Monday, March 9, 2009

HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2005

AN INNOCENT A BROAD Ann Leary: so wonderful, I had to read it twice! Perfect if you're married to a Brit or have ever tried to understand what the heck is going on over there! (e.g., above photo taken at Wimbledon, 4 July 2006)

LIFE AMONG THE SAVAGES Shirley Jackson: My friend Vickie says, "You MUST become the new Shirley Jackson and write about your life among the savages![i.e., Ben, Sam, and Gerry – haha].

A BURNT - OUT CASE Graham Greene: a throw - back to grad school days but one I'd never read before. Deary and cynical, but excellent! Made me remember why I always wanted to specialize in Modern British.

THE KITE RUNNER Khaled Hosseini: my first ever book on tape. You'd swear it's a memoir though the cover says fiction. Too true and very sad, but hopeful in the end.

WEEPING Shelly Reuben: a firefighter mystery, recommended to me by the Philadelphia attorney who worked on the real – life case and knows the author (whose late husband was a fire inspector), so Shelly and I were able to exchange a few e- mails -- fun!

HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (#V): as expected. No doubt, it would have been more meaningful had I re-read I, II, III & IV before picking up where I left off back in 2000 . . . but who has the time? Well, Ben does! He's read them all at least a dozen times!

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF - BLOOD PRINCE (#VI): hey, please don't tell me that evil is greater than good; I can't bear the thought!

Same thing goes for THE CHOCOLATE WAR by Robert Cormier; he even says so himself: "Carter disguised his disgust. Archie repelled him in many ways but most of all by the way he made everybody feel dirty, contaminated, polluted. As if there was no goodness at all in the world." Yet that's precisely the world that Cormier shows us, the world in which evil is greater than good. Creepy.

ACROSS THE NIGHTINGALE FLOOR Lian Hearn, magical mystical oriental.

THE ALPHABET VERSUS THE GODDESS: THE CONFLICT BETWEEN WORD AND IMAGE Leonard Shlain: in which he gives a very convincing explanation for how the feminine principal got squeezed out of all the major world religions. Talk about well - researched -- this book is packed with history. Truly, Shlain is a genius and a prophet, and his work has changed my life. Reading the entire book is a major undertaking, but well worth it if you could possible allot the time.

SEX, TIME, AND POWER: HOW WOMEN'S SEXUALITY SHAPED HUMAN EVOLUTION Leonard Shlain: His view is that our species has the wherewithal to evolve out of misogyny and patriarchy, but not in our lifetime. We're talking a hundred thousand years or so. So what's the consolation prize? Elevated consciousness & awareness. Gee, thanks. Maybe I could have done without that. After all, we've known for ages that in much knowledge is much sorrow. Sigh. Still, an incredible book. (To read next, Shlain's first book -- ART & PHYSICS: PARALLEL VISIONS IN SPACE, TIME, AND LIGHT)

THE NEW WOMAN'S BROKEN HEART (short fiction) & HEARTBREAK (non - fiction, autobiography) Andrea Dworkin

When I finished ALPHABET VS GODDESS, I took a couple of hours to reread one of my old favorites from the 80s -- THE NEW WOMAN'S BROKEN HEART. Dworkin died in April 2006, and I read some very insightful and touching obituaries, one in the NEW YORK TIMES and one in THE DAILY TELEGRAPH (that Gerry's parents happened to bring over). She tried so hard to change the world and make it better for women; and I feel the same way about Shlain -- he may be a man, but he's such an earnests feminist, and I appreciate his opening references to his mother, wife, and daughters. So many of Dworkin's thoughts run parallel to what Shlain says in ALPHABET VS GODDESS. So much sadness and exclusion. No wonder our hearts are broken!

Well, onward into the fray! I want to be as smart and brave as Shlain and make the world better for women -- especially since we hold up half the sky.

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