Friday, February 8, 2013

Coming Up...Week 6 of 2013

Books to be Reviewed:

1. Joheved by Maggie Anton

The first two novels in a dramatic trilogy set in eleventh-century France about the lives and loves of three daughters of the great Talmud scholar In 1068, the scholar Salomon ben Isaac returns home to Troyes, France, to take over the family winemaking business and embark on a path that will indelibly influence the Jewish world-writing the first Talmud commentary, and secretly teaching Talmud to his daughters. Joheved, the eldest of his three girls, finds her mind and spirit awakened by religious study, but, knowing the risk, she must keep her passion for learning and prayer hidden. When she becomes betrothed to Meir ben Samuel, she is forced to choose between marital happiness and being true to her love of the Talmud. Rich in period detail and drama, Joheved is a must read for fans of Tracy Chevalier's Girl With a Pearl Earring.




Anxious in love; how to manage your anxiety, reduce conflict & reconnect with your partner- Carolyn Daitch, Lissah Lorberbaum

Healthy relationships require trust, intimacy, effective communication, and understanding. However, if you suffer from chronic anxiety you may have trouble dealing with everyday conflicts and tensions that can arise in relationships. No matter how committed you are, anxiety can leave you feeling distanced from your partner. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to overcome the anxiety-fueled reactions that keep you from achieving true closeness in your relationship.

Written by two experts on anxiety disorders, Anxious in Love offers easy-to-use techniques for calming anxieties and strengthening communication in your relationship. With this book, you will learn to stay centered when faced with conflict, understand your partner’s perspective, and become more independent. By changing the way you react to triggers and stress, you will be able to focus on enjoying time with the one you love, without anxiety getting in the way.

What I'm Reading now:

2. Miriam by Maggie Anton

The engrossing historical series of three sisters living in eleventh-century Troyes, France, continues with the tale of Miriam, the lively and daring middle child of Salomon ben Isaac, the great Talmudic authority. Having no sons, he teaches his daughters the intricacies of Mishnah and Gemara in an era when educating women in Jewish scholarship was unheard of. His middle daughter, Miriam, is determined to bring new life safely into the Troyes Jewish community and becomes a midwife. As devoted as she is to her chosen path, she cannot foresee the ways in which she will be tested and how heavily she will need to rely on her faith. With Rashi?s Daughters, author Maggie Anton brings the Talmud and eleventh-century France to vivid life and poignantly captures the struggles and triumphs of strong Jewish women.

Progress:  (On digital e-reader:) page 244 out of 450, chapter 18 out of 34 plus foreword

Rootless by Chris Howard

17-year-old Banyan is a tree builder. Using scrap metal and salvaged junk, he creates forests for rich patrons who seek a reprieve from the desolate landscape. Although Banyan's never seen a real tree—they were destroyed more than a century ago—his father used to tell him stories about the Old World. But that was before his father was taken . . .

Everything changes when Banyan meets a woman with a strange tattoo—a clue to the whereabouts of the last living trees on earth, and he sets off across a wasteland from which few return. Those who make it past the pirates and poachers can't escape the locusts—the locusts that now feed on human flesh.

But Banyan isn't the only one looking for the trees, and he's running out of time. Unsure of whom to trust, he's forced to make an uneasy alliance with Alpha, an alluring, dangerous pirate with an agenda of her own. As they race towards a promised land that might only be a myth, Banyan makes shocking discoveries about his family, his past, and how far people will go to bring back the trees.

In this dazzling debut, Howard presents a disturbing world with uncanny similarities to our own. Like the forests Banyan seeks to rebuild, this visionary novel is both beautiful and haunting—full of images that will take permanent root in your mind . . . and forever change the way you think about nature.

Progress: Chapter 47 out of 59, page 254 out of 326

Elihu Washburne; The Diary and Letters of America's Minister to France during the Siege and COmmune of Paris- Michael Hill

The remarkable and inspiring story--told largely in his own words--of American diplomat Elihu Washburne, who heroically aided his countrymen and other nationals when Paris was devastated by war and revolution in 1870-1871. A former Congressman and friend of Presidents Lincoln and Grant, Elihu Washburne was appointed U.S. Minister to France just before the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war. Alone among major-power foreign diplomats, Washburne remained in Paris throughout a siege by Prussian forces. As Parisians starved and shivered through the winter, Washburne aided Americans and other nationals with food and fuel. When the siege ended, the government fell to radicals who instituted a brutal new regime, the Commune, slaughtering innocent people, among them the Catholic archbishop. Once again Washburne helped wherever he could, earning commendation not only from his own government but from the Prussians and French as well.

Washburne's letters and diaries from the time vividly describe the horrors he witnessed. Accompanied by Michael Hill's invaluable commentary, they form the best firsthand account we have of these terrible events. They also quietly inspire us with the example of what one person can do in the worst circumstances to aid those in need and earn admiration for himself and his country.

Progress: Chapter 2 out of 6, Page 51 out of 221

The Witch of Little Italy by Suzanne Palmieri

Bewitching and beautiful, The Witch of Little Italy is an enchanting and charming debut that will cast a spell over readers everywhere.

When an unexpected pregnancy has Eleanor Amore reluctantly returning to New York to live with her estranged family, she swiftly finds herself in the arms of an old flame. Together they work to unlock her inner powers to solve a decades-old mystery, the key to the Amore women's magical secrets.

This sparkling debut will warm your heart through the power of love, family and magic.

Progress: Chapter 8 out of 35, Page 81 out of 307



The Court of the Lion by Eleanor Cooney and Daniel Altieri

In a magnificent age of exotic splendor and blackest treachery, the sun set on the mighty T'ang dynasty

In the 8th century, the great Emperor Hsuan-tsung arose from the flames of chaos and terror to rule the majesty that was China- a vast and mysterious domain of witches, artists, concubines, poets, and assassins. But by the year 738 AD, tragedy upon tragedy had unhinged the beloved Son of Heaven, setting loose the jackals in the Court of the Lion: Li Lin-fu, the evil Chief Minister, discretely gaining power through intrigue and murder...An Lu-shan, the sadistic barbarian general, who played the royal bufon while plotting his master's downfall...Yang Kuei-fei, the beautiful Precious Consort, whose hunger for decadent erotic pleasures could destroy a dynasty. And the fate of the T'ang throne rested in the hands of one trusted advisor: the eunuch Kao Li-shih- he who had sacrificed his manhood to become the second most important man in Imperial China...and would sacrifice his life to save a glorious kingdom.

Progress: Chapter 22 out of 26 plus foreword, epilogue and afterword, page 757 out of 1001

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

The Tale of Genji was written in the eleventh century by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady of the Heian court. It is universally recognized as the greatest masterpiece of Japanese prose narrative, perhaps the earliest true novel in the history of the world. Until now there has been no translation that is both complete and scrupulously faithful to the original text. Edward G Seidensticker's masterly rendering was first published in two volumes in 1976 and immediately hailed as a classic of the translator's art. It is here presented in one unabrdiged volume, illustrated through-out by woodcuts taken from a 1650 Japanese edition of The Tale of Genji

Progress: Chapter 15 out of 54, Page 290 out of 1090




Books I'm reading lazily and will take long time to finish:

Mythology by Edith Hamilton

The world-renowned classic that has enthralled and delighted millions of readers with its timeless tales of gods and heroes.

Edith Hamilton's Mythology succeeds like no other book in bringing to life for the modern reader the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths that are the keystone of Western culture--the stories of gods and heroes that have inspired human creativity from antiquity to the present. We meet the Greek gods on Olympus and Norse gods in Valhalla. We follow the drama of the Trojan War and the wanderings of Odysseus. We hear the tales of Jason and the Golden Fleece, Cupid and Psyche, and mighty King Midas. We discover the origins of the names of the constellations. And we recognize reference points for countless works of art, literature, and cultural inquiry--from Freud's Oedipus complex to Wagner's Ring Cycle of operas to Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra. Praised throughout the world for its authority and lucidity, Mythology is Edith Hamilton's masterpiece--the standard by which all other books on mythology are measured.

Progress: Page 300 out of 315, Chapter 22 out of 23

Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz

The first anthology of Jewish mythology in English, Tree of Souls reveals a mythical tradition as rich and as fascinating as any in the world. Drawing from the Bible, the Pseudepigrapha, the Talmud and Midrash, the kabbalistic literature, medieval folklore, Hasidic texts, and oral lore collected in the modern era, Schwartz has gathered together nearly 700 of the key Jewish myths. The myths themselves are marvelous. We read of Adams diamond and the Land of Eretz (where it is always dark), the fall of Lucifer and the quarrel of the sun and the moon, the Treasury of Souls and the Divine Chariot. We discover new tales about the great figures of the Hebrew Bible, from Adam to Moses; stories about God's Bride, the Shekhinah, and the evil temptress, Lilith; plus many tales about angels and demons, spirits and vampires, giant beasts and the Golem. Equally important, Schwartz provides a wealth of additional information. For each myth, he includes extensive commentary, revealing the source of the myth and explaining how it relates to other Jewish myths as well as to world literature (for instance, comparing Eves release of evil into the world with Pandoras). For ease of use, Schwartz divides the volume into ten books, Myths of God, Myths of Creation, Myths of Heaven, Myths of Hell, Myths of the Holy Word, Myths of the Holy Time, Myths of the Holy People, Myths of the Holy Land, Myths of Exile, and Myths of the Messiah.

Progress: Chapter 40 out of 670, Page 29 out of 523

The Greek Myths 1 by Robert Graves

Endymion, Pelops, Daedalus, Pygmalion- what are the stories behidn these and the hundreds of other familiar names from Greek mythology- names that recur throughout the history of European culture?

In a two-volume work that has become a classic reference book for both the serious scholar and the casual inquirer, Robert Graves here retells the adventures of the important gods and heroes worshipped by the ancient Greeks.

Drawing on an enormous range of sources, he has brought together all the elements of every myth in simple narrative form, supplying detailed cross-references and indexes. Each entry has a full commentary which examines problems of interpretation in both historical and anthropological terms, and in the light of contemporary research.

Progress: Chapter 73 out of 104, Page 237 out of 370

Future Books I will read:

3. Rachel by Maggie Anton

The dramatic final book in the epic historical trilogy about the lives and loves of the three daughters of the great Talmud scholar Rashi

Rachel is the youngest and most beautiful daughter of medieval Jewish scholar Salomon ben Isaac, or ?Rashi.? Her father?s favorite and adored by her new husband, Eliezer, Rachel?s life looks to be one of peaceful scholarship, laughter, and love. But events beyond her control will soon threaten everything she holds dear. Marauders of the First Crusade massacre nearly the entire Jewish population of Germany, and her beloved father suffers a stroke. Eliezer wants their family to move to the safety of Spain, but Rachel is determined to stay in France and help her family save the Troyes yeshiva, the only remnant of the great centers of Jewish learning in Europe.

As she did so effectively in Joheved and Miriam, Maggie Anton vividly brings to life the world of eleventh-century France and a remarkable Jewish woman of dignity, passion, and strength.

Pages: 432

Chapters: 33 plus an epilogue and afterword

The Letters of Abelard and Heloise by Abelard and Heloise

The story of the relationship between Abélard and Héloïse is one of the world’s most celebrated and tragic love affairs. It is told through the letters of Peter Abélard, a French philosopher and one of the greatest logicians of the twelfth century, and of his gifted pupil Héloïse. Through their impassioned writings unfolds the story of a romance, from its reckless, ecstatic beginnings through to public scandal, an enforced secret marriage and its devastating consequences. These eloquent and intimate letters express a vast range of emotions from adoration and devotion to reproach, indignation and grief, and offer a fascinating insight into religious life in the Middle Ages.

This is the revised edition of Betty Radice's highly regarded translation, in which Michael Clanchy, the biographer of Abélard, updates the scholarship on the letters and the lovers. This volume includes Abélard's remarkable autobiography and his spiritual advice to Héloïse and her nuns, as well as a selection of the 'lost love letters' of Abélard and Héloïse, letters between Héloïse and Peter the Venerable, two of Abélard's hymns, a chronology, notes and maps.

Pages: 244

Chapters: 8 letters plus Letters of Peter the Venerable and Heloise, two hymns by Abelard, and Appendix from 'Lost Love Letters'

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

Set in the reign of Richard I, Coeur de Lion, Ivanhoe is packed with memorable incidents- sieges, ambushes and combats- and equally memorable characters: Cedric of Rotherwood, the die-hard Saxon; his ward Rowena; the fierce Templar knight, Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert; the Jew, Isaac of York, and his beautiful, spriited daughter Rebecca ; Wamba and Gurth, jester and swineherd respectively.

Scott explores the conflicts between the crown and the powerful Barons, between teh Norman overlords and the conquered Saxons, and between Richard and his cheming brother, Prince John. At the same time he brings into the novel the legendary Robin Hood and his band, and creates a brilliant, colourful account of the age of chivalry with all its elaborate rituals and costumes and its values of honour and personal glory.

Pages: 405

Chapters: 44

The Secret of Emotions by Justice Saint Rain 

If following your heart has repeatedly gotten you into trouble, but to follow your head feels like a kind of soul-death, then this book will open up a whole new world of possibilities for you. It will teach your head how to understand the language of your heart, and teach your heart how to speak the language of God.
This book explains that our emotional sensations tell us about the virtues we are experiencing, and that these virtues are reflections of the qualities of God in the world. Making the connection between emotions and virtues gives us a whole new vocabulary for understanding our feelings. Since most people make their life-choices based on their feelings rather than reason, understanding the meaning of our emotions is the SECOND-most important lesson we can learn in this life.
The MOST important lesson is that virtues are our path to the Transcendent. Whether you call it God, Higher Power, Creative Spirit, or just your better self, we are all born with a longing to become more than we are right now – to demonstrate that we are, indeed, created in the image of the Divine.

Pages: 76

Chapters: 3

The Gordonston Ladies Dong Walking Club- Duncan Whitehead

Something is not quite right in the leafy Savannah neighborhood of Gordonston.

As the friends and fellow members of her afternoon cocktail club gather to mourn the death and lament the life of their neighbor, Thelma Miller, not all is what it seems.

When old friends vie for the attention of widower, Alderman and mayoral candidate Elliott, jealousies surface and friendships are strained. An old woman with a dark secret and an infamous uncle plots her revenge for a perceived wrong done over thirty years before, a once successful children’s writer with his own secret is haunted by memories of the past and aspiring model Kelly Hudd has just won the trip of a lifetime.

As secrets are revealed and history, both old and recent unravel, and an intertwined web of deceits and lies surfaces in the middle class neighborhood, a killer lurks and is anyone really who they seem to be?

An enigmatic European gentleman in South America, a young Italian count parading the streets of Paris and a charitable and kindhearted nephew recently arrived from India add to the remarkable assortment of characters in this story of intrigue, deceit and revenge.

What is the secret a recently retired accountant is trying to hide and just why did the former showgirl and attractive sixty two year old widow Carla Zipp really have plastic surgery?

A mysterious organization with links to organized crime, a handsome fire fighter who can do no wrong and a trio of widows with deep hidden agendas compound a story of simplistic complexity. As twists and turns lead the reader to a conclusion that they will not see coming and a sucker punch ending that will leave you breathless, the Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club’s top priority remains the need to chastise the culprit who refuses to ‘scoop’ after his dog walking sessions in their treasured park.

Pages: 189

Chapters: 20

Family Pictures- Jane Green 

New York Times bestseller Jane Green delivers a riveting novel about two women whose lives intersect when a shocking secret is revealed.

From the author of Another Piece of My Heart comes the gripping story of two women who live on opposite coasts but whose lives are connected in ways they never could have imagined. Both women are wives and mothers to children who are about to leave the nest for school. They're both in their forties and have husbands who travel more than either of them would like. They are both feeling an emptiness neither had expected. But when a shocking secret is exposed, their lives are blown apart. As dark truths from the past reveal themselves, will these two women be able to learn to forgive, for the sake of their children, if not for themselves?

Pages: 344

 Chapters: 60 plus epilogue

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