Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Saying Nice Things About Books

When you were little, did your mother tell you that if you didn't have something nice to say about someone, you shouldn't say anything at all? That's kind of how I feel about book reviews. Certainly there are bad books out there, and book reviewers should warn readers about them; but I made a conscious choice some time ago to only feature positive reviews on this blog. If I can't honestly give the book four or five stars, then I skip it. Because there are a lot of books that go unnoticed in the vast flood of published work out there. I think that it's also a reviewer's job to point readers toward books they might have missed. That's the kind of reviewer I'd like to be. One of the great things about my day job is that I'm constantly being exposed to books and writers I would not have read on my own. I'm not, for example, a huge fan of political thrillers. So many of them are wildly predictable and writing that's stronger on jargon than it is on style. And then I was asked to read Daniel Silva's The English Girl. It is the latest in his series about Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon whose cover is a job as an art restorer. It was terrific. So good, in fact, that I've bought the other books in the series and intend to read them all. I've also decided to do a lot more reviewing in the coming months. I've got a huge pile of books and galleys and manuscripts piling up and I know that when I start sifting through them, I'm ging to find some golden nuggets. I'll tell you about those. And in the meantme, if you like great writing, do yourself a favor and pick up one of Daniel Silva's books. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Shakespeare fans--the Etsy Shop of Your Dreams!

I have mentioned before my love for Etsy, and I've run across a shop called IMMORTAL LONGINGS
that produces Shakespeare-themed items that are ... exquisite. I have half a dozen parked in my shopping cart (Just 17 more days until my birthday!) and will definitely return to it for my annual Holiday Gift Guide. check it out!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Whipping Boy and Shakespeare

Both my parents liked words. My father was a lawyer and he early on discovered the delight little kids take in repeating words that sound like nonsense words. I knew how to pronounce posse comitatus before I could spell "cat." And I wasn't that much older when I learned what it meant, which put me way ahead in civics class. My mother favored archaic English phrases like "dogsbody" and "whipping boy" and "dog in the manger." These were phrases my siblings and I learned as kids and I freely used them in conversation until I moved to L.A. and found that people were giving me blank looks, so I stopped. But I still love those words and I chose "Whipping Boy" as the title of my mystery novella because the plot revolves around a murder of a scapegoat. Shakespeare, of course, used all those phrases (and more). Or so I thought until I started searching for the phrase and none of my usual go-to sources could find it. (Plenty of places where one person or another was whipped, and also a reference to "Whipping Boy" in Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper, but no joy on Shakesperae. Sigh At any rate, I'm offering my novella free for the next five days in case you'd like to read it. There are 10 reviews now (almost all of them by people I don't actually know) and eight of them are five stars! You can snag a copy here.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sulu & Shakespeare

Before he was the awesome force of nature and social media guru he is today, George Takei was known for his role on Star Trek
. In 1969 he gave this interview mentioning his desire to act in three of Shakespeare's greatest plays, taking on the roles of Hamlet, Brutus and Richard III. I don't know if he ever played any of those roles, but I would love to see him take on some of Shakespeare's great mature roles, like Prospero, or Lear.

Monday, Monday

thanks to the bodacious quotatious geeks at Search Quotes, I discovered a whole slew of Monday quotes, some of them by Shakespeare. the Internet, always boggling my mind.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

If Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie had a daughter...

She would be the gorgeous Salony Luthra, who is one of the stars in the Indian film noir Sarabham, which got a snarky review from the Hindu Times, but sounds interesting nonetheless. Hre in L.A. it's possible to see a lot of films made outside the US, but it's good to know that Netflix and Hulu and other outfits are constantly casting their nets for content.