7.29.2013

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching GodTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was never assigned this in school, and never knew much about Zora Neale Hurston until a restaurant opened in Washington D.C. called Eatonville. I became curious about Ms. Hurston, and why the proprietor would name a restaurant after her home town. (They've got great food if you're ever in the area. There's a porch inside with rocking chairs, your napkins are tea towels, they serve lemonade in mason jars. After reading the book, I understand the decor and the feeling of the restaurant. Based on Ms. Hurston's descriptions of Eatonville in Their Eyes Were Watching God, I can see how the restaurant is a wonderful tribute to Ms. Hurston and her home.)

In any case, this isn't a food review...that was just an observation.

I did thoroughly enjoy this book. The language is so lyrical and the imagery so vivid. For example, this about a sunrise:

Janie dozed off to sleep but she woke up in time to see the sun sending up spies ahead of him to mark out the road through the dark. He peeped up over the door sill of the world and made a little foolishness with red. But pretty soon, he laid all that aside and went about his business dressed all in white.

I admit that reading through the dialogue's vernacular was a bit slow-going, so I decided to listen to the audio version. I'm so glad I made that decision. The audio version is read by actress Ruby Dee. She has such a rich voice, and changes her voice for each character. She's so dramatic and listening to the story, I could picture it in my mind as a play on stage. Ms. Dee makes you really feel Janie's joy and pain. It was just beautiful.

I really loved it.


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7.28.2013

Fruitvale Station

I saw Fruitvale Station today and had this exchange on FB with a friend of mine:


If you don't know, the movie is about a young man, Oscar Grant, who was shot and killed by police in the Bay Area in 2009.  He was unarmed.  The story is devastating.  The movie is very well made and the acting great.  I've been a fan of Michael B. Jordan since he was on the TV version of Friday Night Lights, and he really showed his talents in this movie. 

A couple of anecdotes: First, when I walked into the theater this afternoon, I thought I was in the wrong place.  My pre-conceived notions figured the audience would be mostly black, but when I walked in, I saw mostly white people, and mostly senior citizens at that.  I re-checked my ticket and the sign on the door and saw I was in the right place.  A little later, a black couple came in.  I was sitting on the aisle, and when they got near me, they asked, "You're here to see Fruitvale, right?"  I told them yes, and smiled to myself.  I know they were thinking the same thing! 

Next, as I mentioned in the comments above, I had to sit through the credits to compose myself.  I was truly an emotional mess after this movie.  As I was getting ready to leave, some elderly ladies (who happened to be white) were also leaving from my row.  One was holding a walker, and I offered to help carry it down the stairs.  She said no thanks and that the walker actually belonged to her friend, who would be okay holding the handrail to get down the stairs.  Then, she looked me in the eye and said, "Wasn't that story terrible?  I can't stop crying."  I told her I couldn't either, and then she said, "My gosh...your people have been through so much.  I'm so sorry.  It's just awful."  I just smiled and told her I appreciated the sentiment.  It was all I could do not to burst into tears all over again.  She was so sweet and sincere and like I said, I was already a wreck.

I've been thinking about this whole experience all day.  I'm grateful that the audience wasn't all black.  This movie should be seen by all.  I'm glad this audience seemed to have open minds and showed up.  I realize I'm making generalizations about people, which could get me into trouble, but sometimes these are the thoughts that go through my head.

Anyway, here's a little more about the movie...an interview with Michael B. Jordan:


7.24.2013

52 Weeks of Dishcloths - Cloth #2

I finished dishcloth #2 tonight, from Being Spiffy.  I used Sugar n' Cream in Lime Burst.  This pattern involved some new-to-me stitches that I had to look up on YouTube (you can find anything on YouTube) and I got it done.  I'm pleased with the result...the fabric is really thick and this will be great for scrubbing dishes.





On to #3!

7.21.2013

Manless in Montclair (ugh) by Amy Holman Edelman

Manless in Montclair: Love, Loss, Excessive DatingManless in Montclair: Love, Loss, Excessive Dating by Amy Holman Edelman

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Kindle version was cheap on Amazon, and it had decent reviews, so I ordered it. If I could, I'd give it 2 1/2 stars.

I'm really glad I had this on my Kindle because: 1) I hate the title of the book and, 2) would you look at that cover? Terrible! I'd be so embarrassed to be carrying that around in public.

Anyway, the story is about Isabel who is in her early forties when her husband Michael suddenly passes away. After Michael dies, Isabel tries to get back on her feet, and after a request from her daughter for a new daddy, she takes to the dating world.

I really enjoyed the first half of the book which includes flashbacks about how Isabel and Michael met and fell in love. I really liked both characters and their relationship.

It's the second half of the book, where Isabels starts dealing with online dating, speed dating, arranged dinner parties, blind dates, etc. that lost me. Isabel became annoying and she was trying too hard. It seemed like she barely grieved for her husband and then just had to have a man to complete her life. I didn't like that message, even though Isabel was searching for a man under the guise of providing for her kids.

Still, I do like the author's writing style and wit, and would probably give her another chance. I wouldn't recommend this one, though.


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7.20.2013

52 Weeks of Dishcloths

I mentioned previously that I have taken up crocheting.  I really enjoy it.  The other day I was searching for patterns, and came across a blog, Being Spiffy, where the writer (Jill Swensen) decided to knit or crochet one dishcloth per week.  This intrigued me.  Dishcloths are quick and easy projects that are a great way to learn and practice different crochet & knit stitches.  Jill started her first project in March and is up to week 17, but I decided to start now, and start from the beginning.

Ta-da!




Week One's pattern was created by Bubblegirl, and I used Sugar 'n Cream yarn in Butter Cream Ombre.  That was fun, and now I'm on to Week Two.  (I'm going to try to catch up to Being Spiffy's schedule, so will make more than one dishcloth per week, as time allows.  We'll see how it goes.)


7.04.2013

Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos

Falling TogetherFalling Together by Marisa de los Santos

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I'd really give this 3.5 if I could. The story is about three close friends who met in college, but then "split up" some time after they graduated. Before their 10-year college reunion, two of the friends receive an email from the third saying for them to come to the reunion because she needs them. In a nutshell, the book is basically about the quest for the friends to rediscover each other.

The writing is very descriptive and often beautiful, but sometimes there's just too much of the flowery language, which left me skimming and waiting for the point. That made some of the reading a little tedious, but I enjoyed the character development and relationships of the characters.



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Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

Let's Explore Diabetes with OwlsLet's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I listened to the audio version of the book, read by David Sedaris himself, which I think is the best way to experience David Sedaris.  I enjoyed the majority of the stories and often found myself laughing out loud.  I particularly enjoyed the essays that he read to a live audience.  The musical interludes between each essay reminded me of listening to All Things Considered on NPR.  I didn't care as much for the fictional essays toward the end, but some still made me laugh.



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