Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review of Greek Myths Vol I by Robert Graves Part 9.9

General Information:


Name of Book: The Greek Myths Vol I

ISBN: 0-14-020508-X

Publisher: Pelican book

Year it was published: 1955

Overall theme:

"My method has been to assemble in harmonious narrative all the scattered elements of each myth, supported by little-known variants which may help to determine the meaning, and to answer all questions that arise, as best I can, in anthropological or historical terms. " (22)

97. Theseus and Medea

Issue: Theseus arrives in Attica and is purified by sons of Phytalus. Aegeus married Medea and got a son named Medus. Medea recognized Theseus. Theseus gets invited to temple and is served poisonous food. Father recognizes son and both rejoice. War comes from Pallas and his fifty sons and brief history of the name Leos.

98. Theseus in Crete

Issue: Theseus kills the white bull. Brief history of Hecalene. Theseus volunteers himself for the annual tribute to Crete and to kill the bull. If successful, Theseus will hoist white sail. Two of the women were replaced by effeminate youths. Mention of who was pilot of the ship. Theseus takes Aphrodite as his companion. Mention of virgins on the temple. Theseus protects one of the virgins. Minos asks proof that Theseus is Poseidon's son. Theseus wants Minos to prove he's Zeus's son. Theseus rescues ring. Ariadne instructs Theseus on how to get to the Minotaur. Theseus kills the minotaur. Everyone escaped, Theseus fought battle. For unknown reasons Theseus abandons Ariadne on an island. Dionysus marries her. Variations of the story are presented. Resumes history, goes into detail about altar and sacrifices. Theseus forgets to put on white sail. Aegeus kills himself. Festivals are instituted.

99. The Federalization of Attica

Issue: Theseus succeeds his father and kills many of his opponents. Theseus begins to create democracy for Attica and Athens. Created another festival. Resigns throne as a king. Also invites a lot of people and creates caste system. Also created monetary system.

100. Theseus and the Amazons

Issue: Theseus gets the Amazon queen named either Antiope/ Melanippe. Variations of how he took her and kidnapped her. Oreithyia, Antiope's sister vows revenge. War and sacrifices. Eventually Theseus killed her when he married Phaedra, but Antiope bore him a son named Hippolytus who is also called Demophoon.

101. Phaedra and Hippolytus

Issue: Pittheus adopts Hippolytus as heir to Troezen. Phaedra gives birth to Acamas and Demophoon. Aphrodite feels insulted that Hippolytus desires to remain a virgin and causes Phaedra to fall in love with Hippolytus. Phaedra sends him a love letter. He rejects her, but she kills herself after accusing him of rape. Hippolytus runs away and gets killed. Possibly Artemis tells Theseus what happened. Variations of story and aftermath.

102. Lapiths and Centaurs

Issue: Son of Ixion and Dia, daughter of Eioneus. Peirithous ruled over Magnetes. Meets Theseus and swears life long friendship. Marries Hippodameia who nearly gets ravished by Centaurs. War goes on and as a result was a feud.

103. Theseus in Tartarus

Issue: Peirithous convinces Theseus to kidnap Helen as well as another of Zeus's daughters. Theseus wins her. Variations as to who give her to Theseus follow. When Helen grew older, Peirithous consults oracle who encourages him to visit Hades to demand Persephone. Theseus follows. Four years later after being trapped on a Chair of Forgetfulness, Heracles rescues them. Variation is presented.

104. The Death of Theseus

Issue: Dioscuri assembled everyone and created a war against Athens. Various strands of who disclosed Helen's location as well as how they got her back. Theseus takes his children out of Athens. Theseus dies and aftermath is presented.

To Be Continued in The Greek Myths Vol II by Robert Graves...

G52 Cheaper, Better, Faster; over 2,000 tips and tricks to save you time and money every day

Title of the book: Cheaper, Better, Faster; Over 2,000 Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money Every day

Author: Mary Hunt

Publisher: Revell

Publishing Date: 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8007-2144-2

Summary: 

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.

Other Works:

Mary Hunt is a a founder of Debt-Proof Living which happens to be a website, and she also wrote 7 Money Rules for Life and writes a daily syndicated newspaper column titled Everyday Cheapskate.

Background of author: 

Mary Hunt is the award-winning and bestselling author of several books, including 7 Money Rules for Life, as well as a sought-after motivational speaker who helps men and women battle debt. She is founder and publisher of the interactive website Debt-Proof Living, which features financial tools, resources, and information for her online members. Her books have sold more than a million copies, and her daily syndicated newspaper column, Everyday Cheapskate, is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of readers nationwide. Hunt speaks widely on personal finance and has appeared on shows such as Good Morning America, Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Focus on the Family. She and her husband live in California.

Theme:

"What you have here is a revised and updated, fabulously fun collection of tips-short, to-the-point suggestions for ways to do things cheaper, better, and faster. Many of these tips are timeless; others we know were current and relevant five minutes ago, but how knows about next month!" (page 8, Introduction.)

Problem addressed:

"You're about to learn that there are many different ways to accomplish goals. ANd that's good, because if you need to polish the copper in your kitchen and you dont' have any lemons on hand but you do have a jug of vineage, you'll be able to get the job done without running to the store to spend money needlessly (page 40.) When there's more than one way to achieve the same result, Cheaper, Better, Faster will give you the choices." (Introduction, page 9)

Summary of Content:

If you are looking for dating tips, please look elsewhere. However, if you are looking for tips on how to keep bananas from browning for two weeks, or an alternative for conditioner or any tips that have to do with finances, travel, gifts, laundry, cleaning up stains, home repairs and decorating, then check out this book and enjoy interesting as well as fascinating tips. Unfortunately no index for quick lookup when it comes to specific tips, instead they're organized by category.

Thesis:

"Think of Cheaper, Better, Faster as a grand smorgasbord loaded with every kind of delicacy you can possibly imagine-even some things you can't. As you pass by, look at everything, consider most things, and fill your plate with what suits your taste.

"The best thing about Cheaper, Better, Faster, just like your favorite smorgasbord, is that you can come back again and again and again!" (Page 10, Introduction)

Main Points:

*Automobiles
*Cleaning
*Clothing and Accessories
*Food and Cooking
*Gifts
*Health and Beauty
*Holidays and Special Occasions
*Home
*Kids and Babies
*Laundry
*Money and Finances
*Outdoors and Garden
*Pets
*Repairs and Maintenance
*Shopping
*Travel and Entertainment

Why its interesting and informative:

A tip book on various ideas and repairs and finances and so forth. What's not interesting about that? I admit that I hadn't used the tips in the book, but they certainly make a good conversation topic whether it comes to cooking or gifts or gardening or whatnot. Ironically is that my mom does a lot of these tips, or so she tells me. Some tips even give some recipes such as surprise pies for cockroaches, or homemade juices and even substitutes, such as using mayo instead of eggs.

Book supports thesis:

I think the book does support thesis; that is there's a lot of things that I was surprised by when it came to the book and that I hadn't expected. Obviously its a book one can come back to over and over for problems and possible tips on how to solve them.

Addressing Issues:

Instead of doing things in a traditional way and spending lots of money, this book gives alternatives to the traditional way, such as using lemon or baking soda for cleaning and removing stains, or else using natural ways to get rid of pesky bugs.

Ideas in book vs larger ideas:

In someways this offers a lot of alternatives to traditional ways, such as using baking soda for a toothpaste, or designing various gift baskets for seniors or for people with different hobbies. Also included are cheap entertainment ways such as college entertainment and so forth.

Agree/disagree:

I haven't really tried the tips, but one that's there, putting soda and water on itchy bug bites does work. (I tried it, so I know.) I read some of them to my mom who claims to do a lot of them, and I was pleasantly surprised that cinnamon and cloves help out with blocking ants. There are tips as well that claim to keep bugs away from picnic or barbecue.

Sources: 

The author never mentions what sources she used, and if I'm not mistaken, she claims that there are plenty of tips that she hadn't tried herself. Also, what I don't like is lack of index. If you will be dealing with over 2,000 tips or so the author claims, an index at the back would be very helpful to find an applicable tip towards a specific problem.

Conclusion: 

The tips are interesting and some do sound like they would save money and time. As I mentioned earlier, an index would be helpful for the book. I would recommend that one does read it and try some of these out to see if they help.

Quick notes: I won this book on goodreads.com thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

E-Reading Book Review of #2 Miriam by Maggie Anton

Name of Book: Miriam

Author: Maggie Anton

ISBN: 9780452288638

Publisher: Plume

Part of a Series: Rashi's Daughters

Type of book: 1078-1089, France, nobility, Talmud, homosexuality, breaking gender roles, wines, Salomon, marriage, widowed, soul mate, Jewish life, birth control, superstitions

Year it was published: 2007

Summary:

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.

Characters:

The characters were well written and they do change somewhat. Some are memorable, while I couldn't understand others' minor characters role in the book. The women are strong, and two of the sisters kind of assume slightly "masculine" occupations of doing circumcisions, or dealing with money lending and traveling. The men do depend on women. There is also superstition as in the previous novel. I'm not sure what else to say about the characters.

Theme:

I'm not sure there was a direct message in the book, unless one counts the homosexuality. I had a difficult time understanding that issue though.

Plot:

This is written in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view. This is more tightly woven and takes us from 1078 up until 1089 and deals with issues of women and circumcision, Talmud discussions, politics which don't seem to be well integrated or well woven, and seemed to me as something that was forced to be discussed instead of something flawlessly woven. (I'll put it in there because its a historical novel is the impression I had of it.) It also dealt with running estate and presented Jews from different walks of life before Crusades and church destroyed that. This does give hints of anti-Judaism in the book, at least by christian neighbors around the time of Passover as I recall.

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)
born
in Los Angeles, CA, The United States

gender
female

website
http://www.rashisdaughters.com

genre
Historical Fiction, Religion & Spirituality, Women & Gender Studies

influences
Talmud study

member since
June 2008

About this author:

Maggie Anton was born Margaret Antonofsky in Los Angeles, California. Raised in a secular, socialist household, she reached adulthood with little knowledge of her Jewish religion. All that changed when David Parkhurst, who was to become her husband, entered her life, and they both discovered Judaism as adults. That was the start of a lifetime of Jewish education, synagogue involvement, and ritual observance. In 2006, Anton retired from being a clinical chemist in Kaiser Permanente's Biochemical Genetics Laboratory to become a fulltime writer.

In the early 1990's, Anton learned about a women's Talmud class taught by Rachel Adler, now a professor at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. Nearly every Wednesday for five years, she and about six other women met around Rachel's dining room table to study Tractate Berachot.

In 1997, as her children Emily and Ari left the house and her mother was declining with Alzheimer's Disease, Anton sought new interests. She became intrigued with the idea that Rashi, one of the greatest Jewish scholars ever, had no sons, only three daughters. Slowly but surely, she began to research the family and the time in which they lived. Much was written about Rashi, but almost nothing of the daughters, except their names and the names of their husbands. Legend has it that Rashi's daughters were learned in a time when women were traditionally forbidden to study the sacred texts. These forgotten women seemed ripe for rediscovery, and the idea of a book about them was born.

Opinion:

This is better written when comparing it to the author's first book, which had a Little House appeal for Jewish readers. Yet its still charming and whatnot as you see the differences between Jewish view of life vs christian view of life. I was a little disturbed by the homosexuality issue from one of the characters and couldn't help but wonder if the author advocated that a person must be married no matter the orientation or if there was something else I was missing. I also thought the characters were too numerous and wished that there was a list of the characters and brief functions so I could know who the secondary characters are: that is, I know who Miriam, Joheved, Meir, Salomon, Judah and few others are, but I had a hard time recalling the secondary characters, and at one point I thought that Marona was Judah's mother when in fact she had no relation to him at all! Of course, the book does have fascinating Talmudic discussions too, but you need to read the first book before reading one, else it might not make a lot of sense to you.

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

G39 Book Review of The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club by Duncan Whitehead

Name of Book: The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club

Author: Duncan Whitehead

ISBN: 978-1-4575-1450-0

Publisher: dog ear publishing

Type of book: Murder, relation to Hitler, lies, deceit, betrayal, hit man, dog-walking, widows, Savannah Georgia, secrets, mysteries, 2000s, dogs

Year it was published: 2012

Summary:

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.

Characters:

The characters are fascinating as well as textured and unexpected. For me also they seem to be more of told than show, although the author tries to make them the opposite. The women primarily dominate the book and author seems to understand them and the motivations, although in some cases he takes them a little too far. Dogs also appear in the book and they are portrayed as having desires and friends too. They are never there just to be there. The families and people are all different; Kelly and Tom are married couple without children and loving life; Doug and Veronica are married but they have a small daughter and financial difficulties; the other ladies, Carla, Heidi and Cindy are widowed, two of them childless while other has a son; Elliott Miller is soon to be widowed who was married to Thelma and decided to become father to two boys who turned out to be gay. The characters, in other words, are not who they seem to be and they will surprise you.

Theme:

People are not who they appear to be. Never underestimate someone.

Plot:

This is written in third person narrative from everyone's point of view. The author makes slight mistakes when it comes to separating who's thinking, as well as the info dump in beginning, when my preference is to parcel out information throughout the book. There are also slight repetition problems, and somehow the characters are written as more of told rather than show variety. Yet the plot twists really dominated my attention so I scarcely paid attention to these defects, which takes a skillful author to do it. Also, just a quick thing, Miller is not a Jewish name.

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)
born
in Preston , The United Kingdom

gender
male

website
http://www.thegordonstonladiesdogwalkingclub.com

twitter username
DuncanWhitehead

genre
Humor And Comedy, Mystery, Crime

member since
August 2012


About this author

Duncan was born in England in 1967.

After a successful career in the military where he served in British Embassies throughout South America and saw service in the Gulf War he joined the world of super yachts as a Purser aboard some of the world’s largest private vessels, working for many high profile individuals, being fortunate enough to visit some of the world’s most luxurious and exotic places.

Eventually retiring to Savannah, Georgia, he began to partake of his greatest passion, writing. Initially writing short stories he finally put pen to paper and wrote The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club, inspired by the quirky characters and eeriness of his new environment, the book, a thriller, which boasts an assortment of characters and plot twists, set in the leafy neighborhood where he lived.

His passion for comedy saw submissions to The Onion and a stint performing as a stand-up comedian.

He is a former boxer, representing the Royal Navy and an English under 19 team as an amateur and is a qualified teacher of English as a foreign language as well as a former accomplished children’s soccer coach.

In 2011 Duncan returned to South America, spending six months in Brazil and a few months in Paraguay before travelling to the Middle-East and Europe before returning to the United States.

He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, gets by with Russian and Arabic and lists his hobbies and passions as cooking, the Israeli self defense art of Krav Maga, Esgrima Criolla (The South American Art of knife Fighting)and the deadly pressure point martial art Dim-Mak.

Duncan has written over 2,000 spoof and comedy news articles, under various aliases, for an assortment of web sites both in the US and UK.

As well as his other activities he performs volunteer work, as a hospice visitor.

He has penned a further novel; a comedy set in Manhattan, The Reluctant Jesus, as well as drafting the sequel and second book in The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club trilogy.

Opinion:

It takes a genius to write a book with mistakes, but for mistakes not to ruin my reading experience and give the author five stars. I was hesitant on that because I didn't want to seem fickle or whatnot, but when a book leaves me hungry for more, as well as seeing how the loose ends will play out in (hopefully,) the next two books, the five stars are well deserved. I won this book on December 30th, 2012 and received it on January 14th, 2013, with a business card of the book, an autograph a postcard and a funny note where the author mentions to say that the book is good for something, even if its used to swat flies. The author does make slight mistakes, such as slight repetition of sentences, or the info dump in beginning chapters about various characters that from time to time I had a hard time keeping track. Yet he certainly knows how to deliver punches when you least expect them. In beginning the book tends to be a bit slow, but then it rapidly picks up, and all I cared was how it would all end. I can imagine that the book would make a good mini-series on TV. Its like a guilty pleasure read; it doesn't have in depth writing, but instead its good to relax to. Despite the mistakes, I would recommend that one should try this book and perhaps they'll love it. I am looking forward to reading the next two books whenever they come out.

Quick notes: I won this book on goodreads.com thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog

5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Review of The Court of the Lion by Eleanor Cooney and Daniel Altieri

Name of Book: The Court of the Lion

Author: Eleanor Cooney, Daniel Altieri

ISBN: 0-380-70985-6

Publisher: Avon Books

Type of book: China, 700s, barbarian, Tang Dynasty, love, politics, relationships, bonds, eunuchs, emotions, mathematics, supernatural, logic, filial piety

Year it was published: 1989

Summary:

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.

Characters:

For a book that's 1001 pages long, there seemed to be lack of character description towards the Precious Consort for instance, although I enjoyed the characters of Kao Li-Shih, Li Lin-fu. Also, An Lu-Shan wasn't fully drawn as I would have liked. I would have liked to know the fate of the poet that was sent to an island and so forth. What had happened to Consort Wu's children if I may ask?

Theme:

Nothing I can think of.

Plot:

Third person narrative from omniscient point of view, or from everyone's point of view rather.  The author do give slight page breaks when a new character speaks, but many plots are unresolved, such as who created the spider box, and what happened to Li Lin-fu's favorite daughter and so forth. Also some things didn't make sense when it comes to book and history such as Precious Consort Issue or what happened to the eldest sister.

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)

Eleanor Cooney:

born
The United States

genre
Historical Fiction, Nonfiction

About this author

Eleanor Cooney is the author of four previous books, all coauthored with Daniel Altieri: Deception: A Novel of Mystery and Madness in Ancient China; The Court of the Lion: A Novel of the T'Ang Dynasty; Shangri-La: The Return to the World of the Lost Horizon; and Shore of Pearls: A Tale of Seventh Century China. She lives in Mendocino, California.

Daughter of Mary Durant

Daniel Altieri:

N/A

Opinion:

I originally bought this book at a library sale in 2006, and since then I have attempted numerous times to read it, each time without success. The characters would confuse me and so forth. Somehow I got through reading this book. Although I appreciate that the authors have tried to stay loyal to Chinese names, at times it was difficult to figure out who's who and one had to remember. The authors also worried more for details rather than building the tensions between Kao Li Shih and Li Lin-fu; the scene where they meet isn't filled with tension. I also had hoped there would be more romance between the Emperor and the Precious Consort. Instead, the book turned out to be way too long with lack of tension, especially towards the end, and an epilogue as to what happened to the characters wasn't there. I had problems that the number system wasn't used, and I had no idea if years or months passed through that period? What I liked were the quotes added to beginning of the chapters to enrich the story. Also there was lack of helpnotes. For example, why were some things given helpnotes while others were completely ignored? I would recommend it for those who are curious about China, and who are well versed, but I won't say its a casual read at all.

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Coming Up...Week 8 of 2013

Books to be reviewed:

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.

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.




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.

What I'm Reading now:

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.

Progress: 40 of 432, 2 of 33 plus epilogue

The Gordonston Ladies Dong Walking Club by 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.

Progress: Chapter 13 out of 20, page 136 out of 189

Cheaper, Better, Faster: Over 2,000 Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money Every Day by Mary Hunt

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 8 out of 16, page 213 out of 386



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.

Progress: Chapter 12 out of 44, page 101 out of 405

Chronicles of the Crusades by Jean de Joinville, Geoffroi de Villehardouin

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.

Progress: Chapter 3 out of 43 plus introduction, page 36 out of 353





Family Pictures by 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?

 Progress: Chapter 3 out of 60 plus epilogue, page 14 out of 344


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 25 out of 54, Page 430 out of 1090




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

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 97 out of 104, Page 332 out of 370

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 46 out of 670, Page 34 out of 523

Future Books I will read:

The Monday Night Cooking School by Erica Bauermeister

Once a month on Monday night, eight students gather in Lillian's restaurant for a cooking class. Among them is Claire, a young woman coming to terms with her new identity as a mother; Tom, a lawyer whose life has been overturned by loss; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer adapting to life in America; and Carl and Helen, a long-married couple whose union contains surprises the rest of the class would never suspect.

The students have come to learn the art behind Lillian's soulful dishes, but it soon becomes clear that each seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. One by one they are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of what they create, including a white-on-white cake that prompts wistful reflections on the sweet fragility of love, and a garlic and red sauce that seems to spark one romance but end another. Over time, the paths of the students mingle and intertwine, and the essence of Lillian's cooking expands beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of their lives, with results that are often unexpected, and always delicious.

Chapters: 9 chapters plus prologue and epilogue (on e-reader)

Pages: 141 (On e-reader)

Francesca of Lost Nation by Lucinda Sue Crosby

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.

Pages: 249

Chapters: 38








Letters from your future; reaching for your highest potential in times of great change by Brett L Bowden

Dear Ones,

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.

Pages: 265

Chapters: 40 plus preface, introduction and epilogue

01.She Who Remembers by Linda Lay Shuler

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

Pages: 472

Chapters: 54 plus afterword and prologue

The Legend of the Bloodstone by E.B. Brown

In 2012, a woman cuts her hand and picks up a strange colored stone -
Suddenly she is staring into the eyes of an angry Powhatan warrior.
And the only town nearby is Jamestown, circa 1622.

Maggie McMillan wakes up one day as a college student, yet ends the day as the Red Woman: A legendary Time Walker that every loyal Powhatan brave wants to kill. Captured by Winkeohkwet, a warrior who is torn between his duty to kill her and his desire to keep her, she is thrust into a life she had only read about in history books.

Hunted and feared by both the Powhatan and the English, she struggles to find a way home while Winkeohkwet plots to keep her there. Maggie fights to survive as she finds herself entangled in the Indian Massacre of 1622, and Winkeohkwet sees everything he ever believed in shattered by the knowledge she holds.

As they battle against each other and the message she brings from the future, she must decide whether to return to her own time, or to make a life in the past with the man who holds her heart captive.

Pages: 285

Chapters: 27

Chronicles by Froissart

Froissart (1337-1410), sometimes described as the historian of the Hundred Years' War, was one of the first great journalists.

His Chronicles reveal the same curiosity about character and customs which underlies the works of his contemporary, Chaucer. This selection depicts a panorama of Europe during the great age of Anglo-French rivalry, from the deposition of Edward II to the downfall of Richard II, Froissart's famous descriptions of chivalry in action at Sluy's, Crecy, Calais and Poitiers are only part of a comprehensive court's-eye-view of society which embraces trading activities, diplomacy and the Peasants' Revolt.

Pages: 471

Chapters: around 60?

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by N/A

Composed in the fourteenth century, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is as beloved as it is venerable, combining the hallmarks of medieval romance-pageantry, chivalry, and courtly love-with the charm of fairy tales and heroic sagas.

When a mysterious green knight rides on horseback into King Arthur's court, interrupting a New Year's feast, he issues a challenge: if any of King Arthur's men can behead him and he survives, then a year later he is entitled to return the strike. Sir Gawain takes up the challenge and decapitates the green knight, only to see him pick up his severed head and ride away, leaving Gawain to seek him out to fulfill their pact. Blending Celtic myth and Christian faith, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a Middle English masterpiece of magic, chivalry, and seduction.

Pages: 54

Chapters: N/A

Thursday, February 21, 2013

G43 Book Review of The Witch of Little Italy by Suzanne Palmieri

Name of Book: The Witch of Little Italy

Author: Suzanne Palmieri

ISBN: 978-1-250-01551-8

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Type of book: Witchcraft, future, strength, amnesia, first love, secrets, loyalty, siblings, relationships, motherhood, incompatibility (hint of African American male/white female relationship)

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

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.

Characters:

The characters strikes me as three dimensional, that is you see them change one way or another. In beginning, Elly is abused and suffers from amnesia, but later on she becomes strong and regains those memories. Itsy is best described as independent, loyal, protective and contemplative about her past. I enjoyed reading her reminisces about her memories of childhood and her loyalty to Georgie. The other sisters, Fee and Mimi weren't drawn strongly, and neither was Anthony. Carmen, Elly's mother, wasn't drawn strongly either and she is a very compelling character. I really would have liked to know more about her. I was also surprised at how strongly I felt when something bad happened to one of the characters.

Theme:

Everyone deserves a re-do, and its possible to change the future.

Plot:

This is written in both third and first person narrative; Elly and others are written from third person narrative, while Itsy is written from first person narrative. I strongly suspect that there's a hint of rebirth in the book, and at one point I wondered who was truly speaking towards the end. I think also it would help if a certain event towards the end would be more longer or more stretched out instead of the author paying scant few pages on it.

Author Information:

(from goodreads.com)
website
http://suzannepalmieri.com

twitter username
thelostwitch

genre
Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery

member since
March 2012

About this author

Suzanne Palmieri is the author of The Witch of Little Italy, (Saint Martin's/Grifin March 26th, 2013) and co-author of I'll Be Seeing You (Writing as Suzanne Hayes with Loretta Nyhan) Mira Books, June 2013. Writer, Teacher, Mermaid, Lover of Trees.

"I'm a lost witch. Are you a lost witch too?" ~Suzanne Palmieri

Opinion:

This is truly a sparkling book. I have to admit that I was very "spellbound" when I read it. Some things seem convenient, but at the same time they added to the book's charm. I really liked Itsy's memories, along with Elly's storytelling of what she had learned and what happened. The characters are very strong, remarkable and well-written. I have to admit that I never really liked Emily Giffin's books because the female protagonists strike me as neurotic and so forth, yet I was shocked that this book might be thought of as a chick literature. Another coincidence that Mary, a friend of mine pointed out is the character's name. I won this book from giveaways, and before it I won Eleanor & Park from the same person whom I won this book from. The main character's name is Eleanor, just like in Eleanor & Park. In this book there's an atmosphere of something uplifting where I wanted for all the characters to have the happy endings. Intentionally or unintentionally, which perhaps slightly detracted from the reality is that the dark scenes are not really allowed to touch or to appear within the optimism. I was surprised that I would like this book this much. When I won it, I kind of had a "meh" reaction, or rather couldn't understand what was so charming about the book besides the book cover, but after I began reading it, as well as finishing it, I truly enjoyed every turn of the page and was glad and happy I won it.

Quick notes: I won this book on goodreads.com thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog

5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book I Part 8.15

General Information:

Name of Book: Tree of Souls

ISBN: 9780195086799

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Year it was published: 2004

Overall theme:

"With only one God, heaven would be a barren place, at least in mythic terms. Yet the actual Jewish view of heaven is quite different. There are seven heavens, filled with angels and other divine beings, such as the Messiah [Not jesus!], who is said to have a palace of his own in the highest heaven. The clestial Temple can be found there- the mirror image of the Temple in the earthly Jerusalem- as well as an abundance of heavenly palaces, one for each of the patriarchs and matriarchs and sages, where he or she teaches Torah to the attentive souls of the righteous and the angels..." (xliii)

"Drawing on the full range of Jewish sources, sacred and nonsacred, ten major categories of Jewish mythology can be identified: Myths of God, Myths of Creation...Each of these categories explores a mythic realm, and, in the process, reimagines it. This is the secret to the transformations that characterize Jewish mythology. Building on a strong foundation of biblical myth, each generation has embellished the earlier myths, while, at the same time, reinterpeting them for tis own time." (xlv)

Book One: Myths of God

Part VIII: God's Voice and Word

42. A Still, Small Voice

Issue: This is taken from 1 Kings 19:5-12, about Elijah falling asleep, G-d urging him to eat, and he watching the wind splitting mountains and so forth, yet it was not G-d. G-d was a small voice.

43. God's Voice

Issue: When G-d used his voice was to give Torah at Mount Sinai, which caused silence all over the earth. Effects of G-d using the voice follows. G-d cannot be divined or found. The voice also split into multitude of languages and so forth.

44. God's Image

Issue: When G-d began speaking, Israel was afraid and ask Moses to listen for them, which he did and saw unbelievable sights.

45. The elders of Israel behold God

Issue: G-d invites the elders of Israel, Moses and others to come, although Moses may come nearer than others. All saw G-d and ate and drank before G-d.

To be continued...

Book Review of Greek Myths Vol I by Robert Graves Part 8.9

General Information:

Name of Book: The Greek Myths Vol I

ISBN: 0-14-020508-X

Publisher: Pelican book

Year it was published: 1955

Overall theme:

"My method has been to assemble in harmonious narrative all the scattered elements of each myth, supported by little-known variants which may help to determine the meaning, and to answer all questions that arise, as best I can, in anthropological or historical terms. " (22)



85. Narcissus

Issue: Son of Nymph Leiriope and Cephisus. He grew up to be a captivating youth and broke everyone's heart. Echo falls in love with him but cannot use her voice. She tried to love him, but he never loved her back. Ameinius also loved Narcissus but after the sword, killed himself and asked gods to avenge his death. Artemis caused him to fall in love with himself. Narcissus killed himself, and Echo witnessed it.

86. Phyllis and Carya

Issue: Phyllis was a Thracian princess who loved Acamas who is the son of Theseus. She died of heartbreak at Enneodos and became an almond tree. Carya who was daughter of Laconian king was loved by Dionysus but died in Caryae and was turned into a walnut tree.

87. Arion

Issue: Son of Poseidon and Nymph Oneaea was master of lyre and created dithyramb. On the way sailors wanted to kill him, but granted him permission to sing last song. Some dolphins rescued him. He reached the port earlier than the ship, and one dolphin didn't want to part from him and came with him where Arion gave it a splendid funeral. The captain was found lying and executed by Periander. More stories of dolphins rescuing humans.

88. Minos and his brothers

Issue: Son of Europe and Zeus. She marries Asterius but cannot bear him any children. His other two brothers Rhadamantyhs and Sarpedon along with him fall in love with the boy Miletus but Miletus chooses Sarpedon among them and leaves Crete. Variants are presented of the story. Minos sacrifices a bull, not the magnificent bull that Poseidon gave him. Everyone accepts him as a ruler. Sarpedon went to Cilicia and became king. Lycus descends from him. Minos marries Pasiphae. She falls in love with a bull. Daedalus helped Pasiphae out. She had sex with the bull and gave birth to a Minotaur. More variants are presented. Daedalus built a retreat for three of them. Rhadamanthys ended up being a good judge. Variations on parentage. Became one of the three Judges of the Dead and possibly resided in Elysian Fields.

89. The Loves of Minos

Issue: Minos's various lovers were Paria, Androgeneia and others, including Britomartis. Pasiphae became angry, thus she gave him a curse that each time he cheated on her, he discharged swarm of noxious serpents, scorpions and millepedes. Story of Procris's family including Cephalus and Phaethon. Procris gave him a magic potion then abandoned him. Adventures of Cephalus follow.

90. The Children of Pasiphae

Issue: Pasiphae's children by Minos include Acacallis, Ariadne, Androgeus, Catreus, Glaucus and Phaedra. To Hermes she bore Cydon, to Zeus Libyan Ammon. Brief adventures of the children and their love lives are told, such as both Ariadne and Phaedra loving Theseus. Story of Glaucus's death and resurrection. Some variants about Glaucus are presented.

91. Scylla and Nisus

Issue: Minos was master of Crete, but decided to exact revenge against Grecians that killed Androgeus. Also laid siege to Nisa and the daughter of the ruler named Scylla fell in love with him. She cut off the lock of her father's hair and had Minos sleep with her. Minos abandoned her though. Variants of death of Scylla. Greece became conquered and Minos demanded a tribute of seven youths and maidens to be sacrificed to Minotaur.

92. Daedalus and Talos

Issue: Parentage is very disputed, but he was described as a wonderful smith. Talos was an apprentice surpassed Daedalus but was killed by him. Was either banished for murder, or fled before trial. Daedalus first took refuge in Attic demes, and then Cretan Cnossus where he met King Minos. Upon learning how he helped Pasiphae, Minos locked him and his son Icarus up with Minotaur. Icarus died. Variants of his escape from Crete. In the end Minos has died one way or another. Also Minos became judge of the dead with Rhadamanthys. More variants are given.

93. Catreus and Althaemenes

Issue: Son of Minos had three daughters named Aerope, Clymene and Apemosyne and a son named Althaemenes. Althaemenes and Apemosyne fled upon learning the prophecy that one of them would kill their father. Hermes fell in love with Apemosyne, ravished her, Althaemenes didn't believe her and kicked her to death. Aerope and and Clymene were banished. Aerope became mother to Agamemnon and Menelaus. Catreus came to Rhodes where he was mistaken as by a pirate and was killed by Althaemenes. A wide chasm swallowed him up.

94. The Sons of Pandion

Issue: Son of Cecrops who is son of Erechtheus who was killed by Poseidon. Was expelled due to jealousy. Ruled Megara. Possibly switches to Pylas who is King of Megara. Pandion had four sons named Aegeus, Pallas, Nisus and Lycus. After death the sons marched agasint Athens and divided Attica into four parts. Places the sons controlled. Stories of what happened afterwards.

95. The Birth of Theseus

Issue: Aegeus had two wives but neither gave him children. Was brother to Procne and Philomela. Visited Medea who promised him a child if he should shelter her against her enemies. Went to Pittheus where he got drunk and lay with Aethra who swam away and became pregnant with Poseidon's child. Poseidon conceded the paternity to Aegeus for the next four months. Asked her to rear the son in Troezen. She gave birth to Theseus. Traveled by land to be reunited with his father.

96. The Labours of Theseus

Issue: Various adventures of Theseus traveling as well as doling out justice as fit the crime. Rescued Perigune from her father Sinis. She gave him a son named Melanippus and married Deioneus. A variant is presented. More adventures. Variant of Sciron myth. Some more adventures are given.

To be continued...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Coming Up...Week 7 of 2013

Books to be reviewed:

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.

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 291 out of 450, chapter 22 out of 34 plus foreword


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 20 out of 54, Page 348 out of 1090





The Gordonston Ladies Dong Walking Club by 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.

Progress: Chapter 7 out of 20, page 72 out of 189

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.

Progress: Chapter 5 out of 44, page 36 out of 405

Cheaper, Better, Faster: Over 2,000 Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money Every Day by Mary Hunt

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 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.

Progress: Chapter 2 out of 16, page 47 out of 244

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 19 out of 35, Page 158 out of 307




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

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 42 out of 670, Page 30 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 85 out of 104, Page 286 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

Family Pictures by 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

Francesca of Lost Nation by Lucinda Sue Crosby

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.

Pages: 249

Chapters: 38








Letters from your future; reaching for your highest potential in times of great change by Brett L Bowden

Dear Ones,

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.

Pages: 265

Chapters: 40 plus preface, introduction and epilogue

Chronicles of the Crusades by Jean de Joinville, Geoffroi de Villehardouin 

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.

Pages: 353

Chapters: 43 plus introduction



She Who Remembers by Linda Lay Shuler

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

Pages: 472

Chapters: 54 plus afterword and prologue

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

G32 Elihu Washburne; The Diary and Letters of America's Minister to France During the SIege and Commune of Paris

Title: Elihu Washburne; The Diary and Letters of America's Minister to France During the Siege and Commune of Paris

Author: Elihu Washburne was writer, while Michael Hill and and David McCullough were possibly editors?

First Copyright Date: Letters and diary entries were from 1870-1871, while the story was put together and published in 2012

Type of Book: France, War, history, Commune, Diplomacy, Franco-Prussian relations, Paris, Siege, 1870-1871

General Subject Matter: France, Paris 1870-1871

Special Features: There is a map of Paris in front as well as a foreword and prologue talking about Elihu Washburne's life before he went to Paris and got stranded there. There's also an index at the back as well.

Price: US: 26 dollars, Canada, 29 dollars

ISBN: 978-1-4516-6528-4

Possibility on why this subject: 

"Elihu Washburne and allt hose caught up in what happened are long gone now, of course. How many today have any idea even of when the Franco-Prussian War or the Siege of Paris or the reign of the Commune happened?...But we need to know, if only because the Franco-Prussian War was Part One of a titanic struggle between France and Germany that was to be followed by the horrors of World War I and World War II." (xxi)

Point of view:

From the background that was given about Elihu Washburne, one can say its an American point of view. Elihu basically earned his status and was not born to wealth. He acquired it on his own. Mainly its a first person narrative, but digging deeper we have someone compassionate who sticks to his duty and does his best to help the underdogs. (He helped the German women and children.) Yet when the action begins, he is wealthy and has rubbed elbows the rich and famous so to speak.

Give Information:

Personally the author was trying to give information, and I believe that in order to keep record and relieve the tedium of being shut in, he wrote in diary of what was happening as sort of a therapy for himself.

General Field or Genre/How book fits into it:

This book deals with Franco-Prussian War of 1870, as well as the aftermath of the Commune. It takes place completely in Paris and here we have records of what Parisians did when starvation was imminent as well as their blunders and failures in retaking Paris. It also how volatile people are under these conditions and their unpredictability.

Audience:

The intended audience was himself. I doubt that he desired for anyone else to read his thoughts or to know his thoughts. The book is interspersed with letters to his wife and State of Secretary named Fish, but primarily its the diary of his activities in Paris as well as observations of what's going on.

Author's Style: 

The style struck me as dry and informal. The author simply recorded things and although he tried to shock me, for some odd reason my cynicism of his "never happened in history," rang false. Mostly the book focuses on war and political matters going on, or complaints about lack of what is going. Once in a while his family and how much he misses them is mentioned as well.

Suit intended Audience:

Perhaps the writing suited him, but I'm not sure about what others have thought.

Table of Contents:

This is written chronologically and if you count prologue and epilogue, its divided into eight chapters:
Prologue: Covers Elihu Washburne's life from the time he was born up until 1870.
1. War and Revolution cover the period of when France had war with Germany and they lost, causing Germany to start blockade Paris. Takes place from his arrival on July 19th, 1870 up until September 16th, 1870
2. Siege begins with September 19th, 1870 up until November 29th, 1870 and begins the downward spiral of description of life in Paris, such as loss of beauty and hopelessness and so forth.
3. Desperation and Despair begins with December 1 1870 up until January 1st, 1871 and describes more of the war and waiting for news that Elihu has to tolerate.
4. Defeat begins on January 2nd, 1871 up until January 28th, 1871 and describes more of the same, especially how Parisians begin begging for peace between France and Germany.
5. Peace begins with January 29th, 1871 up until March 21st, 1871 and has praises of other people towards Elihu as well as the fact that Prussians leave Paris in peace.
6. Reign of Terror begins with March 18th 1871 up until June 2nd, 1871 and overthrow of government as well as the revolution and killing of bishop begin to fill up the pages. There is also a war between the government in Marseilles and that of Paris. It ends in peace
Epilogue starts with June 7, 1871 and describes how Elihu was received by various friends and people who owed him their lives, then proceeded to record the rest of his life, including how he and President Grant stopped being friends and so forth. It ended with his funeral and where he is buried.

How Book affected me:

Although there were some dramatized parts, or so I felt, I was amazed at how in beginning it was all normal, then oh so slowly Paris slid in a downward spiral. I guess Parisians eating dogs and cats was not that surprising. I'm surprised that no cannibalism was mentioned of. Although I felt that the writing tended to be boring, and I still don't really see the link between this war and how from it came World War I and World War II, it was an interesting read on what its like to live under these circumstances and conditions. I have to applaud Elihu Washburne for his bravery and what he had to go through.

Achieved Goal:

I really didn't see the link between World Wars and this particular war. It would have helped if they could explain the link in more detail. What I saw was the Parisian War and that's that.

Recommend the book:

I would recommend the book for those who have to do research. Its not something that should be read for fun unless you want to see how life deteriorates under these conditions or unless you want to become more familiar with French history.

Theme:

These are Elihu's letters and diary during the siege of Paris and commune of Paris from 1870 up until 1871.

Thesis: 

This is a vital work in understanding the siege as well as the commune during the years of 1870 up until 1871.

Quick notes: I won this book on goodreads.com thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)
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