Books to be reviewed:
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.
What I'm Reading now:
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 291 out of 450, chapter 22 out of 34 plus foreword
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 20 out of 54, Page 348 out of 1090
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.
Progress: Chapter 7 out of 20, page 72 out of 189
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.
Progress: Chapter 5 out of 44, page 36 out of 405
What if there were one book that could help you do nearly everything in life cheaper, better, and faster? Show you how to remove hairspray baked onto a curling iron. How to make white shoes look like new. How to make gourmet coffee without the gourmet price. How to keep your cat out of your houseplants. And hundreds of other things.
"Cheaper, Better, Faster "is all the best advice you've ever heard, collected into one handy volume. Every tip is short, to the point, and helps you make the most of your money and your time, making everyday life less hectic and more enjoyable.
Progress: Chapter 3 out of 16, page 67 out of 386
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.
Progress: Chapter 2 out of 16, page 47 out of 244
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 19 out of 35, Page 158 out of 307
Books I'm reading lazily and will take long time to finish:
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 42 out of 670, Page 30 out of 523
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 85 out of 104, Page 286 out of 370
Future Books I will read:
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.
Chapters: 33 plus an epilogue and afterword
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?
Chapters: 60 plus epilogue
The most fascinating woman you've never met jumps off the pages of this novel. Once you encounter Francesca, thrill to her distinctive voice, embrace her adventurous nature and rejoice at her boundless spirit, she will be part and parcel of your heart and soul forever.
We have been sending Humanity instructional letters for some time now. the Letters, collectively known as The Letters Project, started in 2007 and will continue until Humanity has reached its full potential and it is deemed that they will no longer be needed. These Letters are instructions about life and hwo life works from teh perspective of the Spiritual Realm in which we reside.
We go by many names for there are many of us here who want to communicate these truths to you. We work through the spiritual energy named Jaipur and are collectively known to this channel as The Counsel of Divine Wisdom. We are energies that reside in teh upper realms of existence. In your modern day temrs you might say that we are Ascended Masters although that term you use has restrictions, but it will suffice for htese purposes.
It is our intent to show you a new way, another way for Humanity to exist. Indeed, if you are pleased with what you see and feel around you, then this message will have no meaning for you. However, if youa re not pleased with the present condition in which you perceive your world, then you now have a golden opportunity to change it. You can do this by changing your perception of what you see around you and in doing this you will begin to change your life, your world and yourself.
Where will your road take you? Go inside yourself and seek the insights of your soul in hte silent moments. It will know the way.
The world of your highest imaginings is within your reach.
Chapters: 40 plus preface, introduction and epilogue
The two famous Old French chronicles in this volume were composed by soldiers who took part in the Holy Wars. Villehardouin's Conquest of Constantinople is the first trustworthy and fully informed history of the Crusades. Distinguished by its simplicity and lucidity, it is an account of the Fourth Crusade, which ironically ended as a war against the Eastern Christians of the Orthodox Church. Joinville's Life of Saint Louis was inspired by the author's close attachment to the pious king and provides a vivid picture of his times and the ways of life in the East.
Chapters: 43 plus introduction
Kwani. A beautiful woman in the American southwest long before Columbus...whose blue eyes marked her as a witch and set her apart from the Indian tribe that raised her.
Following her destiny in a vanished world of great stone cities and trackless wilderness, warring tribes and mysterious travelers from other lands, Kwani found love with Kokopelli, the Toltec magician, who rescued her from death and took her to the Place of the Eagle Clan.
There she was transformed from an outcast to the Chosen of the Gods, where she became She Who Remembers and taught young girls the secrets only women know, secrets that provided her with the inner power to change her life forever
Chapters: 54 plus afterword and prologue