Daily Archives: August 20, 2014

Blessings

Change and loss, especially when it is abrupt is not easy.

The people around us, who love us are well meaning. They may say “when one door closes, another one opens” or “it was meant to be”.

As well meaning as they are, they cannot take away the hurt or the fear that accompanies this new and unexpected change.

As unsettling as this new challenge is, I have to remember my blessings.

I have a roof over my head and food when I am hungry. I have people in my life who love and support me.

If you are not new to my blog, you know that I live in New York City. Like any big city, it is commonplace to see a homeless person begging for change.

No matter how long this challenge takes, I must always remember to count my blessings. There is always someone in this world who has less than I have.

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Filed under Life, New York City

Fear Of Flying Review

As a writer and a reader, there is before and after moment for me. There is the moment I started reading Erica Jong’s classic and sometimes controversial (depending on your point of view) 1973 novel, Fear Of Flying. Then there is the moment after and you realize that you will never read a novel or see the world the same way again.  Ms. Jong’s late 20’s coming of age novel is the story of discovering yourself as an adult and making decisions based on what is real versus what is fantasy.

Ms. Jong’s literary doppelganger, Isadora Wing, is traveling to Vienna with her second husband for a psychiatry conference.  Her sexual fantasy, known as the zipless f*ck appears in the form of Adrian Goodlove, an Englishman who is very willing to take part in Isadora’s sexual’s fantasies. But the sexual fantasy will soon fade as Adrian forces Isadora to face her past, her choices and choose her future.

If I were to make a list of all of the books I have read and put them in order of how influential they were in my life, Fear Of Flying would be in the top five. I read it when I was twenty seven and my life was forever changed. I understood Isadora from the first page. She is a woman still discovering who she is and what she wants out of life. Those are questions that we normally ask ourselves as teenagers, but they surprisingly still come up ten years later. Ms. Jong is open as a writer, both emotionally and sexually. She is a balls to the wall writer who uses her writing both as a form of expression and a form of therapy.

What I love about this book is that it opened the door to other female authors.  Women, both as writers and readers, are not as confined to certain genres or characters as they once were. We are freer than we were to write and read as we feel, even if the story goes against what is considered popular or appropriate for a female.

I recommend this book.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism

The Plot Against America Book Review

The scariest thing in life is not always the monster we think is hiding in the closet or under the bed. The scariest thing is what if’s in life. It’s the if’s in history that might have changed the world as we know it.

Phillip Roth is known as one of the most prolific and well known writers of the past two generations. His books are iconic; his characters have taken on a life of their own, well beyond the initial publishing. His 2004 novel, The Plot Against America, is the scariest book that I have ever read.

The Plot Against America starts in 1940. Roth takes biographical elements from his family and childhood. He combines those elements with the plot of a revisionist historical thriller. Young Phillip Roth is living with his parents and older brother in Newark, New Jersey. Newark has a large Jewish population. They are not as traditional as their immigrant grandparents were, but they still retain the ancient Jewish traditions that their forebears took with them when they emigrated from Eastern Europe to America.

World War II has already started in Europe. The Americans are content to watch the war from afar; not wanting to be drawn into another bloody conflict overseas only decade after World War I. Charles Lindbergh is the hero of the age, having just flown around the world. The candidates for President of the United States  for the 1940 election are Charles Lindbergh and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Charles Lindbergh is voted in as President of the United States.

President Lindbergh negotiates a cordial understanding with the Nazis and Adolph Hitler.  Soon after, the government embarks on a below the radar, folksy anti-semitic campaign against it’s Jewish citizens. The result of the election begins a series of political and cultural earthquakes, affecting both the small world of the characters and the country at large.

The action feels very real, Roth takes the reader on a journey from a pre-war life that is calm, sedate and predictable to a life during war where every day is unpredictable. I love this book. I’ve heard of Phillip Roth, The Plot Against America was the first Phillip Roth book that I’ve read. After decades of writing, Mr. Roth’s reputation is well deserved as a master storyteller. This book keeps the reader on their toes, taking them on a suspenseful and scary journey.

I recommend this book.

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Wise Words From Wise Women: A Review of The Heroine’s Bookshelf

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good book and the characters that inhabit that book will stay with the reader throughout his or her life. It is also a truth universally acknowledged that the lessons that the characters learn through their own choices and the consequences of those choices will resonate with the reader for years to come.

 Our favorite books inspire us. They are our solace in times of need. They keep us entertained when we have nothing else to do. We imagine that the characters within the books are our friends, our family. We know them as we know ourselves. They make us laugh, they make us smile, and they make us cry. And when were done with the book and the story is complete, we feel that no matter what has happened in our day, everything will be all right.

 Erin Blakemore analyzes some of most well known female authors and their iconic characters. The diverse range of authors and characters include Jane Austen (Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice), Louisa May Alcott (Jo March, Little Women), Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables), Betty Smith (Francie Nolan, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn) and Alice Walker (Celie, The Color Purple).

 Her thorough analysis looks at the author’s life and how the events in her life shaped her writing, her characters and the arc of the character’s story line during the book. At end of each chapter, Ms. Blakemore advises the reader of when the best time to read the book is and similar books that the reader might enjoy.

As a lifelong book worm and a fan of several of the authors whose lives and works are briefly chronicled within this book, I can say that I was satisfied by the end of the book.  Any reader of any of the novels would find the author’s analysis interesting without feeling like they have read a college textbook. I was reminded that when life turns unexpectedly or we must make a decision that may impact the rest of our life, the best advise can come from a beloved literary character.

The book is very quick read, but an enjoyable one. Reading a favorite book is like coming home to a very familiar and comforting place. Ms. Blakemore reminds me why I enjoyed and still enjoy my favorite books, even after many years and many, many reads. From this bookworm to the rest of the bookworms in the world, I highly recommend this book. It is one of the best books I have read in a long time.

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