Friday, February 26, 2010

from Edith

"There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there's only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running round after happiness. If you make up your mind not to be happy there's no reason why you shouldn't have a fairly good time."

~ Edith Wharton ~

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Currently reading :: The Birth of Venus

Sarah Dunant


Summary: Alessandra Cecchi is not quite fifteen when her father, a prosperous cloth merchant, brings a young painter back from northern Europe to decorate the chapel walls in the family's Florence palazzo. A child of the Renaissance with a precocious mind and a talent for drawing, Alessandra is intoxicated by the artist's abilities. But Alessandra's parents have made plans for their daughter, and she is soon married off to a wealthy, much older man. Meanwhile, the reign of the Medicis, with their love of luxury, learning, and dazzling art, is being threatened by the hellfire preaching and increasing brutality of the fundamentalist monk Savonarola and his reactionary followers. As the city shudders with violence and change, Alessandra must find her own way--and finally explore the passions she's kept so long at bay.
Summary from the book jacket.

I picked up this novel from a friend who was giving away books before a big move. I am fascinated with Renaissance Italy, especially Florence and the time of the Medicis! I was excited to begin reading this and, in fact, am already halfway through! Already there have been some surprises, and I am loving the quantity of art history included. Very enjoyable thus far, and I am looking forward to discovering how the tale plays out.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

review :: Kafka on the Shore

Haruki Murakami
Kafka on the Shore is a compelling and intriguing story guided by haunting characters and a complex intertwining of lives, time, and memories. The translation was fantastic and the writing reads as seamlessly as if Murakami had written it in English first. 

Murakami definitely pushes the boundaries of time and reality and leaves much up to the reader for contemplation. There are many elements to the story and a strong dose of the metaphysical, making this a book that could be read and pondered several times in reflection on some its deeper meanings, implications, and themes.

There are lots of layers to peel and examine in this riveting tale, but the reader who does not enjoy magical realism and the suspension of belief would not appreciate Murakami's unique style. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

word of the day :: wrest


–verb (used with object) 
1. to twist or turn; pull, jerk, or force by a violent twist.
2. to take away by force: to wrest a knife from a child.
3. to get by effort: to wrest a living from the soil.
4. to twist or turn from the proper course, application, use, meaning, or the like; wrench.

5. a wresting; twist or wrench.
6. a key or small wrench for tuning stringed musical instruments, as the harp or piano, by turning the pins to which the strings are fastened.

bef. 1000; (v.) ME wresten, OE wrǣstan; c. ON reista; akin to wrist; (n.) ME: a wresting, deriv. of the v.
"There could be no honor in a sure success, but which might be wrested from a sure defeat."
 :: Ann Landers ::
* Definition from

Friday, February 19, 2010

from Eldridge

"Getting to know someone, entering that new world, is an ultimate, irretrievable leap into the unknown. The prospect is terrifying. The stakes are high. The emotions are overwhelming."

~ Eldridge Cleaver ~

Sunday, February 14, 2010

word of the day :: spectre


–noun Chiefly British
1. a visible incorporeal spirit, esp. one of a terrifying nature; ghost; phantom; apparition.
2. some object or source of terror or dread.

1595-1605; < L spectrum; see SPECTRUM
"It was a foggy day in London, and the fog was heavy and dark. Animate London, with smarting eyes and irritated lungs, was blinking, wheezing, and choking; inanimate London was a sooty spectre, divided in purpose between being visible and invisible, so being wholly neither."
 :: Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens ::
* Definition from

Friday, February 12, 2010

Why proofreading is so important...

"Chilean mint boss loses job after coin spelling error"

From the Times online.

A very bad day for Gregorio Iñiguez.

from C. S.

"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring a twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."
~ C. S. Lewis ~

Monday, February 8, 2010

word of the day :: offal

[aw-fuhl, of-uhl]

1. the parts of a butchered animal that are considered inedible by human beings; carrion.
2. the parts of a butchered animal removed in dressing; viscera.
3. refuse; rubbish; garbage.

1350-1400; ME, equiv. to of OFF fal FALLcf. D afval
"I have often told you that I am that little fish who swims about under a shark and, I believe, lives indelicately on its offal. Anyway, that is the way I am. Life moves over me in a vast black shadow and I swallow whatever it drops with relish, having learned in a very hard school that one cannot be both a parasite and enjoy self-nourishment without moving in worlds too fantastic for even my disordered imagination to people with meaning."
 :: Zelda Fitzgerald ::
* Definition from

Friday, February 5, 2010

from Joseph

"My, by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see. That--and no more--and it is everything."
~ Joseph Conrad ~

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Currently Reading :: Kafka on the Shore

Haruki Murakami

Summary: Kafka on the Shore is powered by by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events.
[Summary from]

This book was lent to me by a co-worker. I have been warned that is is "different" and I need to be prepared to disengage from reality and the structure of time. I have only read two chapters so far, and they were normal--and written very well, I might add--but I can see in Chapter 3 that there is a talking cat...

Monday, February 1, 2010

word of the day :: concupiscence

[kon-kyoo-pi-suh ns, kong-]

1. sexual desire; lust.
2. ardent, usually sensuous, longing.

1300-50; ME < LL concupīscentia. See CONCUPISCENT, -ENCE.
"Concupiscence and force are the sources of all our actions; concupiscence causes voluntary actions, force involuntary ones." (Blaise Pascal)
* Definition from