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review 2018-05-25 19:43
Women of Our Time: Golda Meir
Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader - David A. Adler

When I was a child we had a cat which my mom christened Golda My Ear (he was a yellow tabby) which was a clever play on words that went completely over my head. Therefore, when I came across a book while shelving entitled Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader it felt like fate was telling me to take it home and read it. (It's so short that I finished it on my first train home.) David A. Adler decided to write about Golda for the "Women of Our Time" biography series which covers a wide array of spectacularly talented, intelligent, and strong women. Prior to reading this book, I had no knowledge of who Golda Meir was which is pretty shocking seeing as how she was Israel's Prime Minister. She grew up in Russia but her family moved to Milwaukee when she was a young girl in the hopes that they could improve their quality of life with the opportunities that America promised were available to all within its borders. Much like her sister, Golda was homesick and longed to be a part of the larger Jewish nation and to build it in Israel. That determination never left her and she made it a reality after she married and moved to Palestine to be an active participant in the political party that wanted to build the Jewish nation. It covers not only her childhood and her move to Palestine but also her political career as Prime Minister and her meetings with Nixon (as well as her secret missions to the enemy's camps). Lest you picture her as a pacifist, she was not against using weapons to protect her people against the encroaching Arabs, Egyptians, and Syrians which threatened daily to drive them out of the space they had carved for themselves. Overall rating from me is 8/10 because I wanted a little more depth to the narrative.


As this is written with a younger audience in mind the chapters are very short and not exactly chock full of details. If you want the bare facts (or want to teach them to your child) then this is a great resource. I think this book and the rest of the books in the series would be a great resource in a classroom or home library as the women discussed come from different parts of the world and worked in various fields/capacities. It can never hurt to teach children about powerful women who paved the way!


Source: Penguin Random House


What's Up Next: Yes Please by Amy Poehler


What I'm Currently Reading: The Outsider by Stephen King

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review 2018-05-20 21:57
The Family Man - Elinor Lipman

What a very good, happy book. Just loved it. I had read another book by this author and thought I'd start working through her other works. So glad I did.

It reads current but then you get the MySpace reference and the father saying gay older men don't text. That had me immediately looking up the publication date. Wonderful book.

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text 2018-05-13 19:42
Mother's Day, a tale

I'm not crazy about Mother's Day.  I've had some good ones and I've had some not-so-good ones.


My relationship with my mother has always been problematic, and I'm well aware of the reasons and the specific events, some of them going back as far as age five or six, and others well into my adulthood.  Sadly, as I look back on some of those incidents, I realize that they prompted specific reactions from me that were not constructive.  In other words, in trying to please my mother and live up to her expectations of me, I held myself back.


There's nothing that can be done now.


With one exception.


When I was about eleven or twelve years old, my dad acquired an ancient manual Remington typewriter.  It was so big and so heavy that I could hardly carry it up from the basement to my room or back downstairs again when he needed to use it.  Somewhere along in that time, my grandfather gave me an equally ancient metal typewriter table, the kind with folding side panels.  I rigged up some kind of "office" in my bedroom so I could sit on the end of my bed and type.


My brother was born when I was twelve, and I wasn't allowed to use the typewriter or play records when he was napping.  This wasn't too much of a problem, because I didn't really start writing seriously until a couple years later.  But then my sister was born when I was fifteen, and the typewriter became a real issue.


I was, at that time, writing a novel.  A serious novel.  I had determined that there was nothing I wanted more in life than to be a writer.  And I believed this novel was my key to success.  I still had the old Remington and the old typing table.  I didn't have a job and my allowance was almost an insult, so even keeping a stock of typing paper required careful budgeting.  Ribbons were used way beyond just using up the ink on them; they had to practically be falling apart before I rode my bike up to Mueller's, the stationery store, to buy a new one.


My mother's pregnancy had been difficult, and as an almost-adult I was pressed into baby-sitting for my brother whether I wanted to or not.  When my sister was finally born, she was cranky and didn't sleep well, so restrictions on my typing became tighter.  Of course school and homework took a lot of my time, leaving precious little for my novel, but even that little bit was limited.


There was never a single word of encouragement.


That's what I remember most.  The Remington was a noisy old workhorse, and even putting a folded-up towel under it didn't completely muffle the metallic rattle of the old typing table.  The constant admonishment was to quit typing and making so much noise because it was keeping my sister awake; there was never anything else.


I kept the Remington working through various breakdowns until eventually it was just shot.  Not that it really mattered by then; I moved out of the house in 1968, got married in 1969, and I don't actually know what happened to it after that.  My writing limped by on borrowed typewriters until 1974 when I finally had the money -- maybe it was credit -- to buy my own, a little Smith Corona portable electric model.


That little portable typed a lot of words, more than it was probably ever designed to type.  I had it repaired many times.  Typefaces had to be soldered back on after they broke off.  I think it even had a motor replaced.  I know I learned how to fix the escapement when the space bar wouldn't work.  But I typed all 888 pages of the first draft of Legacy of Honor on it, and the 808 pages of a revised second draft.


By then, it just wouldn't hold up.  My budget was incredibly tight and my job didn't pay very well, so I agreed to my boss's request that I take on an extra shift for a couple of weeks, to pay for a new typewriter.  It meant working ten hours a day, seven days a week.  I had two grade school kids at home, too.  And it was winter, in Indiana.


But the new typewriter was an encouragement in itself, so I sat down and produced a nice, clean, pretty outline-and-sample-chapters of Legacy of Honor and sent it off to Leisure Books.


Five days later, the editor sent me a note that she wanted the whole manuscript.


I don't honestly know how I did it.  Not just the typing -- with old-fashioned carbon copies, too -- but fitting it in with a job that was physically exhausting and taking care of the kids and everything else.  But I sat at that typewriter every single second I could and I pounded out what came to 850 pages in less than two weeks.


At least no one told me to be quiet.


I was thinking about all of that today.  My mom is almost 90 and dealing with Alzheimer's, which never gets any better.  But I was able to talk to her this morning and commiserated about the new water heater I need to buy probably today or very, very soon.  She's going to spend the day with my sister, and well, that stirred memories, too.


The computers are quiet now, and there are no babies that need to sleep anyway.  But I still wish there had been more encouragement.  Just a little more.


Happy Mother's Day.






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review 2018-05-11 17:42
KILL CREEK by Scott Thomas, narrated by Bernard Setaro Clark
Kill Creek - Scott Thomas,Bernard Setaro Clark

Simply said, KILL CREEK was AWESOME! I've long been suspecting that a really good haunted house book was a thing of the past. I'm happy as hell to be proven wrong on that.


At first, I'm not going to lie, the standard trope of four people staying overnight in the oh-so scary house, did not impress me. But between the characters themselves, the background of the house, and how everyone came together, slowly this story began to win me over. In this case, we actually had 6 people staying overnight, on Halloween, to boot. Four famous horror authors, Wainwright, the man who orchestrated this affair, (being the founder of a website dedicated to all things horror), and his girlfriend Kate who is there to photograph any happenings. Then, (and get this surprising twist), not all that much happens and everyone goes home! So where's the scary stuff? What occurs that makes so many people rave about this book? Don't look at me, I'm not going to spoil it. You'll have to read it for yourself.


These characters burrowed down deep into my psyche, and I felt like I knew them all intimately. Every single one of them changed throughout, and be they good changes or bad, they were all different people by the denouement. I love that. I love unpredictability in both my books and my characters-who wants to read about boring flat Stanley?


The writing had a vivid feel to it and the author is terrific in his descriptive passages as well as with his dialogue. It all rang very true to me. I have to admit that I am impressed-even more so when I take into account that this is a debut novel. For many years, my favorite book was GHOST STORY by Peter Straub, and in my mind, I can't help but compare the two and KILL CREEK holds up to that comparison. That's the highest praise I can give.


Lastly, the narrator: Bernard Setaro Clark? You rock, man! You nailed it! What else is there to say?


I'm sure this audio will be in my top ten at the end of the year and as such it gets my highest recommendation. You should read it. Right now! Why are you still here? 

You can get your copy here: KILL CREEK


*I bought this e-book and the audio with my hard-earned cash and this opinion is my own.*

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review 2018-05-07 22:30
SAGA, VOLUME 7 by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Saga, Volume 7 - Fiona Staples,Brian K. Vaughan


There's really not much I can add to the boatload of reviews of this volume. So I'm just going to say that this was my favorite volume so far and that I'm heartbroken. HEARTBROKEN!


As irreverent as PREACHER was, but with more humor, (and humor that appeals to a wider variety of people, in my opinion), SAGA may just turn out to be my favorite graphic novel series of all time. (SANDMAN will be hard to beat, but it's going to be damn close!)


If you enjoy comics & graphic novels, and you're not reading SAGA, you're missing out. Period.

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