17 Jan 2020, 5:54am
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Chronicles of Spain, 1966

Chronicles of Spain, 1966

(bodhisattva connotes a being who is ‘bound for enlightenment’; a person whose aim is to become fully enlightened.)

By Kate Chamberlin

 

  1. In A Grassy Field

The clouds scudded across the warm night sky, obliterating the starlight and silver quarter moon. My girlfriend and I had spent a fun-filled afternoon and evening visiting the families of several Spanish boys that had picked us up in the college city of Valladolid, Spain.

Before doing my practice teaching my senior year in college, I lived in Spain from mid-May to mid-December, 1966. Armed with a minor in Spanish, I wanted to immerse myself in as much of the Spanish culture, people, and language as I could. Phyllis, who had a major in Spanish, and I attended the Catholic Mass in Spanish and Latin every Sunday, accepted each invitation to tour the big city museums, take classes at the university, witness a bull fight, and experience las fiestas in small villages.

When several boys we’d seen on campus invited us to go with them to their pueblo’s fiesta honoring the town’s saint, we accepted. The afternoon and evening were lively with going from one home to another, each packed more fully with that family’s extended relatives. Everyone wanted to see las Americanas morena and rubia. Phyllis was a brunette and I was blonde.

Each family produced the best they could afford of fried pig ears, spicy sausages, breads, and of course, wines of varying quality.

Half-way back to the university in the middle of the night, all the wine we’d consumed, needed to be released. We saw no lights of a friendly inn, passed through no towns, and no homes were near-by. We were in the middle of no-where. The boys knew it wouldn’t be a problem for them, but, what to do with las gringas?

Eventually, they stopped the car on the side of the road. They were going to unbutton and go on the grass next to the car; however, Phyllis and I were a bit more modest and chose to cross the road and climb over the fence into a grassy field. We flipped up our skirts, slid down our panties, and squatted with the anticipation of relief.

It was then that I heard heavy breathing and, possibly, a snort behind us. I thought it was a crude joke for the boys to sneak up behind us like that, but, when I looked over my shoulder, my face blanched and I felt a horror I’d never felt before.

As the clouds briefly cleared from the face of the moon, I saw I was staring into the dark eyes of a very large, smelly bull, not five feet away. He snorted again and took a step toward us.

My urinating stopped on a drop and I took off for the fence with Phyllis right behind me. The boys couldn’t stop laughing, as they knew the bull lived in that field.

Fortunately for us, el toro was the Ferdinand type of bull, who was more curious than angry.

While this anecdote is funny now, my Mother would have been mortified to know I’d even thought about peeing in a field, instead of a proper bathroom! So, I didn’t tell her.

 

9 Jan 2020, 8:40am
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Chronicles of Spain, 1966

Chronicles of Spain, 1966

(bodhisattva connotes a being who is ‘bound for enlightenment’; a person whose aim is to become fully enlightened.)

By Kate Chamberlin

 

  1. Shipboard Costumes

The tiny tug boats nudged the huge Greek Line ship away from the crowded New York Harbor dock amidst much fanfare, horn blaring, tears, hugs, and hopes. Our group of college students were off to study in Spain for six months.

The young, Greek boys who staffed the ship, waiting on passengers every whim, set-up and served lavish meals for First Class passengers and sumptuous meals for the rest of us were very accommodating. Their good, but broken English, fascinated us. It didn’t hurt that all of them were handsome and about our age. We were always asking them what the Greek word is for Good Morning, Good Night, or this or that, and on and on.

The ship was also loaded with quite a variety of other young men and women, too. We met each other through the many activities available for our entertainment. Eating was the main event, but, the parties, dances, contests, and sports abounded at all times of the day and night.

One evening, a contest for the best costume was announced. We were to parade before the First-Class passengers after their dinner and they would judge our costumes and award prizes in various categories.

One young man in our new circle of acquaintances asked me if I’d partner with him as a Muslim couple. Why not? We wrapped up in separate sheets from his cabin. As we were about to enter the First-Class dining room, he admonished me to remember to walk behind him and keep my head  down with my eyes on the floor. Well okay, I played the part, even though we didn’t win anything.

I didn’t think much about it at the time, but later, I marveled at how demeaning that was. And to add insult to injury, when he walked me back to the cabin I shared with my college friend, Phyllis, he shoved me up against the closed cabin door, insisting he was coming in with me for what he felt was his due. Apparently, one of the Greek staffers heard our scuffle and rounded the passageway corner causing my date to angrily stalk off to bother someone else. We avoided each other for the rest of our 7 day Atlantic crossing.

Decades later, I’m still embarrassed about the costume and angry about his assumption that I’d sleep with him; but, my mother would have been mortified to know her prudish, smart, feisty daughter had let herself get into that situation. So, I didn’t tell her.

 

31 Dec 2019, 10:07am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: “Lewis Carroll: a biography” by Morton Norton Cohen

Kate’s 2¢: “Lewis Carroll: a biography” by Morton Norton Cohen

Dear Readers,

Thank you for being with me this past year. In January, I’ll start a new series for six weeks, then, I’ll be back with my

2¢ about the books I’ve read.

Happy New Year!

 

 

“Lewis Carroll: a biography” by Morton Norton Cohen

 

“Lewis Carroll: a biography” by Morton Norton Cohen

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

I’ve been familiar with Carol’s stories for ages. I enjoyed reading the biography of his life and times. I’m not so sure I’d be so trusting of him with my little girls, although there is nothing documented about a problem. Maybe it’s the day and age we live in.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

Lewis Carroll: a biography DB42220

Cohen, Morton Norton. Reading time: 21 hours, 48 minutes.

Read by John Horton.

 

Literature

 

Literary biography of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ; and, Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There (DB 50842). Cohen provides insights to the enigmatic Victorian writer based on thirty years of studying Carroll and analysis of his diaries and letters. Carroll was an Oxford don, a mathematics instructor, and a master of wordplay. He was also friend to many young girls, including the real Alice.

 

Alice In Wonderland

Carroll, Lewis. Reading time: 6 hours, 10 minutes.

Read by Yvonne Fair Tessler.

 

Classics

Fantasy Fiction

 

Extraordinary things happen when a little girl falls down a rabbit hole and encounters the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and other unusual characters. Her second adventure takes her to a land with a peculiar back-to-front order in which everything is reversed. Alice meets the Red Queen and hears such nonsense verses as “Jabberwocky” and “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” For children of all ages and adults as well.

 

 

31 Dec 2019, 9:50am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: “Out Fox” by Sandra Brown

Kate’s 2¢: “Out Fox” by Sandra Brown

“Out Fox” by Sandra Brown

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

Right from the start, we know who the antagonist is, but is the protagonist really the good guy? In the end the good guy gets the perp, the girl and a bonus.

I enjoyed this fast moving story, but I’d be careful about whom I recommend read it.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

Outfox DB96376

Brown, Sandra. Reading time: 14 hours, 1 minute.

Read by Victor Slezak.

 

Romantic suspense fiction; Suspense Fiction; Mystery and Detective Stories; Bestsellers; Romance

 

FBI agent Drex Easton is determined to capture con man Weston Graham. Over the years Weston has assumed many names and countless disguises to lure eight wealthy women out of their fortunes before they disappeared without a trace. Drex believes he finally has the suspect in sight. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2019.

 

 

31 Dec 2019, 9:41am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: “Inside out: a memoir” by Dimi Moore

Kate’s 2¢: “Inside out: a memoir” by Dimi Moore

“Inside out: a memoir” by Dimi Moore

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

I doubt my memoir will be published, because I’ve led such a plain, vanilla life compared to Moore’s tumultuous life.

I liked listening to her reading her own story. I wish her well in the new year.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

Inside out: a memoir DB96990

Moore, Demi. Reading time: 6 hours, 33 minutes.

Read by Demi Moore.

 

Stage and Screen; Biography

 

Memoir of actress famous for roles in hit films such as Ghost and About Last Night. She describes her family, childhood trauma, rise to fame, battles with addiction, high-profile relationships, and struggles to balance raising a family with her career. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

 

30 Dec 2019, 10:08am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: “A fall of marigolds” by Susan Meissner

Kate’s 2¢: “A fall of marigolds” by Susan Meissner

“A fall of marigolds” by Susan Meissner

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

My thoughts kept returning to how each major disaster should have its own story and not be interrupted  by the other story. Especially, when I thought the providence of the scarf from 1911 to 2011 was a bit sketchy.

I appreciated the insight gleaned from the interview with the author. She explained that, although, she tries to make the historical facts accurate, she likes to tie the human realities with a tangible artifact; hence, her modus operandim. The reader’s guide is also a nice idea to help deepen your understanding of the book.

I liked this chicklet and will read other books by Meissner as they become accessible.

 

From the WEB:

Susan Meissner is a USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction with more than half a million books in print in fifteen languages. She is an author, speaker and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include As Bright as Heaven, starred review in Library Journal; Secrets of  Charmed Life, a Goodreads finalist for Best Historical Fiction 2015; and A Fall of Marigolds, named to Booklist’s Top Ten Women’s Fiction titles for 2014. A California native, she attended Point Loma Nazarene University and is also a writing workshop volunteer for Words Alive, a San Diego non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk youth foster a love for reading and writing.

Visit Susan at her website: http://susanlmeissner.com on Twitter at @SusanMeissner or at www.facebook.com/susan.meissner

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC”

A fall of marigolds DB88683

Meissner, Susan. Reading time: 10 hours, 15 minutes.

Read by Cecelia Riddett.

 

Historical Fiction

Romance

 

In 2011, Taryn is still mourning the loss of her husband in the 9/11 attacks. Newly released photos from that day send her searching for the scarf she briefly held. It leads to Clara, who works on Ellis Island and lost someone she loved in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. 2014.

 

 

24 Dec 2019, 6:32am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: “No Safe Secret” by Fern Michaels

Kate’s 2¢: “No Safe Secret” by Fern Michaels

“No Safe Secret” by Fern Michaels

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

I found myself getting rather upset at this young girl, then woman, for continuing to put up with abuse without reporting any of it. At the end of the story, Michaels gives the address for RAINN, which is a confidential support and research group.

Make every minute matter for survivors

Survivors Shouldn’t Have to Wait.

RAINN’s new PSA shows that every minute counts to collect DNA evidence after sexual assault.

National Sexual Assault Hotline. Free. Confidential. 24/7.

Call 800.656.HOPE

www.rainn.org

 

I, too, urge those who are victims of domestic violence or know of someone who is in an abusive situation, to contact RAINN  or report it to your local authorities.

 

From the Web:

Fern Michaels is the pen name of Mary Ruth Kuczkir, who was born in Hastings, Pennsylvania on April 9, 1933, weighing only four and one-half pounds. Because of her small birth weight, Michaels’ father nicknamed her “Dink,” for “dinky little thing. Her family and friends still use the nickname. As a child, though, others referred to her as Ruth. Once she entered the business world, she became “Mary.”

She is an American author of romance and thriller novels, including nearly 150 best selling books with nearly 200 million copies in print.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

No safe secret DB96570

Michaels, Fern. Reading time: 8 hours, 26 minutes.

Read by Julie-Ann Elliott.

 

Romantic suspense fiction; Psychological Fiction

 

Maddy was raped on the night of her high school prom, fleeing afterward to find a new life and a new name. But her new life includes an abusive husband, and soon she is on the run again. Some violence, some strong language, and some descriptions of sex. 2016.

 

23 Dec 2019, 6:21am
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Kate’s 2¢: “Cry Wolf” by Tami Hoag

“Cry Wolf” by Tami Hoag

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

   I was immediately drawn in by Hoag’s wonderful, in depth knowledge of the Southern Louisiana’s flora and fauna of the Bayou. Her descriptions of each plant, flower, and environs including the smells  and feel of the oppressive humidity, brought the landscape alive in my mind.

Although I know no French or Creole, I am enjoying the French Creole patois Hoag uses very liberally. It helps solidify the ambiance of the back-water bayou, its people, customs, and culture.

Kristin Allison’s narration of “Cry Wolf” is spot on with her pronunciations, inflections, and cadence. All in all, a class act production.

 

From her website:

“Writing is such a solitary, all-consuming pursuit. I sit in my office with my dogs for company, having conversations with imaginary people, and touch the hearts and minds of real people on the other side of the world.”

Hoag began her career as an author in 1988, writing category romances for the Bantam Books Loveswept Line. After several years of success in that field, Hoag switched her focus to single-title suspense novels. She has had thirteen consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including five in a 20-month span.

Hoag lives in the greater Los Angeles area where she is also known as a top competitive equestrian in the Olympic discipline of dressage.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

Cry wolf DB95810

Hoag, Tami. Reading time: 17 hours, 35 minutes.

Read by Kristin Allison. A production of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress.

 

Suspense Fiction

 

After a big case torpedoes her job and her marriage, attorney Laurel Chandler returns to Bayou Breaux to be with family and give up on seeking justice. But she soon pairs up with author Jack Boudreaux to identify a dangerous predator. Violence, strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. 1993.

23 Dec 2019, 6:15am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: “Born In Death, etal J. D. Robb aka Nora Roberts

Kate’s 2¢: “Born In Death, etal J. D. Robb aka Nora Roberts

“Born In Death, etal J. D. Robb aka Nora Roberts

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

When my Texas colleague brought the “in death series” by J. D. Robb to my attention, I went to Robb’s website and copied the many titles in chronological order. One by one, I read them. They are a bit formulaic, but the way the narrator, Martha Harmon Pardee, gave slight voice differences to each character, it brought the stories alive  and the characters became my friends (or not!). I really enjoyed reading them until Pardee was no longer the narrator. I guess I’d gotten used to hearing Roarke’s Irish lilt. It just wasn’t the same with any other narrator.

As you may know. J. D. Robb is the pseudonym for Nora Roberts. Roberts’s many, many novels are of the ilk:

Romantic suspense fiction, Suspense Fiction, Romance, Mystery and Detective Stories, as well as Best seller. I think I like them all, at least the ones I’ve read. I like her style and plot twists within the narrative arc.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

 

Born in death DB63794

Robb, J. D. Reading time: 10 hours, 1 minute.

Read by Martha Harmon Pardee.

 

Romantic suspense fiction

Mystery and Detective Stories

 

New York City, 2060. Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke agree to find missing mom-to-be Tandy Willowby for her pregnant friend Mavis Freestone. When high-profile accountants Natalie Copperfield and her fiancé are murdered, the two cases become intertwined. Descriptions of sex, violence, and strong language. 2006.

 

Brotherhood in death DB83804

Robb, J. D. Reading time: 12 hours, 49 minutes.

Read by Martha Harmon Pardee.

 

Romantic suspense fiction

Mystery and Detective Stories

 

Although it is not a homicide, NYPD lieutenant Eve Dallas agrees to handle the investigation when the husband of her colleague, Dr. Mira, is knocked out and his high-powered cousin kidnapped. But the case’s twists and turns bring out Eve’s childhood pain. Violence, strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. 2016.

 

Festive in death DB79625

Robb, J. D. Reading time: 10 hours, 53 minutes.

Read by Martha Harmon Pardee.

 

Romantic suspense fiction

Bestsellers

 

Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s latest homicide case has an unlikeable victim. Good-looking personal trainer Trey Ziegler’s body was found by his recently dumped girlfriend. But as Eve digs deeper she learns of many other women who might want to see him dead. Strong language, some violence, and some explicit descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2014.

 

Immortal in death DB61354

Robb, J. D. Reading time: 9 hours, 33 minutes.

Read by Martha Harmon Pardee.

 

Romantic suspense fiction

Mystery and Detective Stories

 

New York City, 2058. Homicide detective lieutenant Eve Dallas’s friend Mavis introduces Eve to her new fashion designer lover, Leonardo. Leonardo, however, is also involved with model Pandora, later found dead. Eve investigates the murder to clear Mavis’s name. Strong language, some explicit descriptions of sex, and some violence. 1996.

18 Dec 2019, 6:08pm
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: “Beverly, right here” by Kate DiCamillo

Kate’s 2¢: “Beverly, right here” by Kate DiCamillo

“Beverly, right here” by Kate DiCamillo

 

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

I’ve been advised to read what I want to write, so, I’ve been reading a lot of YA (Young Adult) stories. DiCamillo’s story about Beverly is all that the reviews say, but, what bothers me, is that, in “beverly, Right Here” running away (or leaving, as she puts it) is idolized as if it were something to aspire to and actually do.

There don’t to appear to be any consequences for her actions of running away from her real life. Shouldn’t Beverly be encouraged to stop running and face her demons?

 

From the website:

As with the other titles, this is a real-world fairy tale about a lost girl finding home; Beverly’s prickly personality and DiCamillo’s smooth understated prose keep the sentimentality at bay here, though, and add some edge to the wishful details of Beverly’s experience. Beverly’s gradual thawing into a belief in her own value is deftly depicted, and the story will inspire yearning in many readers for a similar escape and soft landing. (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

Beverly, right here DB96761

DiCamillo, Kate. Reading time: 4 hours, 10 minutes.

Read by Jorjeana Marie.

 

Friendship Fiction

 

Determined to make it on her own, runaway Beverly finds a job and a place to live and tries to move on. But despite her best efforts, Beverly can’t forget about a friend she left behind. Commercial audio-book. For grades 5-8. 2019.

 

 

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