first effort!    I’m looking forward to hearing more from him!!

Your 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