Sunday, May 31, 2015

BOOK REVIEWS. Sort Of.





A note about BOOK REVIEWS. Sort Of.:

These are not, in any way, meant to be comprehensive reviews. They are intended to acknowledge that I have read the book, and give my honest core impressions.

If a real review is what you wish, there are many wonderful book blogs available, and I have provided some tools to find them under the tab marked "Useful Stuff."






~ SHORT STORIES ~

The Safe Man (ebook) - Michael Connelly

Wow!

I hadn't expected such a solid effort from a writer of murder mysteries, but ... yes.







~ EBOOKS ~

The Burning Room (ebook) - Michael Connelly

I think it's a sign of how good a writer is by how angry you become when the main character ends up getting a raw deal at the hands of his superiors - and I have railed over and over again at some of the jerks in Bosch's world.

Connelly remains one of my favorite writers of murder mysteries.




Killing Orders (ebook) - Sara Paretsky

"Still, you know what they say - the best medical care today costs no more than the cheapest nuclear submarine."

Danger can come from the most unexpected places. Although these days, It's not that unexpected.




Death on Retreat - Sister Carol Anne O'Marie

Even the serene redwoods cannot shield Sister Mary Helen from the intrusion of murder.

Neither can the law keep her from using her sharp mind to solve the mystery.







~ REINCARNATED TREES ~

The Golem of Hollywood - Jonathan Kellerman & Jesse Kellerman

Jonathan Kellerman has been consistently one of my favorite authors for years, and this collaboration with his son Jesse was an unexpected pleasure.

A modern murder mystery unfolds along side an ancient story, and the two eventually converge. It drew me along.

Unfortunately, now I have to look up Jesse Kellerman's novels and read them!


How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back - Ruth Stout

Have you ever enjoyed reading a gardening book? This one was amusing and well written.

It's not a how to book, nor does it go into in depth explanations. Ms Stout shares all the mistakes she made over the years, and explains her principal of gardening that she developed over the years.

I have been coming to some of the same conclusions as Ms Stout, and found the book helpful.

Raging Heat - Richard Castle

"Nikki, never underestimate the ability of the devils among us to see only the saints in themselves. How else could they go about their day?"

Richard Castle may not be the best mystery writer who ever lived, but the way he balances his characters and the different worlds he inhabits is masterful.  . . . Really.

This was another fun romp with Nikki Heat and her crew as she goes toe to toe with those who believe their power can beat her push for justice.

Motive - Jonathan Kellerman

"- let me ask you, amigo, what that tech said, everything tastes like chicken. You think chickens say everything tastes like corn?"

A new murder links back to a cold case, but the clues are very confusing. Detective Sturgis and Doctor Delaware persevere, however.

There was less gore and more puzzle than some of the previous Alex Delaware novels. That being said, I've never been disappointed with any of them.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

Mr. Riggs has taken found objects (actual vintage photographs) and used them as the centerpiece of an intriguing story.

Like the narrator, the reader begins the novel vacillating between explanations for the occurrences, however . . .




The Brief History of the Dead - Kevin Brockmeier

This is a story about life, death, and what lies between.

It left me asking the question: How many people have I touched in my life?






Dark Tower IV: Wizard And Glass - Stephen King

"Story telling always changes time. At least I does in my world."

Past, present, and the moving on . . .

The gunslinger finally begins to tell his tale, and it's not hard to understand why he is the way he is.

(I hope I live to finish reading the series. At the rate I'm going it's not a forgone conclusion.)


Saturday, May 30, 2015

It's A Garden Party - Happy Easter!



This feature, originally known as Saturday Farmer's Market, was created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and then hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

Finally!

Although my Easter Lily is usually a little late, it has never been this late.

I think I've mentioned before how my garden doesn't seem to have a good grasp on time and seasons. Well, this is a good example. The good news is that it has a lot of buds and looks like it's going to be blooming for a while to come.


Glanmore Sonnets
- Seamus Heaney

For Ann Saddlemyer,
our heartiest welcomer

                               I
Vowels ploughed into other: opened ground.   
The mildest February for twenty years   
Is mist bands over furrows, a deep no sound   
Vulnerable to distant gargling tractors.
Our road is steaming, the turned-up acres breathe.   
Now the good life could be to cross a field   
And art a paradigm of earth new from the lathe   
Of ploughs. My lea is deeply tilled.
Old ploughsocks gorge the subsoil of each sense   
And I am quickened with a redolence   
Of farmland as a dark unblown rose.
Wait then...Breasting the mist, in sowers’ aprons,   
My ghosts come striding into their spring stations.   
The dream grain whirls like freakish Easter snows.

                                  II
Sensings, mountings from the hiding places,   
Words entering almost the sense of touch   
Ferreting themselves out of their dark hutch—
‘These things are not secrets but mysteries,’   
Oisin Kelly told me years ago
In Belfast, hankering after stone
That connived with the chisel, as if the grain   
Remembered what the mallet tapped to know.   
Then I landed in the hedge-school of Glanmore   
And from the backs of ditches hoped to raise
A voice caught back off slug-horn and slow chanter   
That might continue, hold, dispel, appease:   
Vowels ploughed into other, opened ground,   
Each verse returning like the plough turned round.

                                  III
This evening the cuckoo and the corncrake   
(So much, too much) consorted at twilight.   
It was all crepuscular and iambic.   
Out on the field a baby rabbit
Took his bearings, and I knew the deer
(I’ve seen them too from the window of the house,   
Like connoisseurs, inquisitive of air)   
Were careful under larch and May-green spruce.   
I had said earlier, ‘I won’t relapse   
From this strange loneliness I’ve brought us to.   
Dorothy and William—’ She interrupts:   
‘You’re not going to compare us two...?’   
Outside a rustling and twig-combing breeze   
Refreshes and relents. Is cadences.

                                  IV
I used to lie with an ear to the line
For that way, they said, there should come a sound   
Escaping ahead, an iron tune
Of flange and piston pitched along the ground,   
But I never heard that. Always, instead,
Struck couplings and shuntings two miles away   
Lifted over the woods. The head
Of a horse swirled back from a gate, a grey   
Turnover of haunch and mane, and I’d look   
Up to the cutting where she’d soon appear.
Two fields back, in the house, small ripples shook   
Silently across our drinking water
(As they are shaking now across my heart)
And vanished into where they seemed to start.

                                  V
Soft corrugations in the boortree’s trunk,
Its green young shoots, its rods like freckled solder:   
It was our bower as children, a greenish, dank
And snapping memory as I get older.
And elderberry I have learned to call it.
I love its blooms like saucers brimmed with meal,   
Its berries a swart caviar of shot,
A buoyant spawn, a light bruised out of purple.   
Elderberry? It is shires dreaming wine.
Boortree is bower tree, where I played ‘touching tongues’
And felt another’s texture quick on mine.
So, etymologist of roots and graftings,
I fall back to my tree-house and would crouch
Where small buds shoot and flourish in the hush.

                                  VI
He lived there in the unsayable lights.
He saw the fuchsia in a drizzling noon,
The elderflower at dusk like a risen moon
And green fields greying on the windswept heights.   
‘I will break through,’ he said, ‘what I glazed over   
With perfect mist and peaceful absences’—
Sudden and sure as the man who dared the ice   
And raced his bike across the Moyola River.   
A man we never saw. But in that winter
Of nineteen forty-seven, when the snow
Kept the country bright as a studio,
In a cold where things might crystallize or founder,   
His story quickened us, a wild white goose
Heard after dark above the drifted house.

                                  VII
Dogger, Rockall, Malin, Irish Sea:
Green, swift upsurges, North Atlantic flux   
Conjured by that strong gale-warning voice,   
Collapse into a sibilant penumbra.
Midnight and closedown. Sirens of the tundra,
Of eel-road, seal-road, keel-road, whale-road, raise   
Their wind-compounded keen behind the baize   
And drive the trawlers to the lee of Wicklow.   
L’Etoile, Le Guillemot, La Belle Hélène   

Nursed their bright names this morning in the bay   
That toiled like mortar. It was marvellous   
And actual, I said out loud, ‘A haven,’   
The word deepening, clearing, like the sky   
Elsewhere on Minches, Cromarty, The Faroes.

                                  VIII
Thunderlight on the split logs: big raindrops   
At body heat and lush with omen
Spattering dark on the hatchet iron.
This morning when a magpie with jerky steps   
Inspected a horse asleep beside the wood   
I thought of dew on armour and carrion.
What would I meet, blood-boltered, on the road?   
How deep into the woodpile sat the toad?
What welters through this dark hush on the crops?   
Do you remember that pension in Les Landes   
Where the old one rocked and rocked and rocked   
A mongol in her lap, to little songs?   
Come to me quick, I am upstairs shaking.   
My all of you birchwood in lightning.

                                  IX
Outside the kitchen window a black rat
Sways on the briar like infected fruit:
‘It looked me through, it stared me out, I’m not   
Imagining things. Go you out to it.’
Did we come to the wilderness for this?
We have our burnished bay tree at the gate,
Classical, hung with the reek of silage
From the next farm, tart-leafed as inwit.
Blood on a pitchfork, blood on chaff and hay,
Rats speared in the sweat and dust of threshing—
What is my apology for poetry?
The empty briar is swishing
When I come down, and beyond, inside, your face   
Haunts like a new moon glimpsed through tangled glass.

                                  X
I dreamt we slept in a moss in Donegal
On turf banks under blankets, with our faces   
Exposed all night in a wetting drizzle,   
Pallid as the dripping sapling birches.   
Lorenzo and Jessica in a cold climate.   
Diarmuid and Grainne waiting to be found.   
Darkly asperged and censed, we were laid out   
Like breathing effigies on a raised ground.
And in that dream I dreamt—how like you this?—
Our first night years ago in that hotel   
When you came with your deliberate kiss   
To raise us towards the lovely and painful   
Covenants of flesh; our separateness;   
The respite in our dewy dreaming faces.


from: Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996. Copyright 1998.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Cadillac Moon

- Kevin Young
 
Crashing
again—Basquiat
sends fenders

& letters headlong
into each other
the future. Fusion.

AAAAAAAAAAA.

Big Bang. The Big
Apple, Atom's
behind him—

no sirens
in sight. His career
of careening

since—at six—
playing stickball
a car stole

his spleen. Blind
sided. Move
along folks—nothing

to see here. Driven,
does two Caddys
colliding, biting

the dust he's begun
to snort. Hit
& run. Red

Cross—the pill-pale
ambulance, inside
out, he hitched

to the hospital.
Joy ride. Hot
wired. O the rush

before the wreck—

each Cadillac,
a Titanic,
an iceberg that's met

its match—cabin
flooded
like an engine,

drawing even
dark Shine
from below deck.

FLATS FIX. Chop

shop. Body work
while-u-wait. In situ
the spleen

or lien, anterior view—
removed. Given
Gray's Anatomy

by his mother for recovery—

151. Reflexion of spleen
turned forwards
& to the right, like

pages of a book
Basquiat pulled
into orbit

with tide, the moon
gold as a tooth,
a hubcap gleaming,

gleaned—Shine
swimming for land,
somewhere solid

to spin his own obit.


from To Repel Ghosts. Copyright 2001.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hysteria

- T. S. Eliot
 
As she laughed I was aware of becoming involved in her laughter and being part of it, until her teeth were only accidental stars with a talent for squad-drill. I was drawn in by short gasps, inhaled at each momentary recovery, lost finally in the dark caverns of her throat, bruised by the ripple of unseen muscles. An elderly waiter with trembling hands was hurriedly spreading a pink and white checked cloth over the rusty green iron table, saying: “If the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden, if the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden ...” I decided that if the shaking of her breasts could be stopped, some of the fragments of the afternoon might be collected, and I concentrated my attention with careful subtlety to this end.


from: Poems, Copyright 1920.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lunch With the Sole Survivor

- Kenneth Fearing
Meaning what it seems to when the day’s receipts are
       counted and locked inside the store and the 
       keys are taken home
   feeling as it does to drive a car that rides and rides like
       a long, low, dark, silent streak of radio waves
   just the way the hero feels in a smash-hit show
   exactly like the giant in a Times Square sign making
       love across the sky to a lady made of light
    
And then as though the switch were thrown and all of 
       the lights went out
   then as though the curtain fell and then they swept
       the aisles and then it’s someone’s turn to go
   smoke the last cigarette, drink the last tall drink, go
       with the last long whistle of the midnight train
       as it fades among the hills
    
Meaning what it seems to mean but feeling the way it 
       does
   as though the wind would always, always blow away
       from home.
 
from: Kenneth Fearing: Selected Poems. Copyright 1936.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Kilt Monday!

'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so rough, hard, difficult.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Showers

- D. Nurkse

The child tells me,  put a brick in the tank, 
don’t wear leather, don’t eat brisket,
snapper, or farmed salmon
—not tells,
orders—doesn’t she know the sluice gates
are wide open and a trillion gallons
wasted just for the dare of it? 

Until the staring eye shares that thrill,
witnessing: I am just iris and cornea,
blind spot where brain meets mind,
the place where the image forms itself
from a spark
image of the coming storm.

Still the child waits outside the bathroom
with the watch she got for Best Essay,
muttering,  two minutes too long.

Half measures, I say. She says, action.
I: I’m one man. She: Seven billion.

If you choose, the sea goes back.


Copyright 2015.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

It's A Garden Party - The Flowers Have Wings!



This feature, originally known as Saturday Farmer's Market, was created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and then hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.


Say hello to the Western Tiger Swallowtail. Although common in the Bay Area, it's been years since we've seen one of these near our garden in the north.

S/he is enjoying the Lantana, not native to California, but drought tolerant none the less. In fact, while the rest of the garden - flowers, fruits, veggies - has been getting by on reduced water, I haven't watered this bed at all since the middle of last summer.  


QUOTE of the DAY

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.

- Rainer Maria Rilke,
from: Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Do not go gentle into that good night

- Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


from: The Poems of Dylan Thomas. Copyright 1953.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sorry . . .






I fell again the other day and pulled a muscle in my back, which has put a crimp in my activities again.

The NSADS have upset my stomach quite a bit.

I just want to curl up and sleep until it all goes away - and we all know that won't happen.

Hope you're all doing much better than I am. Take care and keep it that way.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Kilt Monday!

'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so rough, hard, difficult.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Penumbrae

 - John Updike
 
The shadows have their seasons, too.
The feathery web the budding maples
cast down upon the sullen lawn

bears but a faint relation to
high summer's umbrageous weight
and tunnellike continuum—

black leached from green, deep pools
wherein a globe of gnats revolves
as airy as an astrolabe.

The thinning shade of autumn is
an inherited Oriental,
red worn to pink, nap worn to thread.

Shadows on snow look blue. The skier,
exultant at the summit, sees his poles
elongate toward the valley: thus

each blade of grass projects another
opposite the sun, and in marshes
the mesh is infinite,

as the winged eclipse an eagle in flight
drags across the desert floor
is infinitesimal.

And shadows on water!—
the beech bough bent to the speckled lake
where silt motes flicker gold,

or the steel dock underslung
with a submarine that trembles,
its ladder stiffened by air.

And loveliest, because least looked-for,
gray on gray, the stripes
the pearl-white winter sun

hung low beneath the leafless wood
draws out from trunk to trunk across the road
like a stairway that does not rise.

from: Collected Poems 1953-1993. Copyright 1993.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

It's A Garden Party - Pretties



This feature, originally known as Saturday Farmer's Market, was created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and then hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.


The California Poppies are spreading out across the yard. As the Oxalis dies back (finally) the Poppies finally have more room to fill in.



My lovely little Violet is also going strong. It is getting bigger and continues to bloom. The hot, dry summers here are pretty hard on them, but since it is under the roses it has a fighting chance.


Birthday Roses!



and more Roses!


Columbine


 Irises




Daisy Time

See, the grass is full of stars,
Fallen in their brightness;
Hearts they have of shining gold,
Rays of shining whiteness.
Buttercups have honeyed hearts,
Bees they love the clover,
But I love the daisies’ dance
All the meadow over.
Blow, O blow, you happy winds,
Singing summer’s praises,
Up the field and down the field
A-dancing with the daisies.


from: Little Songs: A Book of Poems.
 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Everyone Else is Way Ahead of Me on This . . .

The death toll for the earthquake in Nepal is over 7,500 as of today, with more than twice that injured, and after shocks have continued hamper rescue efforts. The devastation has flattened entire villages and destroyed Historic and World Heritage sites, many of which will never be replaced.
 
It is feared that this year's harvest will be reduced or even lost because manpower has been turned to rescue and survival, rather than agriculture. This will compound and prolong already unimaginable suffering. 
 
If you can help, even the smallest donation to the general fund so that Red Cross can put it where it is needed most would help greatly. If Red Cross is not your cup of tea, no problem, give where you feel most confident. If you would like suggestions for alternate giving, there are some included in the links below.
 
 
Here are a couple of posts with some relevant information and links on giving:

 

Red Cross   Direct Link for Red Cross Donations



Monday, May 4, 2015

Kilt Monday!

'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so rough, hard, difficult.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Forest in the Axe

- André Breton

Someone just died but I’m still alive and yet I don’t have a soul anymore. All I have left is a transparent body inside of which transparent doves hurl themselves on a transparent dagger held by a transparent hand. I see struggle in all its beauty, real struggle which nothing can measure, just before the last star comes out. The rented body I live in like a hut detests the soul I had which floats in the distance. It’s time to put an end to that famous dualism for which I’ve been so much reproached. Gone are the days when eyes without light and rings drew sediment from pools of color. There’s neither red nor blue anymore. Unanimous red-blue fades away in turn like a robin redbreast in the hedges of inattention. Someone just died,—not you or I or they exactly, but all of us, except me who survives by a variety of means: I’m still cold for example. That’s enough. A match! A match! Or how about some rocks so I can split them, or some birds so I can follow them, or some corsets so I can tighten them around dead women’s waists, so they’ll come back to life and love me, with their exhausting hair, their disheveled glances! A match, so no one dies for brandied plums, a match so the Italian straw hat can be more than a play! Hey, lawn! Hey, rain! I’m the unreal breath of this garden. The black crown resting on my head is a cry of migrating crows because up till now there have only been those who were buried alive, and only a few of them, and here I am the first aerated dead man. But I have a body so I can stop doing myself in, so I can force reptiles to admire me. Bloody hands, misteltoe eyes, a mouth of dried leaves and glass (the dried leaves move under the glass; they’re not as red as one would think, when indifference exposes its voracious methods), hands to gather you, miniscule thyme of my dreams, rosemary of my extreme pallor. I don’t have a shadow anymore, either. Ah my shadow, my dear shadow. I should write a long letter to the shadow I lost. I’d begin it My Dear Shadow. Shadow, my darling. You see. There’s no more sun. There’s only one tropic left out of two. There’s only one man left in a thousand. There’s only one woman left in the absence of thought that characterizes in pure black this cursed era. That woman holds a bouquet of everlastings shaped like my blood.


from: Andre Breton: Selections. Copyright 2003.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Some Days . . .


My mind’s frustration weighs
Heavier than failure.
Alas, my heart and I
Know not how to endure.

- Sri Chinmoy